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Regulator of Social Housing finds serious failings at Birmingham City Council

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Birmingham City Council has been found to have violated consumer standards, according to a report issued by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH). The regulatory notice came as a result of an investigation revealing severe health and safety issues in approximately 23,000 social homes under the council’s ownership.

The investigation unearthed an alarming list of unmet safety inspections and overdue risk assessments. Among these were nearly 17,000 overdue asbestos surveys, around 15,500 late electrical safety inspections, and over 1,000 overdue fire risk assessments, primarily concerning low-rise housing blocks. These oversights have left thousands of council tenants at potential risk of serious harm.

Moreover, the report highlighted a striking lack of efficiency in handling tenant complaints, with over 1,000 responses yet to be addressed. This issue is coupled with earlier external reviews indicating that the council’s engagement with tenants has been ineffective, with a clear lack of understanding or prioritization of tenants’ needs.

In response to these findings, the regulator has urged Birmingham City Council to promptly rectify these failings and ensure compliance with consumer standards.

Commenting on the issue, Kate Dodsworth, Director of Consumer Regulation at RSH, expressed her concerns: “

Birmingham City Council has failed thousands of tenants and it needs to act now to put things right. It is unacceptable that so many of its tenants are living in non-decent homes, and that thousands of health and safety surveys haven’t been completed. The council also needs to improve the way it handles its tenants’ complaints. We will continue to monitor the council’s progress while it fixes the problems we found through our investigation.

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