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Ombudsman for Private Landlords - “there’s nothing to fear”

The current Housing Ombudsman, who presides over redress within the social housing sector, says private landlords should not fear the extension of such a service to buy to let.

However Richard Blakeway, writing on the Conservative Home website, says there should be just one private rental sector Ombudsman service to make enforcement clear to landlords and consumers alike.

Blakeway says some private landlords may feel the creation of a private sector Ombudsman is another burden and more bureaucracy, but he insists this would be to misunderstand the role.


He writes: “Our decisions are impartial and rooted in fairness: around half of the cases we investigate are not upheld. This can be an effective way for the landlord to resolve a dispute where relationships with tenants have broken down. If something has gone wrong, the remedies are not punitive – they are simply aimed at putting the consumer back in the position they would have enjoyed had things been as they should. If requirements are not being met, surely it is better to learn through an Ombudsman decision than risk repeating the same mistakes?”

He says that he has long argued for the extension of the Ombudsman principle to the private rental sector and that he therefore welcomes the provision within the Renters Reform Bill.

But he cautions that this risks being undermined because the legislation allows for the creation of one or more redress schemes in the private rented sector. 

Blakeway dislikes this idea because he says the role of freeholders, developers, agents, and landlords (both social and private), intersect alongside a multitude of private, social, and home-ownership tenures. 

He says these relationships can be complex, making accountability and responsibility diffuse - and so he believes that “salami-slicing redress when there are disputes” risks confusion, unintended gaps, and consumers being passed from pillar to post.

Blakeway says the recent history of redress should be a case study for the government of how not to do it.

“Six years ago, ministers declared the system of housing redress broken. Then the proposal was to simplify and strengthen it, including consolidation through a single housing Ombudsman, providing a modern and agile response to a changing housing market. Yet today there are more bodies than ever. Consumers may have to approach at least seven different organisations to get their issues addressed. This may mean neighbours going down different routes – even for the same issue.”

He insists this benefits neither the consumer nor the provider, who may end up having to join and navigate multiple schemes. 

“It sucks up energy and innovation, and makes it harder to identify and implement lessons to improve services … The dysfunctions in the housing market should not be compounded in the way problems are redressed.”

You can read Blakeway’s full article here.

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  • icon

    Here is the process:

    1 Tenant complains.
    2 Landlord says no.
    3 Tenant goes to the Ombudsman complains. They know they will win there.
    4 Ombudsman finds in favour of the tenant.

    Based upon the above a knowledgable landlords will start to behave like this:

    1 Tenant complains.
    2 Landlord rolls over to everything. Or decides I can’t even get rid of this F*** out of MY OWN PROPERTY. The only way out is to sell.

    I have to say in my experience complaints can be difficult to remedy. I found the retaliatory eviction rules very hard to overcome. I had constant complaints from one of my tenants. As quickly as something was fixed another was filed. The last was a small rip in the kitchen floor. Was awkward to fix because the concrete floor was damp. So I can’t lay a new floor. I had bricklayers checking the pointing. Blocked the back of the sink more as water may have got down there. Sent a plumber to check the plumbing. All ££££. My agent quoted twice £2,200 plus VAT or replace a vinyl kitchen floor 😂

    My solicitor said no repairs before a S21. I was stuck. The way out was to over ride the rules by selling it. They have broken several window handles and doorhandles internally amongst other things. It’s difficult to prove certain things. I asked one of the builders do they think the handles were forced. They said it’s probably because it was old. Nobody wants to get involved.

    Tenants will be free to create all sorts of mayhem, knowing full well that they have the support of an ombudsman who will be looking for proof of everything from a landlord. They will also be looking for compensation. Although knowing full well you can’t even get them out anymore.

    I’ve also read some ombudsman reports before. They are usually written by some old civil servant who is semi retired. It’s a quiet easy job. Read through both sides accounts. From what I could see they only ever commented on the process that was followed. I recall then saying “it’s not my place to comment on the fine” that was for the council (the defendant) to decide. They just sit on the fence. Basically somebody needs to win and somebody needs to lose. Well, I expect it to be the landlord wherever possible.

    My biggest fears now:

    No 21

    Later is:

    Labour raising CGT
    Rent caps
    Labour and lots more trouble
    Maybe never being able to get my properties back


    Very well said, I just wonder what the fee will be 💰💰🆘🆘



    You will ALWAYS be able to sell as the banks and other mortgage companies will demand they're able to repossess when necessary.

    I intend to use the possible option to sell as a reality check with problem tenants - toe the line or I will sell up if that's the easiest or only way to get rid of you - and I won't be bluffing - but I am NOT selling up other than as a last resort.


    I was thinking along the same lines. My fear is Labour coming and raising CGT even further. I think it's best to run now...


    Very well presented Nick and I agree. I have posted this in another post:
    I'm having an absolute nightmare evicting a non paying tenant from a property in Norwich. They have submitted a defence against the section 21 and I'm waiting to see what the Court wants me to do next. The defence is 95% made up nonsense with a tiny amount of fact. Never had a tenant behave like this before but feel that it is a direct result of the anti Landlord campaigns.
    This is a real warning to me. But to have one house where I have to pay the mortgage yet the tenant has not paid me rent since September 2022 and at that time was £3000 in arrears due to Covid and change in jobs.
    We have no voice and I can only see this getting worse!
    They have added mould to the list of issues,I lived in this house and never had a problem.
    I can only see processes getting longer and allowing tenants to have more time to live in our properties rent free.
    Like Nick I am leaning to selling my properties, though do have 3 outstanding tenants that I currently intend to keep.

