The new standards will apply to nearly 1800 social housing providers in England which include housing associations, councils and co-operatives. This means for the first time tenants will get similar levels of protection and services regardless of who their landlord happens to be.
The TSA will also have new enforcement powers to rely on to ensure tenants get a fair deal, which could include issuing enforcement notices and directing the transfer of management.
Published today in its new framework, the TSA’s six national standards which landlords will need to meet are:
•Tenant involvement and empowerment, including customer service, choice and complaints, and understanding and responding to diverse needs
•Home, including repairs and maintenance and quality of accommodation
•Tenancy, including allocations, rent and tenure
•Neighbourhood and community, including neighbourhood management, local area co-operation and anti-social behaviour
•Value for money
•Governance and financial viability.
The new framework heralds a fundamental shift in how the sector is regulated by:
•ensuring the six standards are based on clear outcomes tenants care about, not detailed processes
•giving tenants the opportunity to agree with their landlords a locally tailored offer on the standards around home, neighbourhood and community and involvement
•embedding the principle of ‘co-regulation’ where discussions about service delivery takes place between landlords and their tenants, not in response to top-down prescription or performance indicators from the regulator
•providing new rights for tenants to be able to scrutinise their landlord’s performance as part of promoting self-improvement and accountability
•placing emphasis on those who govern providers to ensure there is effective performance and accountability to tenants
•withdrawing around 875 pages of guidance notes and circulars that were previously used to regulate by the Housing Corporation
•ending routine inspections for all providers but inspecting for compliance when the TSA suspects a landlord is failing to meet the standards.
TSA Chief Executive Peter Marsh said, “Today is a landmark for the social housing sector with a new system of regulation that will touch the lives of over eight million tenants. For the first time, tenants will have opportunities, backed by the regulator, to influence the services that most affect them and hold their landlords to account.
“I am pleased we have achieved a broad consensus amongst tenants and landlords on our co-regulatory approach – one that ensures that poorly performing landlords are quickly identified but a system that lets good performing landlords get on with that they do best – providing excellent services.”
Where problems are identified and landlords do not meet the standards, the TSA will discuss how the provider is taking ownership for improving their services before using its more formal powers.
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