Important reforms to Social Housing were implemented when the Government’s new Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (‘the Act’) received Royal Assent on Thursday 20 July 2023.
The Act contains provisions which aim to protect tenants from living in damp, cold and/or unsafe conditions and to hold poor landlords and providers of social housing accountable. The Government has said that this will be achieved by a greater regulatory regime which ensures social landlords focus on the needs of their customers and provide a genuine response to any issues suffered.
The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 brought a range of issues with social housing to the forefront and highlighted the need for extensive change. The Act is the latest attempt by the Government to implement reform through greater regulation of social housing. It aims to do so by increasing the powers of the Regulator of Social Housing and the Housing Ombudsman and thus, the likelihood that landlords will act promptly in similar situations.
The need for change was further highlighted by the untimely and incredibly sad death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from prolonged exposure to mould in a Rochdale Boroughwide Housing flat. Widespread media coverage and public outrage led to an amendment to the bill, dubbed “Awaab’s Law”, which will create an obligation for social landlords to respond to tenants’ reports and investigate repairs within certain timescales. It remains to be seen what timescales will be set, but it is hoped that this addition to the Act will prevent similar deaths from occurring.
At present, four million households are currently living in rented social housing in England, making up just under a fifth of the total households in the country. The Act is therefore set to expand protections for a large proportion of the population against poor living conditions.
If you are living in poor housing conditions which are causing serious risks to your or your family’s health and/or safety then please do not hesitate to make an enquiry with us so that we can assess whether our housing team will be able to help.