Last year, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee (LUHC) launched an inquiry to examine the quality of, and regulation of social housing in England. It also aimed to explore the proposals in the Social Housing White Paper for improving the regulatory regime.
The committee has published the report of its inquiry addressing a series of issues relating to the supply, quality and regulation of social housing in England. The NHF submitted written evidence and gave oral evidence to the committee and we are pleased to see many of our points and recommendations reflected in the report.
We welcome the report’s recognition that the vast majority of social homes are of decent quality, and that the causes of poor quality are complex due to several factors such as the age and design of stock, lack of regeneration funding and shortage of social housing, as well as poverty and overcrowding.
The report outlines a set of strong recommendations for government including:
- For the government to commit to building more social homes and introduce funding specifically for regeneration.
- For the government to establish the Social Housing Quality Resident Panel permanently as the national tenant voice body tenants representatives have been calling for.
- Calls for an update on social housing providers’ access to funds for remediation and to ensure at least the same access as private landlords, and an assessment of providers ability to fund remediation and decabornisation.
The committee is clear that stronger action is needed to improve quality and services for all social housing tenants. It acknowledges that work is already underway in the sector and welcomes the new independent panel on quality set up by the sector in partnership with the NHF and Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).
The committee also makes recommendations for housing providers to tackle issues of poor quality. These include:
- Putting in place systems to regularly monitor the condition of stock and supporting tenants who cannot heat or ventilate their homes properly.
- Reviewing and improving complaint handling processes and increasing awareness amongst tenants of the Housing Ombudsman.
- The need for housing providers to take stigma seriously, and ensure their boards better reflect their communities.
The report also outlines recommendations the Social Housing Regulator and the Housing Ombudsman.
We will continue to engage with the Select Committee and with members and other stakeholders on the recommendations in the report as part of our work on quality and trust.