The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) today set out its new standards for social housing landlords, designed to protect tenants and improve the service they receive.

RSH also confirmed how it will regulate and inspect landlords against these final set of standards, following a lengthy consultation process.

The changes, which are a result of the landmark Social Housing Regulation Act, come into effect from 1 April 2024. They will apply to all social landlords, including councils and housing associations.

Under the new standards landlords will need to:

  • ensure tenants are safe in their homes
  • listen to tenants’ complaints and respond promptly to put things right
  • be accountable to tenants and treat them with fairness and respect
  • know more about the condition of every home and the needs of the people who live in them
  • collect and use data effectively across a range of areas, including repairs

To hold landlords to account, the regulator will:

  • inspect larger landlords regularly to check they are meeting the outcomes in the standards
  • scrutinise data about tenant satisfaction, repairs and other relevant issues
  • continue to push landlords to protect tenants and put things right when there are problems
  • use a range of tools when needed, including new enforcement powers
  • continue to focus on the financial viability and governance of housing associations as part of its integrated regulation

The RSH says it has engaged extensively with tenants, landlords and other stakeholders in developing this stronger approach. Over 1,000 people took part in the standards consultation, with more than 50% of responses coming from tenants. The overwhelming majority of people supported the proposals.

The inspection programme will start from April and run in four-year cycles.

Along with the inspections, RSH will continue its responsive engagement, considering cases referred by tenants and other stakeholders, and taking action against landlords when required.

Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH, said: “Social landlords must keep tenants safe in their homes, listen to what they say and put things right when needed. We are introducing new standards to drive improvements in social housing, and we will actively inspect landlords to check they are meeting them.

“We have spoken to thousands of tenants and other stakeholders who have helped shape our new approach, and we are extremely grateful for their input and involvement. It is vital that landlords make sure they are ready.”

To set out its new regulatory approach, the RSH has today published a pack of information for the social housing sector, including:

The four consumer standards are:

  • The Safety and Quality Standard which requires landlords to provide safe and good-quality homes for their tenants, along with good-quality landlord services.
  • The Transparency, Influence and Accountability Standard which requires landlords to be open with tenants and treat them with fairness and respect so they can access services, raise concerns when necessary, influence decision making and hold their landlord to account.
  • The Neighbourhood and Community Standard which requires landlords to engage with other relevant parties so that tenants can live in safe and well-maintained neighbourhoods, and feel safe in their homes.
  • The Tenancy Standard which sets requirements for the fair allocation and letting of homes, as well as requirements for how tenancies are managed by landlords.