- Residents in England to get new advice on how to hold their landlord to account
- £500,000 government grant awarded to training provider for launching new scheme in Spring
- Part of wider reforms that will give social housing residents a stronger voice.
Social housing tenants will be better empowered to raise issues with their landlords and help hold them to account, as a result of new guidance and support announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities today.
A partnership of experts in the sector has received a £500,000 government grant to roll out a new training package open to anyone living in social housing in England. The scheme aims to help residents engage effectively with their landlord to demand a higher quality of service, where needed.
Residents will learn how to take an active role in how their home is managed – through a series of workshops, forums and online resources that will run over the next two and a half years. For example, this could include advice on how to set up a residents panel or how to challenge a landlord if they fail to meet required standards.
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove last month called for all landlords to meet their responsibility in providing decent homes for tenants. The warning came as he took action against Rochdale Boroughwide Housing for failing to treat hazardous mould that contributed to the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will also mean that tenants’ complaints are listened to and dealt with quickly and fairly, with stronger powers for the Regulator to hold landlords to account.
Minister for Social Housing Baroness Scott said:
Landlords are responsible for giving tenants the decent home they deserve and the government is taking action to ensure tough consequences for any who fall short.
We also want to make sure every resident is heard and has the opportunity to be actively involved in how their home is managed.
This new government-backed scheme will help to do just that – empowering residents to challenge their landlord where needed and contribute to positive change in their homes and communities.
The government-backed training will be provided by two organisations – the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) and the Public Participation, Consultation and Research (PPCR). Both have expertise in empowering residents within the social housing sector.
CCH Chief Executive Officer, Blase Lambert, said:
CCH and PPCR is receiving support from government to enhance our work empowering and inspiring social housing residents in England.
We exist to promote resident empowerment and control and want all residents to understand their rights, be able to raise issues with their landlords and hold them to account and to be able to shape and improve the services they receive and the homes they live in.
Our vision for this programme is for it to be a catalyst for change, complementing other government action outlined in the Social Housing White Paper and helping to drive a process of cultural change in the social housing sector leading to a better balance of power between landlords and residents.
Last month, social housing residents from across the country came together to launch a new 250-strong panel, which will advise the government on its plans to raise social housing standards.
This new training will now form part of the government’s work to address issues raised by the panel, such as the handling of repairs and maintenance, as well as landlord accountability.
Details of the programme and how to participate in training will be provided by CCH before the scheme launches for social residents across England, in Spring 2023.
To make sure tenants know their rights and can hold housing providers to account, the government is also launching a £1 million public information campaign early next year.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill will introduce new powers for the Housing Ombudsman to take action on complaints. It will also provide the regulator with tougher powers to enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants and the landlord has failed to act, with landlords footing the bill.