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The New Homes Quality Code – are you getting ready?

Posted: 27/05/2022


Background

Developers must register with the New Homes Quality Board by the end of December 2022, and those applying will need to be aware of the independent body’s New Homes Quality Code.

Released back in December 2021, developers bound by the code, or providers wanting to ensure procedures and sales adhere to its spirit, will have to understand what is now necessary and, importantly, how this differs from previous requirements.

Registered developers agree to follow both the New Homes Quality Code and the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) when in place.

At the moment, ‘customers’ benefitting from the code are individual purchasers; shared owners and organisations buying a new home to let out are not covered, but this is under review.

The New Homes Quality Code

The code has two parts.

Firstly, the statement of principles - these are:

  • Fairness
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Responsiveness
  • Transparency
  • Independence
  • Inclusivity
  • Security
  • Compliance

Secondly, the practical steps - these comprise four parts:

  • Selling
  • Legal documents
  • After-sales and complaints
  • Solvency and legal rights

The outcome

It is important to view the code in the light of other consumer focussed changes in the industry. Just as the new form of shared ownership lease focusses on the needs of the customer, so too does the New Homes Quality Code. Both the new code and new lease shift the emphasis to the need to provide more information prior to and at the point of reservation, rather than later on in the process.

For example:

  • Ensuring service means ensuring all staff are trained and understand the code.
  • Responsiveness includes having an effective complaints procedure.
  • Transparency means ensuring customers understand at the outset what they are buying, and the cost implications involved.

How might it affect me?

Sales processes need to be considered:

  • How does your reservation process identify and support ‘vulnerable’ customers under the New Homes Quality Code?
  • Have your reservation documentation and processes been updated to cater for the 14 day cooling off period and additional information required at the outset?
  • What are you going to offer in respect of pre-completion inspections?
  • Have you decided which companies/subsidiaries need to register and when?
  • Which team is to manage the required after sales service, and how?
  • Do any complaints processes need to be updated to comply with the requirements of the code?

Contact  

We will be arranging sessions to discuss further and support organisations in preparing for the changes, but in the meantime if you would like to discuss the changes and impact of the new act, please contact us.


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