Housing Associations — [Albert Owen in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:14 pm on 12th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 4:14 pm, 12th June 2019

It is, and the bar for that is very high, because there has to be an immediate threat to life. With cladding, one of the things that we have tried to ensure is that everybody is safe tonight. I have just commissioned and received reassurance through a review that that is still the case—everybody is still safe in buildings. If interim measures are in place in buildings that have not yet been remediated, one hopes the immediate threat is receding. Nevertheless, the power is there for local authorities to use. That is not just the case in a situation involving cladding; it is available to them in any situation.

I shall move, rather conveniently, on to safety. The hon. Gentleman and I have both spent time this week with Grenfell United, and we will spend more time with the group later in the week. Safety is uppermost in our mind. When things do go wrong, particularly on safety, it is of the utmost importance that such concerns are resolved as soon as is practicable. Registered providers must ensure that properties meet, and are maintained at, the decent homes standard. The regulator’s standards also require landlords to provide a repairs and maintenance service that responds to the needs of tenants and offers them choices. The objective is for landlords to ensure that repairs and improvements are right the first time. When they are not, tenants should complain and have the right to expect that something is done.

I should point out that if hon. Members believe they have constituents living in properties with serious hazards that present a risk to health and safety, they can report that to their local council, which can inspect and assess properties using the HHSRS. Should the local council become aware of a category 1 hazard, it can intervene.