Regulator acts against Kent councils over safety failings

The Regulator of Social Housing has found that four councils in Kent had breached the Home Standard over a number of health and safety issues found throughout their homes.

The RSH issued Regulatory Judgements against Thanet, Dover, Canterbury and Folkestone & Hythe councils in September, who all manage their housing through the East Kent Housing Arms-Length Management Organisation.

It said the four councils, who self-referred themselves to the regulator after an internal audit raised concerns, had left tenants at risk of serious detriment as a result of failing to meet statutory health and safety requirements across a range of areas namely gas safety, fire safety, electrical safety, water safety and lift safety.

Following an investigation, the RSH deemed the four Kent councils to have breached the Home Standard on health and safety grounds, “taking into account the seriousness of the issues, and the duration for which tenants were potentially exposed to risk, and the number of tenants potentially affected”.

The regulator acknowledged that through East Kent Housing, the four councils have put programmes in place to rectify the failings. EKH was established in 2011 and is the only ALMO that manages homes on behalf of multiple councils.

The regulator wrote to all stock owning councils in May reminding them of their health and safety obligations towards their tenants after Arun and Gateshead councils were found to have breached the Home Standard.

By Patrick Mooney, Editor