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Housing: Standards

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures are in place to ensure that buyers of new homes do not face unforeseen construction faults. (244518)

Purchasers of new build homes in most cases are afforded protection through the provision of measures such as warranties. Under the terms of a typical warranty, the builder is responsible for putting right any defects caused by breaches of any technical requirements for the first two years (from completion). From years three to 10 the warranty provides insurance against the cost of repairing certain specified defects. In addition, existing contract law offers avenues of redress for purchasers of new build homes who are dissatisfied with the performance of the homebuilder under the terms of their contract. The buyer can either take action through the courts for monetary compensation or to have the contract performed properly.

However, a recent Office of Fair Trading report found room for improvement in the arena of new-build consumer protection. The OFT has since been working with the homebuilding industry to help it develop a new approach to self-regulation to improve consumer protection together with a new body to administer the protection process. This is intended to be fully operational by March 2010.