Social Housing (Regulation) Bill 

The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill aims to put the measure set out in the Social Housing White Paper into law. Currently, The bill is at Report Stage in the House of Commons. 

The intention is for the bill to bring about “transformational change” for social housing residents, and it is expected that the bill will strengthen the regulatory regime to ensure that social landlords focus on the need of their customers, and that they are held to account for their performance. 

At its heart, it is about improving and promoting a more proactive consumer regime.  

The keys aspects of the bill include: 

  • Regular inspections of registered providers. 
  • Enabling the Regulator to set standards for the competence and conduct of staff working for registered providers of social housing. 
  • Requiring registered providers to nominate a designated person for health and safety issues. 
  • Giving the Secretary of State the power to introduce new requirements for registered providers relating to electrical safety checks. 
  • Making safety, transparency, and energy efficiency part of the Social Housing Regulator’s fundamental objectives. 
  • A power for the Regulator to direct registered providers to collect and publish performance information. 

The aims of the Bill are generally welcomed by the sector. The bill has been subject to some amendment as it has progressed through parliament and there may yet be further changes, but these are the key proposed changes in a nutshell: 

  1. The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) will subject Social Landlords to inspections. 
  2. RSH will be able to issue social landlords with ‘performance improvement plan notices’ if they fail to meet standards, if there is a risk that they will fail to meet standards, and if it fails to provide documents or information the RSH has asked for. 
  3. RSH will be able to carry out emergency works on customers homes and the social landlord will have to cover the costs. 
  4. The removal of the ‘serious detriment’ test, which blocks the RSH from intervening over consumer standards unless it suspects tenants are at risk of serious harm. 
  5. Mandatory checks on electrical installations at least every five years for rented and leasehold properties, and mandatory portable appliance testing (PAT) on all electrical appliances that are provided by social landlords. 
  6. Social landlord will need to appoint a health and safety lead who will be responsible for monitoring health and safety compliance. 
  7. Social landlords will be subject to a Freedom of Information-style information-sharing process for customers. 
  8. Social landlords will need to collect and publish information on the own compliance and performance. 
  9. The Housing Ombudsman will be granted new powers and it is expected that the code of practice will be put into law.  
  10. RSH will set up an advisory panel, made up of representatives of social housing tenants, social landlords and their lenders, councils, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Homes England, and the housing secretary. 

If you have any questions about the expected legal developments for social housing, please do not hesitate to contact Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing and Regeneration at MSB on 

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