Customer Charter and Procedures
Our Customer Charter and Procedures outlines the the procedures followed and our customer care throughout and after the sales process, as well our general Terms and Conditions.
At Enterprise Retirement Living (“ERL”), we pride ourselves on the quality of our product and extend the same high standards that achieve that quality to our sales process, after-sales service and ongoing obligations to our customers (“customer care”). This Customer Charter and Procedures document (“Charter”) sets out the procedures followed during the sales and after-sales period, and our commitments and standards of service comprising our customer care. It explains our and our Customers’ respective responsibilities, and reiterates various terms and conditions that are included in the legal documentation.
2.1. For the purposes of this document, ERL comprises itself and any associated companies established to own and/or operate ERL’s retirement villages.
2.2. “Customer(s)” are potential and actual purchasers /occupiers of ERL’s properties, including purchasers of pre-owned properties whilst those properties are still within the two-year defects period (see Section 12 below) or are still covered by the property’s construction home warranty (see Section 5 below), tenants of rental properties, and all those living in our retirement communities that we continue to operate.
2.3. A hard copy of this Charter is available from our head office at the address given at the foot of the website.
2.4. We advise all our Customers to seek independent advice, support and representation, as appropriate, in connection with buying or renting a property at one of our retirement communities, including (if applicable) appointing a professional legal adviser to carry out the legal formalities of buying a property and to represent their interests.
2.5. Please note that the sections of this Charter identified below apply only to Customers who are the first purchasers of our new properties buying direct from us, not to Customers who buy pre-owned properties (see Section 12) nor to Customers who rent properties from us (see Section 13).
- Section 6 – Reservation Procedure
- Section 7 – Exchange of Contracts
- Section 8 – Additional Works/Changes to Specification
- Section 9 – Between Exchange of Contracts and Legal Completion
- Section 10 – Contract Termination
- Section 11 – Completing the Sale
3. REGULATION AND CODES OF PRACTICE
3.1. ERL is a member of the Associated Retirement Community Operators (“ARCO”) and is an Approved Operator under its Consumer Code (“ARCO Code”). We aim to comply with the provisions of the ARCO Code at all times across all our developments. A hard copy of the ARCO Code is available from our head office at the address given at the foot of this website, or can be viewed on this website or downloaded from ARCO’s website at arcouk.org. A copy of the ARCO Code will also be provided to Customers at the time of reserving one of our new properties, or at any time on request. ARCO does not provide a dispute resolution service, but regularly assesses Approved Operators’ compliance with the ARCO Code. If any non-compliance issues are found, Approved Operators need to resolve these issues within a given timeframe in order to remain an ARCO Approved Operator.
Consumer Code for Home Builders
3.2. We comply with the Consumer Code Scheme (“Code Scheme”), which gives protection and rights to purchasers of new homes built by builders who are registered with one of the UK’s main new home warranty providers who subscribe to the scheme. At the date of this document, these are the NHBC, Premier Guarantee, LABC Warranty, and Checkmate.
3.3. In order to maintain our own high standards, we comply with the principles and requirements of the Code Scheme on all our developments as standard procedure, including those to which it does not apply because the home warranty provider for the properties on a development does not participate in it. However, the Code Scheme’s Dispute Resolution Service is not available to purchasers of properties on those developments.
3.4. In addition, although many of the Code Scheme’s requirements reflect the principles and standards we offer to all our Customers under our Charter, as mentioned above, there are some Customers to whom the Code Scheme does not apply (see the Code Scheme document for full details). These include tenants of rental properties, corporate bodies or partnerships buying properties for investment purposes and individuals buying more than one property on the same development for investment purposes.1 Any complaints or disputes involving Customers who are not covered by the Code Scheme cannot, therefore, be pursued via the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme offered by the Code Scheme. Complaints from Customers who are covered by the Code Scheme can only be considered within two years of the start date of the home warranty (see Section 5 below).There are also certain types of dispute or complaint that are not covered by the Code Scheme and the associated Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (again, see the Code Scheme document for full details). For further information and guidance, please see consumercode.co.uk.
3.5. The Code Scheme’s provisions only apply to purchasers of pre-owned properties in respect of after-sales matters that are reported within two years from the start date of the home warranty (see Section 5 below).
