Government plans new housing complaints service
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The government has announced plans to launch a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service for the entire housing market.
The government said the new service will potentially help millions of people by providing a way of getting help from builders or landlords when faced with unresolved disputes about problems with their home – such as repairs and maintenance – whether they rent or own.
The new system aims to cut down on the multiple complaint bodies covering the housing market.
In the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system. Under the new system, private landlords will be legally required to become members of a redress scheme – with a fine of up to £5,000 if they fail to do so.
Meanwhile, a single New Homes Ombudsman which will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account. Developers will also have to belong to the new body by 2021 if they wish to participate in the government’s landmark Help to Buy scheme, the government said.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP, said: “Creating a housing market that works for everyone isn’t just about building homes – it’s about ensuring people can get the help they need when something goes wrong.
“But all too often the process can be confusing and overly bureaucratic, leaving many homeowners and tenants feeling like there is nowhere to go in the event of problems with their home.
“The proposals I have announced today will help ensure all residents are able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster, and people can get compensation where it’s owed.”
Chris Blythe, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) welcomed the news. He said: “The CIOB welcomes the government’s new housing complaints resolution service. We are pleased that the government has listened to our recommendations to help reduce confusion in the market place by offering a single portal for dispute resolution services. Although we still lack the formal detail about what the New Homes Ombudsman will look like, we hope today’s announcement is the first step in providing greater consumer redress.”