On 18 February, the government launched an eight-week consultation aiming to shape a better complaints system for housing issues. Here, our guest, Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, outlines the government’s plans…
Rarely a day goes past that I don’t hear about a problem someone is having with their home – whether it is fixing a broken boiler, patching up a crack in the wall, or issues with their lease.
Having a decent roof over your head is not a luxury, and moving home is not an easy option when problems do occur. That’s why it is essential that everyone has swift and effective routes to complain when things go wrong; that they know where to go and are clear what they can expect.
The current complaints and redress system is not at all straightforward. While other sectors, such as financial services, have one ombudsman, in housing, there are at least four. Even this array doesn’t cover every eventuality. Too many people are left battling with their private landlord or house builder to get problems fixed.
That’s why we are offering a lifeline to disgruntled tenants and homeowners, by seeking views on how to make this system simpler and fairer.
We want to know whether we should introduce a single housing ombudsman to cover the whole of the market; and whether home builders, as well as private landlords, should have to be covered by an ombudsman scheme.
We are also considering whether an ombudsman should have naming and shaming powers to tackle the worst abuses and ensure that complaints are not just resolved, but learnt from.
What’s the government doing?
With your help, the government has already been able to bring an end to letting fees. In the future, millions of renters will only be required to pay their rent and security deposit. And at the end of last year, I also announced measures to tackle abuses in the leasehold market.
We received over 10,000 responses to these consultations, showing how important these issues are to so many.
So whether you’re a tenant or homeowner, we want to hear from you! Together we can create a complaints system that is fit for the future.
This is a guest contribution by Sajid Javid MP. All views expressed here are Sajid’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.
What do you think about the government’s plans? Do they go far enough? What improvements to the housing complaints system would you like to see?