Regulator will not define ‘serious detriment’ clause
The social housing regulator has said there will be no clear definition of the ‘serious detriment’ that will see it intervene in consumer regulation cases.
Deborah Ilott, strategic regulation manager at the TSA, said: ‘We can’t define precisely what serious detriment means because it will vary from case to case.
‘But generally speaking it will involve a breach of one of the consumer standards and some action that is likely to cause harm to tenants. The most obvious examples are in relation to gas safety.’
From April, when responsibility for regulation shifts from the Tenant Services Authority to the Homes and Communities Agency, the regulator will only intervene on consumer regulation cases where there is serious detriment.
Ms Ilott said this will be a very high threshold and the regulator will intervene on consumer issues on few occasions.
She said when the regulator does intervene it will publish details on its website explaining why it decided to get involved and what it plans to do.
Once the TSA closes regulation will be handled by a committee within the HCA.
Consumer complaints are expected to be resolved by the landlord in the first instance, and then by a local MP, councillor or tenant panel. After eight weeks have elapsed the tenant will be able to go to the housing ombudsman.
In addition to intervening on consumer regulation in cases of serious detriment, the HCA committee will provide economic regulation, monitoring governance and viability, for social landlords.