March 5, 2024

Home Inspection

Home Inspection, Primary Monitoring for Your Home

Inside Housing – News – Sector responds to stock condition expectations in proposed consumer standards

3 min read

“Some local authorities I’ve been speaking to – some of our members – have said we’re just going to do a 100% stock condition survey and one or two of them are being quite ambitious and saying we want to try and do that within the next 12 months. 

“The trouble is that that is just going to drain resources out of the surveying sector and everybody’s competing now for the same resources. There is a finite number of building surveyors around,” he said. 

He also raised concerns that if there is too much focus on stock condition, other safety requirements could suffer. 

Mr Price said: “The regulator has been warning about people jumping to the next big thing and forgetting about the basics. 

“One of the comments they’ve made is that people are doing all these stock condition surveys and then forgetting their gas maintenance servicing.”

Julie Wittich, chief operating officer at Accent, said the housing association is in a good position, having surveyed nearly 90% of its stock. 

She said it is not unrealistic to have all of the stock surveyed physically, but the issue will be around how often it has to be surveyed. Ms Wittich said every two years would be a “tall order”. 

“I think five-yearly is achievable and you could do the outside and the inside… I don’t think it’s that tricky. We’ve got repairs people going into properties all the time so we collect damp and mould data then.”

She said it is achievable if landlords are doing it at every opportunity, rather than having it as an isolated programme. 

“It’s all about planning and about having a grown-up conversation with our customers and telling them we need to get in,” she said.

At Housing 2023 in June, the RSH’s chief executive voiced concern over a rise in gas safety breaches after it thought the issue had already been “cracked”.

Fiona MacGregor said at the time: “That’s why we put the damp and mould [issue] in a context. It’s not, ‘You chase one ball, and forget what is going on on the pitch elsewhere’.”

Mr Price added: “It’s a very tricky one for the sector at the moment, balancing all of these competing priorities and demands and of course not having the money to pay for it all.”

A spokesperson for the RSH said: “Landlords should provide good-quality homes and services to their tenants. To do this they need a detailed understanding of individual homes to make sure they are safe and problems are dealt with promptly. 

“Checking the condition of all tenants’ homes, inside and out, is an important part of this. We will expect landlords to engage constructively with tenants to understand and resolve potential issues around access, and treat them with fairness and respect. 

“And we will continue to be proportionate when we assess landlords’ compliance with the proposed new consumer standards.”

They added that the new standards will “protect tenants and give them stronger powers to hold landlords to account”. 

“We encourage tenants, landlords and others in the sector to have their say in this important consultation,” they said. 

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