Upcoming Social Housing Reforms
The Social Housing Green Paper, currently making its way through Parliament and soon to reach the consultation stage, is set to bring forth massive reforms in an attempt to balance the complicated relationships which currently exist between landlords and tenants throughout the country, reduce stigma attached to social housing and ensure that it can act as a supportive and stable means for promoting social mobility.
Although the green paper was only officially published on August 14th – it is thought to be the biggest shake up to the social housing sector since its introduction, with fundamental changes which shall ensure social homes are up-to-code, well-managed and a safe resource for those who need them most.
Published in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, critics have been quick to lambast the new proposals as being weak and not properly addressing the major issues currently plaguing the social housing market – long waiting times for homes.
What do the reforms mean for tenants and landlords?
There are several recommended changes and we suggest taking time to read the green paper for a thorough understanding, however, here are a few of the more radical proposals:
- Landlord league tables
Suggested by the government, public landlord league tables would openly name and shame landlords who regularly receive complaints under the new complaints procedure in a bid to highlight bad practice.
This represents a huge power shift towards the tenants who may soon be able to easily access information about a potential landlord and see how he or she stacks up against others before any legal relationships arise.
- Better social housing regulation
Clearly, the part of the green paper most influenced by the Grenfell Tower tragedy is that which proposes the introduction of tougher social housing regulations and better regulatory bodies. In doing so, the government would enable issues at tenant-level to be identified quicker and resolved before they manifest into more sinister problems.
The publication promises to provide regulatory bodies with more authority to intervene in disputes between landlords and tenants to ensure that social housing is safe, well-managed and of an acceptable standard.
- A new complaints procedure
In their feedback, ministers openly stated that the existing complaints procedure is inefficient, too bureaucratic and overly confusing for tenants. As a result, tenants’ complaints and concerns are often not listened to which makes the existing procedure futile.