The Government has outlined plans to create a single housing ombudsman to help support the private tenants that are forced to live in substandard rental housing.
In the private rental sector, there is currently no legal obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system. However, the plans, which were unveiled over the weekend by the Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, aim to create a single housing ombudsman that would allow disputes to be resolved faster and consumers to access compensation where applicable.
Naming and shaming rogue landlords and housebuilders, as well as the introduction of a simple and effective complaints system, are among some of the options currently being considered.
An eight-week consultation on a new scheme to crack down on rogue landlords letting overcrowded and dangerous homes is now underway.
Javid says: “For too long, tenants and homeowners have navigated multiple complaints procedures to resolve disputes about everyday household repairs and maintenance.
“Fixing this housing crisis is about more than just building homes; it’s ensuring people have the answers available when something goes wrong.”
Dan Wilson Craw, the Director of tenant lobby group Generation Rent, responds to the plans: “Shaking up the confusing redress system is a welcome step. It is hard enough for renters to take on a letting agent who has ripped them off, so having to first figure out which of three schemes is relevant is counterproductive. The proposed naming and shaming could help tenants understand what practices are unacceptable and give them more confidence to complain.
“But tenants will always be intimidated into staying quiet as long as agents are able to respond with a no-fault eviction or rent increase. If the proposed changes are to work, the Government must restrict these practices and thereby give tenants more security in their homes.”
The proposals were first detailed at the Conservative Party conference last year.