Defects for shared owners or leaseholders

Your new home may have a few issues, minor or major, and this guide is intended to help you decide which need serious attention, and which might not.

New homes are known for needing time to ‘breathe’ or ‘settle’, and things like hairline cracks are common, but more serious faults with the build or quality of your home are referred-to as defects.

What can you do to help you home ‘settle’?

Some of the minor issues that occur in your home will be down to the fact that your house is still drying out. There is moisture in the walls and materials of all new-build homes, and that gradually needs to dry out. Make sure you keep your house well ventilated and consistently heated to help it along this process. As it dries out, parts of the house, will ‘settle,’ for example, you might see cracks around architrave or doors and windows might become harder to open. Don’t worry, this is normal. 


A defect is a more serious issue that is a result of the way your home has been built. It could be down to the materials, design or workmanship of the developer. It is not damage from an outside source, a general repair or to do with the way the property has been maintained. 

Defects may include:

  • Leaking roofs
  • Leaks from pipes and plumbing installed at the time of build
  • Doors not closing or locking properly (not caused by carpet installation)
  • Major cracks in walls/ceilings

Issues NOT defined as defects:

  • General wear and tear or issues caused by neglect
  • Garden maintenance
  • Minor decorative issues – scratches to glass, hairline cracks thinner than a £1 coin (these are considered common as part of the ‘shrinkage’ with new-build homes)

What has been done up to this point?

To make sure our homes are of a high standard they have been inspected and signed off by different people at different stages of the build process. However, homes are built by humans so we are not always able to prevent all defects from arising. When the houses are handed-over from the developer to Sovereign, they are also thoroughly checked by one of our technical advisors. Any issues we find with the quality, fit and finish of the home will be detailed at this point, and a ‘snag list’ will be created; basically a list of things we’ve identified, that the developer has agreed to make good. At this point we can prove the house-builder is liable for these issues (and for fixing them), as they’re the only people that have been in the home.

The 12-month defect period

Your home has a 12-month defect liability period. This starts from the date that the property has been handed over from the developer to Sovereign. You can report anything you suspect to be a defect during this period and all genuine defects will be rectified by the developer. 

At the end of the 12 months, you will have an ‘end of defects inspection’ where someone from Sovereign and from the developer will come to your house to inspect any final issues and agree which items should be treated as defects. The developer will contact you to arrange to carry out the work. This will usually be within 3 months of the inspection.

How do I report a defect?

If you're registered on MySovereign, you can login to report a defect online.

Before reporting a defect:

  • Check the user manual guides provided in your handover pack. Follow instructions provided to see if you can easily and safely fix the issue yourself
  • Check that any gas/electrical issues are not due to local works being carried out in the area
  • Be sure that the issue was a result of poor workmanship or poor quality of materials
  • If you are able to, take a photo of the issue and email it to us.
  • Check our FAQ’s and what to expect in a new build house.

Once you have reported a defect:

Our aftercare team might need to ask you for more information about how it has occurred as part of reviewing the defect. We might ask you for pictures of videos which show the issue; this helps to determine the urgency of the problem and who would be required to attend.

The aftercare team will send the issue over to the developer. It is then over to them to contact you to arrange a suitable appointment.

We are dependent on the developer completing the work within the agreed amount of time. We chase the developers every week about defects that are still outstanding.  Where the developer hasn't completed the works within the agreed amount of time, we may consider arranging for another contractor to carry out the works without any cost to you.