    Edit Like Report


    Andy, As long as your S21 is legal there is NO defence against S21 & you will win.

  • icon

    What he says about a single ombudsman service is sensible, as long as they are well set up (not a given). It would uncomplicated and reduce work hours if there was less arguing over who is responsible for what.
    I do fear that the burden of proof still remains with the landlord and especially with thing like mould, it is difficult to prove that there were no problems beyond a bit of condensation on the windows (when I was paying the gas bill and reminding about ventilation etc in a shared flat) before but within 6 months of a full flat tenancy I am demoulding and decorating the bedroom ceiling, replacing carpet and drying out the bedroom, in fear of a no-win-no-fee claim. No structural issues, just a failure to heat and ventilate.

  • icon

    The issue here is at the end of the day someone needs to pay for this extra work, ombudsman wages etc. Tenants don't realize that the rents will need to go up again and again and again to cover all these new expenses and regulations. In fact, they have already gone up due to these and now everyone is shouting about it, All these new regulations are reflected in rent increases which everyone expects. the rents to stay put and the landlord just to be charged more and more. we used to share agent finders fees with the tenant now we are not allowed. rents go up to reflect this.
    If it was the tenant's own house then he would probably just live with the minor even major issues ather than pay thousands to sort out. But as the are tenants they feel that they pay rent so things must be perfect and any defect must be sorted ASAP. Well if the want things sorted ASAP they should go live in a Hotel or buy their own and see if they themselves would repair something that cost thousands or just learn to live with it. or find somewhere else at a higher rent.
    I had a tenant whose ceiling collapsed he was insisting that the ceiling be replaced and redecorated within 2 days as if we are magicians. If it was his own place they would take a month if not more just trying to find the cheapest price to do it.


    All so true. I've had a tenant whatsapp me at 10pm on saturday night wanted someone to reglaze the front door on a Sunday... She's got the bailiffs coming on Tuesday thank god.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    So "they are simply aimed at putting the consumer back in the position they would have enjoyed had things been as they should".

    What about the Landlord who place has been trashed is the ombudsman going to order the scruffy sod to "Simply aim to put the Landlord back in the position they would have enjoyed had things been as they should".

    Or am I asking too much?


    You are asking too much. No one cares about landlords, but landlords themselves. It's all about the tenant. It's the lefties taking over.

  • icon

    The Ombudsmen is all well and good on paper but in real life it is very different. Firstly the Ombudsmen should ensure that the tenant is paying the rent. If not paying then they should insist that they do. If they win the argument I have no issue with resolving problem or even giving a rebate, I say this as if it is a fair playing field I will ensure that this will not be the case. I keep my properties in tip top condition and rectify very quickly any issues as I repair myself.
    In reality I believe the Ombudsmen will be heavily weighted in favour of the tenant and will have no power of enforcement over the tenant, but of course will be highly effective against Landlords.


    This is my great fear. We will always lose. It will be compensation galore with the unfriendly ombudsman ruling in favour of the tenants almost every time.

    As you say it looks 'good' on paper. But I don't don't want it. It's going to be a disaster.

  • icon

    Perhaps part of the solution is that for a complaint to be investigated and upheld the tenant must have no rent arrears in the same way as the Landlord will be expected to have a safe and fit for purpose house. If the house is not then he will be found against. If Tenant has arrears then he will be found against.
    Lets keep it simple!


    No way will this happen. Single mother, on benefits, 4 kids; 1 in a wheelchair, 1 with ADHD, 1 with autism and the other one with an ASBO. Mother has cancer too and they are behind on the rent due to her losing her job. No one cares about a landlord but no one will pay the landlord the rent either!

    If she’s got mould, a fault boiler etc it’s all put on the landlord.

  • icon

    The situation has become dire for landlords. I take the view now, that any hassle I get from arrogant and persistently manipulative tenants, I will simply ‘sell up ‘ at a moment of my choosing.
    I just hope that our ‘lefty’ politicians don’t revoke all our ownership rights and simply sequestrate/ confiscate our hard won property assets. We are certainly facing that possibility.

  • icon

    4 ABSOLUTE CERTAINTIES For landlords no Justice no Human rights Total discrimination Hate crime
    That is all we need to know , Get OUT NOW

  • George Dawes

    Last few years have shown the government is the last thing you can trust

  • icon

    Just remember while we are all bell aching and getting taken to the cleaners, the high rise blocks to replace us is continuing.
    The Concrete Mixer cannot stop Government will make sure of that.

  • George Dawes

    You’re right , lots of ugly tower blocks being built near me , thought they’d gone the way of the dodo thanks to their sheer awfulness

    Anti social housing for the next generation

    A concrete cubicle with your very own ar vr headset you’ll think you’re in paradise while you munch on your maggots


    You can just imagine the kind of tenants moving in can't you how nice for the locals

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Another wasted cost Bureaucratic scheme that TENENTS will end up paying for in Rent. - Don't ' get it ' do they !


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