RSH's Proactive Consumer Standards and Regulatory Changes


The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) in the UK has introduced significant changes to its regulatory framework, emphasising a proactive approach to consumer standards which came into effect on April 1, 2024. These changes, mandated by the Social Housing Regulation Act passed in July 2023, mark a shift from the regulator's previously reactive stance, which only allowed intervention in cases of serious tenant detriment, to a more dynamic and regular monitoring system.

Under the new regime, housing providers that own more than 1,000 homes will undergo inspection visits from the regulator at least once every four years. These inspections will assess the providers' compliance with four revised consumer standards, focusing on safety, quality, transparency, and community engagement among others. This proactive approach is designed to ensure that housing providers maintain continuous compliance with both consumer and economic standards, thus safeguarding tenant welfare and housing quality.

The new standards introduce a series of 'required outcomes' and 'specific expectations' that registered providers must meet. Significant among the changes is the introduction of what's being referred to as "Awaab's Law", which mandates emergency repairs on serious hazards like damp and mould within strict timeframes. The regulation also strengthens the RSH's enforcement capabilities, allowing it to impose unlimited fines on providers that fail to meet these standards, a substantial increase from the previous cap of £5,000.

These regulatory enhancements reflect a broader commitment to improving tenant services and housing standards, necessitating that housing providers not only comply with the new regulations but also engage in continuous improvement of their housing management practices. This approach aims to elevate the overall standard of social housing and ensure that issues are addressed swiftly and effectively before escalating into more significant problems.

For more detailed guidance on these changes, housing providers and stakeholders are encouraged to consult the specific documents and resources provided by the RSH, which outline the expectations and provide examples of compliance practices.