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Government publishes the social housing white paper – The Charter for Social Housing Residents

November 2020

The Government has published ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’, its Social Housing White Paper. The White Paper considers the issues facing those who rent, leaseholders and shared owners in social housing, and generally refers to them all as “residents” except where an issue is only relevant to those who are renting from a social housing landlord, in which case they refer to “tenants”.

The White Paper draws from the views of residents across England, and its new charter sets out what every social housing resident should expect from their landlord:

1. To be safe in their homes

What does this mean?

The Government has identified ways both to raise safety standards and to help residents feel safer in their homes. It will work with industry and landlords to ensure every home is safe and secure, and intends to:

2. To know how their landlord is performing

 What does this mean?

The Government plans to create a set of tenant satisfaction measures for landlords on things that matter to tenants. This will inform how a landlord is performing and what decisions it is making. Thus, enabling them to be challenged when things are not working as they should, and to compare the performance of other social landlords. To this end then Government will:

 3. To have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly

 What does this mean?

Residents should get swift and effective resolution of complaints. Government will:

4. To be treated with respect 

What does this mean?

Transformation of consumer regulation to further drive the right behaviors and hold landlords to account when they fail. This means:

5. To have their voice heard by their landlord

 What does this mean?

Government will:

6. To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in

What does this mean?

To ensure social tenants have good quality, decent homes and neighbourhoods, including access to green space and support for wellbeing, Government intends to:

7. To be supported to take their first step to ownership

 What does this mean?

The Government’s plans include:

Building safety:

Building safety is a top priority for the government, and through this white paper they aim to put residents back at the heart of building safety. In July the government published the building safety bill, which brings forward measures to put in place an enhanced regulatory regime for all buildings. The new safety regime will give residents a stronger voice and will deliver stronger enforcement and sanctions to ensure homes are safe.

To bring forward these changes the government wants to create a culture where landlords and building safety managers communicate effectively with their residents on safety issues. Through the building safety bill the government is introducing a requirement for the ‘Accountable Person’ for each higher- risk building to produce and implement a resident engagement strategy to promote the participation of tenants and leaseholders in decisions that are made about building safety risks in their building.

The resident engagement strategy will help to ensure that:


Housing Secretary The Right Honourable. Robert Jenrick MP said:

“We are delivering on the commitment we made to the Grenfell community that, never again, would the voices of residents go unheard. This white paper will bring transformational change for social housing residents, giving them a much stronger voice and, in doing so, re-focusing the sector on its social mission.

“I want to see social housing tenants empowered by a regulatory regime and a culture of transparency, accountability, decency and service befitting of the best intentions and deep roots of social housing in this country.

“The new approach and regulatory changes we set out in this white paper will make a measurable difference to the lived experiences of those living in England’s 4 million social homes in the years ahead.”

Alongside publishing the white paper, the Housing Secretary has also announced a consultation on mandating smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all rental homes.

For more information on the proposed reforms you can read the full white paper here


LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.