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Government unveils 'Complaints Resolution Service' for property industry

The government has this morning set out wide-ranging changes to redress systems for agents, the sales and lettings sectors, and other parts of the property industry.

James Brokenshire, secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, says: “I am proposing a New Homes Ombudsman, underpinned by legislation following the establishment of an interim voluntary service, and requiring developers of new build homes to participate. 

“I will also bring forward legislation to require all private landlords, including private providers of purpose-built student housing, and park home site operators to belong to a redress scheme.” There will be fined of up to £5,000 for landlords who do not join.


Brokenshire continues: “Second, I want to give people a clearer and simpler route to redress through a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service. My aim is for this to become a single one-stop-shop for housing complaints and help prevent anyone with a problem from being turned away. 

“Third, I want to work to raise the bar for the service consumers should expect when they seek help by working across the housing sector to ensure the necessary guidance and codes of practice are in place to uphold good standards. I want to see a single ‘Code of Practice’ on complaint handling across all tenures."

On the Housing Complaints Resolution Service, the government says: “Our ambition ultimately is for the new service to cover all housing consumers including tenants and leaseholders of social and private rented housing as well as purchasers of new build homes and users of all residential property agents.”

The government adds that a 'Redress Reform Working Group' will talk with existing redress services "to develop the proposals outlined ... over the coming months."

The announcement follows the government receiving some 1,209 responses from consumers and industry, in a formal consultation process about improving redress. 

You can see the full announcement and details of consultation responses here.

The Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle has responded to this morning’s news by saying: “The response to the Government’s consultation into strengthening redress in the housing market is largely positive. We welcome the opportunity by MHCLG to work collaboratively with the existing redress schemes (The Property Ombudsman, Housing Ombudsman and Property Redress Scheme) in the interest of all consumers to provide greater protection, and take forward the issue of improving accessibility through a Redress Reform Working Group.

“We support the Government with the objective of providing consumers with a single, swift and effective route to complain when things go wrong and we will look to working with the Government and other redress providers to streamline and close the gaps in the existing redress provision.  This is vital to the future of consumer protection and driving out poor practice in the industry.”

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    The onslaught continues.........

  • Michael Riley

    I remember an agent in Hampshire who used to sit in the pub all day and do deals on his massive mobile. His negs would run around doing viewings. Buyers and sellers would come and go... buyers would rock up on completion day, get the keys and have a drink too.

    I always thought "thats a bit pants".... but I can see how actually this type of operator might start to appear in coffee shops, as more and more legislation comes in and overheads continue to rise.

    Sometimes more legislation results in lower standards, as the market morphs around it.

    Flat white anyone?

    Chris Mervyn

    More likely the government needs to be seen to be acting on voter want. Whilst I agree with your comment on overheads being too high, perhaps legislation could also be seen as giving more value to the Industry as a whole? Although this is not regulation of the Industry, it will hopefully make more noise in public of any complaints and issues - and if warranted the need for regulation of estate agency (selling of property in general). So, higher quality agents and a change in the publics perception that they now have to pay more for the use of a 'professional' to work on their behalf could be a result also?


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