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Tenants to get new rights to help them hold landlords to account

June 25th 2024
 

Social housing tenants are to get new rights to help them hold their landlords to account and drive up the quality and safety of their homes.

Laura Murphy, Paralegal in our Dispute Resolution team provides an update.

The government has begun a consultation on new rules that will allow social housing tenants or a representative, such as a lawyer, to request information for free about the management of their homes. This could include:

  • Damp and mould: tenants experiencing damp and mould could request information on how many other homes in their building have the same problem and what action the landlord has taken to repair, giving them the tools they need to take further action if they choose.
  • Health and safety: including any information landlords hold about breaches in their properties and outcomes of any inspections. Tenants could take further action through the Housing Ombudsman if their landlord isn’t making the repairs they need to make by law.
  • Repair times: under new rules brought in by the Social Housing (Regulation) Act landlords must fix emergency repairs within 24 hours, tenants will be able to see how often their landlord is meeting this target and challenge them through the courts or take them to the Housing Ombudsman if they don’t. 

Housing associations will also be forced to publish information about their performance.

This is in response to a request from social housing residents for greater transparency following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

Minister for Social Housing Baroness Scott said: “We are creating a culture of openness and transparency among social landlords and tenants, giving residents the tools they need to hold their landlords to account so they can raise standards to the high level they rightly expect. 

“This is part of the biggest government reforms to affect social housing in a decade, which will be crucial in addressing systemic issues relating to safety, quality and tenant-landlord relationships that were identified after the Grenfell Tower fire.” 

Landlords will have to provide the information unless it is reasonable not to, with clear expectations on how landlords should respond to requests, while tenants will be able to complain to the Housing Ombudsman if they are not happy with how their information request has been handled.  

This is just one of the measures the Government is taking to drive up the quality of social housing, having recently:  It has also:

  • introduced a new proactive consumer regulation regime, with the Regulator of Social Housing carrying out routine inspections of large landlords to drive up standards and ensure tenants live in decent homes and are treated with fairness and respect by their landlords.
  • consulted on Awaab’s Law, which will introduce new requirements for landlords to fix hazards in social homes within fixed timeframes.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article please contact Laura on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email.

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