UK social housing evaluation exposes ‘shockingly poor’ properties

Pressing motion is required to handle issues with England’ social housing, based on a wide-ranging evaluation of the sector.

Housing associations ought to undertake a complete audit of all 2.5mn social properties in England and give tenants extra of a job in decision-making, mentioned the authors of the Higher Social Housing Assessment’s ultimate report, revealed on Tuesday.

Helen Baker, chair of housing charity Shelter and in addition chair of the evaluation, mentioned the current coroner’s report into the dying of two-year outdated Awaab Ishak, who died from extended publicity to mould in his residence, had uncovered the “shockingly poor high quality of some social housing.”

“The facility imbalance between tenants and housing suppliers stays one of many largest issues dealing with the sector, perpetuating relatively than dismantling the societal stigma and discrimination skilled by individuals dwelling in social housing. That is notably true for these from black and minority ethnic communities,” she added.

The evaluation was commissioned by the Nationwide Housing Federation, which represents the nation’s largest suppliers of social housing, and the Chartered Institute of Housing, a physique for housing professionals.

The inquest into Ishak’s dying in 2020 has shone an uncomfortable highlight on housing associations in current months.

Awaab Ishak, who died from extended publicity to mould in his residence, has shone an uncomfortable highlight on housing associations © PA

A coroner discovered that the toddler had developed a respiratory situation because of extended publicity to mould in his residence, owned by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.

The housing secretary Michael Gove has since reduce £1mn in funding for RBH and put the sector on discover that they have to enhance.

“Let this be a warning to different housing suppliers who’re ignoring complaints and failing of their obligations to tenants. We won’t hesitate to behave,” he mentioned.

Kate Henderson, chief govt of the Nationwide Housing Federation, mentioned the evaluation was “undoubtedly not a simple learn. There are very critical points with the standard of some social properties”. 

She added: “The report does reveal some massive challenges for the sector: it’s by no means OK for somebody to reside in a house with critical mould, damp or different points which want repairing.”

She pledged to attract up a plan to answer all the report’s suggestions, beginning by “checking each single housing affiliation residence to ensure we all know the place issues exist, like damp and mildew, and repair them.”

Social housing suppliers are a significant lifeline for tenants who’re struggling to afford open-market rents, which have risen sharply over the previous 12 months.

However housing associations and others within the sector complain that they’re attempting to do extra with much less, after funding for the sector was slashed by 60 per cent by the coalition authorities in 2010.

Nearly all of social housing in England is now managed by housing associations, that are not-for-profit, non-public enterprises.

They’ve changed native authorities, which have retreated from housebuilding and offered off their inventory of properties within the a long time since former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s Proper to Purchase coverage was launched in 1980.

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