The rise in new build defects and disputes
New build disputes are becoming increasingly common. Buyers naturally feel aggrieved when builders fail to deliver on their promises. Buying a new build property should be an exciting moment in your life, but for many it has turned into a nightmare of frustration, disappointment and worry.
It seems that once a builder has taken your money the company loses interest. Concerns about defects and snags go ignored as the builder concentrates on its next development, leaving buyers without adequate redress.
Many people suffer in silence. Others attempt to make sense of the confusing landscape of consumer codes and warranties, but remain unable to force the builder to address their concerns.
The problem of new build defects and disputes has been recognised by Parliament, with a special independent ombudsman service having been set up to deal with it.
This follows high profile publicity about the quality of homes being built by major developers such as Bovis. And in a recent survey of new home buyers an astonishing 98% reported experiencing defects or snags.
Can frustrated new build buyers take legal action?
Legal claims tend to focus on recovering financial compensation. However, in our experience most people involved in a new build dispute are not looking for compensation; they simply want the defects to be put right by the developer.
Even in cases where a financial remedy is being pursued, the value of the claim needs to be carefully considered. If the financial value of the case is less than £10,000, then even if the case is won, there is no entitlement to recover legal costs. This is because disputes with a value of under £10,000 are referred to the so called ‘small claims court’ which does not allow legal costs to be recovered.
Where your financial losses exceed £10,000 and court action is taken, you need to bear in mind that if you lose you are likely to be ordered to pay a large percentage of your opponent’s legal fees. Furthermore, even if you win, you are unlikely to recover all your costs.
We rarely offer No Win – No Fee funding for these disputes as it is not usually commercially viable to do so. However, we will consider this form of funding where all other channels have been exhausted, you have expert evidence to support your case, and your financial losses exceed £50,000.