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Armitage Sykes: Martin Thompson on changes to the Home Builders Consumer Code

Tue 13 Oct 2015

Martin Thompson, of Armitage Sykes in Huddersfield

Developing residential property within the UK usually means that as a home builder you are registered with one of the home warranties schemes, for example, NHBC or LABC New Home Warranty and are signed up to the Home Builders Consumer Code.

The code now in its fifth year is again being reviewed and developers are being asked for their views on the proposals.

One of the main proposals is if a home builder is found in serious breach of the code they will be excluded from all registers run by Home Warranty Bodies to prevent home builders from “code of warranty hopping”.

The proposed changes also cover home builders’ agents and estate agents.

The code currently requires home builders to provide suitable training to all staff who deal with home buyers about their responsibilities to them, with online training being provided free.

However, the mystery shopping conducted in this area showed that awareness of the code across site sales staff and estate agents is “materially inadequate”.

The proposals are that the training should become mandatory.

In total, there are 15 areas that are being consulted on from pre-contract information, including fees, to handling complaints.

It is anticipated that any changes to the Consumer Code will be implemented in 2016.

The proposed changes to the code do look to be a move to a register of accredited home builders in the UK with a mandatory code of conduct, if introduced.

The views of home builders, trade bodies and all other stakeholders are invited with the closing date for responses being October 31, 2015.

Martin Thompson, 13/10/15, www.examiner.co.uk

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