This week, the Government has delivered on a key manifesto commitment by publishing the Social Housing White Paper: The Charter for Social Housing Residents. This package of measures will hold negligent landlords to account, ensuring services never fall below expectations by establishing a new Charter for social housing residents. The summary of proposals, as seen below, sets out what every social resident should expect from their landlord:
- To be safe in their home. We will legislate to strengthen the Regulator of Social Housing’s consumer regulation objectives to explicitly include safety and to place an obligation on landlords to identify a nominated person responsible for ensuring compliance with health and safety requirements. We will support residents to have a stronger voice on safety matters and promote best practice on safety engagement with landlords.
- To know how their landlord is performing. We will establish tenant satisfaction measures for social landlords to report against on issues that matter to tenants. We will make sure landlords are reporting clearly on how they spend their income and introduce a new access to information scheme for housing association tenants.
- To have their complaints dealt with promptly and fairly. We will build on the changes we have already implemented with the Housing Ombudsman Service to improve its performance and reduce its decision times, ensuring swift and effective resolution of complaints. We will raise awareness of how residents can make and escalate complaints.
- To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator for tenants. We will transform social housing regulation by creating a new, proactive consumer regulation regime for social housing, delivering robust oversight of all social landlords. This means establishing a new arm of the Regulator of Social Housing to regulate proactively on consumer standards including quality of homes, repairs, engagement with tenants and complaints handling.
- To have their voice heard by their landlord. We will empower residents by requiring landlords to improve tenant engagement. We will deliver a new opportunities and empowerment programme for social housing residents, to support them in engaging with landlords and holding them to account.
- To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in. We will encourage investment in neighbourhood, place and decency. We will review the Decent Homes Standard and boost the quality of, and access to, green spaces. We will tackle anti-social behaviour by enabling tenants to know who is responsible for action and who can support and assist them.
- To be supported to take their first step to ownership. We will enable delivery of good quality, affordable homes including the investment of £11.5 billion in the new Affordable Homes Programme to deliver up to 180,000 homes. The programme will unlock a further £38 billion in public and private investment in affordable housing. We are also introducing a new Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme and implementing a new, fairer and more accessible model for Shared Ownership.
Commenting Suella Braverman Said:
“Everyone deserves a decent place to live, and it is good to see that quality and standards are being raised for social housing, to meet the needs and aspirations of residents around the country. Indeed, I am glad that safety, quality, transparency and redress are put front and centre, to complement the Government’s commitment to deliver good quality, affordable housing.”