Social Housing Act aims to raise the bar on competence and conduct

Social Housing Act - The remains of Grenfell Tower, covered in a wrap displaying a green heart with the words:
(Image: Unsplash/The Blowup)

New legislation aimed at improving social housing conditions will allow standards to be set on the competence and conduct “of all staff involved in the provision of housing management services”.

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 became law last week. It introduces stronger regulation of social landlords and a more proactive approach to consumer regulation.

The Act enables the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) to set standards on the provision of information, and enhances requirements around tenant safety.

The legislation aims to rectify conditions in social housing that led to the Grenfell Tower fire, where 72 people died, and the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak following exposure to mould.

Four million households (17% of all households) live in rented social housing in England.

The government’s response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee inquiry into the regulation of social housing’s recommendations confirmed that the revised consumer standards will set mandatory qualification requirements for senior housing managers and executives.

These qualification requirements will apply to relevant managers working for housing associations and local authority landlords, and to contracted services providers, including arms-length management organisations and tenant management organisations.

Making homes energy efficient

During its passage through Parliament, the Social Housing (Regulation) Act was amended to include an additional fundamental objective for the RSH to ensure that homes are energy efficient.

However, there is still no detail about how energy efficiency measures, new homes and regeneration or remediation works will be funded.

Secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, Michael Gove, said: “Today is an important step towards righting the wrongs of the past. Our landmark laws will drive up standards of social housing and give residents a proper voice.”

Chief executive officer of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Gavin Smart, said: “The Act will provide an important foundation for giving tenants’ a greater voice, improving access to redress and increasing the focus on professionalism in the sector.”

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