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News Report Page 14 of 27
Publication Date:- 2018-02-24
News reports located on this page = 2.

Government moves towards a shake up of the UK's 'broken' housing complaints system

DISSATISFIED tenants and homeowners across the country may be offered a lifeline as Government considers options to ensure that no 1 is left battling with their landlord or builder to resolve issues with their home, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

From broken boilers to cracks in walls, the current choice of schemes risks leaving thousands without answers, with others having to manoeuvre between at least 4 different services just to work out where to register a complaint.

An 8 week consultation started on 18 February 2018, that will use people's experiences to shape a simpler and better complaints system, so future disputes can be resolved faster and consumers can access compensation where it is owed.

Options considered in the consultation include:-

Introducing a single housing ombudsman to cover the whole of the housing market.

If homes builders should be required to join an ombudsman scheme, following on our commitment to expand redress to tenants of private landlords.

Naming and shaming poor practice to help tackle the worst abuses.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:- "For too long, tenants and homeowners have navigated multiple complaints procedures to resolve disputes about everyday household repairs and maintenance. Fixing this housing crisis is about more than just building homes, it's ensuring people have the answers available when something goes wrong. This top to bottom review shows Government is working hard to deliver a better and simpler system."

Unlike other areas, such as financial services that have a single and accountable ombudsman, housing has over 4 different complaints bodies.

In the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system and this can often leave thousands who do not use a property agent without any option for redress.

House builders are responsible for fixing incomplete work in new build homes, but when this does not happen many consumers with snagging issues can find that they have nowhere left to turn.

This is just 1 of the steps the Government is taking to solve the Country's housing crisis and improve the rental sector which 8.6 million households are part of.

From April we are introducing new measures to crack down on rogue landlords to ensure tenants are not being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing overcrowded, squalid and sometimes dangerous homes.

This consultation will be crucial to improving the complaints process across the market, driving forward a higher standard for service in housing.

The 8 week consultation will provide an invaluable insight into the views and experiences of people, specifically addressing 3 key areas:-

The effectiveness of the current complaint process, or if more can be done to improve the experience.

What standard of service should be expected and if a single housing ombudsman is needed.

How to fill the existing gaps in the current system, such as private landlords not having to register with a redress scheme.

The 8 week consultation began on the 18 February 2018, with an online form being available to housing consumers, until the 16 April 2018.

This consultation is open to all including: tenants, landlords, homeowners, and existing ombudsman schemes.

The Ministry will provide more information on future proposals to the housing redress process following the conclusion of this consultation.

Issues relating to social tenants will be considered in the Social Housing Green Paper, which is due to be published later in the year.

Currently, there are multiple providers of redress that cover some aspects of home buying and renting, but not all. Membership of ombudsman schemes is compulsory for some groups, but not for others.

In England, there are currently 3.9 million households in the social rented sector and 4.7 million in the private rented sector.

New money to build homes across the Northern Powerhouse stalled by planning

NEW funding to help speed up planning decisions and help deliver quality new homes across the Northern Powerhouse has been announced by Housing Minister Dominic Raab. 

The 1st wave of the 'Planning Delivery Fund,' totalling ₤3.1 million, has been awarded to enable Councils to process more applications, implement new reforms and also train planners to tackle the housing challenges faced by their local area.

This funding boost will support Local Authorities working together on ambitious new joint local plans and core strategies, which will engage residents on how future development will take place in their areas and outline the locations suitable for new homes where demand is high.

The funding will also support greater best practice and innovation within Councils as they decide planning applications, resulting in more being determined over a shorter period of time.

Money awarded to bidders will also allow Local Authorities to access the latest expertise on design and Town planning, driving up the quality of new homes built.

Housing and Planning Minister Dominic Raab said:- "This cash boost ensures Councils across the North have the resources needed to make quicker decisions on planning applications, delivering quality housing at a faster rate. It's part of our strategy to build the homes this country needs whilst also supporting residents to have their say on the kind of development that takes place in their area."

This 1st wave of funding has been split into 3 streams that will assist in delivering new homes across:- 'England - The Joint Working Fund' (₤1.3 million), 'Design Quality Fund' (₤1.4 million) and 'Promoting Innovation Fund' (₤208,172).

A total of 11 projects in the North, from Kirklees to Liverpool, will receive funding from the 'Planning Delivery Fund' across all 3 streams, from 2017 until 2019. This will help enable:-

  Eden District Council to evaluate potential transport options with ₤250,000 of funding.

  Richmondshire District Council to bring forward master planning around Catterick Garrison and Town Centre master plan with funds totalling ₤50,000.

  Liverpool City Combined Authority to deliver additional resources for the Regional Spatial Development Strategy and a new skyline strategy using ₤331,700 of funding.

  South Ribble Borough Council to develop a new local plan across Central Lancashire, delivering new homes in the right places, with ₤250,000.

The launch of this fund will give successful councils a greater capability to implement the Government's reforms of the planning system and comes as the Ministry for Housing prepares to launch its revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) later this spring.

More information can be found online.

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