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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

New Homes Ombudsman announced (again) with banning powers

The government has - once again - announced the introduction of a New Homes Ombudsman. 

The news came yesterday when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the House of Commons that he was introducing the measure; it was first announced in late 2018 and then again more recently in October, when it was a feature of the first Queen’s Speech under Boris Johnson’s premiership.

Yesterday’s announcement described the New Homes Ombudsman as a measure to help homebuyers with issues from sloppy brick work to faulty wiring.

The new Ombudsman will have statutory powers to award compensation, ban rogue developers from building, and order developers to fix poor building work.

The government insists that where people are in dispute with developers, “the new Ombudsman will act swiftly and independently to resolve any issues – ending the injustice of people facing long waits and costly court cases trying to sort out problems with their new homes.”

New laws will also require all developers to belong to the Ombudsman, “giving all homebuyers access to swift redress.”

Jenrick says: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home. That’s why the Ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.  

“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve. Currently, homebuyers who purchase new builds have no independent way of challenging developers’ service or poor workmanship.

“Today’s news will give people buying a new home the confidence they need that when they get the keys to their home, they are getting the quality they expect.”

Last year the Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government held a consultation into the initiative: it received the rather modest total of 376 response. 

“Through the consultation we heard of the experiences that individuals have had when buying new build homes, which were, in the main, negative” says the ministry.

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