The government has taken the first step to introducing a mandatory ombudsman scheme which private landlord must join.
It’s published what is called a Pre-Tender Market Engagement request seeking information in preparation for finding a supplier who would manage the scheme.
The government description of the scheme - formally called ‘the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Landlord Ombudsman scheme’ - outlines its proposal.
It says: “The Ombudsman scheme will be mandatory for all private landlords in England.
“It will provide redress and dispute resolution to all private rented sector tenants by an independent person, in accordance with the terms of the arrangements with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (herein referred to as "the Authority").”
It says the Pre-Tender Market Engagement is to gather information to:
“- help define the service specification for the Ombudsman;
“- help provide a better understanding of the feasibility of the requirement;
“- understand the best approach to introduce and implement the Ombudsman;
“- understand the capacity of the market to deliver and possible risks involved;
“- inform value for money considerations undertaken by the Authority;
“- provide the market with an opportunity to ask questions, raise queries and any issues to be addressed at an early stage;
“- inform potential delivery timescales of the Ombudsman;
“- inform our decision on the route to market.”
This process is merely to ‘scope’ the possible shape and powers of an ombudsman and the government insists it is “separate to any later procurement exercise.”
The ombudsman is one of the many pledges made by the current government to reform what it sees as problems in the private rental sector.
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