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Housing

Government will ‘name and shame’ landlords on social media for leaving tenants in dodgy social housing

Ministers are following the example of social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa who is using social media to shame social landlords for failures

Social landlords who leave tenants in unsafe homes will be “named and shamed” on social media in a bid to boost standards.

The Westminster government has vowed to post the most shocking examples of mouldy walls, leaking pipes and other issues that have breached the social housing regulator’s consumer standards or where the housing ombudsman has found severe maladministration.

The strategy echoes the tactics used by social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa who has attracted the attention of Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Steven Bartlett and met with housing secretary Michael Gove following his use of social media to share heart-breaking stories.

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“Everyone in this country deserves to live in a safe and decent home. It is unacceptable that anyone should have mould covering their walls, risk slipping on a wet floor or have water dripping from the ceiling,” said Minister for Social Housing Eddies Hughes.

“We have published draft legislation today to toughen up regulation of social housing landlords. This includes naming and shaming those landlords who fail to meet acceptable living standards and giving tenants a direct channel to raise their concerns with government. 

“This package will help to deliver on our commitment in the Levelling Up White Paper to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.” 

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The spotlight has been on social landlords in the last year following the campaigning of Tweneboa and a year-long investigation into the standards of social homes from ITV News. 

For Tweneboa, social media has been an important tool to give tenants a voice to speak up about their substandard housing situations. His work attracted the attention of celebrity investor Bartlett, who has offered Tweneboa £10,000 to step up his campaigning.

Kwajo Tweneboa, a young social housing campaigner.
Kwajo Tweneboa, a young social housing campaigner. Image: Supplied

Tweneboa told The Big Issue: “I am glad the government is doing this but I want to know is to what extent?

“Yes, you’re naming and shaming but what’s going to happen? What is going to be the consequence of that? Where are the teeth behind it?

“I don’t know if it will be effective. If it has teeth behind it yes, if it doesn’t have teeth behind it then, no. But shaming these companies is a step in the right direction.”

As well as publicly shaming landlords, UK ministers announced a new Resident Panel that will allow 250 social housing tenants to voice complaints to the government and feedback on reforms designed to improve housing.

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The panel will scrutinise measures to strengthen the Decent Homes Standard, improve training and qualifications for housing staff among other changes.

The reforms are part of the Social Housing White Paper, unveiled in November 2020, which is set to change the way social landlords are regulated through legislation.

Draft clauses of the legislation were also published on Tuesday outlining how ministers plan to improve consumer powers and enforcement tools to tackle failing landlords as well as new responsibilities for social landlords.

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