Last year, the Social Housing Regulation Bill was laid in parliament to deliver the reforms outlined in the Social Housing White Paper and address the concerns raised following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017. The Bill will bring forward a stronger and more proactive regulatory regime to drive up standards in the sector and hold landlords to account for the service they provide to their tenants.
The Social Housing Bill has commenced its Report Stage at the House of Commons. The government has tabled several amendments as part of its commitment to improve the quality of social housing and hold social landlords to account for the service they provide to their tenants.
The Bill has received broad support across parliament with all the government’s amendments being upheld.
- An amendment introducing Awaab’s Law which requires social landlords to investigate and fix reported hazards in their homes within a specified time frame, or rehouse tenants where a home cannot be made safe.
- An amendment providing new powers for the Housing Ombudsman to help social landlords improve performance by instructing them to self-assess against guidance during a complaint investigation.
- An amendment enabling the Social Housing Regulator to set a standard relating to information and transparency requiring social landlords to provide residents with information on how they can make a complaint against them.
- An amendment that will require all social housing managers to have a professional qualification. The aim of this change is to help to protect residents and raise standards, ensuring residents receive a high level of service and are treated with respect at all times.
We have welcomed the Social Housing Regulation Bill and its aims to give tenants greater powers and improve access to swift and fair redress. All social housing should feel like a home for those who live there, a place for people to feel comfortable and safe, to live well and thrive.
Some of these proposals will have significant implications for the sector and we are aware that members will be keen to know further to ensure housing associations can deliver meaningful change for residents.
We also support the goal of ensuring everyone that works in social housing has the skills and experience to deliver the best possible service to residents. The vast majority of social housing staff across the country work incredibly hard to deliver a good service to their residents. We support the principles behind professionalisation and are keen to explore the role formal qualifications can play in raising standards.
Working with members
While we await the full legislation, we are talking to the government to understand how these new measures will work in practice. We know that most of the important detail for our sector will come through the government consultation on the secondary legislation and guidance once the Bill receives Royal Assent.
Over the coming weeks, we will share a member briefing setting out the next steps concerning the Bill and we will keep our members updated on opportunities to provide feedback and share your views.
If you have any questions or would like to share your views on the Bill or any amendments please contact our policy team.