3.6. A hard copy of the Code Scheme document is available from our head office at the address given at the foot of this website, or can be viewed on this website or downloaded from the Consumer Code for Home Builders’ website at consumercode.co.uk. A copy of the Code Scheme document will also be provided to Customers at the time of reserving one of our properties, or at any time on request.
The Property Redress Scheme
3.7. ERL is registered with the Property Redress Scheme, which organisation offers a free complaint resolution service. Full details can be found on theprs.co.uk, and an overview of the service will also be given to Customers when reserving one of our properties.
3.9. ERL is registered with HM Revenue & Customs under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 in respect of the direct sales and rentals of our retirement properties and the services we provide to vendors of resale properties.
4. HEALTH AND SAFETY
4.1. Our Customers’ safety and well-being are of paramount importance. All ERL developments are regularly checked for compliance with current health and safety legislation and guidelines by the health and safety consultants appointed to monitor the site. Details of the relevant consultancy company can be provided on request.
4.2. Of course, any areas on an unfinished development ready for occupation do not carry the same risks as those still under construction. Access to certain areas under construction may be properly barred or restricted, although this will not prevent access to Customers’ homes. Safety procedures and signs are clearly displayed at our sites, and every precaution taken to ensure our Customers’ and our visitors’ safety. However, it is the personal responsibility of individuals to exercise good sense and ensure they follow the procedures and heed the signs; ERL cannot take any responsibility for injury or loss caused by not doing so. Customers should also advise any visitors to their home of the health and safety issues, if necessary.
4.3. We endeavour to cause as little disruption and disturbance as possible to Customers living on an unfinished development, but some noise and inconvenience is inevitable. However, construction activity is limited to certain hours.
4.4. If Customers have any questions or concerns, they should speak to the Site Manager or call ERL’s Sales and Marketing Team on 01223 494099.
5. HOME WARRANTIES
5.1. All our properties are built or converted, as appropriate, by reputable contractors in accordance with the planning permission granted, and any conditions applied. They also conform to the NHBC standards and technical requirements, and relevant Building Regulations in force at the time of construction/conversion, and are covered by the NHBC’s Buildmark 10-year warranty, which starts on the date of legal completion of the first sale.2
5.2. Such contractors will have been carefully chosen to ensure their ethos and product meet the high standards we adhere to and, therefore, expect from any company whose services we employ. They will be registered with a recognised home warranty scheme and, as such, the appropriate home warranty will be provided by them, unless ERL arranges this for the development separately.
5.3. Full details of the home warranty provider for specific developments will be included in the Reservation Pack (see 6.2 below), but can be given on request in advance of reservation, if required. The solicitors acting for Customers who go on to buy a property are provided with all the relevant information prior to exchange of contracts and during the period from exchange to completion, as appropriate.
5.4. Following the implementation of the Insurance Distribution Directive in October 2018, home warranty providers are required to liaise directly with property purchasers from the date of reservation, which we advise to them, and supply all information relevant to the insurance product in advance of exchange of contracts. For this reason, and in the interest of saving waste, we do not supply duplicate documentation relating to the home warranty, unless this is requested.
5.5. Points 5.3 and 5.4 above are not directly relevant to purchasers of pre-owned properties, but any remaining term on the home warranty passes on re-sale to the new owners.
5.6. This Section 5 does not apply to Customers who rent properties from us.
6. RESERVATION PROCEDURE (purchase of new properties only)
6.1. Following agreement of the purchase price, a property is reserved by completion of a reservation form (“Reservation Agreement”) and payment by the Customer(s) of a reservation fee, as shown on the Reservation Agreement. This will be signed by us (or our representative) as vendor and the Customer(s) to confirm their understanding of and agreement to the terms of the Reservation Agreement, and to acknowledge receipt of and agreement to the pre-purchase information we are required to provide.
