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Government moves towards a shake-up of broken housing complaints system

Government considers options to ensure that no-one is left battling with their landlord or builder to resolve issues with their home.

Dissatisfied tenants and homeowners across the country may be offered a lifeline as government considers options to ensure that no-one is left battling with their landlord or builder to resolve issues with their home, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

From broken boilers to cracks in walls, the current choice of schemes risks leaving thousands without answers, with others having to manoeuvre between at least 4 different services just to work out where to register a complaint.

An 8 week consultation beginning today (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.

“Today’s top-to- bottom review shows government is working hard to deliver a better and simpler system.”

Unlike other areas, such as financial services that have a single and accountable ombudsman, housing has over 4 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.

House builders 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.

This is just one of the steps the government is taking to solve the country’s housing crisis and improve the rental sector which 8.6 million households are part of.

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.

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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