10:45 AM, 25th November 2021, About A week ago 2
The Dispute Service (TDS) has been chosen by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to run the New Homes Ombudsman scheme, which will provide dispute resolution, and determine complaints by buyers of new build homes against developers.
Once the arrangements for the ombudsman scheme have been made, developers will be required to become and remain members of the scheme.
Where the ombudsman determines a dispute in favour of the complainant, they may order redress such as paying compensation, and where this is not complied with, the scheme may expel the member.
Steve Harriott, chief executive of The Dispute Service, said: “We have significant experience of starting new services from scratch, so I am confident that we will be ready to launch the scheme in early 2022.”
What teeth will the New Homes Ombudsman have?
Developers will be required to become and remain members of the New Homes Ombudsman scheme.
The New Homes Ombudsman scheme must make provision about the investigation and determination of complaints, including a requirement for the New Homes Ombudsman to require information from scheme members and to provide complainants whose complaints are determined to be well-founded with a form of redress set out in the legislation.
The New Homes Ombudsman scheme must include provision about the enforcement of its determinations, which may include provision for the expulsion of a member from the scheme.
The government consulted on the introduction of an ombudsman scheme in June 2019: a summary of responses was published in February 2020, which showed broad support for the proposals.
The Homes Builders Federation and National House Building Council conduct national annual surveys of house builders: their most recent survey recorded that 88% of respondents were very, or fairly satisfied with the overall quality of their newly built home and that 91% would recommend their home builder to a friend.
Respondents to the survey who would not recommend their builder to a friend increased from 9% in 2011 to 2012 to 16% in 2015 to 2016, before decreasing to 13% in 2017 to 2018.
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