London Councils has described government plans for stronger regulation of social housing standards as welcome news for the 800,000 households living in social housing in the capital.
Responding to the government’s Social Housing Regulation Bill being introduced in Parliament today, boroughs supported the emphasis on high-quality homes and new measures for empowering tenants.
However, there are also concerns that on-going funding pressures in London’s social housing sector will make it harder to achieve the improvements that tenants, social landlords, and the government all want to see.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, said:
“Boroughs want the best for our residents living in social housing. Stronger powers for the Regulator of Social Housing and the other measures set out in this Bill will undoubtedly help raise standards and be welcomed by tenants across the capital.
“However, Ofsted-style inspections and new rights for tenants can only be part of the solution. Improving social housing standards also requires investing extra resources. We can’t lose sight of the fact London is grappling with the worst housing and homelessness pressures in the country, including 300,000 Londoners on waiting lists for social housing, so we urgently need to boost delivery of new social homes too.
“All of this is made harder by London boroughs facing immense challenges in their housing budgets. Due to a combination of building safety requirements and other factors, boroughs’ housing revenue account reserves have reduced by nearly £300 million between 2016/17 and 2021/22. The impact of Covid alone on housing revenue accounts in the capital was a loss of £100 million.
“We’ll continue to flag these resource constraints when talking to ministers about our shared ambitions for social housing in London.”