The Charter for Social Housing: Social Housing White Paper was published on 17 November 2020.

A Summary of the Social Housing White Paper

The White Paper proposes 7 key aims that should be met in order to support and engage with Social Housing tenants in their homes.

In essence, the key themes are that tenants are safe in their homes, that complaints are dealt with properly, that landlords are held accountable when things go wrong and tenants are assisted with ownership aspirations.

The key proposals are as follows:

To be safe in your home

This is linked with recent building safety reforms and the Regulator for Social Housing (“the Regulator”) is expected to share building safety information with the Building Safety Regulator.  

Landlords will have to appoint a responsible compliance offer to ensure health and safety requirements in respect of building safety are being met.

New consultations in respect of fitting smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and preventing harm from poor electrical safety are to be launched.

To know how your landlord is performing

A new set of tenant satisfaction measures are set out.  

Further, an accessed information scheme is to be introduced in order that tenants are able to request information about their landlord. This will include details of CEO and senior management salaries and management costs (subject to the size of the landlord organisation).

To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly

Landlords will be required to comply with the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code and publish their results.

In turn, the Ombudsman will be required to publish reports on how it has handled complaints.

To be treated with respect, new consumer regulator for tenants

A new consumer regulation function will be formed within the Regulator for the purposes of considering consumer regulation, including landlord breaches.  

The Regulator will be under an obligation to carry out routine inspections of landlords with over 1,000 properties every 4 years. The Regulator will also be given increased enforcement powers, such as unlimited regulatory fines and reducing the notice period down from 28 days to 2 days of inspections.

To have your voice heard by your landlord and to have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in

The Regulator will seek evidence from landlords of how they have tried to improve tenant engagement.

There will also be a review of the Decent Homes Standard to ensure that issues such as energy efficiency, safety concerns and the need for green space, are being provided.

To be supported to take your first step to ownership

The White Paper approves the new revised model of Shared Ownership, a new Right to Shared Ownership and the Voluntary Right to Buy scheme which is already being piloted in the Midlands.

Should you require any further information regarding social housing or shared ownership, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Bill Dhariwal, Solicitor and Managing Director, DDI: 01489 864 117 or E: bill.dhariwal@lawcomm.co.uk

The contents of this article are for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.