What is a defect?

Whilst new homes are known for needing time to ‘breathe’ or ‘settle’, defects are more serious faults with the build or quality of your home that may need attention.

This guide will aim to help you identify if you have a defect and what you can do to get it fixed.

Examples of defects:

  • Cracks wider than a £1 coin
  • Leaking roofs
  • Leaks from pipes and plumbing installed at the time of build
  • Doors not closing or locking properly (not caused by carpet installation)

Issues that aren’t 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 can I do before reporting a defect?

  • Check the user manual guides provided in your handover pack. Follow instructions provided to see if you can easily 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.


How do I report a defect?

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


When will defects be fixed? 

  • Developers will only take action (fix or arrange to be fixed) on defects that are logged within your home’s defect liability period. You’ll be told what this period is when you move in, but it’s usually 12 months from the date your home was handed over to Sovereign (it may vary depending on your developer).
  • When a defect is passed to the developer for action, we will, where possible, tell you how long it will take for it to be fixed. This depends on the type of defect, how difficult the fix is, and which developer built your home.  
  • General defects will usually be completed within 20 working days but this may be longer, for example if a specialist part is required.
  • If a defect is an emergency, developers will usually fix this within 24 hours of notification. Emergency defects are those which cause:
    • Risk of injury or serious endangerment to health of persons 
    • Undue hardship 
    • Extensive damage to property 
    • Loss of security 
  • Where there is a defect and 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.
  • Some defects, depending on their nature, may not be fixed until the end of the defects liability period when it is more practical to do so.


What is the end of defects inspection? 

  • When your home reaches the end of its defects liability period, an inspection will be carried out with you, a representative from Sovereign and the developer. 
  • We suggest you put together a list of issues to discuss. Our representative will discuss these with you and agree which items should be treated as defects.
  • The developer will contact you to make arrangements to carry out the work. This will usually be within 3 months.


What happens after the end of the defects period?

  • At the end of your defects liability period, you become responsible for all repairs in your home. If you live in a flat, Sovereign will have responsibility for communal areas and the structure of the building.
  • If you feel a problem is the result of poor workmanship or materials, you may be able to make a claim under your insurance policy (NHBC Buildmark Warranty, Premier Guarantee warranty or Zurich home insurance policy). Instructions to do this are in your welcome pack.