Ombudsman sets out ‘offer’ to tenants
The housing ombudsman has set out how his organisation will handle complaints from tenants once it takes full responsibility for the sector in 2013.
In an article for Inside Housing, Mike Biles says the changes should increase the trust tenants and landlords have in dispute resolution, and improve relations between the two parties.
From 1 April 2013 the housing ombudsman will take responsibility for all ‘escalated complaints’ against social landlords. At present some disputes are handled by the local government ombudsman.
Under changes in the Localism Bill the ombudsman will no longer be able to deal with complaints made direct by tenants. Instead concerns will have to first go to a local representative – such as a councillor or MP – or through a tenant panel before being passed to the ombudsman.
In the article Mr Biles says this is designed to ‘strengthen the role of locally elected representatives and tenant groups and address a perceived democratic deficit in understanding of housing issues at the local level’.
He says the service will publish a set of ‘dispute resolution principle’ setting out how it wil handle complaints.
He states: ‘We aim to achieve accessible dispute resolution that will be of benefit to both landlords and tenants and encourage landlords to use these outcomes to improve the services they provide.’