Frances Traynor's picture

Industry consultation may see introduction of single housing ombudsman to protect consumers

Mon, 04 Dec 2017



This article refers to a recent Home Buyers Survey.

A consultation will start in January into how to provide a better service for consumers in the housing market. The government has suggested it could introduce a single ombudsman to replace the four different government-approved providers of redress who currently cover some aspects of home buying and renting.

Speaking to industry professionals in London, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said it was vital that the quality of new-build homes continues to improve and one way of providing more comprehensive redress for home owners, home buyers, tenants and landlords could be through a single housing ombudsman.

He added: "This could help drive up standards across the whole industry and increase protections for consumers."

Where to complain

Not all areas of home buying and renting are covered by the current schemes. For example, the current housing ombudsman only deals with complaints about the housing organisations compulsorily registered with it, such as social landlords. However, private landlords and letting agents are voluntary members and, as such, many are not members nor bound by its decisions.

Anyone purchasing a new-build home can raise any complaints with the House Builders' Federation and the National House Building Council.

Home buyers and sellers who are unhappy with how an estate agent has behave can contact the Property Ombudsman, which sets out codes of practice for members and acts as a dispute resolution service, but again membership is voluntary.

Those with a complaint about a solicitor in England and Wales can complain to the Law Society where the solicitor is a member of its Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA). Licensed conveyancers are members of the CLC, the specialist regulatory body for that industry.

Professional security

Building surveyors, who provide structural surveys, valuations and HomeBuyers' Reports, are chartered surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which sets the rules all surveyors must comply with.

All surveyors on Surveyor Local's nationwide panel are members of the RICS.

Click for more information, or to arrange a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey.