The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that the new Social Housing Regulation Bill will give the Regulator of Social Housing stronger powers to ensure that residents will be able to live in ‘decent, well looked-after homes and enjoy the quality of life that they deserve.’
The powers will include the ability to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs where a serious risk is posed to tenants. Landlords will also be required to foot the bill for these repairs.
Michael Gove, Levelling Up Secretary, said:
“In 2022 it is disgraceful that anyone should live in damp, cold and unsafe homes, waiting months for repairs and being routinely ignored by their landlord. These new laws will end this injustice and ensure the regulator has strong new powers to take on rogue social landlords.
We are driving up the standards of social housing and giving residents a voice to make sure they get the homes deserve.
That is levelling up in action.”
Another move to address the power imbalance between tenants and landlords is to allow residents to demand information and rate their landlords. These measures are in place to ensure satisfaction. Tenants will also have a ‘direct line’ to government, as a new 250-person residents panel will convene every four months, sharing their experiences with minsters.
Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Kate Henderson, said:
“Having a home that is warm and dry, safe, secure, and affordable is the right of every person in this country. For social housing providers this means providing high quality living standards in every home and carrying out repairs on time. Government data shows that on average social homes are better quality than other rented homes, however we have seen instances where social housing tenants have had to live in substandard properties, and this is not acceptable.
We welcome to aims of this bill to give tenant’s greater powers and improve access to swift and fair redress. Over 200 housing associations have already taken steps to strengthen relationships between residents and landlords by signing up to Together with Tenants, a sector-led initiative which set new standards for tenant and landlord relationships.
Alongside this, the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing are working together to support housing associations to take collective action on quality issues, details of which will be published imminently.”
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, this Bill is another step towards moving away from the systemic issues that have been identified when considering the quality and, more crucially, the safety of social housing