Social Housing White Paper – member briefing

30 November 2020

We’ve produced a briefing summarising the key measures in the Social Housing White Paper, setting out the NHF’s overall view, detailing the measures in each chapter and our responses to these, and outlining next steps.

The Social Housing White Paper was published by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government on 17 November 2020. We welcome the paper and its focus on resident voice and influence, aligning with the work the sector has been doing to achieve greater accountability to residents through the new 2020 Code of Governance and the Together with Tenants initiative.

Summary of key measures:

  • The white paper presents a charter setting out seven commitments that social housing residents should be able to expect from their landlord.
  • It collates a range of different initiatives and legislative changes from across the housing landscape, building on proposals set out in the Social Housing Green Paper and the Review of Social Housing Regulation: Call for Evidence.
  • The overarching themes are building and resident safety, and resident voice. It also aims to deliver the improvements in transparency and accountability promised in the 2018 green paper.
  • To ensure landlords comply with the charter, the white paper outlines plans for new regulation and a strengthened Housing Ombudsman. These plans will include regular inspections for landlords with more than 1,000 homes, regulation on consumer standards, removing the serious detriment test and new powers for the Ombudsman to issue complaint handling failure orders.
  • Social landlords will also have to report against new resident satisfaction and income/expenditure measures, with an expectation that residents should be able to access key information from their landlord.
  • The paper proposes a potential review of the Decent Homes Standard, new nominated responsible person(s) for health and safety and consumer standards, and an intention to tackle anti-social behaviour by clarifying the roles of different agencies.
  • The government has also launched a further consultation on mandating smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental homes, and has published a response to the Social Housing Green Paper consultation and Call for Evidence on the Review of Regulation.