Social housing tenants will be empowered to hold their landlords to account as part of a new government funded training scheme.

From free advice on addressing damp and mould to webinars on how to complain about anti-social behaviour, the training programme will share information like that handed out by shows such as ‘Watchdog’ or ‘Rip Off Britain’, offering tips and advice so tenants know their rights and how to access the Housing Ombudsman service.

Backed by £500,000 government funding, the Four Million Homes programme will also encourage tenants to take an active role in how their homes are managed, with advice on how to set up a residents panel so tenants are treated with respect.

Minister for social housing, Baroness Scott said: “Tenants deserve better and this training programme will help people up and down the country demand a high-quality service from their landlord.

“We are driving up standards in social housing through landmark legislation and making sure residents’ voices are heard with digital advertisement campaigns.

“The Four Million Homes programme is the latest part of our plan to drive a culture change right at the very heart of the social housing sector.”

CCH chief executive officer, Blase Lambert, said: “This programme is a catalyst for change in the social housing sector. It complements other government actions outlined in the Social Housing Regulation Bill and the Make Things Right campaign, leading to a better balance of power between landlords and residents.

“All social housing residents need to understand their rights, know how to raise issues with their landlords and hold them to account, and be able to shape and improve the services they receive and the homes they live in.  This training programme will do that.”

All are welcome to register for the launch and residents will be able to book upcoming online and in-person events via www.fourmillionhomes.org.

The training events will begin in May and will run over 24 months starting with ‘Exploring your right to engage and be heard’, advising residents of their rights and how to make complaints.

Sessions will include face-to-face accredited training around the country including in Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and London, and monthly webinars on topics such as addressing damp and mould and anti-social behaviour. Online training videos will be live from September to ensure that these opportunities are available to all via the Four Million Homes website.

The programme was shared with residents on the government’s 250-strong resident panel, who advise on raising standards in social housing. Over 100 of these residents have volunteered to help shape and inform content and campaigns throughout the programme, via the Four Million Homes Resident Sounding Board.

The training will be provided by the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) and Public Participation, Consultation and Research (PPCR) – organisations that help empower social housing residents.