Laura Sharman 10 June 2019

Social housing tenants ‘failed’ by poor regulation

Social housing tenants are being forced to report the same problem with their home multiple times, a housing charity has warned today.

Figures published by Shelter show over half (56%) of social renters in England have experienced a problem with their home in the last three years. For those who had a problem, one in 10 had to report it more than 10 times.

The survey also showed that more than 400,000 people encountered an issue with fire safety over the same time period.

Shelter is calling on the Government to introduce a tough, new consumer regulator that protects tenants and proactively inspects social landlords.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘Social tenants living in Grenfell Tower raised serious safety concerns before the fire, but they were ignored. Two years on, social renters are still being failed by poor regulation and people are still fighting to be heard.

‘In the wake of food scandals and financial scandals, the government responded with new regulators to protect consumers, and that’s exactly what we need for social housing. It cannot be right that scores of complaints and problems that affect whole blocks of flats, like faulty lifts or gas leaks, go unheard. We need a new regulator that’s firmly on the side of tenants.’

Natasha Elcock, chair of Grenfell United, the bereaved families and survivors’ group, added: ‘If we want to stop another Grenfell fire, we need serious change – change that will genuinely make a difference to people living in social housing. We need a new system, not a rebrand of the current one. The government introduced a new regime for the banking industry after the financial crash, it should be doing the same for the housing sector. After all, what could be more important than people's homes.’

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