A new government scheme has been implemented to improve the process of obtaining redress for homeowners and tenants. This is due to come into force soon, pending Parliament’s approval.
The new Housing Complaints Resolution Service has been set up to give homeowners and tenants a point of contact to get help with unresolved disputes regarding their homes, from broken boilers to repairs and maintenance. If the issue couldn’t be resolved and is brought to the new scheme, the system will make it easier for the homeowner or tenant to get any redress they are entitled to.
The aim of the scheme was to simplify the overall resolution process to ensure all residents can get the help they need, and save time time trying several different channels without obtaining results. The current system has been noted as confusing, with multiple complaint bodies available and compulsory membership for some landlords, but not for others.
Many landlords are unhappy with these proposed changes. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) voiced concerns that there has been little thought to how the scheme will work in practice and could result in higher costs for landlords. They were also worried that landlords who are using estate agents will be forced to pay twice for a resolution service, as not only will it be incorporated into the estate agent fees, but they will also be required to join this scheme.
Should landlords fail to join this scheme, they could face charges of up to £5,000.
What has changed?
Landlords currently have the option to join similar resolution services, though they have not been obligatory until this point. This change has come into place amongst several others major changes for landlords in the past few years, including caps on fees and deposits, stamp duty rates and landlord tax, to name but a few.
The cost for landlords to join the scheme has not yet been determined, with the government suggesting it will operate in a tiered structure over a flat fee.
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