Spotlight on Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman

by Property 118

9:00 AM, 23rd October 2012
About 6 years ago

Spotlight on Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman

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Spotlight on Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman

Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman

Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman took up his current post in 2006.

Prior to this he was the Private Secretary to the Parliamentary Commissioner, Director of Services at the Insurance Ombudsman and the General Manager at the Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman Bureau.

Immediately before taking up his position as The Property Ombudsman Christopher worked in a global compliance role for a major international bank.

We asked Christopher what he perceives to be the main challenges facing the PRS in the next 5 years?

The main challenge for the sector is keeping out the ‘rogue’ element, either landlords or letting agents, both of which have a financial interest in putting tenants into accommodation, and this ‘rogue’ element could well do that regardless of the state of the property, whether it is safe or even fit for habitation.

A proper but measured regulatory regime is needed to ensure that all agents operate to a consistent set of standards and a consistent approach to protection of clients’ money. Many local authorities are now looking at how they can licence landlords – that will be a complicated task, but its success will obviously bring benefits to the sector.

What opportunities do you envisage for the PRS in the next 5 years?

More and more people are choosing to rent property rather than buy. This is likely to be a long term approach and as a result tenants will become more knowledgeable (although I remain convinced that there needs to be some coordinated approach to consumer education in regard to being a tenant or indeed a landlord).

It will therefore be the good quality rental property, that meets proper standards of safety, comfort and facilities, that will be sought by tenants. Landlords should take note of this growing tenant awareness and not abdicate their responsibilities for providing habitable accommodation and looking after it for the tenant. If an appropriate regulatory regime was introduced, that could drive out the bad landlords and the bad agents who currently distort people’s view of the sector.

How would you describe the roll of your organisation?

Independent, impartial facility for the resolution of disputes in the property sector. TPO’s Code of Practice sets the standards for the sector.

How do you see your organisation working with “The GOOD Landlords Campaign”?

It is imperative that both parties to the tenancy agreement fully understand the obligations they have entered into. The agent has a key role here and together with absolute transparency of fees etc, the Good Landlords Campaign should give prospective tenants and landlords greater comfort.



Comments

Devon Landlord

19:40 PM, 23rd October 2012
About 6 years ago

I can see where sorting out the bad landlords and rogue letting agents would benefit us all who want to operate with integrity in the PRS but what concerns me is that too much legislation and control will affect the good landlord and do little if anything to control the ones who do not care. Sure, it sounds great to say that we will register and licence all letting properties like they intend to do in Newham and try to get all landlords to become accredited but will that in itself stop the shoddy landlord and the don't care letting agent? I very much doubt it. What it will do is alienate the good operators who see the stealth taxes that registration imposes upon them and they will opt to go underground which would be a self defeating process for those who are trying to raise standards.
Who is trying to raise standards? Well, it is not the ones who are trying to tax us or accredit us or register our properties because they offer no realistic process for education and improvement. Neither do they offer a carrot, they just apply the stick. It would make more sense to encourage landlords to join Associations who are there to help, support and educate their members. Then standards would rise. we must remember that the vast majority of landlords are good landlords. The ombudsman probably only, like the police, sees the bad ones. We must not let that skewed vision of our business legislate for us all or impose strictures on us that are unnecessary and self defeating.
I want to see a vision of more support and assistance guiding the thinking of people who make decisions that affect us. The un-expected consequences of negative opinions and actions have all too often made operating in this difficult business even more complicated. Give us some clear vision, some hope to encourage the good ones amongst us to prosper and meet the needs of our communities.

20:44 PM, 23rd October 2012
About 6 years ago

Estate agents dealing with sales (but not rentals) must be a member of an Ombudsman scheme by law to trade... After a dispute with an agent recently who wasn't a member, I reported them to the Property Ombudsman but I have to say was a little disappointed with the response. There didn't seem to be much interest on their part and I was simply told to contact Trading Standards.
Shouldn't there be some way that the Ombudsman Scheme can enforce membership themselves if it is a legal requirement...?
Skylight Properties (Yorkshire) - Providers of landlord certificates
http://www.skylight-properties.co.uk


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