A new complaints system has been launched by the government to aid tenants fighting with private buy to let property investors over substandard or dangerous accommodation.
Currently, complaints schemes are ineffective. Thousands of tenants are allegedly left without proper solutions. Some unlucky tenants with complex issues are forced to navigate at least four different services in order to find where to register a complaint.
Concerns have been raised that the complex and confusing system allows rogue landlords to exploit their tenants as they are able to provide a substandard service without the fear of government intervention.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has introduced an eight-week consultation which will aim to create a simpler and more effective system to lodge complaints. This will enable disputes to be resolved and faster. Consumers will therefore be able to access the compensation they are rightfully owed due to their problematic properties.
The consultation aims to look into ways to crack down on rogue landlords who offer overcrowded and dangerous homes which are poorly maintained. As part of the consultation, the options considered range from the introduction of a single housing ombudsman to cover the whole of the housing market to the naming and shaming poor practices.
Sectors such as the financial services have a single and accountable ombudsman. In comparison, housing has over four different complaints bodies which makes the process more confusing for tenants.
At present in the private rented sector, there is currently no obligation for landlords to register with a complaints system. This has the potential to leave thousands who do not use a property agent without any option for redress. When work is incomplete in a new-build property the house builders are left accountable. However, when homes are left not properly finished tenants are left with no one to rectify their issues.
Sajid Javid, the Housing Secretary, spoke out about the consultation: ‘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.’