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Housing Complaints Resolution Service will cover entire housing market

A new housing complaints service for both homeowners and tenants is to be set up, and private landlords will be legally required to join a housing redress scheme.

The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP has announced that a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service will help people with unresolved disputes about problems with their home – such as repairs and maintenance.

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.

Establishing a single housing complaints service for all residents – no matter whether they rent or own their home – should 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.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon 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.

“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.”

Compulsory scheme for landlords

At the moment in the private rented sector, landlords do not have to register with a complaints system – leaving thousands of renters without any course for redress.

To combat this, the Communities Secretary has announced that 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.

Government still working on New Homes Ombudsman

And to protect the interests of homeowners who buy new build homes, government has also reiterated its commitment to establishing a New Homes Ombudsman to protect home buyers Legislation will be needed but it will mean that all house builders must sign up to the Ombudsman scheme. 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.

The Housing Complaints Resolution Service will be developed with a new Redress Reform Working Group made up of representatives from across the sector, working with industry and consumers.

Announcement welcomed 

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark and David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, welcomed the announcement.

They said: “Propertymark welcomes this approach and is pleased to see the government taking a holistic approach to redress right across the property industry; creating the beginnings of a more integrated housing strategy rather than the piecemeal, sectoral and issue-specific approach that we have all had to deal with for too long.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette