New Rights for House Buyers

Those who buy new homes ‘off plan’ now have significant new protection under the Consumer Code for Home Builders, which came into affect on 1 April 2010.

The Code requires builders of houses to keep buyers informed of the progress of the construction work. It specifically requires builders to provide ‘reliable and realistic’ information regarding completion of the construction, handover dates and the date on which the completion of the contract for purchase may be expected.

Buyers must also be advised that they have the right to withdraw from the purchase if there is an unreasonable delay in completing the construction of the home and serving the notice to complete. The Code sets out a standard form of wording for use in such circumstances. The delay in completion beyond the date originally stipulated by the builder that allows the buyer to withdraw is no more than six months for houses and twelve months for flats, where contracts are exchanged before the building is weatherproof. If contracts are exchanged at an advanced stage of construction, the buyer has the right to terminate the contract after a delay of no more than two months for houses or four months for flats.

Sarah Evans, SMR Solicitors

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