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Housing complaints system is a ‘baffling patchwork’ – Ombudsman

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  • 18/07/2018
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Housing complaints system is a ‘baffling patchwork’ – Ombudsman
The government has been urged to clear up the “baffling patchwork” of the housing complaints system.

Ombudsman Services, an ombudsman which is pulling out of the housing and property sector next month, argued that the current redress process is both complex and confusing for ordinary people.

It claimed that as many as 40 services, charities, advice groups and trade bodies are involved in this process, and called on the government to simplify the complaints structure with the introduction of a single housing ombudsman.

A survey by Ombudsman Services earlier this year found that seven in every ten respondents found the current system for making a housing complaint confusing, with 55% admitting they didn’t know how or where to complain.

In a consultation paper put forward at the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government did suggest introducing a single ombudsman to cover the issue of housing.

Matthew Vickers, chief ombudsman designate at Ombudsman Services, said the overlaps and gaps make it “virtually impossible” for people to get their complaints resolved.

He continued: “By following the model used in energy, where strong regulation is backed up by a single ombudsman and effective advocacy, redress in housing could be transformed for the better.

“The government must take action to reduce confusion and detriment.”

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