Landlords and developers will soon have to join new regulatory schemes under proposals drawn up by the government to protect tenants and homeowners.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced that there’s to be a Housing Complaints Resolution Service for the entire housing market.
Mr Brokenshire said that unlike other sectors such as financial services, the housing market has several different complaints bodies, with homeowners and tenants having to navigate their way through a complicated and bureaucratic system just to work out where to register a grievance.
It’s hoped that establishing a single housing complaints service for all residents – no matter whether they rent or own their home – will prevent people from battling with their landlord or builder to resolve issues on their own and make it easier to claim compensation where it’s owed.
Mr Brokenshire said: “Currently, the housing complaints system is confusing – there are multiple complaint bodies covering the housing market, and membership of redress schemes is compulsory for some tenures but not others.
“For example, in the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system – leaving thousands of renters without any course for redress.”
He said that to combat this, 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.
The government has also reiterated its commitment to establishing a New Homes Ombudsman which will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.
Legislation will be brought forward to require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman scheme – giving homebuyers the confidence that when they buy a new home they are getting the quality of build they expect.
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 Housing Complaints Resolution Service will provide a single point of access to resolve complaints for housing consumers, when ‘in-house’ complaint processes have been exhausted.
The service will be developed with a new Redress Reform Working Group made up of representatives from across the sector, working with industry and consumers.
Redress for social housing residents is being considered separately. The response to the social housing green paper and the call for evidence for the review of social housing regulation are due to be published in the next few month