National Housing Federation Sorry For ‘Unacceptable’ Living Conditions Exposed By ITV News

The National Housing Federation, which represents more than 800 social housing providers in England, has issued an apology and admitted the sector has let down tenants following an ITV News investigation.

The federation, whose members provide homes to around six million people, said living conditions exposed by our reporting were unacceptable.

“Your investigation has revealed stories that are just completely unacceptable, and I want to say sorry to those residents. They deserve better,”, the federation’s chief executive Kate Henderson told ITV News. She admitted a “culture change” is needed in social housing, along with “greater accountability, trust and responsiveness between the social landlord and residents”. “We’re absolutely committed to providing good quality services to residents,” she added. “However what your investigation has shown is that hasn’t always been the case. “Now, this is not the norm, but these situations you’ve revealed are just not acceptable. Sorry might be an easy word to say but it’s absolutely genuine.”

She added: “We know that around 5% of housing association homes do have some kind of damp or mould and we need to take urgent action. “So I’ve been talking to members, since your investigation started airing about what they’re doing. I know some members are investing more money.

Around six million people live in housing associations properties. Similar to council housing, they provide homes at lower rents to people most in need, who cannot afford to rent on the open market. ITV News has learned that the number of complaints to the housing ombudsman about housing associations has risen by 35% in the last three years. There were 7,316 complaints in 2020/21, compared to 5,409 in 2018/19.

But while complaints against housing associations have gone up, so have the salaries they pay their chief executives. The highest earning chief executive earns £436,681, while every chief executive at the top ten biggest housing associations earns more than £284,000. In 2020 chief executives of the ten biggest companies took home, on average, £340,000. While housing associations don’t make profits, they generate additional income by building and selling homes on the open market. Their income has more than doubled from £10 billion in 2008 to £21.2 billion in 2020.