Government pledges to improve housing sector consumer redress

Government pledges to improve housing sector consumer redress

The government is to look at options to improve consumer redress across the housing sector, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) has announced.

Speaking to an audience of housing professionals in London, he set out his commitment to fixing the broken housing market and building the homes our country needs and he pledged that the quality of new build homes must continue to improve.

Potential measures to address issues could include introducing a single housing ombudsman to help provide more comprehensive redress for home owners, home buyers, tenants and landlords.

Javid said "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.

"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."

Currently, there are four government approved providers of redress that cover some aspects of home buying and renting, but not all. Membership of ombudsman schemes is compulsory for some groups, but not for others.

In the New Year, the government will consult with consumers and the industry, and look at options to explore how the overlap between responsibilities can be improve. It is hoped that this would help to avoid the confusion faced by consumers over where to seek help.

The recent Budget set out a range of measures to boost the housing market, including £44bn over the next five years in capital funding, loans and guarantees, and a new National House Building Fund, with more than £15bn of new financial support over the next five years.

There will also be 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.

Javid pointed out that taken together with the reforms in the housing white paper published in February 2017, the Budget puts the Government on track to raise housing supply to 300,000 a year on average by the mid-2020s.

"This will mean the highest level of housebuilding since 1970. In the white paper we set out our ambition for a housing market that works for everyone. We expect all housing developers to deliver good quality housing, to deliver it on time, and to treat house buyers fairly," he added.