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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
'More rights' for new home buyers
Snagging work takes place after the property has been handed over
A trading standards official has said that people who buy new houses should have more consumer protection rights.

Ken Daly, chairman of the Society of Trading Standards Officers, said people had more protection when buying a fridge than when moving into a house.

Builders should become more accountable for problems in new-build homes.

Scottish Building, which represents building firms, said the problem lay in the way snagging issues were dealt with after a property was handed over.

About 30,000 new homes are built in Scotland every year and Mr Daly said high demand often meant consumers were faced with a rushed job.

Where we get difficulty is when people are actually living in the home and have taken ownership of the project before it's complete
Douglas Fergus
Scottish Building

"The difficulty is that with a very hot housing market, the incentive for the builders is to build and move on," he said.

"Also, there is a bit of tension between the builder, the developer and the consumer because the builder will like to get problems aggregated so they can deal with them more efficiently.

"The consumer wants things done as soon as possible."

He said it was "unacceptable" that a person who purchased a house did not have the same rights as someone who bought any other defective good.

Enhanced powers

Local authorities should be given enhanced powers to deal with developers who consistently failed to resolve problems, Mr Daly added.

James Aitken, who purchased a three-bedroom flat in the Slateford area of Edinburgh, said he did not expect to encounter so many difficulties.

"A lot of the doors weren't on properly, there was hot water coming out of cold taps, there was paint over the fittings, central heating not working on a regular basis - basically just hundreds of things," he told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme.

"It's only anecdotal evidence, but I've spoken to a lot of people who have bought a new flat and have had some problems.

There can be a range of problems in new builds

"Very few people say it's a great experience, so there's clearly something wrong there."

Mr Aitken said a consultation should be launched to gauge the scale of the problem and find out what frustrated house-buyers believe should be done.

Scottish Building, which represents the country's builders, said a lack of supervision in the final stages of a building project could lead to problems.

However, its general manager Douglas Fergus said snagging was part and parcel of buying a new home.

"It's completing the job in many respects and getting the job complete to the customer's satisfaction.

"The problem is how builders handle snagging and handle completion. In theory, a project should not be handed over until it's complete to the customer's satisfaction.

"Where we get difficulty is when people are actually living in the home and have taken ownership of the project before it's complete."

Watch Gilllian Marles' report

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