Author Topic: Disappointing Initial Response to Petition To Improve Quality Of New Homes  (Read 3731 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Guru member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1117
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
 I started a Petition to Government last Friday to:
Quote
"Implement the 10 recommendations of the APPG Inquiry Into Quality of New Homes.”
"The poor quality of new homes is not new. (NHBC, Barker Review of 2004, Office of Fair Trading Market Study of Home Building in the UK October 2008, and more recently the APPG Inquiry 2016) Yet surprisingly, there has not been any legislation to force this industry to improve.

Around 93% of new home buyers (at least 100,000 a year) report problems to their housebuilder. Defects that could and should have been prevented. The APPG Report is quite clear, the industry needs to be forced to improve both the quality of new homes and the indifferent service suffered by those buying new homes.
As a minimum, the government must implement the APPG Inquiry's "Key Recommendation" - the setting up of a New Homes Ombudsman by the DCLG within 3 months."


Despite promoting it widely (2,000 e mails, 1700 Twitter followers and to 600 in 'Unhappy New Home Buyers' Facebook Group) just 144 have signed it so far. (A petition to save Hedgehogs got 50,399 signatures in the six months it ran!) An online Petition to Government will need 10,000 signatures in 180 days to get a government response and 100,000 to be "considered for debate in parliament." It's a great pity that most people are too lazy and cannot be bothered to sign this petition - quite a few of these are people who actually bought new homes and contacted me directly about problems and asked me for help to get defects rectified by their builder.

With just 144 signatures in five days, it looks like the response will be nowhere near enough and everyone, NHBC, HBF, housebuilders can then breath a sigh of relief and can and probably would point to it using the poor response to further support their spurious claims of high buyer satisfaction and new homes being built to high quality.

Most disappointing, was the comments on the MoneySavingExpert Forum after a new homebuyer posted a link to my petition on Saturday. Here are some of the comments and my responses:

Quote
Joe said: Ridiculous.
Brief and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this first comment led to the following:

Quote
NewShadow said: Do the phrases pig in a poke and caveat emptor mean anything to you?
Take some responsibility for looking at what you're buying before your hand over the money!
Yes whilst true the buyer should beware, something I advise on my website, the inevitability of defect-ridden new homes does not mean or prevent naïve and trusting first-time new home buyers buying poor quality new homes and then later discovering their builder's indifference to sorting out the problems. This is made worse by the marketing claims made by all housebuilders regarding both "quality" and the "peace of mind" warranty.  It is also common practice that most buyers don't get to inspect their new home until after they have legally completed and handed over their money. It was one of the recommendations in the APPG Inquiry Report that buyers have a mandatory, statutory right to inspect (or have a professional inspect) their new home before they pay for it.

Quote
Cakeguts said: The government doesn't build new homes. Developers build new homes. If people stopped buying houses from developers who produced a bad product the developers would go out of business. People who buy a new home already have protection. It is called a survey. Just because a home is new doesn't mean that it is a good idea not to have it surveyed. You can also employ someone to do a snagging list for you. The general assumption is that if you are capable of buying a home you are also capable of looking at what you are buying and having it checked and then if you are not satisfied to not buy it.
The Government doesn't build new homes and herein lies part of the problem. However, the government has provided a huge incentive for people to buy new homes with the 5-year, interest free, Help to Buy equity loan.  There are no surveys on new homes and there is no protection. It is true, buyers can choose to pay for their own (snagging inspection) but whatever the survey reveals, buyers cannot renegotiate the price or back out at that time. The only protection is a ten-year warranty which is not a ‘guarantee’ of either quality or statutory standards being met or even that any and all defective work will be rectified.

Quote
Sailor Sam said: If new homes are so bad wouldn't it be a better idea to buy an older one rather making useless petitions.
It is in my professional opinion, it is always a better idea to by an older home. Most new home buyers that contact me tell me they would never ever buy another new-build home. The fact that new homes are "that bad" means that something needs to be done about it. This petition may, in due course, indeed prove to be "useless", but that will only be because people like "Sailor" are lazy and are more inclined to spend their time writing abusive posts on forums, rather than sign a petition that can only make a positive difference if enough people bother to sign it!

