Help us to improve the quality of social housing

Following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak, the government has a programme of reform to improve the quality of social housing. Here we will provide you with the latest updates and some of the key areas that you can get involved in.

A foreword from Chris Blackett – Chair of the GMT

A foreword from Chris Blackett – Chair of the GMT

This will impact you, your tenancy and your life in general! These reforms, that come into effect from 1 April 2024, are about keeping us safe and making sure that our landlord is accountable to us and that our voices are being heard.

The Gateway Membership Team (GMT) have been involved in all of the sector consultations for this and more recently Awaab's Law and the Housing Ombudsman Code. We would like to thank every tenant who took part and gave us their feedback.

Prior to our Annual General Meeting (AGM), we will also hosting a Tenant Question Time (TQT) event on Monday 9 September 2024 at 6-8pm where we will be discussing our progress against implementing the new regulations, and the impact this has had on our services. You can join us virtually or in person – more details about this to follow.

We hope you find this information useful; please get in touch if you have any questions!

Social Housing (Regulation) Act

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023 and officially became law.

We believe that every person in this country has the right to a warm, dry, safe, secure, and affordable home. That’s why we’re supporting the Social Housing Act in its aims to give tenants greater power and enable the Regulator of Social Housing to better support tenants living in unsafe homes. 

The Act will enact the reforms outlined in the Social Housing White Paper, which are aimed at improving the regulation of social housing, strengthening tenants’ rights, and ensuring better quality and safer homes for residents.

As well as economic standards, the regulator also now sets consumer standards. Our GMT, along with Watford Community Housing staff, took part in the consultations on these changes in September 2023 and submitted feedback from customers to the regulator.   

From 1 April 2024, there will be four new consumer standards that will set the requirements all registered providers must meet:

  • The Safety and Quality Standard – requires landlords to provide safe and good quality homes and landlord services to tenants. 
  • The Transparency, Influence and Accountability Standard (includes the TSMs - explained below) – requires landlords to be open with tenants and treat them with fairness and respect so that tenants can access services, raise complaints when necessary, influence decision-making and hold their landlord to account. 
  • The Neighbourhood and Community Standard – requires landlords to engage with other relevant parties so that tenants can live in safe and well-maintained neighbourhoods and feel safe in their homes.
  • The Tenancy Standard – sets requirements for the fair allocation and letting of homes and for how those tenancies are managed and ended by landlords.

Tenant Satisfaction Methods (TSMs) – requires landlords to provide certain information to the Regulator of Social Housing based on resident feedback, such as repairs, safety checks and complaints. 

The full details of the government regulatory standards can be found here. 

Make your voice heard

Social Housing Quality Resident panel

The government's Social Housing Quality Resident Panel continues to play an invaluable role in shaping social housing policy. It brings together tenants from across England so they can directly share their views with the government on how to improve the quality of homes.

More information about this group can be found here.

Free training!

The Four Million Homes programme provides free information, guidance and training on residents’ rights.

It helps tenants to work with their landlords and make sure homes and neighbourhoods are well-maintained, clean and safe. This programme will run until March 2025.

Read more about the training here.

The Housing Ombudsman resident panel

The resident panel is a way for social housing residents to share their experience and help improve lives across the country through regulation of landlords.

Applicants don’t need to have any prior experience with scrutiny panels, have made a complaint to their landlord or interacted with the Ombudsman before.

To apply to be a member of the panel, click here.