What is the purpose of the code ?
The Code is an industry led code of conduct for Home Builders, which was developed to make the home buying process fairer and more transparent for purchasers.
The aim of the Code is for all new Home Buyers to:
- be treated fairly,
- know what levels of service to expect,
- to be given reliable information about their purchase and their consumer rights before and after they move in, and
- know how to access speedy, low-cost dispute resolution arrangements to deal with complaints about breaches of the Code
The Code reinforces best practice among Home Builders to encourage a consistently high level of information and customer service. It builds on successful efforts already made by the industry to improve consumer satisfaction in recent years.
The Code covers every stage of the home-buying process – pre-contract, exchange of contract and during occupation.
As a Home Buyer you should be given enough pre-purchase information to help you make a suitably informed purchasing decision.
In all cases this information must include:
- a written Reservation agreement including the reservation fee; what is being sold; the purchase price; how and when the Reservation agreement will end and how long the price remains valid;
- an explanation of the Home Warranty cover;
- a description of any management services and organisations to which you as the Home Buyer will be committed and an estimate of their cost;
- the nature and method of assessment of any event fees such as transfer fees or similar liabilities.
If your home is not yet completed (for example when buying off plan), the information must include:
- a brochure or plan illustrating the general layout, appearance and plot position of the home;
- a list of the home’s contents;
- the standards to which the home is being built.
Exchange of Contract
The Home Builder must provide you with a contract which is clear and fair, complies with all relevant legislation and clearly explains your contract termination rights.
The Code also states that you must be given reliable and realistic information about when construction of your home may be finished, the date of Legal Completion, and the date for handover of your home.
If an unreasonable delay occurs in completing the home, you have the right not to go ahead with the purchase and have your Reservation fee returned without deductions.
your Home Builder must clearly explain how contract deposits are protected and how any other pre-payments are dealt with.
Home Builders must provide an accessible after-sale service, and explain what the service includes, who to contact, and what guarantees and warranties apply to your home.
If you move into a home where building work is still in progress on surrounding properties, you must be told about the health-and-safety precautions you should take when living on a development where building work continues.
Your Home Builder must have procedures for receiving, handling, and resolving service calls and complaints from you and any other purchasers. You should be informed by your Home Builder about these procedures, and of the dispute resolution arrangements operated as part of the Code, in writing.