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Five social landlords fail to meet RSH’s standards

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) published regulatory judgements for five social housing landlords who have failed to meet there standards.

Bristol City Council, Guildford Borough Council, Octavia Housing and Sheffield City Council have each failed to meet RSH’s new consumer standards, which were introduced on 1 April 2024 as part of a series of changes to its role, intended to drive landlords to deliver long-term improvements for tenants.

Cambridge City Council has not met RSH’s rent standard and as a result overcharged around 3,600 tenants.

Following investigations into each landlord, RSH found that:

  • Bristol City Council could not evidence that it is meeting carbon monoxide safety requirements for over 22,000 homes (out of 26,700 total homes). It also reported 1,900 open damp and mould cases, more than 16,000 overdue repairs and 3,000 overdue fire safety actions. In addition, the council does not have up-to-date data about the condition of tenants’ homes.
  • Guildford Borough Council has around 1,700 homes without an up-to-date electrical condition report (out of 5,200 total homes), and it could not provide evidence that it has completed around 1,300 fire safety actions. In addition, it has not collected Tenant Satisfaction Measures from tenants, which all social landlords are required to do.
  • Octavia Housing currently has 1,200 overdue fire safety remedial actions across its 5,000 homes. It was unable to provide evidence that it is meeting other health and safety requirements and it does not hold complete and accurate records for safety inspections.
  • Sheffield City Council had around 10,000 outstanding repairs across its 38,500 homes and, between January and April 2024, more than 90% of disrepair cases were outstanding for extended periods. RSH also found evidence that the council does not have an accurate record of the condition of tenants’ homes.
  • Cambridge City Council has previously overcharged around 3,600 tenants (half the total number) as a result of rent-setting errors over a prolonged period. The overcharge is estimated to be around £3.2 million.

All of the landlords are working to address these issues and put things right for their tenants, and RSH is working with the landlords proactively as they do this.

Bristol City Council, Guildford Borough Council, Octavia Housing and Sheffield City Council have each been given a C3 grading by RSH, which means there are serious failings and they need to make significant improvements. This is the first time RSH has published consumer gradings for social landlords, following the changes to its role in April 2024. RSH does not give gradings in relation to the rent standard.

Kate Dodsworth, Chief of Regulatory Engagement at RSH, said:

“Landlords must provide safe and decent homes for tenants, have an effective complaints process, and put things right when there are problems. The judgements we published today show that each of these landlords have issues which they need to address promptly.

 “All landlords need to make sure they deliver the outcomes in our standards and inform us when there are material issues. Our new approach to regulation, which started in April, gives us new tools to scrutinise landlords’ performance and, where there are issues, drive them to deliver long-term improvements for the benefit of tenants.” 

 The judgements are a result of RSH’s responsive engagement. This is where RSH investigates information that is referred by landlords, tenants and other stakeholders.

Separately, RSH is also carrying out planned inspections of all large social landlords (those with over 1,000 homes) over a four-year cycle. RSH expects to publish the outcomes of the first inspections later in summer 2024.

The judgements are also published on RSH’s website.

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