21 Feb

Have your say on introducing a single housing ombudsman to resolve problems

New-build homeowners could be offered a quicker route to have their builder resolve any issues with a new home, such as cracks or electrical issues.

An eight-week government consultation is asking people across England and Wales to share their experiences of dealing with builders and landlords (for tenants) to have problems with their homes resolved in order to introduce better standards of service in housing.

The aim is to introduce a streamlined complaints system that would resolve disputes more quickly and help homeowners and renters access compensation where it is owed.

At the moment, builders are responsible for fixing incomplete or shoddy work in new-build homes, but many buyers complain that they are left with long-term snagging issues that are not dealt with and that their disputes remain unresolved.


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Navigating multiple complaints procedures

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.”

Streamlining the system

Housing currently has four different complaints bodies that deal with issues for homeowners and tenants. The current consultation will consider options for streamlining the system by:

  • Introducing a single housing ombudsman for the entire housing market
  • Consider requiring builders and developers to join an ombudsman scheme
  • Naming and shaming poor practice to help tackle the worst abuses

It will also address three key areas in the current fragmented system:

  • The effectiveness of the current complaints process
  • What standard of service should be expected and if a single housing ombudsman is needed
  • How to fill gaps in the current scheme, such as lack of registration with redress schemes

The consultation is open to all homeowners and tenants, builders and landlords and is open until April 16.