In December 2021, the New Homes Quality Board published its New Homes Quality Code after a period of lengthy consultation. The New Homes Quality Code is intended to replace the existing Consumer Code for Homebuilders which has applied for several years. It builds on the obligations imposed on new homebuilders under the existing Consumer Code and provides increased obligations upon developers, particularly in relation to periods after completion of the sale.
The Code operates so as to wraparound existing protections and dispute resolution procedures offered by new home warranty providers, such as NHBC or Premier Guarantee. The code will apply to all registered developers.
From January 2022, house builders and developers who build new homes are expected to register with NHQB. Registration involves completion of training and the introduction of necessary complaints and other processes and procedures to meet Code requirements.
Becoming a registered NHQC developer will effectively be compulsory as it will be a condition of ongoing registration with the main new homes warranty providers and will inevitably be required by lenders under the terms of the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook for Conveyancers.
Developers will need to urgently ascertain the extent to which they need to update their own internal procedures and protocols and arrange the necessary training in order to secure registration. All registered developers are required to agree to comply with the Code and to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the new homes ombudsman scheme.
The Code contains a number of mandatory requirements as well as guidance and best practice recommendations. The Code sits alongside and is complementary to statutory obligations, for example, under the forthcoming Building Safety Bill. The Code therefore goes beyond statutory obligations.
Further commentary on the New Homes Quality Code will follow in later briefings.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.