Calls made for new home ombudsman

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment have called on the government to make it mandatory for all housebuilders to belong to an independent ombudsman scheme.

In its report, the Group sets out that a new independent homes ombudsman should be free to consumers and provide a quick resolution to disputes. Entitled Better redress for homebuyers, the report also recommends that government, housebuilders, warranty providers and consumer groups should work together to draw up a Code of Practice; this, it states, would be used by the ombudsman to adjudicate on disputes.

It also proposes that the disputes taken to the new ombudsman should be included within a yearly report, with scheme funded by a levy on housebuilders. Larger companies, it states, should be paid proportionately more.

Sharing his comments on the report was Richard Best. The vice chair of the APPG said: “Buying a new home is stressful enough but buying a defective one, as we heard from submissions and witnesses, can take a massive toll on people’s wellbeing as they wrestle with an almost Kafkaesque system seemingly designed to be unhelpful. The purchaser of a new home in this country should be confident that they are buying a high-quality product, no matter where they are or who built it. Our proposals could help to make this a reality.”

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