6.2. The Reservation Agreement, of which Customer(s) will be given a copy, will be accompanied by:
- a brochure or plan showing the layout, appearance and plot position of the property (if the property is incomplete);
- a list of the property’s contents (if the property is incomplete and if the contents are not comprehensively given in the specification contained in the brochure, if available);
- Predicted Energy Assessment or Energy Performance Certificate, as applicable;
- ERL Customer Charter and Procedures;
- a copy of the Code Scheme document (if applicable);
- a copy of the ARCO Code;
- an overview of the Property Redress Scheme;
- details of the home warranty, including the name, address and contact methods of the provider;
- a description of any management services to which Customer(s) will be committed and a breakdown of their cost;
- health and safety information relating to visits to sites under construction.
6.3. The property will be reserved for the period stated on the Reservation Agreement (usually 2 months) from receipt of legal documentation by the solicitors acting for the Customer(s) up to a deadline date for exchange of contracts (“Reservation Period”).
6.4. Customer(s) can cancel the Reservation Agreement at any time during the Reservation Period.
6.5. The Reservation Period can be reduced or extended only by mutual agreement between ERL and the Customer(s) (see 6.10 below). ERL reserves the right to renegotiate the price of the property if the Reservation Period is extended.
6.6. If the Reservation Period is not extended and contracts not exchanged, the Reservation Agreement will automatically expire.
6.7. The reservation fee, which is designed to demonstrate commitment by the Customer(s) to the purchase and to cover our costs of processing and holding the reservation in the event of withdrawal from the purchase by the Customer(s), may vary between developments. However, for most of our retirement developments, the reservation fee is typically £1,000, but for high value properties and developments which may involve additional costs,3 it may be substantially more. The reservation fee for any particular property or development will be shown on the relevant Reservation Agreement.
6.8. On cancellation or expiry of the Reservation Agreement, the reservation fee will be refunded after deduction of reasonable abortive legal fees, administrative costs and any other additional costs directly incurred relating to the reservation, up to a maximum of the full value of the reservation fee. An estimated range of possible costs will be stated on the Reservation Agreement, but the actual amount of the deduction will depend on various factors, for example, the complexity of any legal work and the stage at which the Reservation Agreement is cancelled.4
6.9. Any additional works or changes to a property’s specification requested by Customer(s) are not usually commenced until after exchange of contracts (see Section 8 below). However, if any such additional works or specification changes are agreed and commenced before exchange of contracts, the cost of goods, materials and labour, including goods ordered in respect of those works but not installed, is non-refundable (or is recoverable from the Customer(s) in full if not paid for in advance) on cancellation or expiry of the Reservation Agreement. Any such additional works or changes will be recorded on a standard form we use for this purpose, which Customer(s) are required to sign confirming the details and extent of the work, the costs, and their agreement to responsibility for these costs.
6.10. Any extension to the Reservation Period will be for a maximum of 28 days and a further reservation fee may be payable.5 Any subsequent extension(s) granted will be subject to the same conditions.
6.11. If the Reservation Agreement is neither cancelled nor expires, the whole amount of the reservation fee will be deducted on legal completion from the balance payable for the purchase of the property.
7. EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS (purchase of new properties only)
7.1. A deposit of 10% of the purchase price is payable by the Customer(s) on exchange of contracts, unless otherwise agreed.
7.2. Exchange deposits are protected by insurance cover provided by the NHBC or other home warranty provider.
7.3. Any spoken statements upon which Customers are relying when entering into the Contract of Sale (“Contract”) must be stated in writing by their legal representative prior to exchange of contracts, and must be confirmed by us, also in writing.
7.4. For finished properties, a fixed completion date will be agreed on exchange of contracts. This is usually one to two weeks from the date of exchange of contracts.
7.5. For unfinished properties, we will endeavour to give a reasonable prediction of when they are likely to be ready for occupation, subject to weather conditions, supply shortages and other matters outside our control. We will, however, keep Customers updated on progress throughout the building process. An anticipated date, based on our prediction of build completion, by which notice of legal completion should be served will be included in the Contract. The notice period is usually 7 to 14 days from the serving of notice to complete.
7.6. If Customers have the opportunity to visit the property after build completion but prior to exchange of contracts and would like to submit a snagging list, we are happy to receive this and will endeavour to address any reasonable and agreed issues as soon as possible. It should be noted, however, that minor snagging does not constitute a reason to delay exchange of contracts.
