Social Housing Providers to Prepare for RSH's Stricter Consumer Standards

High inflation, higher borrowing costs, difficulties in accessing skilled labour and a declining housing market are just some of the challenges facing the social housing sector in 2023.

The Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) reports on these challenges in their Sector Risk Profile, setting out some of the actions that registered social housing providers should be taking to manage them.

Safety of Tenants To Be Prioritised

All social housing providers are advised to make necessary preparations for the heightened consumer standards which are to be enforced as of April 2024.

In July 2023, The Social Housing Regulation Act received Royal Assent and placed an increased focus on the social housing and related services that landlords provide tenants. RSH will have additional powers to enforce the new standards, which include an improved inspection system.

The safety of tenants is to be prioritised and social housing providers must demonstrate compliance with the new standards. Additionally, they are required to maintain precise and current stock data that thoroughly evaluates the existence of any significant hazards in tenants’ homes, including damp and mould.

Jonathan Walters, Deputy Chief Executive at RSH, said:

“Social housing providers are navigating difficult economic terrain. Boards must be clear-eyed and strategic about the risks they face, and deploy appropriate mitigations when needed. They must also make sure they are ready for our stronger programme of consumer regulation from next April.

“Providers have a core role of providing safe and decent homes for tenants and building new homes for people who need them. It is vital that they continue to meet our regulatory standards as they do this.”

The regulator is reviewing feedback on its Safety and Quality Standard consultation, set to replace the current Home Standard. This outlines expectations for stock quality, decency, repairs, maintenance, and planned improvements, including housing adaptations.