The Regulator of Social Housing CEO Fiona MacGregor has warned that housing providers face an “extremely difficult” decision on rent setting for next year, and urged them not to wait for government intervention.

With rents linked to inflation, there’s a chance that rent increases could be in double digits.

And while Macgregor was keen to emphasise that government is showing no intentions of getting involved, “that’s not to say they won’t”.

She added: “Boards have to think about what they want to do on rent setting. If government don’t get involved then it’ll fall to you. Don’t duck these big decisions.”

MacGregor also addressed the ongoing disrepair issues within the sector, saying the “sector’s performance on quality is under the microscope like never before”.

She added that government officials are asking about the quality of social housing on a weekly basis and that it is “a top priority”.

“Lenders are also increasingly interested in stock condition from a reputational perspective,” she said.

MacGregor highlighted the need for good data, saying it was “essential” to knowing the health and safety of homes and pointing out that this is where the Regulator sees most issues.

Being asked a question on consumer regulation later in the session, she said that if providers hadn’t taken action on certain issues “I’d suggest that you’ve forgotten what you’re here to do” and that the Regulator had tools to help if providers did not show “willingness” to put things right.

On Right to Buy returning for housing associations, the Regulator CEO said providers must be “mindful” when selling homes in regards to a tenants ability to sustain that ownership.