The Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, has announced that a New Homes Ombudsman will be launched for the new build housing sector.
The role of the New Homes Ombudsman would be to specifically address issues regarding the build quality of new homes.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Brokenshire also claimed that the Government’s domestic priority is building enough homes to satisfy the country’s needs.
He said that “decades of under-investment and lack of political will” have created an environment in which homeownership has become unattainable for many people.
Brokenshire insisted that the New Homes Ombudsman would “champion” consumers, despite the wider ombudsman circle emphasising that fairness and impartiality are always at the core of their work.
Brokenshire told delegates: “This new watchdog will champion homebuyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account, and give confidence that, when you get the keys to a new home, you get the quality build you expect and the finish you pay for.”
The announcement lacked any further details, but seems to indicate the Government’s wider direction with the housing market.
It had previously proposed one single ombudsman for the entire housing sector, covering new builds, social housing, and both private sales and lettings.
This now seems unlikely, considering that the Government is launching the New Homes Ombudsman.
An alternative proposal was that consumers would seek redress via a single portal, which would direct them to the appropriate ombudsman. This now seems more likely, with the possibility that there would be only one ombudsman to cover each part of the housing sector.
Katrine Sporle, The Property Ombudsman, has responded to the announcement: “We welcome the news that the Government will launch a New Homes Ombudsman. We have always agreed that new homes should be covered by an ombudsman, as consumers have no idea that, when they buy a new home directly from a developer, they will have no access to a redress scheme.
“This announcement will mean the housing market becomes a fairer place for all involved.”