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Lewisham Council investigated after 5,000 fire safety actions overdue

Lewisham Council
Lewisham Town Hall (Image: Kevin Parkinson via Dreamstime.com)

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has published a regulatory notice after it found Lewisham Council breached consumer standards.

RSH investigated the council following a self-referral and concluded that there were a range of issues with its homes and services.

Although the council had carried out fire risk assessments for all relevant blocks, over 5,000 fire safety actions were overdue, of which more than 200 were high-risk actions.

The council also had a significant number of overdue repairs. Between April and December 2023, fewer than 55% were completed on time. The average time to complete repairs was significantly above the service standard of 20 days.

In addition, the council had not correctly assessed the severity of reports of damp and mould.

The council has reported that more than 2,000 homes do not meet the Decent Homes Standard – a minimum standard for social homes. It does not have complete data for its tenants’ homes and it is now carrying out a stock survey to better understand their condition.

‘We take the findings very seriously’

Following RSH’s investigation, the council has put an action plan in place to address the issues.

The passing of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 last year enabled the RSH to set standards on the provision of information, and enhances requirements around tenant safety.

Kate Dodsworth, chief of regulatory engagement at RSH, said: “The council referred itself to us when it found problems and is engaging with us constructively to put things right for tenants. We will continue to scrutinise the council as it carries out this work.”

Jennifer Daothong, chief executive of Lewisham Council, said: “We take the regulator’s findings very seriously and we acknowledge our underperformance and ongoing challenges in some areas of the service.

“We have already made progress in some areas, which the regulator recognises in its notice. We will continue working with the regulator until we have satisfied their concerns and achieved full compliance for our residents. The regulator is not taking statutory action at this stage.”

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