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Land & New Homes

Housing ministry reveals plans for New Homes ‘watchdog’

A new ombudsman for sector is one of several new government measures including a ban on combustible cladding on high-rise apartment towers and more planning reforms.

Nigel Lewis

The government has announced more property reforms designed to protect those buying and living in new-build housing.

This includes a new ombudsman to fight for the rights of new-build buyers and banning the construction of high-rise buildings that contain apartments above 18 metres.

Complaints about new builds are to be handled by the New Homes Ombudsman who the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) describes as a ‘watchdog that will champion homebuyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account’.

All new homes developers will have to register with this ombudsman once it has been set up, although a consultation with consumers and the industry and then legislation will be needed first.

Katrina Sporle“We have always agreed that  should be covered by an Ombudsman, as consumers have no idea that when they buy a new home directly from a developer they will have no access to a redress scheme,” says Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle (left).

“This announcement will mean the housing market becomes a fairer place for all involved.”

Housing reforms

The new ombudsman is part of a package of reforms announced by the government yesterday including significant changes to the planning process to enable more homes to be built.

This including allowing home owners to extend their homes upwards more easily. Also, MHCLG is to issue clearer guidance about releasing land for New Towns and allowing local authorities to dispose of surplus building plots more easily.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire also revealed improvements to the safety of high-rise apartment blocks, and the banning of towers being built using combustible cladding for residential or hospital use that are more than 18 metres tall.

October 2, 2018

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