MPs and industry call for new homes ombudsman

A group of MPs and industry leaders are calling for a new homes ombudsman scheme to be established to mediate disputes between consumers and their housebuilders.

The proposal is one of a number of recommendations set to emerge from a review of quality in new build housing, carried out by the all party  parliamentary group for excellence in the built environment. The group includes MPs Oliver Colvile, Mark Garnier and Helen Hayes, as well as industry experts including Peter Bonfield, chief executive of building science centre BRE Group and Stephen Stone, chief executive of housebuilder Crest Nicholson.

The review follows continuing concerns about the quality of new homes, and consumers’ difficulties in getting problems rectified. Group chairman Oliver Colvile said that in his own experience, “I have had a number of constituents contact me with complaints about their new homes.”

The final report of the group is due for publication soon, but Colvile has already revealed some of its recommendations. As well as creating the ombudsman scheme, the report is set to recommend:

  • Standardised house building sales contracts, ending uncertainty surrounding bespoke builders’ contracts
  • A mandatory right for buyers to inspect and, should they wish, carry out a full survey of their property prior to financial completion
  • A requirement for housebuilders to provide homebuyers with a comprehensive information pack, with easily understood explanations.

Colvile said the report’s recommendations would “go a long way to creating better homes for buyers, improving trust in the housebuying system and driving up standards across the sector.”

Image by Tracey Perry/

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