Housing market could get ombudsman, minister announces
The UK housing market could get its own ombudsman, communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
Mr Javid told the National House Building Council lunch that it was great news that 217,000 homes had been built in the last 12 months - the highest figure in nearly a decade - but said there were often major issues with the new properties.
These included structural problems, a lack of insulation and other faults, which is part of the reason why many people prefer to move into an older home instead of a new build.
He noted that even if the construction sector can point to a satisfaction rate of 80 per cent, that would be the equivalent of 40,000 of the 217,000 new households having something to complain about.
The minister noted that getting redress for problems can be a long and arduous process, with various contractors blaming each other and leaving the hapless owner of a flawed property in the lurch while the matter takes ears to sort out.
Mr Javid said that as the government had already announced earlier this year that tenants would be covered by a new ombudsman scheme, and said he will now consult on having one single ombudsman for all issues in the housing sector, to help renters and owner-occupiers alike.
This will be "a single, transparent and accountable body with a remit that covers the whole of the housing sector - including both private and social landlords and the providers of new-build homes," he explained.
Mr Javid's announcement came as the government prepared to unveil a range of initiatives to bolster the construction of new homes, with an eventual target of 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.
Housing minister Alok Sharma just revealed a £25 million fund to help local authorities unlock land for development, including the 14 garden towns and villages currently planned across England.