Government releases Social Housing White paper

17 November 2020

The charter for Social Housing Residents was published in November 2020

According to the Paper, it sets out the actions the government will take ‘to ensure that residents in social housing are safe, are listened to, live in good quality homes, and have access to redress when things go wrong’.

Whilst the proposals are predominantly focused on improving standards for those delivering and managing social and affordable homes, the proposals may be of interest to our clients involved with the wider housing sector, particularly in regard to the Government’s comments on design quality, housing and tenure mix, and developer contributions.

The white paper seeks to introduce a new charter for social housing residents which sets out the Government’s objectives in ensuring that every social housing resident should be able to expect the following:

1. To be safe in your home. We will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure.
2. To know how your landlord is performing, including on repairs, complaints and safety, and how it spends its money, so you can hold it to account.
3. To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong ombudsman who will give you swift and fair redress when needed.
4. To be treated with respect, backed by a strong consumer regulator and improved consumer standards for tenants.
5. To have your voice heard by your landlord, for example through regular meetings, scrutiny panels or being on its board. The government will provide access to help, if you want it, for you to learn new skills to ensure your landlord listens.
6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in, with your landlord keeping your home in good repair.
7. To be supported to take your first step to ownership, so it is a ladder to other opportunities, should your circumstances allow.

Chapters 6 and 7 of the document may be of particular interest to the planning and construction sector in general. Chapter 6 references the need to provide good quality homes and neighbourhoods to live in, energy efficiency, importance of the provision of green spaces, supporting positive mental and physical health, design against crime and the integration of social housing in communities. Chapter 7 references the increase in the supply of social housing confirming that the Government’s new Affordable Homes Programme will deliver up to 180,000 homes, with half the homes available for Social and Affordable Rent, and the remainder for affordable home ownership through its new shared ownership model.

The white paper can be found in full here