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Regulator of Social Housing publishes Regulatory Notice and non-compliant Regulatory Judgement for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has published a Regulatory Notice (RN) and a non-compliant Regulatory Judgement (RJ) for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Limited.  The RSH’s action reflects “significant failings in the way that RBH deals with damp and mould across the organisation, beyond the specific findings in the coroner’s verdict on the tragic death of Awaab Ishak”.

The RN says that:

  • RBH does not have effective mechanisms in place to promptly identify repairs issues or concerns and the RSH therefore lacks assurance that RBH complies with the Decent Home Standard
  • RBH’s repairs and maintenance service did not respond to the needs of Awaab and his family, as well as a significant number of other tenants on the Freehold Estate
  • RBH has failed to hear from tenants about the conditions of their homes and therefore has failed to communicate in a way that is appropriate to the diverse needs of tenants and
  • By making assumptions about the family’s lifestyle RBH did not treat the family with fairness and respect.

The RSH consequently found RBH to be in breach of the Home Standard and the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard and that, as a result, there was the potential for serious detriment to tenants.

The G3 grading in the RJ reflects that the RSH lacks assurance that RBH has an effective risk management and internal controls framework and a Board with sufficient capacity to ensure compliance with Regulatory Standards.  RBH missed opportunities over a two-year period to act in a timely, effective and proactive manner to strengthen its risk controls and assurance relating to damp and mould hazard as more information came to light. RBH’s Board failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of its data relating to the condition of its properties which adversely impacted its decision-making and scrutiny of the risks.

RSH Chief Executive Fiona MacGregor said “Our investigation reveals significant failures in the way RBH manages damp and mould in its homes, resulting in harm to tenants. The tragic death of Awaab Ishak should have led to action to establish wider risks, but RBH failed to respond quickly or effectively. This is unacceptable. RBH needs to address the issues we have found and we will take further action if it fails to do so. Our judgement sends a clear message to social landlords that they must deal with damp and mould as the serious hazards that they are, treat tenants with respect, and take their concerns seriously”.

All of the RJs, RNs and Gradings Under Review listings published by the RSH can be viewed on the RSH’s website here.