The Social Housing Regulator has this week issued a formal notice stating that South Norwood council tenants’ ‘homes were uninhabitable and apparently unsafe, and the evidence demonstrates that other tenants may also have been at risk of serious harm’.
Badly neglected and poorly maintained council flats in residential tower blocks on Regina Road, South Norwood have recently been deemed “uninhabitable”, “apparently unsafe” and placed residents “at risk of serious harm.”
The situation arose, according to a number of government officials, as the result of “widespread and long-standing failures”.
These are the findings of an official notice of breaches of housing standards, regulations and policies issued this week by the Social Housing Regulator. By failing to adhere to proper standards, it now means Croydon Council has been acting as a slum landlord.
The notice makes clear that while the council self-notified the Regulator once it had been caught out in a series of shocking reports broadcast by ITV News in March, the Regulator had already been alerted to the parlous situation and would have taken action against Croydon in any case.
The Regulator’s office reported to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government were an official spokesperson has responded saying,
“By law all landlords must ensure properties are fit for people to live in and all registered providers of social housing must meet standards set by the Regulator of Social Housing.
“This includes complying with the government’s Decent Homes Standard, which ensures properties are safe and decent.”
This news comes after Croydon Council recently re-affirmed its commitment to put residents ‘at the heart of its plans to improve housing services, and to ensure that residents are treated with care and the respect they deserve’.
The Decent Homes Standard is a set of rules and regulations which were introduced in 2006, under the then Labour government, with the aim of reducing and eliminating slum conditions in the nation’s housing stock.
The Social Housing Regulator didn’t hold back on its notices and concluded that:
“London Borough of Croydon has breached the Home Standard and the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard; and as a consequence of this breach, there was actual and potential serious detriment to London Borough of Croydon’s tenants. The regulator will work with the council as it seeks to remedy this breach and will continue to consider what further action may need to be taken.”
Cabinet members of Croydon council this week fully accepted the findings of the independent investigation into conditions of properties at Regina Road and have approved the immediate action and longer-term improvement plans for the service.
A local resident at a council property affected by severe water damage, was invited to address the cabinet meeting to share her experiences and talk about the impact on her family and health.
Cabinet members and senior officers from across the council have pledged to tackle the issues that led to her situation, with a strong focus on transforming the culture within the housing service.
Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice, cabinet member for homes told news.Croydon:
“It is my absolute priority to improve our housing services for all our residents and I will not rest until we achieve this. We must give our tenants a voice and ensure they are heard – this will be at the heart of our plans for improvement. We have a long way to go to rebuild our residents’ trust but I am determined that we will achieve this.”