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29/05/2020

Tory MP to chair interim board for new homes ombudsman

Words: Huw Morris
Natalie Elphicke

Natalie Elphicke is to chair the interim board of an independent body that will have responsibility for the quality of new homes and tackle consumer concerns.

The Conservative MP for Dover and Deal will head the New Homes Quality Board, which comprises representatives from across the housing sector. It will work on a code of practice that aims to place more stringent requirements on all parties involved in the construction, inspection, sale and aftercare of new homes. The organisation will also agree the process to appoint a New Homes Ombudsman service to adjudicate against the new code.

The move follows a government pledge in 2018 to create a new homes ombudsman to ensure improvements and consistency in the quality of new homes, better customer service and strengthened consumer redress as a matter of urgency.

A permanent chair and board is planned to be in place by the autumn with the new code and ombudsman service up and running by the start of 2021. There will then be a transition period for builders to sign up to the new arrangements.

A housing and finance expert, Elphicke was appointed as the independent “new homes quality champion” last summer and is a parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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