Why Tenants are Key

Why tenants and other residents are key for Building Safety and what is the role of the Housing Ombudsman?


Social landlords should be maintaining good quality, safe and warm homes so that they will be in the best position to comply with all their legal obligations and meet Government expectations.

Providing an effective and efficient service for their tenants (and all their residents) meets their social purpose. The Government has said that in 21st Century Britain, "nobody should be living in poor quality social housing … they deserve to live in a home that is decent, safe and secure. Many tenants live under responsible landlords who take care of their tenants’ interests and maintain good quality social housing. But far too many live in damp, cold and mouldy properties that harm their health and their life chances." The Government has strengthened tenants’ legal protection, with new powers given to the Regulator of Social Housing and the Housing Ombudsman.

The NHMF is helping the sector to understand and deliver what the Government expects through its Best Practice website, its Conference and Awards.

In addition, as noted previously, if we are to make the progress required, there is a need for collaboration and a more strategic approach, not least to eliminate duplication of effort as much as possible. This is one of the reasons why the NHMF has partnered with other stakeholders such as Oxford Brookes University to help us understand how AI and machine learning may be employed to support the sector and if you are interested to learn more or get involved directly, please contact martyn.stones@brookes.ac.uk.

Why residents also are key for Building Safety?

The Building Safety Act 2022 requires that each registered HRB should have a Resident Engagement Strategy. This is one of the requirements for the HRB to be granted a Building Assessment Certificate by the BSR. Without this, it is not legal for the HRB to be occupied. More information in NHMF’s Building Safety Q&A.

When HRBs are undergoing building (and fire) safety work, the Government expects residents to be considered. DULHC has published a Code of Practice for the remediation of residential buildings that explains what landlords need to do.

Read more in the NHMF’s Q&A

What does the Regulator of Social Housing require?

The Regulator (RSH) already requires social landlords to report on its Tenant Satisfaction Measures and from April 2024, its new consumer regulation comes into force, with revised Consumer Standards. In its Safety and Quality Standard, RSH expects landlords to ‘ensure that the delivery of repairs, maintenance and planned improvements to homes … is informed by the needs of tenants.’ Its Code of Practice explains ‘Registered providers should consider … the condition of homes in the context of the needs of individual tenants living in them … taking into account the potential risk to tenants … and should have appropriate systems in place to ensure they act … in an appropriate and timely manner.’

More information in NHMF’s RSH Q&A [INSERT LINK when Q&A published]

What is the role of the Housing Ombudsman?

While the Ombudsman has the power to investigate individual complaints from tenants, it wants landlords to learn from good practice and to improve their service to tenants by being proactive rather than reacting to tenant complaints. To help the sector improve, it publishes Complaint Handling Failure Order reports and will be issuing guidance on good practice in carrying on of housing activities covered by the Scheme. The overarching aim of its Good Practice is to drive improvements in housing provision through learning from complaints, and it encourages all landlords to self-assess at the point of issue rather than wait for a complaint and an order from the Ombudsman to do so.

The Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code is statutory from 1 April 2024, meaning that landlords will be obliged by law to follow its requirements. The Code aims to achieve best practice in complaint handling and ultimately to provide a better service to residents.

Where can I find out more?

The RSH website contains information on:

The Housing Ombudsman provides resources and publications:

NHMF’s Best Practice website


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