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New Homes Ombudsman: Understanding Your Rights

Buying a new build home in the UK involves significant financial and emotional investment. To assist in resolving conflicts that may arise between home buyers and developers, the New Homes Ombudsman has been established. This independent body offers a route for complaint resolution and attempts to enforce standards within the industry. However, its effectiveness and scope are subjects of ongoing discussion among consumers and industry watchers alike.

The primary function of the Ombudsman is to act as an intermediary in disputes that can include poor workmanship, construction delays, and deviations from building codes. While the Ombudsman has the authority to issue legally binding decisions requiring developers to take corrective actions, some critics argue that resolutions can be slow and sometimes inadequate in addressing all consumer grievances fully.

One significant challenge is the capacity of the Ombudsman to manage and resolve complaints efficiently. With the volume of new build purchases increasing, there are concerns about delays and the backlog of cases, which can prolong the distress and inconvenience for buyers. Additionally, while the Ombudsman’s decisions are legally binding, enforcing these decisions can sometimes be cumbersome and time-consuming.

The role of the Ombudsman extends beyond individual dispute resolution to include broader industry oversight aimed at improving overall standards of construction and developer accountability. However, some critics suggest that more stringent measures and clearer benchmarks are needed to significantly elevate industry standards. The impact of the Ombudsman on long-term industry practices remains a subject of debate.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides a strong framework for protecting buyers, stipulating that homes must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. The Ombudsman supports these rights, offering a formal avenue for complaints, but there is a consensus that buyers must also be proactive and well-informed about their rights to navigate the system effectively.

The Home Builder’s Code of Conduct

The Home Builder’s Code of Conduct sets clear expectations for builders, mandating transparency and accountability throughout the construction process. It asserts that builders must adhere to high standards of quality and customer service, providing buyers with confidence in their investments.

However, the effectiveness of this Code is sometimes questioned. Enforcement of the Code can be uneven across different regions and projects, leading to varying degrees of compliance. Critics point out that the penalties for non-compliance are not stringent enough to deter some builders from cutting corners or deviating from promised standards.

This inconsistency in enforcement can undermine the Code’s role as a protective measure for consumers, leaving some new home buyers vulnerable to the negative impacts of subpar building practices. As a result, calls for stronger enforcement measures and more substantial penalties are growing, aiming to ensure that all builders meet the high standards expected by buyers and upheld by industry regulations.

Making a Complaint: What to Expect

Making a complaint about a new build home typically starts with direct communication with the developer. This initial step is crucial as it allows the buyer to outline their issues clearly and seek a resolution from those directly responsible for the construction and sale of the property.

If this does not yield satisfactory results, the next step is to escalate the matter to the New Homes Ombudsman. At this stage, it is imperative for buyers to compile and present comprehensive documentation of their grievances, including relevant correspondence, photographs of the issues, and any other evidence that supports their case.

While the Ombudsman offers a vital service in mediating disputes, this process can be complex and intimidating. The final outcomes may vary, and sometimes they do not fully align with the complainants’ expectations, leading to potential frustration. Buyers are encouraged to approach this process with detailed preparation and realistic expectations about the range of possible resolutions.


The New Homes Ombudsman serves an important role in the UK’s new build market, offering a necessary service for resolving disputes between developers and buyers. However, while it provides a recourse for many, the system’s effectiveness and responsiveness can vary. Critics argue for enhancements in the Ombudsman’s processes, quicker resolution times, and stronger enforcement capabilities.

For prospective new build home buyers, understanding both the strengths and limitations of the New Homes Ombudsman is crucial. Being well-informed and prepared can help buyers navigate the complexities of purchasing a new home, ensuring they are better equipped to protect their rights and investments.

Read more about the NHQB here…

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