New Builds & Buying off plan

January 27, 2017

New Builds require extra care when dealing with the legal process of buying.  At Edward Hands & Lewis Solicitors we ensure that they receive the additional attention they need, but we set out below some of the key additional aspects of dealing with new build property.

NHBC certificate

An NHBC certificate warrants that new builds have been built to an approved standard by the developer and comes with a maximum of 10 years guarantee.  This should come with all new builds, or if you are buying a property built within the last 10 years, there should be an equivalent.

Section 38 agreement – adopting roads

The section 38 agreement involves the developer and Local Authority and ensures that the roads are developed to the correct standard, so that the Local Authority is able to adopt the road once finished.  This may mean that, in  the short term, the property developer will be responsible for the road maintenance until the section 38 agreement is in place.

At the time that our client is acquiring a property, we will ensure that the roads will be fully completed and adopted at some stage, otherwise there may be difficulty in ensuring that roads are maintained in the future.

Section 104 Agreement – drains

The section 104 agreement relates to the provision of drains, and requires the developer to put in place ongoing support with the local water authority.

Other factors relevant to new builds:

Private roads and drains – some developments are not intending to put in place the agreements above, and the buyer will be responsible for their own upkeep in the future.  The key objective in this case is to ensure that there is protection in place so that the roads and drains will be completed, and that the ongoing responsibilities are understood.

Freehold managing agents – recently, there has been a trend where developers will set up management companies that all the residents of the estate will join, in order to maintain communal areas. There is an annual service charge that residents will be expected to pay.  Buyers need to be aware of this additional cost.

Exchange on notice – there are occasions where on exchange the property may not be 100% built at the time that contracts are entered into (i.e. the property is bought off plan).  Once we are satisfied with all documents provided and ready, we will only exchange on the condition that as soon as the build has finished they will service notice and give the Buyer 14 days to complete.

If you are buying a new build and would like a no obligation conveyancing quote, please contact us for more details.

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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