The housing association that failed to treat hazardous mould leading to the tragic death of Awaab Ishak will be stripped of new government funding, Michael Gove has announced.
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) will not receive its expected £1m funding from the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP 2021-26) or receive any new AHP contracts for new homes, until the Regulator of Social Housing has concluded its investigation and it can prove it is a responsible landlord. The Government will also continue to monitor housing standards of RBH tenancies closely, working with the Regulator and Ombudsman, to ensure that tenants have appropriate housing.
As part of a wider crackdown on poor standards, the Housing Secretary will also block any housing provider that breaches the Regulator’s consumer standards from new AHP funding until they make improvements. Michael Gove will also consider stripping providers of existing AHP funding, unless construction has already started on site.
The move comes after Michael Gove wrote to all councils and housing associations this weekend, saying they must raise the bar dramatically on standards and demanding urgent action where people complain about damp and mould.
Holding failing landlords to account for poor safety and quality is not just an issue in social housing.
That is why the government has awarded a share of £14 million for seven areas with high numbers of poor privately rented homes to crack down on rogue landlords and test new approaches to driving up standards.
- £2.3 million for Greater Manchester – including Rochdale and surrounding councils – to increase the use of fines where a landlord is found to have committed an offence
- £678,000 for Leeds to use behavioural science to change culture among landlords, improving knowledge and skills
- £1.14 million for Cornwall to create a database of private rented accommodation in the area and record standards to target better enforcement action.
“RBH failed its tenants so it will not receive a penny of additional taxpayers’ money for new housing until it gets its act together and does right by tenants.
“Let this be a warning to other housing providers who are ignoring complaints and failing in their obligations to tenants. We will not hesitate to act.
“Everyone deserves the right to live in safe, decent home and this government will always act to protect tenants.”Michael Gove, Housing Secretary
The Regulator of Social Housing has demanded evidence from all housing association and local authority landlords this week, showing they are identifying and dealing with damp and mould issues in their homes. The Regulator will take action where standards are not being met.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will also ensure tenants’ complaints are listened to and dealt with quickly and fairly, with new powers for the Housing Ombudsman to take action on complaints.
A stronger regulator will have powers to enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants and the landlord has failed to act, with landlords footing the bill.
To make sure tenants know their rights and can hold housing providers to account, the government is also launching a £1 million public information campaign early next year.