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The government has announced plans to reform the redress available to tenants and private landlords, by introducing the Housing Complaints Resolution Service.

It has been argued that companies which specialise in rental inventories can greatly assist landlords and tenants in compliance with schemes such as this, with tenancies supported by inventory reporting.

In January 2019, the secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, announced that there would be a major rebuilding of the current housing redress system.

In addition to the proposals for the registration of landlords with a redress scheme, and the establishment of a new ombudsman for homes, plans were also unveiled for the Housing Complaints Resolution Service.

The government has explained that its aim is to launch a simple and clear route to redress by creating one destination for housing complaints, which will prevent people with problems being turned away.

The Redress Reform Working Group is now working towards developing the proposals before the service is introduced at a later date, which has yet to be announced.

Industry experts have claimed that this redress scheme will provide a clear, single route system for complaints in the UK, supported by evidence-based, impartial documentation such as inventories, which will work to protect both landlords and tenants. Inventories will complement a clearer and bolstered redress system.

They went on to explain that the government’s plans for reforming housing redress is welcome news for the sector, as it is believed that this new system will raise consumer confidence by offering an accessible and straightforward procedure for complaints.

Impartial compliance reports and inventories can be readily used as evidence for tenants in a complaint, or for protecting letting agents and landlords against unfounded or unreasonable claims by tenants. Inventories can also provide more weight in a complaint case, by describing and showing the issues clearly.

According to the annual report from the Property Ombudsman in 2017, the total amount awarded to individuals as a result of complaints in the lettings industry has risen by 18 per cent from 2016, to a sum of £931,092. This is almost three times the amount awarded for sales complaints.

In addition to this, the average sum awarded in lettings complaints rose by 18 per cent, and the quantity of lettings cases which were resolved has risen by 11 per cent. Record keeping, communication and management were among the most common causes for complaints.

The Property Redress Scheme also discovered that poorly made inventories were a major reason for letting agents being found guilty of failing to manage a property adequately.

As the trends show, there is an increase of activity surrounding complaints within the lettings sector. This has made it even more essential that the new system uses documentation and evidence effectively and clearly, in a similar way to the tenancy deposit protection scheme.

As with deposit disputes which are handled by deposit protections schemes, inventories also prove valuable for landlords to prove the correct condition of the property against bogus or unfair complaints. In conjunction with the new redress scheme, inventories will ensure that genuine complaints are managed with fair verdicts.

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