The Regulator of Social Housing has clarified its regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The regulator wrote to all social housing providers on Thursday to recognise the significant operational pressures they are facing, clarify its expectations and update on its approach.
The update aims to ‘support providers in focusing on front-line operations and to identify where there may be challenges that the sector or individual providers need regulatory support to meet.’
Tenant safety is the shared priority across the sector. The regulator says that ‘this includes addressing emergency and urgent repairs and statutory compliance with health and safety requirements’.
It says that social housing providers should promptly report any concerns about non-compliance with health and safety standards, significant service delivery risks to vulnerable tenants, or financial viability.
In particular, they should report if:
Social housing providers should also manage risks to staff safety and follow wider guidance on limiting the spread of coronavirus.
In addition to the general guidance from the regulator, the Health and Safety Executive has provided advice to landlords about carrying out gas safety checks if they cannot gain access to a property or contract a gas safety engineer due to coronavirus.
During the crisis, the regulator says it is working to reduce the regulatory burden and refocus regulation on the key risks by:
It will continue to collect the Quarterly Survey so it can monitor sales, liquidity and cashflow pressures. Some providers who face higher risks to their finances will be asked share their own cashflow monitoring information.
The regulator commits to increasing engagement with providers and other stakeholders.
The NHF is working with the regulator to set up regular webinars so that members can ask questions and share latest issues on all these issues. In the meantime, we’re asking members to share any immediate issues or concerns with us directly.