Clamp-down on shoddy housebuilders

Homebuyers who are faced with shoddy building work in their new homes will be protected by a new, independent ombudsman, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced.

Under new rules, rogue builders will have to pay compensation for shoddy work

New laws will also require all developers to belong to the ombudsman, giving all homebuyers access to swift redress.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

“That’s why the ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.

“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “This announcement is a step in the right direction for consumers and house builders alike. As the FMB had demanded, it is correct that the New Homes Ombudsman will be backed up by law. We are pleased that the government has recognised that the new system must not be burdensome to small and medium-sized (SME) house builders. If we are to meet the government’s target of building one million homes over the next five years, SME builders must be encouraged to play their part.”

Currently, homebuyers who purchase new-builds have no independent way of challenging developers’ service or poor workmanship.

The New Homes Ombudsman will provide a clear route for purchasers of new build homes to complain when things have gone wrong and provide effective redress through alternative dispute resolution, avoiding the need to go to court.

It will be free for the consumer and independent of industry.

Where disputes cannot be resolved early, MHCLG said it will ensure the New Homes Ombudsman has the ability to act, so that new-build issues are dealt with swiftly and effectively. These include: the ability to make awards for compensation to the homebuyer; requesting developers to undertake or refrain from undertaking work; directing developers to improve their service; publishing details and reasons for expulsion of a developer; ability to make recommendations to resolve disputes and timescales for rectifying disputes; requesting apologies and explanations from developers.