Quote
Booksurr said: this is 2016, therefore it is ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT
the idea that a buyer may have made a mistake is intolerable.
People are buying new homes in good faith. They trust builders to have a moral integrity which they clearly do not have. Unlike any other purchase, in the majority of cases buyers will not see their actual new home until either just before or often just after they pay for it. Most new home buyers quickly realise they have made a mistake, one which they pledge never to repeat.

Quote
Venna said: Thank you for the link. I did not realise the Report you have referenced existed.
As someone who has bought a new home, which turned out to have numerous issues, despite a survey, I agree with you and have signed.
I am still in conflict with our developer and they continue to treat us appallingly: they seem to think if they condescend enough we'll just forget about the issues. It would be good to have legislation to even up, a little, the powers games they like to play.
This was the first positive post reply in support of the Petition. It demonstrates that even despite having a survey, new homebuyers have problems and that the housebuilders don’t care.
 
Quote
Cakeguts also added: I think this is caused by the educational ideal of "no one is allowed to fail" and no one is allowed to "tell someone that they are not good at something." This leads people to think that someone else is responsible for anything that goes wrong in their lives because they themselves cannot fail at anything. It seems to have led to a sort of entitlement.
So if someone doesn't check the reviews of a particular housebuilder or site before they buy then somehow this becomes the fault of the government. It doesn't become their fault for making a mistake or failing.
Now he is blaming the education system, which caused quite a few posts to comment on this rather than the actual issue! 

Quote
Glasgowdan said:  Does anyone still think these petitions are listened to?
Not if the comments made on this forum are indicative! 
People have time to criticise someone trying to make things better for everyone else, but are not prepared to actually spend a minute of their time and sign the petition. If this is the general attitude then no. As for government, a petition with a 100,000 signatures will get a government debate, with perhaps associated publicity then government will be forced by the will of the people to legislate. Doing nothing, means certainty that nothing will change.

Quote
Suzie Sue said: I agree with the OP. The government has encouraged house building but, as usual, has not put the controls in place to ensure it is performed to a basic standard.
It's all very will saying caveat emptor but consumers need protection as can be seen by the Sales of Goods Acts. So are you saying that we shouldn't have those either and that it should be a free for all?
Another welcome post in support. Most legislation, such as the Sale of Goods Act does not apply to new homes. Without legislation and enforcement of consumer protection regulations that do apply in part, more consumers would be adversely affected, whether or not they research and try to protect themselves.

Quote
Miss Saman said: And the fact that from a young age people are told about their rights. Everything is about rights and entitlement.
But the point is new homebuyers have few rights and no protection. Without rules, regulations, laws and systems of redress,  it would be chaos.

Quote
Adrian C said: Why should the buyers of new-build homes get more protection than buyers of any other property?
How does the build quality of new-build homes affect anybody other than those who buy them?
Strikes me that the preponderance of new-build, especially the price premium, is just down to consumer attitudes about all types of product - anything but shiny-new-latest-greatest is inferior, and longevity is irrelevant.
Because buyers of new homes are consumers. The rules that apply to other property are also seldom enforced. In addition there is a Property Ombudsman for complaints about estate agents.
The build quality affects not only those that buy them but also perhaps second and third owners.  Do we really want 150,000 badly built new homes added to the national housing stock each year whilst  a few housebuilder CEOs personally bank millions in bonuses?

Quote
Monayistoo..Said: I’ve certainly heard enough tales about the standard new-build houses can be done to and we had a thread on here only days ago that made me feel very glad I hadn’t been the one buying from that particular builder. Obviously builders will vary and I inspected some new build homes in my current area that I thought had been done to a pretty good standard and I couldn’t spot any flaws on them and chose to buy an older house for other reasons. But some builders are pretty cr*p.
Around 93% of people who buy new homes report problems to their builder. The NHBC spent £81million rectifying defects under the warranty to 11,000 new homes. Housebuilders do vary, some are bad and most are even worse.

