Alan Cameron | Senior Associate

Builder’s bricks or Lego bricks?

It could be said that purchasers have more protection when buying a tub of Lego bricks than a new build home.  Property is excluded from the Sale of Goods Act 1979 or Consumer Rights Act 2015.  Instead most owners of new properties must rely on the 10 year build mark warranty provided by someone like NHBC or Premier Guarantee.  What many people don’t realise is that if a defect comes to light within the first two years the builder is obliged to resolve it; after that you have to make a claim on the warranty which in years 3-10 only covers structural issues.  What this means is that buyers have two years to report and resolve any defects that come to light, be that 2 weeks after receiving the keys or 1 year and 51 weeks after.

If a non-structural issue is discovered in year 3 then your warranty won’t help you.  Anything that was reported, accepted as a defect and not remedied within the first two years may be resolved by the warranty provided but only in limited circumstances.   If your builder refuses to accept a defect or carry out remedial works then, subject to the terms of your missives, you will normally only have two years to take your builder to court.  If your issue is non-structural and was not reported at all within the first two years then you are on your own.

A lot of people (the writer included!) forget to read their warranty policy in the excitement of moving into a new home and then the gaps in protection can come as a bit of a shock.  There are some steps you can take to safeguard your position, for e.g. ask a surveyor to inspect your house prior to or shortly after completion; if you are buying in the second or third phase or releases ask existing owners about their experiences; and finally, ensure your home and contents policy includes legal expenses insurance in case you have to take your builders to court.

For more information and to discuss your potential case call our specialist team please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.

Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron

Dispute Resolution Team

“My motto is: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.’”

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