It's fair to say that 2021 was a reasonably rollercoaster year for the social housing sector. With questions about fire safety and the zero-carbon requirements that loom ever closer, change was well and truly afoot.
However, neither of the two problems mentioned above took centre stage in 2021. That spot was, of course, occupied by the exposure of terrible housing conditions in which some were being forced to live. As the ITV and Dan Hewitt, in particular, led an all-out assault on those providing way below par housing. The country tuned-in to the coverage and began to highlight problems of their own.
In this short but sweet blog, we want to offer some insight as to what we can all expect from 2022. Take our hand as we walk through the social housing sector for the coming year.
It's no surprise that housing associations have pledged tens of millions to make right the fire safety issues that many of their properties face. It will also come as less of a surprise if they have to reach deep into their development pockets to do so.
With the net-zero movement looking like it will cost a lot more than initially imagined, social housing providers are going to have to fix up or fall short. Expect more borrowing and the cost of reaching the governments' targeted number of affordable homes to be covered by private entities.
It was announced in 2021 that Kate Bosworth would take up the director of consumer regulation role at the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH). The RSH immediately pushed forward with its suggested increased regulation in terms of tenant satisfaction. Social landlords are to be judged on five specific themes. Repairs, Building safety, respectful and helpful tenant engagement, responsible neighbourhood engagement and effective complaint handling. Therefore cranking up the pressure on the large associations who are failing those most in need.
It was Daniel Hewitt and the power of ITV that seemed to finally bring the issue to national attention. Despite this behaviour going on for years prior. However, the national coverage has forced action, and it's nothing more than tenants deserve. Social landlords have shuffled off into the darkness to do some much-needed soul searching. However, the RSH and housing ombudsmen have no intention of resting.
The pressure is on for social housing providers. They must now tick the boxes to ensure they are compliant in terms of housing disrepair. Or risk facing the consequences of their actions. Expect more fireworks this year as companies similar to Clarion are put under the microscope in a similar fashion.
If you are suffering from housing disrepair, follow the link below and find out how we could help you.
The year starts again with a flurry of promises of change. Whether it's the strict new diet, the plan to start driving or the often short-lived 'Dry January'. It's just what we do as humans, roll out of bed on January 1st with a head full of expectations and aims, and we are all about that positivity.
If there's an opportunity to grow, we suppose the new year is a great place to start, but for us, it's each and every day, and that's precisely what we are promising. However, the difference for us is that we aren't promising one another as we pass in the office; we are making the commitment for you. Whether you are a current client, a reader of our blog, or who knows, maybe a future customer. We will keep improving what we do for you, and that's what will make our service unique this year.
You may have noticed we are the first to sing and dance about being from Manchester. In fact, most of our dancing is done on tables, that's what they're for, right? But the truth of the matter is that we offer our services across the UK.
We are far more active in London than in Manchester, but that's just down to where the people need us most. Within our service, we offer national surveyor coverage, meaning that no matter where you are, we can get one of our experts out to you to analyse the disrepair you are living with day-to-day.
The truth is in 2022; we want to produce the same us on a more extensive basis. With all of the same exceptional customer service and user experience, with added capabilities and reach. That's why we continue to expand our offering as a company and build our in-house team so that you're in the safest hands possible.
So, that being said, if you know anyone that needs us this year, follow the link below and find out about our recommendation scheme.
Have the best 2002, everyone.
The end of the Twenty Twenty-One saw an incredible increase in social housing investment, and, of course, that's something to cheer about. However, we must not lose sight of the importance of continued investment in the most troubling times.
The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world we once knew in countless ways. One of the most prominent casualties has been the housing sector. Of course, it's vital that we understand the darkness; otherwise, we would have no knowledge of the light, and in these times, we need to take those little glimmers as hope.
It was the Welsh government who, in the final working weeks of twenty twenty-one, ploughed money into the housing package once more. This time it was an additional commitment to helping solve homelessness and to reducing carbonisation by the years 2024-25. Alongside previous housing sector funding increases, including money attributed to building safety risks, the total package is worth over £1bn.
Despite the above being steps towards a brighter destination, the bulk of the investment has been allocated towards social housing. An investment of £310m a year for the next three years highlights the intentions of those in power. Undoubtedly pushing us towards a better future for the sector.
For those outside of the housing sector, it's vital to stress the importance of this figure. For perspective, only five years ago, the Welsh government were spending £70m per year on the same problem.
The investment will provide a solid starting point for social housing providers. Let's be honest, that is needed now more than ever. The role of social housing has to play in national poverty is vital, and therefore, these investments are clearly a step in the right direction.
However, it's unlikely that the investment will be beneficial without sharpening up on governance and ruling against those social housing providers who allow their standards to become inadequate.
That being said, the problems of 2021 are lessons from which we must learn. They are the light leading the way towards a brighter tomorrow. It's time for housing associations to step up and provide housing that benefits communities across the board; 2022 is here, and it's time for a change.
Want to read more? Visit our blog at the link below.
An ITV article this past week reported that poor housing costs the NHS nearly £1.4 Billion a year. The report focuses on a Building Research Establishment (BRE) finding that highlighted that the figure is spent treating the illnesses and ailments caused by housing disrepair. The figure included all sorts of hazards such as damp & mould, excessive cold and falling down the stairs.
The report went on to say that most of the housing disrepair problems are "generally, not expensive to rectify compared with the long-term cost to the NHS and society if they are ignored." Highlighting that most of the time, it boils down to landlords wanting to avoid rectifying simple problems.
The highest cost was the £857 million said to be spent on treating residents whose health deteriorates due to excessively cold homes. However, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of those unable to work due to disrepair. This was announced in the BRE report at a whopping £18.5 billion.
The shocking figure is that to solve the problem; it would only cost landlords on average around £3800. The issue of poor housing isn't a new phenomenon, as highlighted by a statement made by Jane Goddard. The current Director of Corporate Affairs for the BRE said: "This hasn't changed; it hasn't improved since we did the first survey in 2015. This isn't a problem that's going to mend itself.
As you probably know, at Antony Hodari Solicitors, we specialise in providing five-star service to tenants in need. As a housing disrepair specialist, we have helped over 100,000 clients and managed to obtain over £100 million in compensation. So if you know anyone who needs us, we're here and waiting to hear from you!
In his first week in the job, new housing secretary Michael Gove took aim at the quality of social housing. Describing the current quality as 'scandalously poor', Gove also suggested that incentives may be implemented for standards to improve.
The new housing secretary went on to say, 'there are people who are living in conditions which are overcrowded...living in conditions affected by damp and other factors, which hold back the flourishing of children and families."
In recent months, primarily supported by the investigations of ITV News, social housing has come under increased scrutiny. Despite setting out a proposal to increase regulations in the sector back in October 2020, no date has yet been provided for the legislation needed.
Gove went on to comment on how he believes some people may be stuck in a situation whereby they live in social housing for most of their adult lives. Therefore the need for adequate regulations is a must to protect those in such a situation.
When summarising what his department will be working on in the coming months, Gove stated. "investing more in urban regeneration...a better deal for those in social housing...and helping those who currently rent to own their own homes."
"Our mission will also mean keeping faith in the victims of Grenfell. honouring their memory, making everyone's home greener and sharing the cost of that work more fairly."
Mr Gove made all the right noises in his opening statement; however, how long change will take and indeed how stringently legislation will be enforced upon social housing providers is very much a case of, let's wait and see.
If you are a tenant who is struggling with the standard of your home, we are here to help! Simply fill out our contact form, and we will be in touch as soon as possible.