There’s been broad support from the lettings sector for the wide-ranging reform of the redress system announced yesterday by housing secretary James Brokenshire.
At the centre of the reforms is the creation of a Housing Complaints Resolution Service which - ultimately, possibly some years from now - will be a one-stop-shop for all complaints about all tenures of housing, public and private.
One of the most radical elements of the reforms is confirmation that all private landlords, including individuals, will have to join a redress scheme with the threat of a £5,000 fine for those who fail to do so.
This and other details of the changes will be thrashed out later this year in a Redress Reform Working Group, involving the government and existing redress organisations.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Lettings Scheme, says: "For too long consumers have faced difficulty in identifying where to take their property related complaints when each redress scheme has their own specialism. We welcome government’s recognition that this must change.
"Plans for the Housing Complaints Resolution Service and bringing landlords into a redress scheme are positive moves which will help to improve the private rented sector. NALS looks forward to contributing to the development of the new service.”
And The Property Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, has given a guarded welcome to the move, describing them as “broadly positive.”
She says: “We support the government with the objective of providing consumers with a single, swift and effective route to complain when things go wrong and we will look to working with the government and other redress providers to streamline and close the gaps in the existing redress provision. This is vital to the future of consumer protection and driving out poor practice in the industry.”