7.7. Any agreed snagging issues identified as a result of 7.6 above will, where practicable, be dealt with between exchange of contracts and legal completion, but in some circumstances (for example, reliance on contractors/suppliers) this may not be possible. In this event, we will make mutually convenient arrangements with the Customer(s) to carry out any outstanding work as soon as possible after completion.
7.8. If any major changes to the design, construction or materials to be used in the property that would significantly and substantially alter its size, appearance or value are deemed necessary following exchange of contracts, we will formally consult with and obtain the agreement of the Customer(s). If any such changes are unacceptable to the Customer(s), acting reasonably, they have the right to terminate the Contract. The essence of the termination provisions are set out in Section 10 below, but the precise terms of the Contract in relation to termination in these circumstances should be fully explained by the solicitors acting for the Customer(s).
7.9. Minor changes to the property’s appearance which do not significantly and substantially alter its size, appearance or value will also be notified, but such changes do not require the agreement of the Customer(s), nor will they give rise to compensation or a right to terminate the Contract.
7.10. Minor changes to construction materials that have no effect on the size, appearance or value of the property may be notified to the Customer(s), but we are not obliged to do so.
8. ADDITIONAL WORKS/CHANGES TO SPECIFICATION (purchase of new properties only)
8.1. We will endeavour to accommodate any additional works and/or changes to the property’s standard specification required by the Customer(s), depending on the build stage of the property, but any such works will usually not be commenced until after exchange of contracts.
8.2. The nature, extent and cost of any agreed additional works or changes to the specification will be set out by us in writing on a standard form, and must be confirmed by the Customer(s) by signing and returning a copy of that form.
8.3. For additional works or changes to the specification that are subject to payment by the Customer(s), as identified on the standard form described in 8.2 above, such payment is usually required prior to commencement of the work. Payment may be made upon legal completion only with our express agreement.
8.4. If any agreed additional works or changes to the specification result in a delay to build completion beyond the date stated in the Contract, we will discuss this with the Customer(s) and have any agreed change to the date recorded by our respective legal advisers.
8.5. The cost of goods, materials and labour relating to any additional works and/or changes to the specification, including goods ordered in respect of those works but not installed, is non-refundable (or is recoverable from the Customer(s) if not paid for in advance) in the event of termination of the Contract (see Section 10 below).
8.6. The Consumer Code Scheme does not cover any additional works or changes to the specification requested by the Customer(s).
8.7. We have no responsibility for any agreements made separately between Customers and other contractors, whether or not those contractors are also working for us.
9. BETWEEN EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS AND LEGAL COMPLETION (purchase of new properties only)
9.1. If Customers wish to have access to the property for the purpose of, for example, fitting carpets or curtain rails, etc, this can usually be accommodated, subject to contracts having been exchanged and the Customer(s) signing an undertaking to accept responsibility for any such work and goods, including damage to or theft of them, and any damage caused to the property by the Customer(s) or third parties (tradesmen, etc) during their installation. Customers will also be asked to sign a Fixtures and Fittings Checklist on Completion, which is normally required on legal completion (see 11.2 below), to confirm the condition of the property prior to any work being carried out.
9.2. As work on the property may be ongoing throughout this period, Customers should make arrangements for such other work described in 9.1 above to be carried out only after agreeing with us the date(s) access is required.
9.3. Keys made available for the purpose described in 9.1 above must be returned to us, or our agent, at the end of each day they are required.
9.4. Whilst we are happy to allow Customers the benefit of the provisions contained in 9.1 above, no other goods (furniture, personal belongings, etc.) may be delivered to or left in the property until legal completion.
9.5. During this period, the Customer(s) will be invited to the property for a pre-handover meeting, the purpose of which is to acquaint the Customer(s) with the property, its fittings and appliances (if included), its integral services and location of meters/isolation mechanisms, and any common areas and their management (if applicable). Customer(s) will also have the opportunity to ask any questions and to look through the Welcome Pack (see 11.3 below). Convenient arrangements for the handover of keys on legal completion (see 11.1 below) can also be made at this meeting.
10. CONTRACT TERMINATION (purchase of new properties only)
10.1. Customer(s) may serve notice to end the Contract where there is:
- a substantial and significant change to the property which is unacceptable (see 7.8 above);
- unreasonable delay in finishing the construction of the property and serving notice to complete (as defined in the appropriate clause in the Contract).
10.2. In the event of termination of the Contract for either of the above reasons, the reservation fee and exchange deposit are refundable in full.
10.3. If the Contract is terminated once any additional works and/or changes to the specification required by the Customer(s) have been carried out, or goods ordered/obtained but not installed, the cost of those additional works, changes or goods is not refundable.
11. COMPLETING THE SALE (purchase of new properties only)
11.1. On the day of legal completion, the keys to the property will be made available to the Customer(s) or their nominated representative immediately upon conclusion of the transaction, as advised to us by our solicitors.
11.2. Customers will be asked to sign a Fixtures and Fittings Checklist on Completion prior to moving into the property. The purpose of this is to record that the condition of the fixtures and fittings in the property is satisfactory or to note any issues that need attention. If any such issues are identified, these will be dealt with in accordance with our after-sales procedure (see Section 12 below).
11.3. A Welcome Pack, containing documents relevant to the property (including a comprehensive booklet giving important facts and information about the property and outlining our after-sales procedure, certification, instructions, guarantees, etc.) will be left in the property or passed to the Customer(s) at key handover. Customers who attended a pre-handover meeting (see 9.5 above) will already have had the opportunity to look through this pack and ask any immediately apparent questions. However, we urge all Customers to read through everything in the Welcome Pack thoroughly and take any action advised – for example, notifying utility companies of their responsibility for the services, registering guarantees, etc. Please note that, although we retain copies of official certification for all our properties, we do not keep copies of individual instruction booklets or guarantee documents and cannot supply these at a later date.
12. RE-SALE (PRE-OWNED) PROPERTIES
12.1. ERL usually administers the sale of pre-owned properties for the vendor(s), and our experienced Sales Teams do everything they can to assist all aspects of that process. Copies of appropriate useful documents (for example, the Welcome Pack, ARCO Code and Owners’ and Occupiers’ Handbook) will also be provided.
12.2. However, purchasers of such properties should be aware that the process is very different and any arrangements and legal formalities between them and the vendor(s) are necessarily a separate matter between those parties.
12.3. Although some points contained in the section in this document are applicable to purchasers of pre-owned properties (as indicated) before completion of the transaction, they only become Customers of ERL and benefit from the full applicable provisions of this Charter once they are living in one of ERL’s retirement communities.
13. RENTAL PROPERTIES
13.1. In addition to those sections identified in Section 2 above, the following do not affect, so do not apply to, Customers who are tenants of rental properties:
- The Consumer Code for Home Builders in Section 3 above.
- Section 5 – Home Warranties.
- Those parts of Section 14 – After-Sales Service which clearly relate to the purchase, not rental, of properties.
- Those organisations stated in Section 17 – Complaints and Disputes which do not cover rental properties.
13.2. In all other respects, Customers who rent our properties benefit from all the facilities and advantages of ERL’s services and the remaining applicable provisions of this Charter.
14. AFTER-SALES SERVICE6
14.1. Despite the high standards we apply to all our properties, there may be minor defects which become apparent once the property is occupied and, as indicated in the Welcome Pack referred to above, we ask that Customers wait for two weeks after legal completion on their property and then report any items to us at that time (see 14.6 below).
14.2. In addition, we offer an after-sales service for a period of two years from the date of completion for genuine defects arising within that time. This service does not cover kitchen appliances or boilers, which are covered by individual manufacturer guarantees (which may need to be registered) as detailed in the Welcome Pack, or any faults, breakdown or damage to any part of the property or its fixtures and fittings due to negligence, mistreatment, misuse, poor maintenance or other cause which cannot reasonably be expected to be our responsibility.
14.3. Please also note that we cannot consider minor defects which could be deemed snagging once the initial issues identified have been dealt with, except in justifiable circumstances at our discretion. In particular, any items not noted on the Fixtures and Fittings Checklist on Completion will not be acknowledged as snagging, again except in certain circumstances at our discretion, as any fault or damage that was not evident at the time of completing the Fixtures and Fittings Checklist on Completion is likely not to be our responsibility.
