Social housing landlords are to face more stringent regulation under a new proposed law introduced to Parliament this week.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill is designed to drive up standards in the sector with ‘more people living in decent, well looked-after homes enjoying the quality of life they deserve’, according to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove.
A key measure will be introduction of ‘Ofsted-style inspections’ with appointment of a Regulator of Social Housing with power to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice – down from 28 days – and order emergency repairs.
This ‘major reset of power between tenants and landlords’ will give residents the right to demand information.
‘Tenants will have a direct line to government, with a new 250-person residents panel convening every four months to share their experiences with ministers, inform policy thinking and help drive change in the sector’.
It is disgraceful that anyone should live in damp, cold and unsafe homes, waiting months for repairs and being routinely ignored by their landlord, said Gove. ‘These new laws will end this injustice and ensure the regulator has strong new powers to take on rogue social landlords.
‘We are driving up the standards of social housing and giving residents a voice to make sure they get the homes they deserve. That is levelling up in action’.
Under the Bill, the largest social housing providers will face regular inspections with the worst providers being ‘named and shamed’.
The new law will also require social landlords to have a named person who will be responsible for health and safety requirements. And tenants of housing associations will be able to request information from their landlord.
Alongside the Bill, the government is consulting on electrical safety standards for social housing.