Buyers of a new Persimmon home will be able to hold on to 1.5% of the agreed purchase price until they are satisfied all faults have been rectified.
It is an early move by new chief executive Dave Jenkinson, who stepped up to the top job just last month after Jeff Fairburn was forced out by a barrage of bad publicity amid his reluctance to publicly defend his £75m bonus.
In a new customer care initiative, Persimmon will write into its standard contract that 1.5% of the total home value (equating to around 6% of the build fabric costs) can be withheld by the buyer's solicitor until any faults identified at the point of key release are resolved. The average amount withheld, based on current selling prices, will be approximately £3,600 per home.
The company has instructed its legal advisers to start work on the new standard contract and expects the policy to be fully in place by the end of June.
Dave Jenkinson said: "Persimmon is listening hard to all of its stakeholders and we hear the message that we need to continue to raise our game in customer care. The initiatives we have already announced, including the action taken in the new year to deliver greater accuracy of anticipated moving in dates by adopting a more targeted approach to the phasing of sales on specific sites and the improvements and investments that we have made in our customer care team, operations and technology over the last few months are beginning to take effect. We are now accelerating the pace of change through the introduction of a contracted retention which will give homebuyers far greater satisfaction at the completion of the purchase.
"Moving into a new home should be a positive experience enhanced by all the benefits of a new build that is designed for modern living. We are determined that the experience is not overshadowed by teething problems and providing a homebuyer's retention is an important step towards achieving this."
Chairman Roger Devlin said: "This is a first among the UK's large housebuilders and I hope will lead the way in change across the sector. This move, and the urgency with which we will introduce it, is a clear and unambiguous signal of cultural and operational change at Persimmon, putting customer care at the very centre of the business."