Tenancy deposit resolution body could make its first referrals “within months”

The Dispute Service has been approved by an industry body to operate the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS)

The service, a non-profit body that handles disputes over tenancy deposits, will run the new ombudsman service for the New Homes Quality Board, following approval by membership body Ombudsman Association. 

The Building Safety Act, which gained royal assent last week, requires the housing secretary to set up an ombudsman scheme. The government has said the scheme being set up by NHQB and the Dispute Service will become the official ombudsman scheme if it is deemed suitable.

The new ombudsman will enforce the NHQB’s code of practice, which would require builders to have an effective after care service to deal with ‘snagging’ problems and have a robust complaints process. Unresolved issues will be dealt with by the ombudsman.

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The ombudsman would also have the powers to require developers to undertake work or rectification measures and to award compensation.

Steve Harriott, chief executive at The Dispute Service, said: “We have worked hard with the NHQB to develop the NHOS and we will be ready to take our first referrals when developers start to activate their accounts with NHOS over the coming months.

“We will be spending our time over the coming weeks explaining what we are going to be doing with developers, consumers and others and we expect to get our first referrals in the autumn.”