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Should the housing market have a single ombudsman?

Wednesday 21 February 2018

An eight week consultation to consider introducing a single housing ombudsman to cover the whole of the housing market has been announced by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid.

He wants to use people’s real 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.

The consultation will also look at whether builders should be required to join an ombudsman scheme.

He said: "For too long, tenants and home owners 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 sectors, housing has over four different complaints bodies.

House builders, for example, 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 the Government is introducing new measures to crack down on rogue landlords to ensure tenants are not being exploited in overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.

The consultation aims to address several key areas, including the effectiveness of the current complaint process, or if more can be done to improve the experience, what standard of service should be expected, if a single housing ombudsman is needed and how to fill the existing gaps in the current system, such as private landlords not having to register with a redress scheme.

The consultation will end on 16 April 2018 and is open to all including tenants, landlords, home owners, and existing ombudsman schemes.

The Housing Ministry will provide more information on future proposals to the housing redress process following the conclusion of the consultation.

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