building site

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the first of its ‘working papers’ following its study into housebuilding in England, Scotland and Wales.

The study detailed significant issues in new-build estate management, including inadequate consumer protections and the potential dangers posed by councils not adopting communal amenities.

In the paper, the CMA sets out potential solutions and has sought public feedback. The two primary options currently under consideration by the CMA are:

Strengthening consumer protections: This includes empowering residents to report work done to a poor standard, contest unreasonable service charges, and having access to transparent information about how estate management charges are determined.

Increased council adoption of amenities: The CMA is exploring the possibility of expanding the extent to which local councils adopt amenities such as playgrounds, woodlands and communal facilities on new build estates. This measure aims to lessen the burden on households by removing the need for them to pay estate management charges.

The CMA says it will continue its housebuilding market study before publishing a final report by 27 February 2024. The areas of greater focus as the study moves forward include:

  • Estate management charges
  • Land banks and the issues caused by builders holding large areas of land
  • Addressing complex planning rules
  • Planning rules
  • Competition between builders
  • Barriers for new businesses wanting to build homes.

As part of its work in the housing sector, the CMA is also looking at whether consumers are adequately protected in the rented sector, having received complaints that some landlords and letting agents are not complying with consumer protection laws.

More information on the CMA’s work in the housing sector and the housebuilding market study can be found at this link.