I feel sure that there is not one person reading this who is not aware of the vast amount of housing developments going on in and around our area.  Whilst this may be seen as a blight on our countryside by some, it is, of course, a very necessary evil which provides new homes for our children and in additional employment for our community.

Once all the excitement of choosing your new home has passed, what can you expect when you move in?  Unfortunately for some, the reality is not as shiny as the new cupboards.  Sometimes there are defects in your property which whilst may be relatively small in the scheme of things is a blight on the new home for the owner.  After all who would go to the expense of buying a new car and drive away from the showroom with a dent in the bodywork?  You wouldn’t!

You are purchasing something worth far more expensive than a car and it is surprising what people are prepared to put up with.  So – the first thing you need to do when you move into your shiny new home is to go right through the property with a fine tooth comb.  Make a note of any issues that you are unhappy with.  You need to check that all doors are hung correctly, do they close well, do the radiators work, are there any scratches in the windows, are there any faults in the flooring, are the switches/sockets straight, you get the picture. After a few weeks the property will begin to “settle”, this is when fine hair cracks can appear in the plasterwork.  These will need to be replastered at some point but it is wise to take photographs at intervals so if there is an increase, that you have a photographic record.  If there are cracks appearing in the ceilings, you may not have any recourse if you have put items up into the roof space!

Keep in contact with the site office, updating them of any defects as soon as they are noted, ensuring that these are repaired in a timely workmanlike manner.  Developers will do their best to put right any defects, but sometimes you will have to ensure that you do not let them forget their obligations to you.

More serious defects such as floors perhaps running one way, doors and windows not hung straight, damp creeping up the walls is a more serious issue and is not just cosmetic.  All homes are issued with a Build Guarantee and therefore you will have recourse under this insurance if worst comes to the worst.

I would strongly suggest that rather than putting your guarantee documents in the drawer post completion, that you read through these insurances so that you are fully aware of the cover and your rights.


For further information, please contact Caroline Jennings, an Associate in the Property department, on 01803 382814 or carolinejennings@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Exeter, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Launceston, Honiton, Exmouth and Sidmouth.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published. For all your legal needs, contact WBW Solicitors today.