New Homes Quality Board (NHQB): key case study takeaways for developers

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Gateley Legal

Since July 2023, the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has published 15 case studies which provide useful insights into the types of complaints being made against developers by new home buyers and the Ombudsman’s decision making. The case studies are intended to help developers improve their quality and customer service standards.

What have we learnt so far?

Out of the 15 case studies published by the New Homes Quality Code (NHQC) (relating to 18 individual cases), nine complaints were upheld in part, two complaints were fully upheld, and four complaints were not upheld.

Some of the key learnings and take away points for developers from the NHQB’s case studies are as follows:

  • Acknowledge all issues raised by the customer when a complaint is received.
  • Use a process that regularly updates customers on build timelines.
  • Any price changes on the development should be published as quickly as possible.
  • Ensure financial incentives are presented clearly in marketing materials.
  • Disclose all relevant information at reservation and encourage buyers to read everything provided to them.
  • Keep promises when offering to help customers.
  • Make customers aware of property restrictions and covenants and when it is their responsibility to take action.
  • Document all information verbally discussed and ensure it is identical to the information provided to your conveyancer.
  • Temporary accommodation should be clean and take into account the specific circumstances of customers.
  • Developers should consider adding an annotation to site plans to say that the location of affordable housing is indicative and may change.
  • Clear information should be provided within reservation agreements to help customers understand that the tenure mix on the development is always subject to change.

What should developers do?

To ensure that best practices are being adopted and to mitigate the risk of being in breach of the NHQC, developers should ensure that they:

  • keep up-to-date with the NHQB case studies, guidance published by the NHQC and any new versions of the NHQC that may be published in the future; and
  • regularly review their documents and procedures in line with the NHQB’s recommendations.

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