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Access to redress improved across the sector

Thursday 30 November 2017

The Government will look at bold options to improve consumer redress across the housing sector, Sajid Javid has announced.

Speaking to an audience of housing professionals in London, the Communities Secretary set out his commitment to fixing the broken housing market, and building the homes the UK needs.

This move marks the beginning of not only a promise to increase housing supply, but also the vital, continued improvement of the quality of new build homes.

The Government is keen for all consumers to have access to quick, easy and effective redress and feel empowered to challenge poor practices when things go wrong - having already committed to requiring all landlords in the private rented sector to join an ombudsman scheme.

Potential measures to address this issue could include exploring the case for a single housing ombudsman to help provide more comprehensive redress for home owners, home buyers, tenants and landlords.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“Since 2010 this government has delivered over 1.1 million homes - and last week’s Budget set out our ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market so we get more homes built in the places that people want to live.

“But we don’t have to choose between building more and building better - we can do both. Homes are not only the biggest financial investment in our lives, but also provide security, and so it’s only right that developers and builders are held to a higher standard.

“That’s why we are looking at bold options to improve redress in the New Year – including whether housing, like other sectors, should have a single ombudsman. This could help drive up standards across the whole industry and increase protections for consumers.”

There are currently three government approved redress providers that cover the estate and letting sector - the Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services: Property, the Property Redress scheme - plus the Housing Ombudsman which handles issues in the social housing sector.

In the New Year, the government will consult with consumers and the industry, to assess current redress provision and seek views on how access to redress for all consumers could be improved. This would help to avoid the confusion faced by consumers over where to seek help.

Last week’s Budget set out a range of measures to boost the housing market, including:

  • £44 billion over the next five years in capital funding, loans and guarantees
  • a new National House Building Fund, with more than £15 billion of new financial support over the next five years
  • planning reforms to ensure more land is available for housing and maximise the potential of our cities and towns to build new homes whilst protecting the green belt
  • raising the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap by a total of £1 billion in areas of high affordability pressure for local authorities who are ready to start building new homes

Together with the reforms from February's housing white paper, the Budget aims to put the government on track to raise housing supply to 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s. This will mean the highest level of housebuilding since 1970.

In the white paper the Government set out its ambition for a housing market that works for everyone, with the expectation that all housing developers will deliver good quality housing, on time, and treat house buyers fairly.