Scope of the Code
Does the Code apply to developments in areas such as Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man?
If the Home is covered by one of the participating home warranty bodies, then the Code does apply.
Under Scope of the Code, it states the Code and the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme do not apply to “properties acquired by corporate bodies, partnerships and individuals buying more than one property on the same development for investment purposes”. Does this mean that corporate bodies and partnerships are covered if they only buy one property?
No, the Code is intended to cover private buyers only and in future revisions, the Scope will be reworded to read that the Code and the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme do not apply to: “properties acquired by corporate bodies and partnerships, and individuals buying more than one property on the same development, for investment purposes” to make this point clearer.
Are Homes which are built under architects’ certificates covered by the Code?
No. The Code only applies to Homes that have been built by a Home Builder registered with one of the Home Warranty Bodies.
Adopting the Code – Making the Code available
The Consumer Code Requirement 2.1 states that the “Consumer Code for Home Builders’ Scheme logo must be prominently displayed in Home Builders’ sales offices, those of appointed selling agents, and in sales brochures”. What is meant by a sales brochure?
A sales brochure is defined as the printed development brochure (including any electronic version) employed by a Home Builder to present their general development details such as the location and range of dwelling types. This would also include the general Development details produced by Estate Agents for a development.
The Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme
The Rules for the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme say that the Home Buyer must, on their application, state the alleged breach of the Code. If they fail to do so does that mean the case can be dismissed?
The case cannot be dismissed if the Home Buyer does not correctly identify the Code Requirements that they allege have been breached. While it is important that the Home Buyer identifies the Code Requirement(s) that they consider have been breached, the Adjudicator can use their discretion when examining the claim, if they consider the relevant Requirements have not been properly identified by the Home Buyer.
Section 2.8 of the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme Rules say that the matters in dispute must not be the subject of any current or previous adjudication involving the same Home Buyer and the same property. Does this prevent Home Buyers from bringing numerous small value claims?
No. There is no limit to the number of individual claims a Home Buyer can make however, the maximum award for all claims on the same property shall not exceed £15,000 and they cannot bring a repeat claim about a dispute on the same subject matter. In each new case, the Home Buyer has to pay a fee and there are time limits for disputes. In future revisions of the Code, it is the intention that the Rules will be amended to clarify this point.