THE Government has said it will set up a new body to provide a complaints resolution service for the entire housing market.
Under the proposals, announced by the communities secretary James Brokenshire MP yesterday, private landlords will for the first time be legally required to join a housing redress scheme.
The new Housing Complaints Resolution Service covers both homeowners and tenants and it is claimed the service will offer them “simple and quick” access to help.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), said the service could potentially help millions of people by providing a “straight-forward way of getting help when faced with unresolved disputes about problems with their home” – such as repairs and maintenance.
“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,” said James Brokenshire, the secretary of state for communities.
“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 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.”
Under the proposals announced by the secretary of state, 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.
Furthermore, to protect the interests of homeowners who buy new build homes, the Government reiterated its commitment to establish a New Homes Ombudsman which will “champion” home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.
The ministry said that legislation for this will be brought forward at the “earliest possible opportunity” to require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman.
Developers will also have to belong to the new body by 2021 if they wish to participate in the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Brokenshire’s announcement was welcomed by the National Housing Federation. The organisation’s chief executive, Kate Henderson said: “It’s important that, when a complaint can’t be resolved directly between a landlord and tenant, it can be addressed effectively, independent and fairly.
“Tenants often tell us that one of the most important issues for them is that their voices are heard, loud and clear. A key part of this is resolving any complaints quickly and fairly, and these proposed changes should help to do just that.
“Now, we look forward to working with the Government to help shape the detail of the new proposals.”