Social housing managers will have to study to qualify, Michael Gove has announced.
The housing secretary said the move was part of a push to professionalise the sector following the death of a two-year-old in a moldy apartment.
Mr. Gove announced the changes after recognizing this social housing the residents were “inexcusably disappointed”.
He said the change would “raise standards” in all areas after the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.
Awaab died in December 2020 from a respiratory illness caused by mold at his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
In response to his death, ministers proposed that landlords must have damp and mold in social housing inspected and repaired within strict time limits, under the so-called ‘Awaaba law’.
“Culture Change Needed”
In addition to these reforms, Mr Gove has announced new rules which mean around 25,000 managers across the sector will need to be qualified in property management.
Managers must have a qualification that comes from a supplier regulated by the Ofqual Examinations Authority and is equivalent to a Level 4 or Level 5 certificate or diploma in Housing.
Alternatively, they may have a degree from the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Changes will be made through amendments to the Social Housing Act (Ordinances), under the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities.
Officials said the new requirements would drive a “needed culture change” in the sector.
They said that providing management with the right qualifications would bring social housing closer to other sectors providing frontline services, including social work, education, health and care services.
The department said any landlord who fails to meet the new standards could eventually face an unlimited fine from the Social Housing Regulator.
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Mr Gove said: “The Grenfell The skyscraper tragedy, and most recently the death of Awaab Ishak, have shown the devastating consequences of the inexcusable disappointment of residents by underperforming landlords who consistently disobeyed them.
“We know that many social housing residents do not receive the services and respect they deserve.
“The changes we are making today will ensure that social housing managers across the country have the right skills and experience to deliver excellent service and raise standards across the board.”
The bill is the latest step in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, with the passage of the Fire Safety Act and the passing of the Buildings Safety Act last year.
As Mr Gove’s department has already announced, the bill will give the social housing regulator strong new powers, allowing it to enter properties with just 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs with landlords paying the bill.
The bill is due to return to parliament on March 1.