All industries have standards and regulations that they need to comply with in order to do the best by the people that use their products and services, as well as stay within the law! And for organisations that provide social homes – be it a housing association or a local authority – it is no different.
What does the regulator do?
The Regulator of Social Housing oversees how every social housing provider in England and Wales is run. If you’re in Scotland, there is also a separate Scottish Housing Regulator. They work with the government, the housing ombudsman and housing providers to make sure that social homes are safe, decent and sustainable in line with the law.
The work of the regulator includes registering new social housing providers to make sure that they meet the right standards. The body also flag when existing landlords aren’t making the grade and support them to improve. In very rare circumstances, when a provider isn’t up to scratch and doesn’t make the necessary changes, they may be de-registered.
The regulator concentrates mainly on two topics:
- Making sure that landlords are being sensible with their finances
- Ensuring that residents are treated with a high level of consumer standards
Financial standards include:
- Ensuring that social homes show value for money for taxpayers
- Making sure that they are run in a financially stable way to protect people’s homes
- Providing evidence of financial sustainability so that they can access funds to build more homes
Consumer standards include:
- Encouraging and guiding landlords to contribute to the improvement of the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the neighbourhoods where they provide housing
- Reporting to residents regularly about how the landlord is run and how they spend the money they make
- Giving residents the opportunity to be involved in how their housing is managed
What’s coming up for the regulator?
There are changes on the horizon! Improvements to the standards that social landlords are meant to stick to are set to be brought in, in order for the sector to better serve residents.
In November 2020 the government released The Charter for Social Housing Residents. Within this, seven main themes were set out and over the coming years, the way that housing providers behave will change to meet these new standards.
The seven themes:
- Being safe in your home
- Knowing how your landlord is performing
- Having your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly
- Being treated with respect
- Having your voice heard by your landlord
- Having a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in
- Being supported to take your first step towards ownership
These expected changes to how social housing is delivered will not be possible to put in place without residents getting involved. By sharing your opinions and vision for what housing should look like in the future, you can shape how your neighbourhood moves forward.