A new complaints service for landlords and tenants in England is to be launched, a “single, swift and effective route to complain when things go wrong”, according to the Property Ombudsman.
As it stands, there are several different complaints bodies that deal with housing issues, meaning homeowners and tenants must navigate what the Government describe as “complicated and bureaucratic system” in order to file a complaint. Additionally, landlords in the private rented sector have no obligations to register with a complaints system, which can leave “thousands of renters without any course of redress”.
For the first time, private landlords will be required by law to enter a housing redress scheme. The Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, said that it will boost protection for millions of tenants across the country. This has the potential to help millions by providing a straight forward solution to getting assistance when faced with unresolved disputes within their homes, such as maintenance and repairs. The changes will initially apply only to England, however, the Government has said it will work with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on the proposals.
This new housing complaints resolution service, which will direct complaints to the right body, will make it easier for people to resolve disputes with their landlords, covering everything from broken boilers to cracks in the walls, in addition to claiming compensation if it’s owed.
Between February and April of last year, the Government consulted on its plans to improve the complaints system in the housing market, receiving more than 1,200 responses.
The legislation will require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman. Developers will have to belong to the new body by 2021 should they wish to participate in the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
“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 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.”
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