With all the new developments being built in London and the rest of the UK, it pays to know your rights as a home owner. The NHBC (National House-Building Council) was set up early 80 years ago to raise building standards to protect home owners. It is a non-profit organisation and is one of the main leading warranty and insurance providers for new and newly converted homes.

If you are buying a newly built or newly converted home, chances are you will have a 10 year warranty and insurance cover, known as Buildmark, from NHBC. If the property is sold within the 10 year period, the balance of the NHBC cover can be transferred to the new owner.

The cover is split into two periods. In the first two years after completion on your new home, your builder is responsible for putting right any defects covered by the policy and you should notify them straight away. The builder will be responsible for rectifying any defects within a reasonable amount of time at their own expense. They will need to cover removal, storage and alternative accommodation costs if you need to move out temporarily while works are done. In the years 3 to 10, NHBC provides you with insurance to cover the cost of rectifying any damage caused by defects in specified parts of the home. This is usually limited to structural and/or weather-proofing parts such as roof coverings, below ground drainage, load bearing walls and others.

To make a claim you need to contact NHBC directly. Note that there are minimum claim values, so the cost of your claim must exceed the minimum claim value for NHBC to pay it in full, rather than a policy excess being applied for you to pay. Check your policy for more information. Remember that policies can differ so, when you buy the property, check to see what is actually covered under Buildmark and what limitations and exceptions there are.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email enquire@eccord.com or tweet her @joeccles.