I am often asked by customers: what if my builder refuses to do my snags?
Buying a new build home can be stressful, and understanding your rights will help ease the stress associated with the buying process and having your defects rectified by your builder.
Whilst some builders are good at resolving customers’ snags, others fall below what is acceptable, leaving the new homebuyer to fight for their rights to have them fixed.
There is a process to follow, and your builder should explain this to you during your move. Make sure you understand your rights and this process fully so that you can use it if things go wrong.
If you have any snags these should be reported to your builder immediately.
Our advice would always be to have your newly built home professionally snagged by a recognised snagging company (link to Lively services).
Do your homework and do not be afraid to ask the snagging company questions about how they operate and how they can guarantee a complete inspection. Picking the right one can make a huge difference.
Having a comprehensive snagging report carried out by a third party to hand to your builder clearly identifying any defects at the earliest opportunity will enable your builder to rectify them within the warranty period.
Be persistent if you feel you are being fobbed off by your builder. Keep pushing for even the seemingly smallest problems to be fixed, because even these can add up and become expensive to fix.
If things do go wrong and the relationship between yourself and the builder breaks down, then your snagging report can add weight when you need to make a claim against your builder or warranty provider.
All new homes will have a warranty. These are usually ten-year warranties that cover you for the first two years by the builder and the following eight years for any structural issues.
It is important to read and fully understand your warranty, including the small print. This covers what is and is not included from the point of agreement. It also gives advice on what you should do to ensure your warranty is valid.
If your builder fails to resolve any snags brought to their attention, you can ask to be referred to an independent dispute resolution service. Your warranty should highlight how you go about this process. It will also include which forms and evidence you will need to make a claim against your builder or warranty provider.
Our advice would always be to email never ring your builder. By keeping all correspondence you have with your builder electronically, you have an audit trail of information should you need it if you make a claim.
Consumer Code for Home Builders
The consumer code for new homes was established to ensure best practice is followed by all UK Homebuilders in respect to the marketing, selling, and purchasing of new homes and to set expected standards of customer care.
The code provides an independent dispute resolution scheme if a customer wants to make a complaint. It also ensures new home buyers understand their rights before and after they move into their new homes. However, to use the code your newly built home must have been built by a registered house builder who is registered with the home warranty providers (NHBC, Premier Guarantee, LABC)
If you have taken every step possible to get your defects repaired by your builder or warranty provider and still have no luck, it may be necessary to take legal action.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not cover purchases of new homes.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act affect housebuilders and developers and their contractual arrangements with customers.
The Consumer Code for New Homes ensures new home buyers are treated fairly and gives new homebuyers access to a dispute resolution scheme.
In all cases, professional legal advice should be taken if you feel it necessary to take legal action against your builder.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.