The government has been slammed for its double standards by compelling private landlords to carry out electrical safety checks in high-rise blocks every five years, while social landlords don’t face the same obligations.
Lord Foster of Bath attacked the current inequality during a debate on the Building Safety Bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent soon.
He told the House of Lords the disparity was strange because the government wanted equality between social and private landlords.
He told peers: “The social housing charter states unequivocally, ‘Safety measures in the social sector should be in line with the legal protections afforded to private sector tenants.
“Responses to the social housing Green Paper showed overwhelming support for consistency in safety measures across social and private rented housing’.”
Lord Bath introduced an amendment proposing mandatory five-year checks, which he said social housing landlords supported.
He added: “Some 87% of leaseholders support the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks. The same survey found that 91% of leaseholders were more concerned for their safety and that of their tenants as a result of what they saw in the tragic fire at Grenfell.”
However, Home Office Minister Lord Greenhalgh (pictured) said the amendment would add an additional objective for the building safety regulator around property protection.
He added: “I am concerned that adding additional objectives for it at this early stage in its life could distract it and hinder its success. Instead, we should include this issue in the first statutory review of how well the regulator is working.”
The government has vowed that no leaseholder living in medium or high-rise buildings will have to pay a penny for the removal of cladding, but it has repeated that only buy-to-let landlords with one other property should be included in statutory protections for leaseholders.