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New Homes Ombudsman will not have retrospective powers

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  • 05/02/2021
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New Homes Ombudsman will not have retrospective powers
The New Homes Ombudsman will not be able to consider complaints arising before its formation, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has confirmed.

 

It means buyers with existing faults in their brand new homes bought before the ombudsman starts will not benefit from the agency’s power to force developers to fix shoddy work.

The decision, relayed by housing minister Christopher Pincher, is another setback for buyers of new homes who face many hurdles to get refunds or faults fixed on their new build properties.

Despite announcing the compulsory ombudsman scheme a year ago with powers to ban rogue developers and order builders to carry out remedial work, the government still has not set a date for it.

Instead, the first version will be a voluntary one drawn together by the industry-led New Homes Quality Board. It had set a target to have the scheme in place by the start of this year.

Responding to a written answer from Labour MP for Gateshead Ian Mearns, Pincher said: “Provision for the New Homes Ombudsman will be brought forward through the Building Safety Bill which we will introduce when Parliamentary time allows.

“We continue to stay in touch with the industry-led New Homes Quality Board on its plans for a voluntary New Homes Ombudsman scheme, to be in place ahead of legislation.

“As there will be different requirements for developers when they are members of the New Homes Ombudsman, the legislation will not apply retrospectively.

“We will set out transition arrangements to the New Homes Ombudsman scheme when arrangements for the scheme are in place. Consumers will still be able to seek redress using existing routes, including through consumer codes and warranty providers,” he added.

 

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