NEW rules mean that homeowners could be awarded up to £50,000 in compensation for shoddy building work.
The government has announced that it will be creating a New Homes Ombudsman to protect people buying new build properties.
The ombudsman will step in to protect buyers from issues such as sloppy brickwork or faulty wiring.
It will have the power to award compensation, ban rogue developers and order them to fix faults.
The new ombudsman will hold developers to account and require them to put matters right with new powers including:
- Adjudicating on complaints and upholding standards set out in a Code of Practice
- Awarding up to £50,000 in compensation to home buyers
- Forcing developers to undertake or refrain from undertaking work
- Telling developers to improve their service
- Publishing details and reasons for expulsion of developers
- Making recommendations on timescales to resolve disputes
- Making developers apologise and explain
The government has said that it will introduce new laws that require all developers to belong to the new ombudsman.
But it is not yet known how long the process will take or when the new rules will come into force.
When it does arrive, the ombudsman will be free for consumers to use, and independent from the property and building industries.
What help is out there for first-time buyers?
GETTING on the property ladder can feel like a daunting task but there are schemes out there to help first-time buyers have their own home.
Help to Buy Isa – It's a tax-free savings account where for every £200 you save, the Government will add an extra £50. But there's a maximum limit of £3,000 which is paid to your solicitor when you move. These accounts have now closed to new applicants but those who already hold one have until November 2029 to use it.
Help to Buy equity loan – The Government will lend you up to 20 per cent of the home's value – or 40 per cent in London – after you've put down a five per cent deposit. The loan is on top of a normal mortgage but it can only be used to buy a new build property.
Lifetime Isa – This is another Government scheme that gives anyone aged 18 to 39 the chance to save tax-free and get a bonus of up to £32,000 towards their first home. You can save up to £4,000 a year and the Government will add 25 per cent on top.
Shared ownership – Co-owning with a housing association means you can buy a part of the property and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can buy anything from 25 to 75 per cent of the property but you're restricted to specific ones.
"First dibs" in London – London Mayor Sadiq Khan is working on a scheme that will restrict sales of all new-build homes in the capital up to £350,000 to UK buyers for three months before any overseas marketing can take place.
Starter Home Initiative – A Government scheme that will see 200,000 new-build homes in England sold to first-time buyers with a 20 per cent discount by 2020. To receive updates on the progress of these homes you can register your interest on the Starter Homes website.
The new rules will only apply to new build homes as there are already ombudsmen for other parts of the market, such as the Property Ombudsman.
The New Homes Ombudsman’s remit will include complaints involving fuel, energy and broadband performance where standards fall below those legally required or promised by developers.
The government is proposing that home buyers should be able to access the ombudsman within two years of the first purchaser's completion date.
Family’s £280,000 dream new-build home is really a nightmare with 108 faults.
A frustrated first-time homeowner shared a stark warning to other buyers – in the form of a huge sign outside his new house.
Another couple living in a different Persimmon estate plastered their windows with posters warning potential buyers to stay away.
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