PROTECTING Your New Home?
The recently implemented Housing Consumers Protection Measures
Act gives strong powers to the National Home Builders Registration
Council (NHBRC). It was established, in general terms, to protect
owners of newly-built houses against the malpractice's and shoddy
workmanship of offending builders.
Builders are obliged (since 1 Dec 1999) to enroll all new houses
under the NHBRC’s Defects Warranty Scheme and build houses to
the standards and guidelines laid down in the NHBRC’s Home Builders
Manual. Random inspections are carried out during building operations
to ensure that these standards are maintained.
The new homeowner is protected, after taking occupation of his
new home, through the provisions of the act, which enforce the
contractor’s obligations to rectify the following:
• Any defects related to plans, specifications, workmanship and
materials notified in the first 90 days.
• Any leaking roof notified in the first 12 months.
• Any structural defects, i.e. walls, foundations and roofs notified
in the first 5 years.
Further protection is afforded in that mortgage lenders offering
finance on any house must ensure that the builder is registered
with the NHBRC and that the house is enrolled under the Defects
Warranty Scheme. A Warranty Fund has been established and will
be used to fund the repair of structural defects where registered
home builders fail to honour their obligations under the Standard
Home Builders Warranty or NHBRC rules.
One of the main functions of the NHBRC is to provide a no-cost
recourse to those consumers who are experiencing difficulties
with regard to their new homes. The NHBRC is currently receiving
in excess of 500 calls a month, a significant number of which
are related to bad building practices. A complaint may lead to
an investigation of the problem which could include an on-site
conciliation service in order to obtain the home builder’s co-operation.
A mediation service is provided to consumers and registered home
major structural defects are discovered after completion of the
enrolled home. The Cost Builders are obliged to pay an enrollment
fee of 1.3% of the value of the house up to R500 000, then reducing
on a sliding scale up to
houses over R 5m. Most will pass this cost onto the new homeowner,
but this is a small premium to pay for the peace of mind that
the home has been well-built and that should there be major problems
in the future, there is free recourse to a statutory solution.
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