Frequently asked questions
You can check if your developer is registered on our website by visiting our Register of Developers page. If they are shown as a registered developer and you reserved your new home after their Activation Date, then you are protected by the Code and may be able to contact the NHOS with your concerns. The easiest way to do this is via their website: www.nhos.org.uk
If your developer is not covered, or you reserved your home before their Registration Date, you are still protected by the existing consumer code. Customers with issues with their home/developer are advised to:
If the issue relates to a defect in the home, you can contact your home warranty provider if they offer a dispute resolution service e.g. NHBC.
You can also contact the relevant consumer code used by your developer. They will be able to confirm who this is and how to contact them. It may also be on their website.
For issues with a new home after the first two years of ownership, please contact your warranty provider.
In the first instance, please contact your builder’s customer service team to log details of your complaint. Their contact details should have been provided when you moved in and should also be on their website.
If you remain dissatisfied with how your complaint was handled, there are a number of alternatives:
- If the issue relates to snagging, defects or build quality and you are within your warranty period, you may be able to contact your Warranty Provider for them to investigate your concerns.
- If your builder is a Registered Developer with NHQB* then you can choose to escalate your complaint to the New Homes Ombudsman.
- If your builder is not a Registered Developer with NHQB* then you can raise your complaint with the existing Consumer Code provider and your builder can tell you who this is and provide contact details.
The establishment of a NHOS was the number one recommendation made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment in its report More homes fewer complaints that focussed on the issues experienced by customers of new build homes. In 2017 the Secretary of State announced that the Government wanted to see the introduction of a New Homes Ombudsman (NHOS).
The NHOS provides customers with access to independent, fair and efficient redress as well as more confidence in new build homes. It will also provide Governments with the assurance that as they introduce policies to increase the housing supply, the industry will be delivering high standards of quality, service, and customer satisfaction.
Customers who reserve a new home from a Registered Developer after their 'activation date' are protected by the New Homes Quality Code and the New Homes Ombudsman.
You can check if your developer is registered on our website by visiting our Register of Developers page.
Customers reserving a new home from a developer that isn’t registered with NHQB will still be protected by an alternative code. Your developer should inform you which consumer code you are covered by and how to contact them.
Yes. The NHQB is an independent, not-for-profit, stand-alone legal organisation. It has an independent chair, and members of the board have a vast range of experience from a range of sectors and backgrounds.
Constitutional safeguards have been put in place to ensure the board has a majority of non-industry representatives on it, which means that builders can't control it or have a majority vote on decision-making.
We firmly believe that the New Homes Quality Code and the broader framework including the New Homes Ombudsman will deliver a step change in industry behaviours.
The New Homes Quality Code introduces a broad range of additional requirements for developers. These fill the gaps in previous protections and ensure that every aspect of a new home purchase, from when a customer walks into a sales office to two years after the purchase of the home, is covered.
- Protects vulnerable customers; prohibits high pressure selling; and requires deposits to be protected.
- Requires the developer to provide all information about the home and any potential costs, earlier in the sales process to allow them to make an informed decision.
- Sets out requirements for a fair reservation agreement, including a ‘cooling off period’.
- Allows customers to have a professional carry out a pre-completion inspection of their new home on their behalf.
- Specifies that a home must be ‘complete’, preventing builders paying customers to move into a new home early.
- Crucially, and to address the biggest gap in the existing arrangements, the New Homes Quality Code requires builders to have an effective after care service in place to deal with any issues or ‘snagging’ problems; and a robust complaints process that responds to customers concerns in a timely manner.
- If a customer is not satisfied with how any complaint has been dealt with, they can refer their complaint to the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service.
The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent in April 2022. This is the piece of legislation which gives Government the powers to introduce a statutory (legally required) ombudsman and consumer code. There is currently no expected timeframe for when these powers will be used so in the interim, all housebuilders are encouraged to register with the NHQB so we can demonstrate that the New Homes Quality Code is delivering better protections for buyers of new homes.
The NHQB oversees all the arrangements moving forward, including the ongoing monitoring of the New Homes Ombudsman (NHOS).
Below the NHQB will sit various advisory committees, including consumer and technical panels, a code council, and a disciplinary and sanctions committee.
This industry code of practice – the New Homes Quality Code – sits at the centre of these arrangements. It builds on the existing consumer codes but puts much more responsibility and requirements on developers. In particular, it covers the period post-occupation and sets out how developers have to deal with any issues buyers have with their new homes in the first two years.
The NHOS is free for consumers to use.
Funding for the NHQB and the New Homes Ombudsman is from developers’ registration fees which are charged annually and are dependent on the developers’ size and turnover. This approach delivers on the commitment required by Government that all the new arrangements must be paid for by the house-building industry and not by consumers.
The New Homes Quality Code covers homes sold privately to people who will live in them or give them to another person. The protection doesn’t extend to affordable homes, those sold under a shared ownership scheme, or bought to let. Homes purchased under either of these circumstances may be covered by another scheme such as the Housing Ombudsman or the Property Ombudsman.