A new deal for social housing - Law Society response

The Law Society has responded to a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation on making sure that social housing provides safe and secure homes.

Our view is that it is imperative that landlords have in place transparent processes to ensure that it is easy for residents to raise issues, and that there is also transparency about the steps that have been taken to handle and resolve complaints. Support should be provided to educate residents on safety issues and help them engage. Resident involvement groups should also be empowered and encouraged to make fire safety a priority.

New safety measures in the private rented sector should also apply to social housing. There is no logic for having different safety standards between private and social housing. Holding private and social landlords to the same standards of safety will also help to ensure a consistent approach to regulation.

Landlords should be given adequate provision and funding to be able to enforce the current decent homes standard. If any changes are to be made, the standard should incorporate provision for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.

Legal aid must be made available to enable tenants of social housing to enforce the full range of their rights, especially when it comes to a question of fitness for human habitation.

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