Single housing ombudsman a step closer

By Andrea Wong, 27 February 2018

Tenants have been challenging private landlords over low quality rental homes for some time but with the current housing ombudsman described as ‘overcomplicated’, registering complaints has proven to be difficult.

Replacing the current housing ombudsman system with a single housing scheme has been on the government’s agenda for the last year with thousands of tenants left without answers. Last week the government put their plan into action and implemented an eight-week consultation which is hoped to offer a simpler system. It aims to settle disputes much quicker and allow consumers to receive compensation where it is owed.

Currently there are several complaints bodies which deal with tenant complaints and these include The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services: Property, the Property Redress Scheme, and the Housing Ombudsman, all which have different roles in dealing with cases.

It is believed that these schemes have generally been ineffective, leaving many tenants with broken boilers, cracks in walls and nowhere to turn to. The flawed system has also allowed landlords to take advantage and provide substandard rental homes without the risk of intervention from local authorities.

Mr Javid commented: “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.”

Worryingly, landlords in the private rented sector are not required to register with a complaints system, leaving thousands without any option for redress. It is the responsibility of housebuilders to ensure that any incomplete work in newly built properties are fixed so when they are not completed, consumers are left to resolve it themselves.

With a new consultation brought forward, it appears that the creation of a new complaints system which is more accessible and simpler may come into play sooner rather than later. This will certainly come as a relief for the private rented sector and the many tenants who have had to deal with rogue landlords and poorly maintained properties.

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