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New Build Property - Can I pursue a claim for defects?

By sfb solicitors, Jan 28 2019 11:40AM

Have you purchased a New Build property which is less than 10 years old? Even if you are not the first owner, you may be entitled to pursue a claim to rectify any defects.

Any New Build property less than 10 years old is extremely likely to be covered by warranty because mortgage lenders insist on warranty being provided. In the majority of cases the warranty will be covered by the Buildmark Policy provided by NHBC, however other policies could be in place such as BLP, LABC, Premier Guarantee and Checkmate. It is important to note that not all policies will cover all design and construction issues therefore you may have no option but to approach the building company. Most policies provide the following tiers of cover:

0-2 years: most defects are covered if they are not considered to be minor or wear and tear.

3-10 years: the policy will only cover major defects and some policies will exclude anything costing less than £1,500 to fix.

11 years onwards: you are not likely to be covered by any warranty therefore you will have to utilise your own insurance policy.

Top Tips if you have purchased a New Build property:

1 .Employ an independent surveyor to undertake a ‘snagging survey’ to be sent to yourself and the builder

2. Keep copies of all correspondence and put any queries in writing

3. In the first instance raise any concerns with the builder in writing and retain copies of any replies

4. Ensure that your communications remain professional no matter how difficult this may be

5. Check the warranty before trying to fix the problem yourself as it may invalidate the cover

6. Keep track of the age of the property bearing in mind the tiers of cover mentioned above

7. Consider your neighbours; your actions may have an impact on the value or marketability of your home.

8. Court action must be brought within a statute-based limitation period.

Further action:

1. If you do not find a satisfactory resolution with the builder, contact your warranty provider.

2. If you do not find a satisfactory resolution with the warranty provider, follow their internal complaints process.

3. If you do not find a satisfactory resolution following this but do not wish to pursue a Court action, contact the Financial Ombudsman. Please note that the Financial Ombudsman does not specialise in this area and the outcome could make you ineligible to take Court action.

4. Take Court action (if the limitation period has not expired).

5. If your warranty is with NHBC, Premier Guarantee or LABC Warranty then you can contact the Consumer Code for Homebuilders. There are similar codes for other warranty providers.

Our team at Summerfield Browne would be happy to assist in all aspects of addressing New Build defects whether this be contacting the builder in the first instance or taking legal action.

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