What Is The Homeowners Code?

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The new Homeowners Code applies to newly built homes. Whilst it is a voluntary code a builder cannot offer NHBC, or any other new build guarantee without complying with the Homeowners Code which came into force on 1st April 2010.

The code can be summarised as follows:

  • All buyers of new properties are to be given a written reservation agreement which must be signed by the buyer and builder’s representative;
  • The reservation agreement must detail what reservation fee was paid to the builder and confirm how long the reservation period lasts – the builder must not attempt to sell the property to any other party during that period. The buyer however has a right to cancel during the period and have the reservation fee repaid to them (less the builder’s administration costs) – this in practice should end non-refundable deposits;
  • Full and detailed plans and clear exact materials showing the contents of the home, service charges, layout, appearance, plot position must be provided to the buyer;
  • A specific person must be appointed to deal with any questions the buyer may have;
  • The buyers choice of lawyer cannot be restricted in any way – such as the builder offering to pay for all legal costs if the builder’s nominated lawyer acts for the buyer;
  • The contract for sale must contain an anticipated date of completion;
  • An important feature is the buyer’s right to terminate the contract if there has been a substantial alteration to the house or unreasonable delay in finishing its construction. The Code provides a specimen clause which says that after six months the buyer can cancel the contract (or 12 months if the property is leasehold); and
  • No longer can a buyer be locked into a contract and left to wait for an unknown time until the property is built.

Advice on protecting yourself against online fraud

Online fraud is on the increase specifically in property transactions. To help keep yourself safe from this threat please view our advice on protecting yourself.

What Is The Homeowners Code? Lawyers

Pippa Woodcock

Associate - Team Leader Residential Property

Amanda Buttress BA (Hons)

Partner - Residential Property

Amanda Atkinson SocLc

Licensed Conveyancer

Claire Burns


James Steward LLB


Key contact

Pippa Woodcock

Associate - Team Leader Residential Property

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