The government has proposed a new redress scheme for buyers of new homes including the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman.  The government says the proposals are designed to give new home buyers somewhere to turn for help when things go wrong.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has recently completed a consultation on plans to make it a legal requirement for developers of new build homes to be members of a redress scheme and on details of new legislation to underpin a New Homes Ombudsman.  It is expected to bring forward its final proposals soon.

The existing Housing Ombudsman Service has welcomed the government’s commitment to preserve current routes to redress.  It only wants the New Homes Ombudsman to cover complaints where redress cannot be sought elsewhere.

The National Association of Estate Agents goes further.  It has told the government that it wants a single Ombudsman to provide redress across all aspects of the privately-owned property industry rather than setting up separate Ombudsmen for different activities.

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions says that the implications for professionals are not clear, until the scope and powers of the proposed New Homes Ombudsman have been decided. However there are concerns of knock on effects, even if the new Ombudsman is confined to developers “Given the experience of professionals in other sectors covered by ombudsmen, the service may be popular with the public. This may increase claims and costs for developers, who in turn may look to recover these from professionals. The cost of attempted recovery claims both in time and financial amount may have implications, even where the professional has done nothing wrong,” he said.

The MHCLG consultation document is available on the government website.  Reports on the consultation have been published by Bevan Brittan and Estate Agent Today. The Housing Ombudsman Service has published its response to the consultation on its website.

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