© 2016 -
I have been campaigning for an independent New Homes Ombudsman to be set up by government since May 2014. I attended the APPG Inquiry second session on 23rd November 2015 and suggested that the government should set up a New Homes Ombudsman.
The APPG Inquiry Report, published on 13th July 2016, concluded:
“Housebuilder’s own quality control systems are not fit for purpose”
“there needs to be an industry aspiration to achieve a zero-
“good practice should be seen as building a new home that is defect-
“The role would include mediating disputes between consumers and their builders or warranty providers to offer a quick resolution procedure paid for by a housebuilders’ levy.
We see this is as the key recommendation to provide more effective consumer redress, if things go wrong, and a good way of applying pressure on housebuilders and warranty providers to deliver a better quality service.
Our view is that the new service should be funded by a levy on the sector, but it would need to be completely independent and replace the dispute resolution service offered as part of the Consumer Code for Home Builders. Our recommendation picks up on one made by the Office of Fair Trading, in its 2008 market study into the house building industry, which suggested that, if the industry failed to make satisfactory progress, it would recommend further intervention in the form of a statutory redress mechanism for new homebuyers funded by a levy on the industry.”
So it is somewhat disappointing that, 18 months after the report made the recommendation that an independent, government-
The Inquiry report titled 'Better Redress for Homebuyers' was published on 26 June 2018. "Buying a defective new home can take a massive toll on people’s wellbeing as they wrestle with an almost Kafkaesque system seemingly designed to be unhelpful. We cannot allow this to continue. Consumers desperately need greater leverage to drive a change in this culture in order to ensure that housebuilders put them at the heart of what they do."
Surely the time for action is now!
You can read my observations and opinion of the inquiry recommendations here:
MPs back plan for New Homes Ombudsman From the Inquiry report, it would appear that many within the industry are already looking to safeguard their interests and restrict the effectiveness of a New Homes Ombudsman if government are foolish enough to permit it. Of particular concern is the proposal for an "industry-
Many in Government now publicly back the need for a new homes ombudsman, including former Secretary of state Sajid Javid and former housing minister Alok Sharma.
On 18 February 2018 the government announced a public Consultation "Strengthening consumer redress in housing" Despite this closing on 16 April 2018, it took the government 283 days to publish the feedback and its response.
During a debate in the House of Commons on 13 December 2017, the then chair of the APPG EBE Jo Churchill said:
"I applaud the Department for Communities and Local Government for getting the Home Builders Federation to look into the voluntary ombudsman scheme, but perhaps the time for any such voluntary scheme has passed." ……Perhaps?
"…the repointing of joints on walls where purposeful demolition and reconstruction should have happened"……. No doubt in response to the growing incidence of weak-
"We must have not a nice, cosy, industry-
"Too many new homebuyers are suffering, many are physically drained as a result of engagement with errant housebuilders when trying to get their new homes brought up to warranty standards and statutory regulations. For some buyers the mental anguish has become almost unbearable."
Rob Wilson ex MP Reading East
Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Sajid Javid alluded to in his speech at the NHBC on 29 November 2017:
"too many new-
In another announcement by the then housing and communities Secretary Sajid Javid on 29 November 2017, announcing "bold options" that Government "will look at to improve consumer redress across the housing sector"
Setting up an independent New Homes Ombudsman should be its priority.
Worryingly, at the time, it was apparent that the Government’s intended to roll all existing ombudsman (Housing Ombudsman, the Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services’ Property, and the Property Redress scheme) into one, all-
Free – At no cost to new homebuyers making a complaint following the housebuilder or warranty provider issuing a final deadlock letter.
Fair – A New Homes Ombudsman would (and must) be entirely independent of the housebuilding industry – something that clearly the warranty providers and the Consumer Code for Home Builders are most definitely not! Fully transparent, delivered by the Public sector, appointed and audited by Government.
For everything – Everything and anything that can and does arise when buying and living in a new home. Dealing with buyers’ complaints including misleading and incomplete marketing information and underhand selling practices, unfair contracts, poor build quality, defects, non-
The New Homes Ombudsman must be fully-
On Monday 1st October 2018, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced the creation of a statutory new homes ombudsman to ”champion the interests of new homebuyers and hold housebuilders to account”
That was a good day. At last, after four years campaigning, the government has announced an undertaking to set up a fully independent, stand-
The government indicated in its response to its Redress in Housing consultation finally published on 24 January 2019, 283 days after the consultation closed, that "legislation will be brought forward" supposedly being "brought forward at the earliest possible opportunity to require all new developers to belong to the Ombudsman" but there is much ambiguity in the government response.
So the campaign continues -
Government must act and do so quickly. It must ensure the housebuilding industry, building defective new homes up and down the country and causing untold misery for those that live in them, is not given any opportunity to water down the potential effectiveness of the statutory new homes ombudsman, or be given any opportunity to set up an industry-
You can be sure I will be watching, commenting and will miss nothing. After five years campaigning, the statutory new homes ombudsman is now too close to allow the industry to manipulate and interfere, or an ineffective government to delay it.
"Redress for purchasers of new build homes and the New Homes Ombudsman" which ran until 22 August 2019.
You can find my submission here. It could be argued the government is seeking to deliberately delay legislation for the statutory new homes ombudsman with this unnecessary consultation. The MHCLG has been giving ”advice” to the zombie Consumer Code for Homes Builders (CCHB), which the new homes ombudsman will replace. The CCHB said in their newsletter: ”following advice from [Robert Jenrick’s] MHCLG”, they are ”working on a number of initiatives” no doubt in a vain belated effort to appear a more consumer friendly adjudicator, with an illusion of independence. Government must not allow the corrupt industry to interfere in the creation of the statutory new homes ombudsman
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