At the end of January, the Government’s Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, announced a number of reforms for the rented property sector, including the introduction of a compulsory requirement for private landlords to join a redress scheme.
The move, which is part of the proposed Housing Complaints Resolution Service, will see 1.5 million landlords having to pay a fee to join such a scheme – or risk a fine of £5000.
This comes after lettings agents and property-management companies in England were made to do the same back in 2014.
The idea is that once the service is launched, tenants will have better access to support when they need it. It is hoped that common tenancy disputes will be resolved more quickly as a result.
Redress schemes are designed to add further regulation to the housing sector so that tenants are better protected from rogue landlords. The Housing Complaints Resolution Service will be developed in consultation with a new Redress Reform Working Group of representatives from across the sector in order to ensure that a wide range of issues and perspectives are taken into account.
The finer details of how the service will work are yet to be released to the public but there are some concerns among property experts that the policy could be costly to implement and that it might not actually lead to that much change, given that lettings agents are already required to join such schemes.
On the other hand, there have been long-held concerns at both public and governmental levels about the lack of regulation of private landlords, so this may be a welcome move for the country’s millions of tenants.
Although a date for the introduction of the service is yet to be announced, the Government has said that it wants the plans in place as soon as practicably possible. A number of voluntary redress schemes and dispute resolution services are already operating but this is the first time that membership will be made compulsory for private individuals who act as landlords.