Nearly 60% of landlords are either against or not convinced by the Government’s plans to bring in mandatory membership of an ombudsman for all landlords in England, it has been revealed.
The proposals, which are within the Renters (Reform) Bill passing through parliament, aim to ensure disputes between private renters and landlords are settled impartially, quickly, at a low cost and without going to court.
Mortgage broker Landbay canvassed 1,100 landlords and found that while almost half of them were unsure whether the ombudsman was a good idea and would like more information about it, 10% were against it and 42% agreed the proposal was a good idea.
Those landlords who were supportive of an ombudsman were keen to point out that it must be impartial and offer timely resolution of disputes rather than lengthy court cases.
But those against the service said they thought it would ‘always side with the tenant and it was just a money-making scheme’ and that if it were run by Government would just be ‘another layer of bureaucracy’.
Indications are that, like the ombudsman schemes that help letting agents and their customers resolve disputes, it would be run by a third party outside Whitehall.
Paul Brett (pictured), MD of intermediaries at Landbay commented: “Our survey found uncertainty around the idea of a Private Rented Sector ombudsman.
“On the positive side, it would be good if disputes could be quickly resolved without having to go to court, but there is some scepticism as to how quick this would be. It appears that more information is needed before such as scheme is created.”
Sean Hooker (pictured), who heads up existing industry redress scheme the PRS, tells LandlordZONE that the Landbay report is another indication that the details of the proposal in the bill need to be clarified and the benefits of redress promoted to landlords.
He says the sector needs to know how the “ombudsman will be delivered, by whom and when”. “The delays in moving the bill forward will only lead to more uncertainty so urgency after the summer is needed to progress things. What is encouraging however is four out of ten landlords welcome the proposal and only one in ten is totally against,” he adds.