14.4. The condition of ex-show homes cannot be expected to be the same as that of an entirely new property. Customers’ attention will be drawn to any specific matters and these will be taken into account in price negotiations. Remedial work, if any, will be agreed between ERL and Customers prior to the sale. Fixtures and fittings, decorative dressings, flooring, curtains and blinds, etc, which are not part of the standard specification but which may be left in a show home and included in the purchase price, are not covered by the snagging/after-sales procedure. Show home furniture is not included, unless by prior agreement or, if available for sale, purchased separately by Customers. Any such furniture is not covered by the snagging/after-sales procedure.7
14.5. Customers who are purchasers of pre-owned properties also benefit from the after-sales service within the two-year period from legal completion of the first sale of the property.
14.6. Any snagging or property defects should be notified to an Administrator in the appropriate retirement development’s Management Team. The Administrator will inspect the problem within 24 hours to determine whether it is a genuine snag or defect, or whether it has been caused by negligence, mistreatment, misuse, poor maintenance or similar reason. In the event of a genuine snag or defect, this will be dealt with by the retirement development’s Management Team and ERL’s head office, and Customers will be kept informed of action to be taken and the approximate timescale. We aim to deal with all snagging and defects within ten working days, but it is possible that circumstances beyond our control (for example, reliance on contractors/suppliers) may cause a delay, but Customers will be kept updated at all times. Once the issue has been resolved, the Administrator will confirm with the Customer(s) that they are satisfied with the outcome.
14.7. If, at the inspection referred to in 12.6 above, the issue is considered not to be snagging or a defect and, therefore, not covered by our after-sales service, the Customer(s) will be advised and given the reason for this decision.
14.8. For any other customer care issues (for example, a general enquiry or concern), the General Manager, Duty Managers or Administrators in the appropriate retirement development’s Management Team can be approached for assistance. They will use their discretion as to the best way to resolve any such issues, which may include involving ERL’s head office, if appropriate. Again, Customers will be kept informed of any action to be taken and the estimated timescale to conclude the matter, which we aim to be ten working days, but Customers will be kept updated at all times.
- Your personal data
- The legitimate purpose(s) for which we may use your data
- How we use your personal data
- How we store your information
- Sharing your information
- Transferring data internationally
- Your rights
- Information retention
- Website use
- Website cookies
15.3. Significant changes to data protection legislation took place on 25 May 2018, following which date a copy of our full Privacy Notice will have been given to Customers when reserving a property, or earlier on request.
15.4. If you do not have a copy or require another one, please contact ERL’s Compliance Department on 01223 494099, by email to email@example.com or by writing to our head office at the address given at the foot of this website. Alternatively, the Privacy Notice is available to view on this website.
16. LIVING IN OUR COMMUNITIES
16.1. Whether our Customers are the first purchaser(s) of one of our new properties, join the community by buying a pre-owned property or taking a tenancy, we want them to have the retirement they deserve. All our villages offer as much opportunity to rest and relax as there is to socialise, exercise, and be pampered. We also want them to feel safe and secure.
16.2. To this end, we make our properties, all of which ensure privacy and independence, both comfortable and practical, and provide a range of activities and facilities for our Customers’ enjoyment.
16.3. At the heart of our communities are our Customers and the team that supports them. We pride ourselves on our exceptional staff, who are selected for both their skills and their personalities. They are there to help 24-hours a day, from offering a helping hand with day-to-day tasks to helping arrange a bespoke package of care and support, where required.
16.4. Our Customers will be provided with everything they need to know about their chosen location, the majority of which is included in the Owners’ and Occupiers’ Handbook. However, the staff are always available to answer any questions or concerns Customers may have.
16.5. All our properties are specifically designed to accommodate mobility or visibility issues. Properties can be individually adapted should this be required, and we work with our Customers to ensure they can remain at home and independent for as long as it is possible to do so.
17. COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES
17.1. In the event that Customers have a complaint of any nature at any time up to completion of the sale/tenancy and moving into an ERL property, they should contact us through our Aftersales Department by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or at our head office at the address given at the foot of this website.
17.2. Any complaint will be passed to the appropriate person within ERL and acknowledged in writing by email within two working days or by letter sent in the next (working) day’s post following receipt of the complaint, depending on the contact details given. Please note, however, that we cannot be responsible for any emails or letters that are delayed or not delivered and Customers should, therefore, contact us again if acknowledgement is not received within a reasonable time.
