New build properties

Consumers are often excited about buying the new build property of their dreams. The consumer can choose flooring, kitchens, bathrooms and even have a say in some design aspects. But buying a new home can be a risky and complex matter, taking many months to conclude.

A case that has been widely reported in the media involves a large housebuilder and faulty foundations at a high-end development in Cambridge. It is reported that between 36 and 90 properties have faulty foundations and need to be rebuilt at considerable expense to the developer. 

A spokesperson for Barratt and David Wilson Homes Cambridgeshire said: “We have an extensive quality assurance process and during inspections we found that a small number of unoccupied properties at our Darwin Green development did not meet our usual high standards. 

“Unfortunately, the most effective course of action at this stage is to demolish the properties and rebuild them. We have apologised to the customers affected and understand their frustrations, but we are doing all that we can to lessen the impact of this for them.”

It is important for anyone buying a new build property to ensure that they take independent legal advice from a specialist property lawyer. The lawyer can ensure that their buyer client's interests are properly protected. Developers often impose tight deadlines to exchange contracts – which commits the buyer to the purchase even if the house is part built or still a hole in the ground.

The buyer's property lawyer should ensure that the contract imposes an obligation on the developer to provide a buildings regulation completion certificate and a new build warranty. Most importantly, the contract should also include a 'long stop' date – this gives the buyer the right to withdraw without penalty and to get their deposit back if the property is not constructed by the long stop date specified in the contract. Some affected buyers on the development have exercised the right to withdraw from their contracts after discovering the problem.

Developers do not always include long stop dates and appropriate protections for buyers in their contracts as a matter of course, so specialist legal advice is a must.

To discuss this or any other property matter, contact us

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