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When you purchase a new build property you generally do so under the presumption that there will be little to nothing wrong with it, given it’s not yet been exposed to elements or the wear and tear of time.

Recent surveys show that over half of new build owners report major faults with their property within the first year of ownership including faults with utilities, unfinished fittings and complaints of poor building standards.

With most faulty goods, you can simple hand them back for a refund or exchange, however with property it’s unfortunately not that simple given they aren’t covered by the sale and supply of goods act. But there are avenues you can take to get the problems fixed.

Check your warranty

If your home is under 10 years old it should be covered by a warranty, warranties on new build properties typically last 10 years although this may vary depending on your provider. The most common warranty is the National House Building Council (NHBC) Buildmark policy although there are other providers such as Zurich, LABC and Premier guarantee to name a few. Whilst not all warranties are the same, they all work on a similar principle.

If there is an issue in the first 2 years

During the first two years, most policies will usually cover a range defects (except for matters of general wear and tear and minor defects). During this period however you should pursue the issue with your builder directly in the first instance. If you are unable to contact your house builder for whatever reason, or if they are unwilling to fix the issue, you should then escalate the problem to your warranty provider

Typically from years 3-10 the policy will only cover major issues (such as structural problems) and not minor repairs. During this period you will need to go straight to your warranty provider if a problem arises. There is often a minimum claim limit meaning that if the cost of the repairs you are claiming for is below the minimum claim value, they will not do the work or pay anything towards the cost. However If the cost to us of dealing with your claim is above the minimum claim value, they will do the work or pay the cost in full.

Other helpful tips…

Document everythingTake pictures of any issues you have with the house and keep a record of any correspondence you have with the builder and/or warranty provider, this means save all letters and emails. Having a record will be valuable in case there is a dispute.

Don’t attempt to fix the problem yourselfYour warranty provider may consider your warranty invalid as a result.

Get a professional opinion – Consider having a snagging survey carried out to fully highlight the property’s defects and send copies to your builder. A snagging survey will reveal the full extent of any defects that you might otherwise have missed yourself.

What next?

If you are unsatisfied with the response from the builder and/or warranty provider, as a last resort, you may consider taking legal action to find a resolution.

Gorvins Solicitors have acted on behalf of many clients who have faced property disputes, making us well versed to deal with your case.  We will endeavour to resolve disputes efficiently, whilst minimising any stress or hassle involved on your part.

We will provide practical, jargon-free advice twinned with comprehensive legal support through the complex area of property law.

For more information on your rights, or to discuss a property dispute you may be involved in, contact our property litigation solicitors today on 0343 507 5151 or e-mail disputeresolutionteam@gorvins.com for a free, no obligation and confidential discussion. Alternatively, fill in our online form and we will call you back.

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