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Government announces new housing complaints resolution service

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced plans for a new housing complaints service for the entire housing market.

The service has been designed to ensure that both homeowners and tenants know where to go when issues arise, and is a response to the current complexity of the housing complaints system, the government states.

Private landlords will be legally required to join a housing redress scheme, which according to the communities secretary, will increase protection for millions of renters across the country.

To protect the interests of home-owners who buy new build properties, the government has established a new homes ombudsman, which will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.

The service aims to prevent people from “battling” with their landlord or builder to resolve issues and will provide assistance for issues ranging from broken boilers to cracks in the wall.

According to the communities secretary, the housing complaints resolution service will be developed with a new redress reform working group, and legislation will be introduced to require all new developers to belong to the ombudsman.

Brokenshire says: “Creating a housing market that works for everyone is not 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.”

NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark chief executives Mark Hayward and David Cox say: “In Propertymark’s response to the consultation last year, we called for greater clarity in the system and streamlining through the creation of a single portal along with a unifying code of practice for all housing providers.

“We are very pleased that the government has listened and accepted our recommendation to establish a single ‘front door’. We agree with the government in its response that it will “provide simple access for consumers to redress, via a single user interface regardless of tenure, while retaining the specialist expertise of the different schemes”.

“Propertymark welcomes this approach and is pleased to see the government taking a holistic approach to redress right across the property industry; creating the beginnings of a more integrated housing strategy rather than the piecemeal, sectoral and issue-specific approach that we have all had to deal with for too long.”

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