All social landlords must maintain a tight grip on the quality of the homes they manage, as too many breaches have occurred due to weak data and an incomplete understanding of the condition of tenants’ homes.
That’s according to the Regulator of Social Housing, which has published its annual review of consumer regulation.
During the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, 13 social landlords breached the current consumer standards, incidents which posed actual, or the potential for, serious harm to tenants, according to the regulator.
The majority of breaches this year were by local authorities, according to the regulator’s report.
In response to this finding, the regulator said that it is “vital” councillors and other senior leaders ensure effective mechanisms are in place to identify and tackle problems quickly.
Elsewhere in the report, the regulator said the sector needed to learn from the case of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale, stating: “Landlords must listen to their tenants’ complaints and carry out thorough and timely investigations.”
Meeting legal health and safety requirements is “non-negotiable”, the regulator said, adding that landlords must ensure they complete all safety checks on time.
Commenting on those providers that successfully returned to compliance last year, the regulator said they had managed to do so because they worked to understand the root cause of their problems and their senior leadership teams engaged constructively with the regulator.
The report comes as the regulator prepares for the biggest transformation to social housing regulation in a decade.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill, which has nearly finished its journey through parliament, will bolster the regulator’s powers and give tenants greater opportunity to hold landlords to account.
This will include regular inspections of larger social landlords from April 2024.
The regulator will consult on new consumer standards later this summer, as part of its work to prepare for the new approach.
‘Hold them to account’
Kate Dodsworth, chief of Regulatory Engagement at the Regulator of Social Housing, said: “Every tenant deserves to live in a safe and decent home.
“Our work shows that some tenants have been let down by their landlord, and this needs to change.
“We expect all social landlords to be respectful, transparent, and responsive to their tenants when things go wrong, and we will hold them to account if they fail.”
She added: “We’re gearing up for stronger consumer regulation, with our inspections starting from April next year.
“All social landlords should read our report carefully, and make sure they are providing a good quality service to their tenants.”
Image credit: NA.MAT/Shutterstock
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