We welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement that there will be a consultation on options to improve redress across the housing sector, one option being to create a single housing ombudsman to cover the social and private rented sector as well as new-build homes. While we are the only ombudsman dealing with social housing complaints, we also consider complaints about those private landlords who are voluntary members of our scheme and we are in favour of extending access to redress across the sector.
We have previously called for an expansion of our remit into the private sector in our response to the draft Public Services Ombudsman (PSO) Bill where we also highlighted the potential to combine existing ombudsmen in the housing and property sectors into one scheme.
We agree that there are barriers to using our service, notably the designated person arrangements introduced by the Localism Act, and also raised this in our response to the draft PSO Bill. We are currently consulting the sector as part of our business planning about how those arrangements are working and how they might be improved. We look forward to responding to the Secretary of State’s proposed consultation in due course.
David Connolly, Interim Housing Ombudsman