Buying a new home is an exciting time, but what happens if you establish your new property is defective after you’ve completed your sale. Property including new builds is exempt from the protection offered under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act, which is a guide to the rights and obligations that arise when a trader supplies goods to a consumer. So if this does not provide you with any protection what are your next steps? This blog talks you through what your options are and how you can move forward if your new build property is defective after you have completed your purchase

Contact the developer

If you discover defects with your new build property shortly after moving in, you should report these to the developer in the first instance. The majority of developers will operate a complaints procedure to deal with any issues that may arise, therefore, depending on the defects in question these should be resolved by contacting your developer directly and going through this process.

It’s worth noting that if your property was purchased on or after 1 April 2010 and is covered by a Warranty issued by the NHBC, Premier Guarantee or Local Building Control, a complaints procedure must be in place to comply with the requirements of the Consumer Code for home builders.

‘Buildmark’ warranty

Check whether your new build is covered by a ‘Buildmark’ warranty. The most common insurance provider in the UK offering this type of cover is NHBC. There are other guarantees such as Premier Guarantee and LABC however NHBC is the most common insurer with developers. The NHBC provide a new build warranty that is valid for 10 years, known as a Buildmark warranty. It’s not compulsory for developers to have this type of cover, but it’s worth checking if you have found defects within your property as you may be able to make a claim under this cover. This policy does not cover general wear and tear. You can check whether your developer is registered with NHBC by clicking here.

The first two years

If your new build is covered by a ‘Buildmark’ warranty, in the first two years after completing your new build sale the builder is responsible for repairing defects. The builder is therefore required to repair physical damage which resulted in their failure to meet the building standards. The first two years is known as the builder warranty period.

If the builder fails to complete the repairs, you can use the free resolution service provided by NHBC and at this point they will intervene and will aim to resolve the dispute. If the builder has become insolvent you can also contact NHBC.

Years three to ten

Once the builder warranty period, covered above, ends the NHBC provide a further eight years insurance cover, however, the warranty during this period is limited compared with the first two years. After two years and up to ten years after your purchase, the NHBC will only deal with physical damage to the property as a result of the developer not building the property in accordance with building standards, for example, structural issues or weatherproofing problems.

During this period minor defects and cosmetic issues are excluded – basically anything which would cost less than £1500.00 to rectify.

It is also important to be aware there are certain defects that are excluded from the NHBC warranty during the entire period, which include damage resulting from storms and severe weather along with the damage to lifts. At the end of the 10 year period of cover from the NHBC, you will need to rely on your home insurance policy to cover any property defects.

Having to deal with defects of a new build home can be a difficult time. It is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure you follow the correct process and get the right advice from the start. To talk to our expert property solicitors about defects in your new build please contact us.