In this latest blog we round up the latest news from the housing sector.

Social tenants to get opportunity to scrutinise landlords’ strategies and policies under new proposals 

The government is consulting on revised directions to the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) that aim to beef up tenant involvement and engagement, giving more power to residents to hold their landlords to account. The new directions from the secretary of state for housing, which will lead to the revision of the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard, include a requirement for social landlords to give tenants the opportunity to “scrutinise” strategies, policies and services, as well as any new services being introduced.  Another proposes removing the requirement for landlords to publish an annual report, allowing for a more flexible and tailored approach for tenants. The housing secretary has the power to provide directions to the RSH on certain matters, including the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard and Decent Homes Standard.

(compiled from source material – Social tenants to get opportunity to scrutinise landlords’ strategies and policies under new proposals )

Inside Housing Repairs Tracker 2023 

English housing associations spent a record £6.5bn on repairs and maintenance in 2021-22, according to Inside Housing’s annual review of their financial accounts. Using data from associations’ financial submissions to the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH), IH’s analysis shows that in the year to March 2022, landlords collectively spent 20% more on repairs and maintenance than during the previous 12 months. 

The significant rise – forecast by landlords and industry experts – follows a 5.3% fall in repairs and maintenance spending during the previous financial year and reflects increased ‘catch-up’ work following the COVID-19 lockdowns of the preceding years, which disrupted service provision. However, the £6.5bn figure for 2021-22 is also significantly higher than pre-pandemic spending, with building safety programmes and tackling the sector’s damp and mould crisis also contributing to the hike, as well as inflationary pressures. Some landlords cited supply chain issues and labour shortages as increased cost drivers. 

The £6.5bn spend is the total for the 204 associations that submitted accounts and compares with £5.4bn for the same group of organisations the previous year. In 2018-19, the final financial year before the pandemic hit, the group’s total repairs and maintenance bill was also £5.4bn. The total spend for each association combines its planned maintenance, routine maintenance, major repairs, and capitalised major repairs spending. Capitalising repairs includes the cost of the work in the value of the property, rather than accounting for it as a one-off cost. 

Spending increased in all four categories. The largest rise was to capitalised major repairs costs, which were up 37.5% to £2.2bn. Spending on routine maintenance was marginally higher at £2.6bn, a 13% increase. Planned maintenance and major repairs expenditure totalled £1.1bn (up 11.5%) and £640m (up 17.6%) respectively. 

(compiled from source material – Inside Housing Repairs Tracker 2023 )