The Charter for Social Housing Residents – Social Housing White Paper

19 Nov 2020

The Government has released its Social Housing White Paper - ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’. The White Paper sets out reforms to ‘provide greater redress, better regulation and improve the quality of social housing’ in England.

Here are some of the policy measures the White Paper is proposing:

Guaranteeing building safety

  • Legislate to strengthen the Regulator of Social Housing’s consumer regulation objectives to explicitly include safety.
  • Legislate to require social landlords to identify a nominated person responsible for complying with their health and safety requirements.

Encouraging good landlord performance

  • Create a set of tenant satisfaction measures for landlords on things that matter to tenants.
  • Introduce a new access to information scheme for social housing tenants of housing associations and other private registered providers of social housing, so that information relating to landlords is easily available.
  • Ensure landlords provide a clear breakdown of how their income is being spent.

Improving the handling of complaints

  • Provide residents with consistency across landlord complaint handling by ensuring landlords self-assess against the Housing Ombudsman’s.
  • Complaint Handling Code by 31 December 2020.
  • Ensure tenants know how to raise complaints. The Government will expect landlords to ensure residents have clear and up to date information on how to complain.
  • Make landlords more accountable for their actions by publicising the details of cases determined and published by the Housing Ombudsman.

Holding landlords to account

  • Transform the consumer regulation role of the Regulator of Social Housing so it proactively monitors and drives landlords’ compliance with improved consumer standards.
  • Remove the ‘serious detriment test’ and introduce routine inspections for largest landlords.
  • Change the regulator’s objectives to explicitly cover safety and transparency.
  • Give the regulator the power to publish consumer standards on what landlords are required to deliver and strengthen the regulator’s enforcement powers to tackle failing landlords.

Strengthening resident engagement

  • Expect the regulator to require landlords to seek out best practice and consider how they can continually improve the way they engage with social housing tenants.
  • Deliver a new opportunities and empowerment programme for social housing residents, to support more effective engagement between landlords and residents.
  • Review professional training / development to ensure residents receive a high standard of customer service.

Ensuring good quality homes and neighbourhoods

  • Review the Decent Homes Standard, including access to and the quality of green spaces.
  • Tackle anti-social behaviour by enabling tenants to know who is responsible for action and who can support and assist them if they are faced with antisocial behaviour.

Supporting home ownership

  • Building up to 180,000 affordable homes. Half of the new homes will be for affordable home ownership.
  • Implementing a new, fairer and more accessible model for Shared Ownership.
  • Implementing a new Right to Shared Ownership for tenants of housing associations and other private registered providers who live in new grant funded homes for rent.
  • Introducing a new Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme.

Chyrel Brown, Chief Operating Officer, One Housing said: “We support the aims of the white paper and remain committed to being accountable and transparent – giving our residents a strong voice. Our performance continues to improve year on year, but we recognise it is important to continue to enhance our customer’s experience. Providing a high-quality service, improving efficiency as well as delivering value for money is crucial. Supporting our customers, building good-quality affordable homes and providing safe and vibrant communities for people to live is at the heart of everything that we do. We look forward to working with government and our customers to further improve our services.”

Alex Jones, Resident Board Member, One Housing said: “It’s important that residents have a say in their community and this white paper will help strengthen their voice. One Housing has a responsibility to all their customers – to improve and transform services, to be more transparent and to invest in our homes. I have witnessed clear improvements since joining the Board and I have no doubt that there is an ambition to go further. I look forward to working with One Housing, scrutinising their services and driving forward excellence in customer experience so that residents receive the best possible service.”

The Charter for Social Housing Residents – Social Housing White Paper

Press release

Response from the Chief Executive of the Regulator of Social Housing