What Will it be Like Living With the New Housing Regulator?

The Social Housing Regulation Bill was formally announced in the 2022 Queen’s Speech. The social housing reforms talked about since Grenfell are finally on their way into law.

The overriding objective of the bill is to hand new rights to social housing tenants – so they can hold landlords to account and improve the standard of their homes.

Social landlords will also be judged against new performance measures, including how efficiently they handle repairs and complaints. With the new legislation will come a new regulator for England.

Emergency Repairs

One practical effect of the new regulator’s powers will be the option to impose emergency repairs on tenants’ homes where their landlord has been slow to act.

We don’t yet know the mechanism that will make this happen but there are two reasonable assumptions: the bill will ultimately be picked up by the housing provider, and it will be higher (because it’s deemed an ‘emergency’) than if it had been taken care of within routine business.

The regulator is expected to act more quickly over concerns about the decency of homes, only needing to give 48 hours’ notice before surveying the property.

Non-Compliance Penalties

New tenant satisfaction measures and regulator powers to inspect on consumer issues will change the regulatory and compliance landscape significantly.

Harsher penalties are expected for landlords that don’t meet standards, with potentially unlimited fines for providers of inadequate housing.

Housing associations and local authorities have broadly welcomed the planned measures. At the same time, many recognise that tenant consultation and the efficiency of repair and maintenance and compliance services will have to step up.

This is all happening at a time when social housing providers face increasing cost pressures. Better integration of services and work streams, along with enhanced digitisation will be essential to keep pace with the expectations of tenants and the new regulator.

Osborne has a strong track record of improving standards, efficiency and accountability for social housing property services. To find out more contact Jo Fletcher ([email protected]) or visit our resource centre.