Quote
Cakeguts added further:
Would I be right in thinking that people do a bit of research into an area before they buy a house there? Where I used to live there was a piece of land that was known to be unsuitable for building on. This was common knowledge. The land was soft. A developer built an estate of houses on that land and people bought them. The first thing that happened was that the sewers collapsed. I seem to remember that some houses were demolished because of structural problems. You cannot legislate against stupidity. It was common knowledge that anyone buying a house on this estate was taking a risk but people still bought them and this was in an area where there wasn't a housing shortage.
Yes people should do as much research as they can. Their solicitor should be checking local searches. But there are Consumer Protection Regulations which require housebuilders to disclose all material facts and important information that consumers need to enable them to make informed decisions.

Quote
Lincroft1710 said: You may get more support if it was change.org
This was done before https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-david-cameron-mp-commission-a-new-homes-ombudsman and just 154 signed it! Change . org also seem to e mail spam those who sign petitions they host too!

Quote
Moneyistoo.. added: Actually - at its most basic level - if builders could only build if they did so to proper standard (not bodge standard) they would have two choices. They would have to either up their game or go out of business. Bad builders going out of business could mean fewer builders and mean fewer houses built. Now that leads on to a whole new ballgame - of which I personally see the positive points (ie less building). My mind moved swiftly on from there though to the cynical take that maybe the Government would prefer many builders (including bad builders) to having only good builders...
This is true. But none is policing the bodge standards. The NHBC say their warranty inspections are  “are purely to prove to our underwriters that the property is a standard risk and the primary function on the warranty side is to manage risks – it is not about providing quality control.” Complying with Building Regulations is viewed as "the housebuilders responsibility to get it right first time, rather than have defects pointed out by an outside inspector"

As it stands, Government priority is to get more homes built. Improving quality is not something on their horizon. The APPG Inquiry and subsequent Report was a good start, but it will be a wasted opportunity if nothing is implemented. 

Quote
Marksoton said:
I can't comment in that way legally. I'm not qualified so.
But i know tomorrow morning at 7:30 i'll be greeting the gateman in my 4x4 (He's a very pleasant chap) on my way through site.
Within 20 metres I'll have seen something shocking. Whether it be a gully smashed through to lay a water main at less than 400mm cover, or joists left hanging in the rain.
If people wish to buy new build fair enough, someone has to! But if you choose to ignore the advice from people like me who work on these sites you're an idiot.
It's pretty telling that my guys spend most of their time shaking their heads when driving through site.
I know, I too have seen things like this on many, many sites. Thirty years in the construction industry and I know homes aren't built with as much pride, or care, as construction projects. Instead of shaking your heads sign the petition and do something about it. Now. Today.
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.


Matron

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Country: gb
Re: Disappointing Initial Response to Petition To Improve Quality Of New Homes
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 03:01:43 pm »
I find some of the responses unbelievable. Idiotic in fact and as I've said previously in another thread it takes less than 3 minutes to sign the petition. People are happy to use this and another excellent forum to get advice and vent their anger, yet they won't click on a link. I wish everyone who reads this thread shows their appreciation and signs!!


New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Guru member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1117
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Disappointing Initial Response to Petition To Improve Quality Of New Homes
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2016, 09:44:26 am »
Thanks for your support Matron.
In fact, I found it only takes around a minute to sign, (if you don't read it all that is!)
MSE forums on Twitter replied that:
Quote
"Other than disagreement with the petition there's some interesting chat on the @MSE_Forum thread"
As I replied:
"Chat"? How can anyone disagree with a petition aimed at improving quality and giving consumers more protection?

As I found over several years, quite a lot of people are happy to get the information they are looking for and specific advice they need, yet very few actually detail their experiences on this forum for the benefit of those that follow and add to the wealth of online data detailing the most common new home issues and problems and naming and shaming the worst housebuilders.

The only way anything is changed for the better is people power.
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.

indyjukebox

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Disappointing Initial Response to Petition To Improve Quality Of New Homes
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2016, 09:38:20 am »
Signed.

Some of the responses on that MSE thread are unbelievable. From the same group of people who would be spouting government regulation if the £10 radio they bought from Tesco did not work!

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Guru member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1117
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Disappointing Initial Response to Petition To Improve Quality Of New Homes
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2016, 10:42:30 am »
Perhaps, but I think these idiot trolls would probably say it was the buyer's fault for not checking reviews by those that have bought that radio!

I thought new homebuyers would like to know that they cannot rely on support for change from everyone.
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.