Social landlords were served a reminder of why they exist yesterday, when the chair of the Social Housing Regulator (RHS) used a keynote speech to hammer some home truths.
Bernadette Conroy was speaking at the Social Housing Annual Conference to remind landlords of their fundamental role: To provide safe and well-maintained homes for tenants, and build new social homes for those who need them.
Conroy highlighted the importance of landlords’ service to tenants: “Keeping tenants safe is a fundamental responsibility for all landlords… they must have an up-to-date understanding of tenants’ homes at an individual level and ensure they deal with issues promptly,” she said.
She added: “The sector needs to make substantial investment in existing homes to deliver improvements to quality, building safety and meet energy efficiency commitments. It also needs to continue delivering new social homes to serve more than a million households on local authority waiting lists.”
Her speech also took in the impact of economic challenges the sector faces – including higher inflation and borrowing costs, skilled labour shortages and a weakening housing market – which “continue to weaken the sector’s financial capacity and put pressure on landlords’ business plans.”
Against this backdrop, she said, boards must: “Ensure that they maintain strong and effective control over financial performance and fully understand their organisation’s assets, liabilities and operating environment.”
Conroy finished by saying to landlords: “We all have a part to play in achieving more and better social housing. With the changes in the Social Housing (Regulation) Act we have the powers we need to regulate the sector effectively. Our new regulatory regime is approaching rapidly. We will be ready. We expect that you will be too.”
Main image: Bernadette Conroy, chair, Regulator of Social Housing
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