The government is planning to introduce a ‘New Homes Ombudsman’ to give new home buyers somewhere to turn to for help when things go wrong. The ombudsman will be part of a new redress scheme proposed by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
MHCLG wants to make it a legal requirement for developers of new build homes to be members of a redress scheme. It has recently completed a consultation on its plans and is expected to publish its final proposals soon.
The existing Housing Ombudsman Service, which currently oversees many housing complaints, has welcomed the government’s commitment to preserve current routes to redress. It says that the New Homes Ombudsman should only cover complaints where redress cannot be sought elsewhere.
The National Association of Estate Agents goes further. It wants a single Ombudsman to provide redress across all aspects of the privately-owned property industry rather than the government setting up separate Ombudsmen for different activities.
James Burgoyne of Brunel Professions believes the plans could affect the professional indemnity insurance market. “Given the experience of professionals in other sectors covered by ombudsmen, the service may be popular with the public. This may increase claims and costs for developers, who in turn may look to recover these from professionals. The cost of attempted recovery claims both in time and financial amount may have implications, even where the professional has done nothing wrong,” he said.
The MHCLG consultation document is available on the government website. A report on the consultation has been published by Bevan Brittan and Estate Agent Today. The Housing Ombudsman Service has published its response to the consultation on its website.
Categorised in: Construction/Property News
This post was written by James Burgoyne