The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will highlight poor practice by landlords including on its social media platforms. This will include published findings by the Housing Ombudsman of severe maladministration, and judgements of the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) that consumer standards have been breached.

Where appropriate, the Secretary of State will contact landlords to understand how they are taking appropriate steps to address the Ombudsman’s and Regulator’s findings. All landlords are expected to self-refer breaches of standards to the RSH. Where landlords have failed to self-refer and a breach is found, they will be contacted by ministers.

The Housing Ombudsman is independent of government and impartially resolves disputes between tenants, leaseholders and their social landlords. The Ombudsman has 2,316 member landlords representing 4.7 million households. The Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code provides a framework for high-quality complaint handling to help landlords resolve complaints quickly and effectively.

When things cannot be resolved the Ombudsman can investigate and make orders or recommendations to put things right where mistakes have been made.

In 2020/21 alone the Ombudsman issued a total of 3,455 orders and recommendations following investigations and made awards of compensation totalling £450k.

The RSH sets consumer standards which set minimum expectations for all registered providers of social housing regarding the decency of tenants’ homes, the services they receive from their landlords and how landlords should treat their tenants.

Given the Regulator is able to proactively regulate against the economic standards already, government will be focusing its attention on breaches of the consumer standards. Providers are expected to continue to comply with all of the regulatory standards.

For more information, you can read the government’s full policy paper here.