Creating a fairer Britain
19 May 2011
Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance that explains how human rights law can help Britain's social housing providers deliver the best possible service to tenants.
Human Rights at Home: guidance for social housing providers gives practical advice on how the Human Rights Act relates to issues including allocation of housing, the terms of tenancy agreements, repairs and maintenance, and anti-social behaviour.
While social housing providers are obliged to comply with the Human Rights Act in dealing with their tenants and others, the guidance makes it clear that this law does not give people a right to housing or prevent landlords from taking proportionate action if tenants do not pay their rent or engage in anti-social behaviour.
The guidance shows that respecting the Human Rights Act makes business sense for social housing providers, as it will help them to avoid complaints that could lead to expensive legal proceedings from tenants or criticism from the relevant regulators that could damage their reputation.
This guidance should help social housing providers identify potential human rights issues and take appropriate action without fundamentally changing the way they work.
Helen Hughes, CEO at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
Our role as a regulator is to help social housing providers understand what they need to do to meet their human rights obligations. Protecting the human rights of social housing tenants is not just the right thing to do, it also makes business sense.
"Human rights are about treating people with dignity and respect. These values should be the basic standard for any public service. Human rights are particularly important in relation to social housing, as people living in inadequate housing are more likely to have severe ill health, a disability or poor mental health.
The Commission's guidance was produced with expert input from an Advisory Group consisting of social housing providers, representative organisations of social housing providers, central government and key regulators.
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For more press information contact the Commissions media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.
For general enquiries please contact the Commission's national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.
Download a copy of the guidance: Human Rights at Home: Guidance for Social Housing Providers
Under the Human Rights Act 1998 social housing providers in England, Scotland and Wales carrying out public functions are legally obliged to deliver their services in a way which respects the human rights of their tenants.
The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.