20 Jul 2022
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Select Committee published today its report on the inquiry into the regulation of social housing. The report makes sobering reading with recommendations for the sector, government and the RSH.
On reading the report Gavin Smart, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, commented:
"We were pleased to be able to submit evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee as part of their inquiry into social housing regulation. Much of what the Committee has highlighted and recommended aligns with the evidence we gave and the work we have been doing on professionalism and sector quality.
The Committee’s recommendations highlighting the need for housing providers to work with tenants to enable them to shape their homes, neighbourhoods, and services are important steps forward in ensuring greater transparency and collaboration for the sector. CIH supports the need to provide multiple ways for tenants to interact with and have an influence on their landlords’ services, whether through formal structures or as and when they want to get involved. We also believe that tenants should have a voice to influence national policy and decision making, as this sets the framework within which landlords operate. We support the call for a national voice for tenants, and for active and ongoing engagement with tenants by the regulator, through its advisory panel and in its process of inspections.
The Committee’s proposal to strengthen the role of both the regulator and the housing ombudsman would provide tenants with a robust and comprehensive framework and should ensure that landlords are held to account for failures in individual or systemic and structural cases. CIH welcomes this as an important step to restore trust where this has been lost. It will require appropriate resourcing of both bodies and clear and well-developed ways of working and information sharing information; the social housing (regulation) bill currently before parliament provides the platform for this and the Committee has helpfully suggested how it can be strengthened.
It is clear that there are pressures on the sector, not least the cost of building safety remediation and moving to net zero carbon, but the cases of poor quality and service highlighted have been unacceptable and must be put right. The sector acknowledges it must do better and this report is a further reminder of that. We will work with partners to build on the Committee’s findings and recommendations, drawing on our work on professionalisation and the forthcoming recommendations of the independent review panel into housing quality which we launched with National Housing Federation last month."