Housing Secretary introduces New Homes Ombudsman

Jessica Nangle

February 25, 2020

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) has confirmed there will be a new, independent ombudsman to protect homebuyers faced with shoddy building work in their new homes.

The New Homes Ombudsman will help homebuyers with issues such as unsatisfactory brick work and faulty wiring and will hold statutory powers.

This powers include being able to award compensation, ban rogue developers from building and order developers to fix poor building work.

The ombudsman will also work quickly to resolve any disputes in the hope of ending those facing long waits and costly court cases.

New laws will also require all developers to belong to the ombudsman to give all homebuyers access to swift redress.

Franz Doerr, founder and chief executive of flatfair, said: “The government’s move to protect new homeowners is positive, but its attitude needs to be matched across the sector.

“Too many homeowners and renters are being let down and there needs to be a mechanism in place to protect people whatever type of home they live in.

“In addition to new government regulations, there should be an embrace of technological solutions that can make the housing industry fairer and more transparent for all.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, added: “From calling out building owners who have yet to remove unsafe cladding to creating a new ombudsman to tackle poor quality house-building, the government has taken important steps into championing consumer’s rights in housing.

“Previously home-buyers had no choice but to go through expensive court cases using decades-old legislation to fight their case and so the new ombudsman should save all parties time and money while helping raise to standards.

“These steps should be part of a wider package of reforms by the new housing minister that see leaseholders protected from the fall out of new fire safety regulations, as well as encouraging the creation of a professionalised rental market by welcoming institutional investment and promoting technology to improve transparency and service.”

The New Homes Ombudsman comes following a three month consultation held in 2019 and will be free for the consumer and independent of the industry.

This comes as the government pledges to ensure that all homes sold under the future Help to Buy scheme meet higher standards so developers put quality first.

Jenrick said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

“That’s why the ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.

“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”

This is the latest in a series of policies the government is putting forward to build better homes across the country, including developing a new National Model Design Code and introducing a new Building Safety Regulator.

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