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Government consult on redress provision for the housing industry

On Sunday 18th February the Government opened an eight week consultation on redress provision for the housing industry.

 

The move represents a significant step towards improving redress in the housing sector, including exploring the option of a single ombudsman to cover the whole of the housing market.

 

Options to be considered in the consultation include:

·         the current complaints and redress landscape, how it is working and whether more can be done to improve it

·         what standards and services should be expected of a redress scheme/an ombudsman

·         how to fill the existing gaps between current services

·         whether a single ombudsman service is needed to simplify access to redress across housing, and if so, what form that should take and what its remit should be

 

Commenting on the consultation, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said: “Fixing this housing crisis is about more than just building homes, it’s ensuring people have the answers available when something goes wrong.”

 

Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) added: “The Property Redress Scheme welcomes the opportunity to engage in this process. The fact that the Government is taking this issue seriously is very positive. We support the principle that the consumer is put at the heart of the push to raise standards and that they are entitled to a clear, easy to access route to resolving their problems.

 

There are clearly gaps in the current system, not least that landlords are exempt from any obligation for redress, and these need to be closed. The Minister however should understand that there is no magic bullet and we at the Property Redress Scheme believe that a collaborative approach is essential, with government at all levels working with the industry to put in place a joined-up strategy for providing quality homes and protecting the consumer.”

 

Responding to the news, a spokesperson for the National House Building Council (NHBC) said: “NHBC welcomes the Government’s plans to consult on the introduction of a single housing ombudsman.

 

“While the details will need to be worked through, including the role of existing ombudsman schemes and other consumer protection services, NHBC believes that the introduction of an Ombudsman could be a positive development for both consumers and the new homes industry.”

 

We recommend all those with an interest read the consultation document and provide a response to the government here

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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015