Should there be tougher laws on the quality of new builds?

It’s more difficult than ever for a young person to get on the property ladder but it’s even more difficult for them to get on the property ladder without some kind of argument when it comes to the finishing of their new home. Complaints have been surfacing in recent years over the quality of new builds with many saying that homes just aren’t being built like they used to be. What’s the answer? Tougher regulations for home builders or as some MPs have recently put forward, an independent ombudsman.

With house prices high and mortgage rates not setting to fall anytime soon, it is no wonder why youngsters are finding it difficult to secure their first house. However, it’s not only securing a deposit on a house that is a concern but buying a house that comes without a long list of issues. Earlier this year a group of peers and MPs backed to set up an independent ombudsman who would be able to order house builders to pay up to £50,000 or (in rare cases) reimburse the sale of the house if there are major faults to be found in the property.

The push for this scheme comes after several scandals involving major house building groups and their defective properties. The proposed scheme would be free for consumers and offer quick resolutions to any problems they might have with the build of their new home. Housebuilders would have to be part of the proposed scheme with all its costs coming from the housebuilders themselves. The government would be able to fund it by charging a fee for all housebuilders with major groups paying slightly more than the smaller ones.

In today’s climate, it can be very confusing for a housing issue to get resolved with the amount of codes, warranties and complaint procedures there are. Having a set programme or route of action would mean home buyers would have one less worry on their hands. The problem at this current moment is that it is not uncommon for buyers to find defects in their home. A recent survey by the Home Builders Federation showed that 98% of new-home buyers reported some kind of issue with their house to their builder after moving in.

The terms of the scheme are not yet set in stone and who knows whether it will get approved but some have suggested producing an app to track consumer complaints. A consumer could take pictures of any problems in the house and send to their builder, everything would be documented so any issues that remain unresolved could be challenged using the app. Most new-home buyers understand that mistakes can happen but do not expect to find a builder who won’t correct their mistakes.

The plan has been presented to the ministry of housing and the local councils but will it be approved? Would providing the housing world with a single ombudsman create more problems than it would solve or is it just what new-home buyers have been waiting for?

Garnett Wilson are expert conveyancers based in Southend on Sea, Essex.
To find out about the services offered, visit

Scroll to Top