Author Topic: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders  (Read 5857 times)

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New Home Expert

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Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« on: December 10, 2014, 08:34:30 am »
There are some good reasons for imposing huge fines on UK housebuilders.  
Firstly, most of them (if not all) behave very badly!  (to put it mildly).
They have all allowed and fostered an arrogant culture to develop in which immediate profits and number of homes are put ahead of anything else.  This results in rules being broken, standards being lowered or dodged altogether and breaches to both the Building Regulations and Consumer Law.
We need a New Homes Ombudsman  and a housebuilding regulator "Ofstbuild"  (Office of standards in housebuilding) to make sure that housebuilders are punished for their transgressions otherwise it will never stop.
 
The fines need to be big too, otherwise they will just be treated as a business operational cost.
Big housebuilding can well afford it after all the profiteering being made via the taxpayer subsidy "Help to Buy"

The money generated from the fines could be used to fund housing for those on low pay, or added to the NHS pot as the bank fines are.
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Ayshea

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 06:11:11 am »
How do you go about creating a regulator? Does contacting MPs help?

Who are the people that need to know about this to get it happening?

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 08:57:01 am »
You need to write to your MP and ask him to start the process.
Be aware that Government look to have a vested interest in the house building industry and appear extremely reluctant to do anything that would hurt housebuilders' operations or profits!

In January 2015, Eric Pickles said in his letter to Sir George Young that:

"The Government has no plans to give hornebuyers, including purchasers of new homes,
statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) and similar consumer
protection legislation."


You can read Pickles' letter here for yourself!
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Ayshea

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2015, 04:19:01 pm »
Just had a look at that letter - he thinks that house builders abide by the code and therefore consumers don't need any protection - what a laugh! "lts Management Board sets out progress and future plans for ensuring that consumers continue to be well-protected..."

I don't think Mr Pickles has ever bought a new build. Otherwise he'd known what a lot of cobblers that is. The letter states that Government officials monitor its progress, so whoever these officials are they must be happy with the code's performance. ???

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 07:14:35 am »
It is even worse than what you think!
The Consumer Code for Home Builders is voluntary.  It is not Law.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008  is the law and the Code is designed to prevent house builders being prosecuted, both from their compliance and with consumers using the Code requiremtns and processes rather than the regulations required by law and judged in the courts.  Surley everyone in government must know this.

For those house builders that do get caught breaching the requirements and are found guilty during the Adjudication process get off scott-free.
To my certain knowledge, no house builder has ever had their warranty registration withdrawn for breaching Code requirements - no matter how serious, or how many requirements they failed to comply with. ignored.

As for Government "monitoring the Code" why would they?  It is not Law?
They surely cannot be happy with the progress as only 28 buyers used the Code Adjudication Scheme in the last 12 months out of 130,000 new homes built and we all know new homes and house builders are no where near that "good"!
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Ayshea

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 12:43:24 pm »
My understanding is that the Code is binding on the house builders as part of the CPRs, from Consumer Protection Regulations:

PART 2
PROHIBITIONS

Misleading actions
5.(1) A commercial practice is a misleading action if it satisfies the conditions in either paragraph (2) or paragraph (3).

...(3) A commercial practice satisfies the conditions of this paragraph if:
(a) it concerns any marketing of a product (including comparative advertising) which creates confusion with any products, trade marks, trade names or other distinguishing marks of a competitor; or
(b) it concerns any failure by a trader to comply with a commitment contained in a code of conduct which the trader has undertaken to comply with, if
(i) the trader indicates in a commercial practice that he is bound by that code of conduct, and
(ii) the commitment is firm and capable of being verified and is not aspirational,

My understanding is that the Consumer Code for Homebuilders, is a plain English version of what a house builder is required to do by law. It sets out their responsibilities clearly. But at the same time any requirements stipulated in the code are then binding on the house builder (assuming that they don't mean the consumer has less rights - it can only provide extra protection).

Also from the code:

Part 2 sets out the prohibition on unfair commercial practices. The prohibition relates to commercial practices that contravene the requirements of professional diligence, misleading actions, misleading omissions, aggressive commercial practices and commercial practices of the type specified in Schedule 1. Part 2 also imposes a prohibition on the promotion of unfair commercial practices by persons responsible for codes of conduct for traders. The prohibitions will be enforceable through the procedure for the enforcement of Community infringements in Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The problem goes back to the enforcement - the Homebuiders Code is not enforced.

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Re: Why it is time to regulate and fine housebuilders
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 08:00:14 am »
What you say is more or less what is written on this website!

However, The Consumer Code for Home Builders is not binding.
It is a voluntary Code, supposedly enforced by the warranty providers withdrawing warranty cover for any house builder breaching the Code.
In reality this never happens. Even if it did, the large plc house builders have warranty registrations for each regional office so they would just provide warranties using their other region's warranty.

As you say, the Code really only reinforces what the house builders are required to do by Law under the Consumer Protection Regulations 2008. Obviously it is better for the industry to have any breaches dealt with quietly and quickly using the Code Adjudication Scheme rather than have angry mislead buyers contacting their local Trading Standards office and Office for Fair Trading and making an official complaint that would lead the a house builder being prosecuted.

As you say, housebuilder's indiscretions never get reported and the "Code" and Consumer Protection Regulations are not being properly enforced with large fines and custodial sentences.
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