In this week’s podcast, we take a look at why your developer is asking for a snagging list within the first seven days or earlier and what you should do.

We are constantly being told when speaking to our customers that their developer is insisting on a snagging list within the first seven days or earlier, we have even heard of them wanting it within the first 72 hours after legal completion. This often panics new build homebuyers into rushing to have their snagging report done within this time period.

Check out some of the snags we have found on our YouTube channel.

Why do developers ask for a snagging list?

The reason why your developer wants the snagging list so quickly is because it is part of their procedures which enables your site manager to do any snags you have seen and get you signed off and handed over to customer care as quickly as possible.

Another reason is that if you have not identified any scratched glass or damage to kitchen units, sanitary ware and wall tilling during your home demonstration or at key handover, then your builder is likely to refuse to repair them as you could have done the damage when moving into your new home.

My advice is to take your time during your home demonstration and at key handover have a good look around. If you see any snags or anything that you are not happy with, make sure it is documented on the home demonstration form. I would also do this again on the day of the handover. Pay particular attention to the windows for scratched glass, kitchen units, sanitaryware and wall and floor tiling.

Professional snagging list

New home buyers are feeling pressurised into getting a professional snagging inspection done within the first seven days after legal completion and are disappointed to find that the snagging company of their choice has no availability.

What should you do if your builder is insisting on a snagging list within the first seven days after legal completion? Let your builder know that you will be having your new house professionally snagged and you will submit your report when you receive it. If you have managed to organise a professional snagger to inspect your house immediately after legal completion let the site manager know when they will be getting the report.

If you have not used a professional snagger when the site manager calls to see you after legal completion, this is usually within the first three to seven days, let him know if you have seen any defects and give him your list to rectify.

Make sure you always log any snagging lists even the ones you give to your site manager with customer care and ask them to log them on your plot file. The reason for this is so you will have an audit trail of any issues raised with the site and if they become ongoing issues customer care will also have a record of them.

What about your warranty agreement?

Your developer demanding a snagging list has nothing to do with your rights under your warranty agreement. Under your warranty agreement, you have the first two years to give snagging lists to your developer to rectify.

All new homes will have a warranty. These are usually ten-year warranties that cover you for the first two years by the developer and the following eight years for any structural issues with your warranty provider.

It is important you read and fully understand your warranty, including the small print. This covers what is and is not covered from the start date of the agreement. It also gives advice on what you should do to ensure your warranty is valid.

Once you have taken legal completion your builder is likely to insist on you giving them a snagging list usually within the first seven days, which we have just spoken about. However, don’t panic – this is part of your builder’s procedures to get you handed over to customer care.

Our advice would always be to email and never ring your developer. Keep all correspondence you have with your builder electronically, so you have an audit trail of information should you need it if you need to make a claim. Your warranty will give you the details of your snagging timeline this will be highlighted, and it might also be in the customer handover pack from your Developers.

It is important that you read and understand your warranty like any other insurance policy. This is so you know what you are covered for and any timelines you must adhere to. Understand exactly what your warranty covers you for – for instance, it will not cover you for general wear and tear or any minor shrinkage.

Your policy start date should be on your certificate, this might not start on the date you moved in, so you need to check it. Once your defects period has ended with your Developer, it is unlikely they will carry out any further snagging for you unless it is an ongoing issue. The remainder of your warranty is now with your warranty provider for any structural issues up to the end of your warranty period.

What if your builder refuses to do your snags?

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 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.

Good news for new-build homebuyers!

On Tuesday the 4th of October 2022 the New Homes Quality Board and New Home Ombudsman were Launched.

The new code introduces a broad range of additional requirements for developers to fill the gaps in current protections and ensure that every aspect of a new home purchase, from when a customer walks into a sales office, to two years after the occupation of the home, is covered.

The code along with the New Homes Ombudsman aims to raise the quality of new build homes, giving new house buyers better protection and improving the services house builders provide to their customers.

This is great news for new build homebuyers and should help them when they have a dispute with their builder. It is certainly a step in the right direction to provide protection to new build homebuyers. However, I have my reservations as most developers have a culture within their business that will need to drastically change for them to comply with the New Homes Quality Board requirements.

How to make the process run smoother

Within your customer handover pack or your builders’ new home guide, there might be a list of what is and is not a snag. This is important, as it will give you an idea of what to look for. Understanding what a defect or snag is will help you understand what your builder will rectify and what he will not, this can save you a lot of stress and anxiety.

Within your first two years, you can give your builder any number of snagging lists. However, we would advise putting a comprehensive list together instead of bombarding the site manager with each individual snag.

If you can, resist giving your builder daily lists. Instead, put several snags together then give it to the site manager. This will make it easier to organise the necessary trades and save you from having to organise days when you need to be available.

To make the process easier for you and so you don’t miss any defects, I would recommend you engage the services of a professional snagger. Using a professional snagger is the best way of making sure your brand-new home has been built to the current building regulations and standards. This will be money well spent and is sure to give you peace of mind.

Be persistent if you feel you are being fobbed off by your builder. Keep pushing for even the smallest problems to be fixed, because 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.

Consumer rights

The New Homes Quality code of practice will replace the Consumer Code for Home Builders. The New Homes Quality Board is an independent organisation whilst the New Homes Ombudsman Service will provide independent redress for consumers with issues and will deliver a change in terms of:

• The quality of the product delivered to the customer.

• The redress available to customers in the event they have issues with their new home or their developer.

Nothing contained within this code affects a customer’s existing legal or statutory rights and does not replace any legislation applying to the New Home. Customers do not have to make a complaint to a New Homes Ombudsman Service for matters which are covered by the code, they may decide to pursue an alternative course of action, such as through the civil courts or other applicable ombudsman or regulator.

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.

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