The Regulator of Social Housing has published a review of its consumer regulation work between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.

This year the regulator received more than 650 referrals from tenants, registered providers of social housing and other sources.

Out of those cases, they found a breach of the consumer standards in eight cases, where providers had not met the standards and where tenants had been harmed or were at risk of harm. In all eight, the breaches included health and safety failings.

Key lessons from the regulator are:

  • Good governance and leadership are vitally important to good quality service
  • Effective engagement with tenants will help landlords prepare for proactive consumer regulation
  • Landlords must provide quality accommodation which is safe and well managed
  • Landlords need reliable data and clear oversight of compliance
  • Local authorities must also comply with the consumer standards

In the review, the regulator says: “The cases we have seen show the importance of having accurate data about the condition and safety of tenants’ homes, and about the experiences of tenants in their homes.

“When providers do not have good quality, reliable data about their homes and the diverse needs of their tenants, it is likely that they do not have the assurance they need that tenants are safe in their homes.”

The body also emphasised the importance of self-referral when things do go wrong, stating: ” Openness with the regulator is at the heart of our co-regulatory approach and is a requirement of our Governance and Financial Viability Standard.

“It is unacceptable not to tell us when issues emerge which risk an organisation’s compliance with any of the economic or consumer standards. Where providers do self-refer to us, that provides evidence that that they understand their coregulatory responsibilities.”

Kate Dodsworth, Director of Consumer Regulation at the Regulator of Social Housing, said: “Our consumer regulation work over the last year has provided an important safeguard and helped keep thousands of local authority and housing association tenants safe.

“Our cases show that no social housing landlord can afford to remain complacent. The critical difference between landlords who provide good services and safe, decent homes and those that don’t is often whether they listen to tenants and really hear what they have to say.”