Social housing whitepaper unveiled

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A new social housing whitepaper seeking to ensure support for residents in England and ensure landlords raise standards where needed has been announced by the Housing Secretary.

The white paper – ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’, sets out reforms that seek to speed up the complaints procedure for residents by improving access to the Housing Ombudsman, reducing decision times and ensuring effective resolution.

The Charter also seeks to make landlords more accountable for the services they deliver, including access to a new information scheme for tenants of housing associations and introducing a set of tenant satisfaction measures that landlords will have to report against.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick commented on the announcement: “We are delivering on the commitment we made to the Grenfell community that, never again, would the voices of residents go unheard.

“This white paper will bring transformational change for social housing residents, giving them a much stronger voice and, in doing so, re-focusing the sector on its social mission.

“The new approach and regulatory changes we set out in this white paper will make a measurable difference to the lived experiences of those living in England’s four million social homes in the years ahead.”

The social housing white paper stems from the government’s manifesto pledge to provide greater redress, better regulation and improve the quality of social housing.

Shaped by the views of residents across England, including the survivors and bereaved family members of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it also includes a new Charter setting out what every social housing resident should expect from their landlord.

The measures contained in the social housing white paper seek to deliver the following:

  • The government will reinforce the Regulator of Social Housing’s consumer regulation objective to explicitly include safety and legislate to place an obligation on landlords to identify a nominated person responsible for ensuring compliance with health and safety requirements.
  • The government will deliver a set of tenant satisfaction measures for social landlords to report against on issues that matter to tenants.
  • The government will build on the changes already agreed with the Housing Ombudsman Service to improve its performance and reduce its decision times.
  • The government will establish a new arm of the Regulator of Social Housing to proactively regulate on consumer standards including quality of homes, repairs, meaningful engagement with tenants and complaints handling.
  • The government will deliver new opportunities and empowerment programme for social housing residents to support them in engaging with and holding their landlords to account.
  • The government will review the Decent Homes Standard and support the quality of and access to green spaces.

The white paper sets out what the government will do to ensure landlords deliver this change.

Most notably, the government is reforming the Regulator of Social Housing and Housing Ombudsman service to drive the culture change required, backed by legislation where needed.

Alongside publishing the white paper, the Housing Secretary also announced a consultation on mandating smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all rental homes. The consultation is seeking the same legal protections on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for social tenants as private renters.

This consultation closes at

The social housing green paper consultation response and response to the call for evidence on the review of regulation have also been published today.