Helping UK new home buyers
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Making a claim using the Code's Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS)
The Consumer Code provides all new home buyers with an alternative to taking a house builder to court. The Consumer Code clearly explains the house builder's responsibilities under the Code and in law, providing a low cost relatively quick, independent dispute resolution scheme. The scheme only applies to complaints made within the first two years from the start date of the home warranty cover and has a maximum claim/award limit of £15,000.
The maximum award for "inconvenience" is £250.Home buyers must make their claim within three months of the house builder's final response to the original complaint. Claims must be sent with evidence, receipts and a case registration fee of £100 plus vat. (£120)
The dispute resolution scheme is run by Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS) Ltd, and is called the Consumer Code for Home Builders' Adjudication Scheme (CCHBAS). Once a dispute is submitted, a trained adjudicator reviews written submissions from both parties and issues an award based on his or her conclusions. They will determine if a home buyer has a legitimate claim and has suffered financial loss as a result of the home builder failing to comply with the requirements of the Consumer Code.
This Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS) is independent of the home warranty providers. Any awards made to buyers under the Consumer Code IDRS, are not under-written or covered under the warranty provider's schemes.
The timeline of the process takes a minimum of 12 weeks to complete. It takes up to eight weeks to reach stage 9 where the decision of the IDRS is sent to both buyer and builder. The buyer then has six weeks to consider the decision. If the outcome requires money to be paid, this must be done within four weeks.
For more information download pdf:
As of December 2014, out of the 72 cases brought by buyers since the code was first launched, just 40 (55%) were found in favour of the new home buyer, although in most cases only in part, often with a minimal award. It would appear that a buyer’s claims are more likely to succeed if the amount claimed is relatively low such as claiming for reservation fees refunds. In other cases, where amounts claimed were more substantial, the buyer’s claims were unsuccessful often due to a lack of evidence in support of their claim.
In the first 12 reported case summaries to June 2012, house builders were ordered to pay £23,865 (57%) out of a total claimed £41,365 in the six successful cases. Of those dismissed by the adjudicator, house builders were saved a total of £41,450. In the next 13 case summaries to February 2013 only 4 succeeded, with total payments of just £4,180 (20%) out of the total claimed £20,509. The nine dismissed cases saved house builders around £121,359. In the next 19 case summaries to December 2013, 11 succeeded, with total awards £56,195 again falling short (41%) of the total amount claimed £109,539.
In 2014, the number of successful claims were 19 (68% of the total) with house builders ordered to pay £48,187 - 40% of that claimed in these cases. To end December 2014, those using the Adjudication Scheme have a 55% chance of success but are likely to see only around 46% of the amount they claim.
It would appear that new home buyers would be well-advised to make audio recordings when asking questions and seeking clarifications in house builder's sales marketing centres. Failing this, everything agreed should be recorded in writing and signed by BOTH the builder's representative and buyer. Buyers should take a copy with them at the time of reservation.
The 25 Adjudication Case Summaries to February 2013 that have been made public can be seen by clicking on the link or click this link for the 47 latest Adjudication Case Summaries to December 2014.
The main breaches to Code requirements this far concerned:
Ask for a copy of the Consumer Code and read it BEFORE you discuss anything with sales advisors. Be aware of our Do's and Dont's when buying a new home. Ask plenty of questions and make sure you record the answers given, either by making notes and getting the sales advisor to sign and date them or by making an audio recording. Evidence is essential when using the Code's Dispute Resolution Scheme.
Information and Checklist before claiming compensation using the Adjudication Scheme.
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