The new service to give redress for homebuyers of new-builds with snagging problems has moved a step closer to happening.
The Dispute Service, which resolves government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme disagreements, has won the contract to develop and oversee the New Homes Ombudsman Service.
New Homes Quality Board chair Natalie Elphicke MP said: “Consumers rightly expect new homes to be top quality – and to get great customer service too.
“The ombudsman will be an independent customer guardian, making sure buyers get proper redress if they’ve been sold a shoddy home or suffer from poor customer service.”
Lawyer and former police complaints senior investigator Alison MacDougall will be the new homes ombudsman.
Ms MacDougall will enforce the new homes quality code, due for publication next month, which puts the onus on developers to offer aftercare for building faults.
Dispute Service chair Professor Martin Partington said: “We are a not-for-profit company which has its roots in dealing with tenancy deposit disputes and in the last 14 years we have completed over 160,000 adjudications.”
Homebuyers can complain for up to two years after purchase
He said the organisation had developed digital solutions making it easy for users to upload supporting evidence on an online complaints platform making it accessible to all parties to see.
“We have also worked hard to increase the number of complaints we resolve through our mediation and conciliation work, leading to speedier outcomes for consumers,” he added.
The new service will go live early next year and has been set up to fill gaps in current protections and will cover every aspect of a new home purchase from sales through to two years after buying. It will help buyers unhappy with their developer’s compliant handling by independently considering their case and ruling if there has been a code breach.
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were keen to support an initiative designed to drive up quality standards especially among the larger housebuilders.