The Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire has announced that landlords will be legally required to join a landlord redress scheme, or face a £5,000 fine.
A date for this is still to be announced, and the measure forms part of the government response to the consultation ‘Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market’, which ran from February.
A new ‘Housing Complaints Resolution Service‘ will be set up, designed to be a single housing complaints service for all residents, including renters and homeowners.
To protect the interests of home-owners who buy new build homes, government has also reiterated its commitment to establishing a New Homes Ombudsman which will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.
Legislation will be brought forward at the earliest possible opportunity to require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman.
Developers will also have to belong to the new body by 2021 if they wish to participate in the government’s landmark Help to Buy scheme.
The government say it will make it easier for people to claim compensation when it is owed. It intends to work with key stakeholders to establish this, and it will be launching a consultation on the plans, with a Redress Reform Working Group also to be established.
Currently landlords in the private rented sector do not have to register with a complaints system.
However under the plans announced this week, it will become a legal requirement for landlords in the private rented sector to join a redress scheme, or they could face a fine of up to £5,000 for failing to do so.
The RLA has a number of concerns about the plans.
Policy director David Smith said that the evidence the government has doesn’t support the need for he changes and it seems little thought has been given about how all the new legislation will fit together and how it will be enforced.
The association is also concerned about the cost element.
Dr Smith said: “It will be yet another cost and yet another layer of complexity, possibly with relatively little end product.
“We also need clarification on what the situation will be for landlords who use letting agents. Agents already have to be a member of a redress scheme – so landlords using them would be paying twice.”
No firm date has been set for the introduction of the new rules, and the RLA will update members when it knows more.
Announcing the plans, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire today said: “The proposals I have announced today will help ensure all residents are able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster, and people can get compensation where it’s owed”.
The new measures form part of the government response to the consultation Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market,
In this, the government has outlined that in the long term it has the “ambition” that there should be a single Code of Practice on complaint handling across all of housing.
Since 1st October 2014, it has been a requirement for all letting and managing agents in England to become a member of a redress scheme.