A new ombudsman '� known as the landlord redress scheme - and property portal would be compulsory for all private sector landlords.
Part of the Renters (Reform) Bill, the redress scheme or schemes will have the legal authority to compel apologies, take remedial action and pay compensation and, according to the government, will provide fair, impartial, and binding resolution to many issues and prove 'quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial than the court system'�.
Any decision under the scheme would be made enforceable as if it were a court order.
Sean Hooker, head of redress at Property Redress Scheme, tells LandlordZONE that although the government is still working out the finer details, the initiative should help address the gap in dispute resolution for tenants whose landlords do not use an agent or where the issues fall under the obligations of the landlord and not their agent.
Meanwhile, the private rented property portal would help landlords 'understand their legal obligations and demonstrate compliance, alongside providing better information to tenants to make informed decisions when entering into a tenancy agreement,'� according to the government. It aims to support local councils by helping them target enforcement activity where it is needed most.
The PRS'�s Hooker believes a portal should help landlords and agents understand and comply with their obligations. 'Of course, the caveat is that the technology is correct and the process of registering and complying is straightforward and affordable and we await the details of how this will be achieved in a realistic timescale as it is the lynchpin of so much of the other reforms proposed,'� he adds.
Fears have long been voiced about local councils'� ability to carry out further enforcement when budgets are being cut. The Local Government Association believes improved access to data on the PRS and mandated landlord registration will increase councils'� oversight of and ability to enforce against the small minority of landlords guilty of criminal behaviour.
Housing spokesman Darren Rodwell adds: 'The LGA will continue to work with the government to ensure that councils have the right powers, skills, capacity and resources to undertake effective enforcement activity to improve standards in the private rented sector.'