Social housing managers will be required to study for qualifications, Michael Gove has announced.
The housing secretary said the move was part of drive to professionalise the sector following the death of a two-year-old in a mouldy flat.
Mr Gove announced the changes after recognising that social housing residents were being “inexcusably let down”.
He said the shift would “drive up standards” across the board after Awaab Ishak’s tragic death.
Awaab died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould at his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
In response to his death, ministers have proposed that landlords will have to investigate and fix damp and mould in social housing within strict time limits under what would be known as “Awaab’s Law”.
‘Culture change needed’
On top of those reforms, Mr Gove announced new rules that will mean around 25,000 managers across the sector will be required to have an appropriate housing management qualification.
Managers must have a qualification that comes from a provider regulated by exams watchdog Ofqual and is equivalent to a level 4 or 5 certificate or diploma in housing.
Alternatively, they can have a foundation degree from the Chartered Institute of Housing.
The changes will be made through amendments to the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Officials said the new requirements will drive the “culture change needed” in the sector.
Image: Awaab’s home They said ensuring managers have appropriate qualifications will bring social housing more closely into line with other sectors providing frontline services, including social work, teaching, health and care services.
Any landlord who fails to meet the new standards requirements could eventually receive an unlimited fine from the Regulator of Social Housing, the department said.
Toddler’s death from mould triggers review of landlord guidance
Landlords must act after death of Awaab Ishak, says watchdog
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Housing developers have been told to repairing unsafe buildings Mr Gove said: “The Grenfell Tower tragedy and, more recently, the death of Awaab Ishak showed the devastating consequences of residents inexcusably being let down by poor performing landlords who consistently failed to listen to them.
“We know that many social housing residents are not receiving the service or respect they deserve.
“The changes we are delivering today will make sure social housing managers across the country have the right skills and experience to deliver an excellent service and drive up standards across the board.”
Image: The Grenfell tower block where 72 residents lost their lives on 14 June 2017 The bill is the latest step in response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, with the Fire Safety Act enacted and the Building Safety Act passed last year.
As already announced by Mr Gove’s department, the draft law will give the social housing regulator tough new powers, allowing it to enter properties with only 48-hours’ notice and make emergency repairs with landlords footing the bill.
The legislation is expected to return to parliament on 1 March.