New-build consumer code launching this week raises bar for developers

 

From tomorrow, the Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH) is being launched to ensure developers treat buyers fairly – and it applies to estate agents, too.

From tomorrow, all new-build property developers registered with the Code will be subject to mandatory requirements, and a breach will lead to a range of sanctions.

It was set up after a review found that low customer satisfaction levels had been underpinned by a lack of customer protection, and sometimes the approach of housebuilders.

The new Code aims to protect buyers of new-builds, providing a complaints process supported by an independent dispute resolution team, to ensure buyers are treated fairly by the developer.

Developers who are found to be in breach of the Code could be forced to pay up to £50,000 in compensation for disputes.

Agents beware

Although it is the developers who sign up to the code, estate agents acting on their behalf could also be held responsible if things go wrong.

A CCNH spokesperson said: “The Property Ombudsman has Chartered Trading Standards Institute Code (CTSI) approval for sales agents plus the Estate Agents Act provides a legislative framework for those engaging in estate agency work. We would look at each case and work with The Property Ombudsman to agree the best way to proceed.”

So far, 51 developers have signed up to the scheme, which is approved by the CTSI. Becoming a member provides benefits to both the developer and its customers, as it demonstrates a developer’s commitment to providing consumer protection.

The CCNH website says that signing up is a selling point for developers, “since you are a member of an industry-led, consumer-focused Code for selling new homes, which demonstrates a consistent and high-quality approach”.

Sarah Langley, managing director of CCNH, said: “We are thrilled to receive approval from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. This external accreditation recognises the additional consumer protection measures within the Consumer Code for New Homes framework and our genuine desire to raise standards in the new-build sector.

“We look forward to celebrating its formal launch this week.”

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New-build consumer code launching this week raises bar for developers

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