housing associations
© Andrew Norris

The National Housing Federation is launching an ambitious new programme of work to build a stronger relationship between housing associations and their tenants

The project is called Together With Tenants and sets out a plan of action to ensure boards are always properly connected and accountable to the people they house, whilst also giving tenants and residents a strong role in scrutiny.

Housing association residents are firmly at the heart of the proposal, with the National Housing Federation asking tenants and residents from across the country to share their thoughts on the proposal. Tenants and residents are being asked to join a new independent Tenant Advisory Panel and complete a questionnaire on the plan.

The National Housing Federation is clear that housing associations already have a long-standing commitment to engaging with tenants and residents.

However, the public conversation following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower exposed differences in how people felt about their relationship with their social housing landlord.

In response, over the last 15 months the National Housing Federation has held conversations and workshops with housing associations and their tenants to better understand the challenge and develop this set of proposals. 43 housing associations have already signed up to be early adopters of the proposals.

The National Housing Federation is looking for more housing associations to act as early adopters as well as others who are interested in informing the next stage of the programme of work.

The Together With Tenants programme will include the following:

  1. A new requirement in the National Housing Federation Code of Governance for boards to be accountable to their tenants and residents.
  2. A new ‘Together with Tenants’ Charter setting out what tenants and residents can expect from their housing association landlord.
  3. Tenant and resident oversight and scrutiny of the Charter with a report on how their landlord is doing against the Charter commitments.
  4. A closer link with regulation.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation says: “I am proud to launch Together with Tenants today. It is a demonstration of the fact that as a sector we are addressing one of the most pressing challenges facing the country. How we rebuild trust between people and institutions.

“This is a challenge that is of course particularly pertinent for our sector, after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower exposed feelings of powerlessness, distrust and disconnection.

“This plan builds on good practice in the sector, and must also be the first steps towards meaningful change. I am delighted that as of today 43 housing associations have already signed up to test the commitments and I hope that many more will follow suit.

“We know that for this plan to work we need to design it with tenants and residents. This is why we’ve been working closely with them throughout the process, and are now urging tenants to share their thoughts on these proposals.”

The Secretary of State for Housing, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP commented: “I welcome today’s launch of Together With Tenants which is an ambitious plan to build a stronger relationship between tenants and landlords. Housing associations are right to take this positive step in making clear commitments to be accountable and responsive to their tenants.

“Providing quality and fair social housing is a priority for this government. I look forward to working with housing associations and their tenants to build pride in the nation’s social housing.”

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, Rt Hon John Healey MP added: “This welcome charter reflects the truth that housing associations do better when they give residents a bigger role and louder voice in the management of their homes and neighbourhoods.

“The distinctive value of the best housing associations is their strong social purpose, and these commitments rightly recognise that this must include greater accountability to residents.”

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