NHQB names The Dispute Service as New Homes Ombudsman

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has chosen The Dispute Service to be the New Homes Ombudsman.


The ombudsman designate will be Alison MacDougall, group director of resolution at The Dispute Service, who heads up the team of adjudicators and resolution executives dealing with disputes between landlords and tenants.  

In its new position, the non-profit organisation will develop the independent New Homes Ombudsman Service to provide redress for purchasers of new homes that are not up to scratch.

It will enforce a new housebuilding industry code of practice – the New Homes Quality Code — which will put more responsibilities on builders for the service they must provide and set high standards for handling complaints.

The code will be published next month, following a public consultation carried out earlier this year.

Buyers of new build houses who are unhappy with their new property or frustrated with the performance of the developer in handling their complaint will be able to ask the New Homes Ombudsman to review their case.

The ombudsman will then independently consider customers’ cases and rule whether there has been a breach of the New Homes Quality Code.

Natalie Elphicke OBE, chairman at the NHQB, said: “Consumers rightly expect new homes to be top quality and to get great customer service. 

“A new home is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make, so it is right that we put the strongest protections in place to protect consumers buying a new home.

“The ombudsman and the New Homes Quality Code will drive up the quality of new homes and improve the service housebuilders provide to their customers. 

“The Dispute Service proved that it has the necessary skills and experience to deliver an effective, efficient and robust New Homes Ombudsman Service. 

“It has a clear plan to create the powerful independent body that new home buyers deserve.”

Martin Partington, chairman of The Dispute Service, commented: “We are delighted to have been selected by NHQB to operate the New Homes Ombudsman Service.

“We know that there are issues in the new homes industry and we are excited by the opportunity to build a robust and independent redress service for consumers to address their legitimate complaints.  

“We are hoping to launch the new service in the early part of 2022 and we will be making further announcements over the coming months to ensure that the industry has time to prepare for the launch.”

Steve Harriott, chief executive at The Dispute Service, added: “We have significant experience of starting new services from scratch, so I am confident that we will be ready to launch the scheme in  early 2022 to provide new home buyers with the access to redress that they have been asking for.  

“We are determined to work closely with both the New Homes Quality Board and the housebuilding industry to make sure that they fully understand our role and that we can play a key part in helping to raise the standards in the industry."

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