Mayor warns affordable housing providers about maintenance standards

Mayor warns affordable housing providers about maintenance standards

Sadiq Khan has pledged to use his power as a funder of affordable homes in London to improve the maintenance and management of existing dwellings as well as new ones, following his Deputy Mayor for Housing, Tom Copley writing to all of City Hall’s housing “investment partners” about the issue last month.

“London is building some of the most impressive new affordable homes in the country,” the Mayor said, “but it is vital that existing residents experience high standards too. Most social housing in London is well managed and maintained. However, this is unfortunately not always the case.”

Copley began his three-page letter of 23 September by pointing out to recipients of Khan’s 2021-26 investment programme that “the social housing sector has been under increased scrutiny from the government and the media”, apparent references to a House of Commons committee inquiry into poor standards and exposés such as a year-long ITV investigation of conditions endured by tenants in a number of English cities, including London.

He set out the legal position regarding investment partner (IP) status and the regulations recipient organisations must comply with and possible sanctions if they fail, including the withholding or withdrawal of grants. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is party to a memorandum of understanding with the national Regulator of Social Housing.

Reduced IP status can only be restored by re-applying for it, a process which will now entail answering more questions than before about “housing management experience”. Underling a more stringent approach, Copley added: “For the avoidance of doubt, for all GLA funding programmes that require IP status to be maintained, there may be other triggers for a review of IP status”.

In February City Hall produced analysis indicating that 15% of London’s social rent properties as a whole fail to meet the government’s decent home standard and that most tenants who had complained about conditions in their homes had been unhappy with the response from their landlord or management organisation.

Khan and Copley have backed the Social Housing Regulation Bill currently going through Parliament, which is intended to strengthen the rights of residents, and Khan said today he will continue to call on the government to also take responsibility for pushing for higher standards, including by making much needed additional funding available”.

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