Consumer Code

The Code covers every stage of the home-buying purchase, including pre-purchase, pre-contract, exchange of contract, and during occupation.


Homebuyers must be given enough information to help them make an informed decision about the purchase of a new home. This must include:

  • A written reservation agreement – including the reservation fee, what is being sold, the purchase price and how long the price remains valid
  • An explanation of the insurance-backed home warranty cover
  • If the home is not yet complete (for example when buying off-plan) buyers will be provided with a brochure or plan showing the layout, appearance and plot position of the home, a list of the home’s contents and standards to which the home is being built
  • A description of any management services that the buyer must pay for and an estimate of their cost

Exchange of contract

The builder must provide a contract which is clear and fair, complies with the Unfair Terms in the Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and clearly explains the home buyer’s contract termination rights.

Builders must give reliable and realistic information about when the home will be finished, the date of legal completion and the date for handover of the home. If an unreasonable delay occurs in completing the home, the homebuyer has the right not to go ahead with the purchase and have their reservation fee returned without deductions.

The builder must also explain how contract deposits are protected and how any other pre-payments will be dealt with.

The builder must provide an accessible after-sales service for the homebuyer, together with information explaining what this service includes, who to contact and information on any guarantees and warranties that come with the home.

If the homebuyer moves into a home where building work is still in progress on surrounding properties, they must be advised of any necessary health and safety precautions they need to take.

The builder must have processes in place to be able to handle and resolve any complaints that buyers may have after they have moved in. Preferably before occupation the builder should advise the home buyer of who to contact in the event they have a complaint, as well as providing written information about the independent dispute resolution service operated under the Code.