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Regulator of Social Housing publishes implementation plan for reshaping consumer regulation

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has published its implementation plan for reshaping consumer regulation.

The plan builds on the RSH’s vision for proactive consumer regulation:

  1. Landlords maintain tenants’ hoes so that they are safe and of a decent standard and that landlords provide a quality service
  2. Where things go wrong, complaints are handled effectively, and things are put right
  3. The relationship between tenants and landlords is underpinned by shared expectations of fairness and respect and a shared understanding of their respective rights and responsibilities
  4. Landlords demonstrate that they understand the diverse needs of the communities that they serve, and their services reflect that
  5. Tenants understand, use, and have confidence in the recourse that they have to get problems resolved and
  6. Stakeholders have confidence that landlords’ commitment to their tenants is underpinned by effective consumer regulation, whether that landlord is a housing association, council, or for-profit provider.

The RSH has set out three tests for the success of the new consumer regulation framework:

  1. It must make a meaningful difference to tenants
  2. Landlords must be able to deliver its expectations and
  3. The RSH must be able to regulate against it.

The Social Housing Regulation Bill is currently making its way through Parliament.  Following the Bill becoming law, the RSH will consult on and then publish:

  • Revised Consumer Standards
  • A Code of Practice on consumer issues and
  • New and strengthened enforcement powers.

The themes of the revised Consumer Standards will be:

  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Neighbourhood
  • Transparency
  • Engagement and accountability and
  • Tenancy.

The RSH is currently piloting consumer inspections with a view to introducing the revised approach to consumer regulation in 2024.  The implementation states that the RSH will publish the conclusions of individual consumer inspections and other aspects of consumer regulation, with the detail currently being worked up.

The implementation plan also confirms that the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs) Standard comes into effect from 1 April 2023, and the RSH stresses that landlords need to start preparing to collect the TSMs now.