LABC backs calls for New Homes Ombudsman
LABC have submitted a letter in response to the Government's call for views on redress for purchasers of new build homes and a proposed New Homes Ombudsman.
Paul Everall, LABC's Chief Executive wrote in the letter:
"LABC is supportive of the Government’s desire to improve consumer protection and access to redress within the new build sector and completely agrees with the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman to provide greater clarity, support and redress for the purchasers of new homes.
He went on, "...we feel that this is only part of the picture. In order properly to ensure consumer protection in the home building market, the New Homes Ombudsman must introduce a single Code of Conduct for Housebuilders with consistent and robust sanctions and a minimum standard for warranties.
An increase in 'skinny' warranties
He said, "Our experience in the past several years is of a plethora of new ‘skinny’ warranties coming to market. These warranties have poor inspection requirements, off-shore insurers and sometimes ridiculously high excesses combined with exclusion of basic risks. These warranties are cheaper and attractive to developers willing to put profit before customer service and consumer protection, or developers who don’t understand warranty policies."
Comparing this with LABC's partner organisation LABC Warranty he continued, "[LABC Warranty] provides separately; inspections for building control, building control plan assessment, warranty inspections and a warranty plan assessment. As a result, this approach has produced an excellent claims history."
Homeowners and local authorities feeling powerless
Everall said finally, "In our evidence (oral and submissions) to various All Party Parliamentary Groups we have explained that local authorities have witnessed increasing complaints on matters where they may have no powers to intervene.
"Competition in building control, changes in conveyancing over practices, the decline of workmanship and the variable quality of some warranties combining building control inspections with warranty inspections has all led to a downward spiral."
The outcome of this consultation will be published on the Government's website shortly.
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