The Government believe that consumers should have swift, effective routes to complain and to access resolution when things go wrong with their home—whether they are a tenant, or a homeowner.
We are concerned that the current redress landscape is confusing and does not always support this. There are multiple redress providers, each operating different practices. Even this array of schemes does not provide for every eventuality. Some people have no option but to take a grievance through the courts.
On Sunday 18 February the Government launched a public consultation on strengthening redress in housing. The consultation is open to consumers, providers of housing services, and existing redress schemes, and asks how we can make the system simpler and more effective for consumers.
It asks about consumers’ experiences of redress, and how to improve “in-house” complaint processes to ensure that issues get resolved as quickly as possible.
It considers the practices that redress schemes should adopt in terms of timeliness, accessibility and transparency; and it considers the powers that schemes require to operate effectively.
It also considers gaps in redress, and how these could be filled. This includes consideration of how to implement our commitment to require that all private landlords join a redress scheme, as well as improving access to redress for buyers of new-build homes.
Finally, the consultation also seeks views on whether redress should be consolidated into a single housing ombudsman service and, if so, what form this might take.
The policy proposals primarily relate to England. The UK Government will be discussing these issues with devolved Administrations where existing legislation also has scope outside England.
The consultation will run for eight weeks and ends on 16 April 2018.
Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the House Library and are available on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strenathening-consumer-redress-in-housing.