Government mulls a better complaints system for new homes

The government is considering options to ensure that no-one is left battling with their landlord or builder to resolve complaints about their home.

Currently, dissatisfied home owners and tenants have to manoeuvre between at least four different services just to work out where to register a complaint.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced an eight week consultation beginning 18 February 2018 will use people’s experiences to shape a simpler and better complaints system, so future disputes can be resolved faster and consumers can access compensation where it is owed.

Options considered in the consultation include:

  • introducing a single housing ombudsman to cover the whole of the housing market;
  • if homes builders should be required to join an ombudsman scheme, following on our commitment to expand redress to tenants of private landlord;
  • naming and shaming poor practice to help tackle the worst abuses.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said, “For too long, tenants and homeowners have navigated multiple complaints procedures to resolve disputes about everyday household repairs and maintenance.

“Fixing this housing crisis is about more than just building homes, it’s ensuring people have the answers available when something goes wrong.”

Unlike other areas, such as financial services that have a single and accountable ombudsman, housing has over four different complaints bodies.

In the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system and this can often leave thousands who do not use a property agent without any option for redress.

Housebuilders are responsible for fixing incomplete work in new build homes but when this does not happen many consumers with snagging issues can find that they have nowhere left to turn.

“From April we are introducing new measures to crack down on rogue landlords to ensure tenants are not being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes,” Javid said. “Today’s consultation will be crucial to improving the complaints process across the market, driving forward a higher standard for service in housing.”

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