Failing social housing landlords could face unlimited fines and “Ofsted-style” inspections under a newly introduced bill.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill would award the Regulator of Social Housing greater powers to issue failing landlords with unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice, down from 28 days, and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants, with landlords footing the bill.
It is being described as a “major reset of power” between tenants and landlords.
The new bill will soon allow residents to demand greater information and rate their landlord as part of new satisfaction measures.
In addition, tenants will also have a direct line to government under the bill, with a new 250-person residents panel meeting three times a year to share their experiences with ministers, inform policy thinking, and ultimately, help to “drive change” in the sector.
The bill will also make it easier for the regulator to tackle poor performing landlords once axed, and it will also mean landlords will need to have a named person who will be responsible for health and safety requirements.
The levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, said: “In 2022 it is disgraceful that anyone should live in damp, cold and unsafe homes, waiting months for repairs and being routinely ignored by their landlord.
“These new laws will end this injustice and ensure the regulator has strong new powers to take on rogue social landlords [as] we are driving up the standards of social housing and giving residents a voice to make sure they get the homes they deserve.
“That is levelling up in action.”
The government says the introduction of the bill is the latest attempt to significantly improve the quality of rented homes in this country.
The National Housing Federation is among a host if trade bodies to welcome the new bill.
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Having a home that is warm and dry, safe, secure and affordable is the right of every person in this country [and] for social housing providers, this means providing high quality living standards in every home and carrying out repairs on time.”