The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill is currently in the report stage of the House of Commons. Described as providing “a major reset of power between tenants and landlords,” the bill will amend the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. Introduced in the House of Lords in June 2022, the bill aims to complete the Conservative party’s 2019 election manifesto pledge to “empower tenants … [and] provide greater redress, better regulation and improve the quality of social housing.”
Social housing is housing provided by local authorities and private registered providers at rent below the market rate. Approximately one-fifth of households in England reside in rented social housing. The bill aims to strengthen the regulatory framework for social housing landlords and implement the measures set out in the Social Housing White Paper.
On February 9, 2023 the government submitted an amendment to introduce “Awaab’s Law” to the bill. This amendment would require landlords to fix hazards reported to them within a specified time frame. Awaab’s Law is named after two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from respiratory issues caused by the damp and mold in his home, which was managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing. The time frames that landlords would have to investigate and remedy hazards would be set in secondary legislation after a public consultation. In addition to the amendment, the government is “continu[ing] to block funding to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing to build new homes until it can prove it is a reasonable landlord.”
Other key provisions of the bill include:
- making safety, transparency and energy efficiency part of the Social Housing Regulator’s fundamental objectives.
- enabling the Regulator to set standards for the competence and conduct of staff working for registered providers of social housing.
- requiring registered providers to nominate a designated person for health and safety issues.
- giving the Secretary of State the power to introduce new requirements for registered providers relating to electrical safety checks.
- a power for the Regulator to direct registered providers to collect and publish performance information.
- regular inspections of registered providers.
Clare Feikert-Ahalt, Law Library of Congress
March 9, 2023
Read more Global Legal Monitor articles.