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New WHQ out now

Standards, regulations and targets are the theme of the new issue of WHQ published today.

The cost of living crisis and rising materials and labour costs represent severe challenges for the Welsh housing sector in their own right (as we reported in the Spring) but social landlords are having to cope with those pressures against a backdrop of tightening standards. Each has the potential to bring huge benefits for anyone living in Welsh homes but each also brings challenges in its wake and a balance must be struck.

As Laura Courtney explains, the target of 20,000 low-carbon social homes will deliver homes that are affordable and energy efficient and help tackle climate change, but problems caused by environmental regulations, planning and rising construction costs also have to be tackled.

The proposed Welsh Housing Quality Standard 2023 promises improvements to and decarbonisation of existing social homes – but how will they be funded and how can those benefits be best explained to tenants? Debbie Green and Howard Toplis present views from different housing associations while Sarah Prescott looks at the issues that need to be considered in financing WHQS.

Meanwhile Craig Sheach of the Design Commission for Wales gives an architect’s perspective on standards, arguing that they can sound a great way of improving quality but can also be the enemy of good design.

Moving on from physical standards, the new Renting Homes regime will mean big changes in the law that will finally be implemented at the start of December following representations from landlords about the work involved. Former Law Commissioner Martin Partington on the benefits that the new regime will bring while Shelter Cymru’s Jennie Bibbings says no-fault evictions are soaring and tenants urgently need increased protection.

On the most important standards of all, we look at the continuing fire safety crisis in Wales, with signs of progress following movement by the UK Government but frustration among leaseholders that help is not coming fast enough.

Elsewhere in this issue you will find local authority perspectives from Jason McLellan, the new leader of Denbighshire, and Nick Taylor-Williams, head of housing at Caerphilly. On homelessness and housing support, we hear from Alex Osmond on Housing First and rapid rehousing, Joy Williams on the legacy of the Housing Support Network and CIH president Jo Richardson on her Homeful campaign.

Look out too for our regular updates on policy, regulation and research and from leading Welsh housing organisations.

Some articles are free to access for everyone but subscribers can read all articles and also download the magazine as a PDF or an online edition. For more details about subscribing go here.


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