Overhaul of broken housing complaints system announced

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced plans for new housing complaints service for entire housing market – ensuring both homeowners and tenants know where to go when things go wrong.

This means that dissatisfied homeowners and tenants will have simple and quick access to help when things go wrong, such as broken boilers to cracks in the wall. The government says that the new Housing Complaints Resolution Service will potentially help millions by providing a straight-forward way of getting help when faced with unresolved disputes about problems with their home.

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. For example, in the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system – leaving thousands of renters without any course for redress.

It is hoped that establishing a single housing complaints service for all residents will 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.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has also 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. The government has again reiterated its commitment to establishing a New Homes Ombudsman which will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.

Brokenshire 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. But all too often the process can be confusing and overly bureaucratic, leaving many homeowners and tenants feeling like there is nowhere to go in the event of problems with their home. 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.”

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