17.3. Following acknowledgement of a complaint, we may telephone the Customer(s), if a contact number is available and if considered beneficial, to discuss the issue informally. In any event, we will provide an initial response, in writing, within ten working days of acknowledgement of the complaint.
17.4. If Customers tell us that they are not satisfied with this initial response, the complaint will be escalated internally and the outcome of that review will be notified to Customers within a further ten working days. Customers may provide further information to inform the referral at this stage, but will not be required to do so.
17.5. In the event that this outcome is not accepted, we will carry out any necessary further investigations and provide a final decision, again in writing, within 56 calendar days of receipt of the complaint, unless we have previously agreed a later deadline with Customers. Please note, however, that the 56 calendar days do not include any time taken by Customers considering earlier responses, such that the period will be extended to take account of any delays caused for this reason.
17.6. We will endeavour to resolve any complaint to all parties’ mutual satisfaction as amicably as possible, thereby avoiding often expensive formal action. If, however, a complaint remains unresolved when all informal efforts have been exhausted and Customers tell us that they are not satisfied with our final response (or we fail to meet the deadline given in 15.5 above), Customers may refer the issue to the appropriate organisation below. Customers are not required to write to us again in order to pursue the complaint through one of these escalation procedures.
- The home warranty provider8 – after-sales complaints relating to construction matters covered by the home warranty (Customers who have purchased a new or pre-owned property only).
- If applicable, the Consumer Code Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme9 – for alleged breaches of the Consumer Code Scheme, which covers pre-purchase information, the sales process, and after-sales (Customers who have purchased a new or pre-owned property only).
- the Property Redress Scheme10 – for the sales process, immediate after-sales and ongoing occupancy of one of our retirement properties (see also 17.10 below).
- independent legal or other professional advisers – for complaints of any nature, if appropriate.
17.7. If complaints are referred to an external organisation as above, the procedure will follow that of the relevant organisation(s).
17.8. We will co-operate with any appropriately qualified professional advisers that may be appointed by Customers to resolve a complaint or dispute.
17.9. We will co-operate fully with any of the authoritative bodies under 15.6 above and comply fully with the resulting decision which will be binding on us.
17.10. Following completion of the sale/tenancy and moving into one of our retirement properties, Customers should follow the complaints procedure for their community, which is administered by the on-site General Manager. Details of this complaints procedure are included in the Owners’ and Occupiers’ Handbook for each community, which is provided to all Customers.
17.11. We will not treat a Customer who makes a complaint any differently.
17.12. The complaints procedure outlined in this section and the Owners’ and Occupiers’ Handbooks referred to above does not affect the normal legal rights of Customers.
(1) Please note, however, that under the terms of our retirement property leases, certain eligibility criteria apply for home ownership, and the purchase of our retirement properties for investment purposes is not permitted.
(2) In some circumstances, we build or convert properties under an architect’s certificate or other home warranty insurance. Whilst such properties still meet Building Regulations and are built or converted to similar NHBC standards, they are not covered by the NHBC Buildmark scheme. In these cases, details will be given separately, including the alternative warranty cover applicable (see 5.4 above). If an alternative home warranty insurance is used, the Consumer Code referred to in Section 3 above may not apply if the provider does not subscribe to the Code Scheme.
(3) For example, more complex legal work.
(4) All deductions will be supported by documentary evidence, upon request, following cancellation or expiry of a Reservation Agreement.
(5) Depending on the reason for the delay in exchange of contracts necessitating extension of the Reservation Period.
(6) Only points 14.5 and 14.8 in this section apply to pre-owned properties.
(7) Any guarantees for show home items that are left in properties or purchased by Customers will be provided if they are available, but ERL cannot undertake to supply these in all instances and cannot accept responsibility for the condition or durability of show home items in any circumstances.
(8) Contact details of the relevant home warranty provider can be provided on request, or found in your Reservation Pack.
(9) The Consumer Code Secretariat can be contacted at Westgate House, Royland Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 2EH (Email: email@example.com; Website: consumercode.co.uk). Please note that the Consumer Code only applies if the home warranty has been provided by the NHBC or other organisation which subscribes to the scheme.