Failing social housing landlords could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections, under the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill being introduced into Parliament today.
A new Regulator of Social Housing will have stronger powers to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice – down from 28 days – and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants, with social landlords footing the bill.
In what the government calls “a major reset of power between tenants and landlords”, residents will be able to demand information and rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures.
Tenants will have a direct line to government, with a new 250-person residents panel convening every four months to share their experiences with ministers, inform policy thinking and help drive change in the sector.
The Bill is the latest step in addressing the systemic issues identified following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, not just on the safety and quality of social housing, but about how tenants are treated by their landlords.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “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 they deserve. That is levelling up in action.”
The biggest social housing providers will face regular inspections and the Levelling Up Secretary will continue to name and shame worst offenders to make sure residents are living in good quality homes.
The Bill will also mean landlords will need to have a named person who will be responsible for health and safety requirements. And tenants of housing associations will be able to request information from their landlord, similar to how the Freedom of Information Act works for council housing.
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