Posted by: Carl Brown10/02/2012
Grant Shapps’ attempts to use new regulatory standards for landlords to promote his tenant cashback policy appear to be coming unstuck – because of localism.
The Tenant Services Authority’s revised regulatory framework for England requires landlords to ensure tenants have the opportunity to carry out repairs. This particular standard was included on the orders of the Communities and Local Government department.
Landlords were initially annoyed by this and felt the government was seeking to use regulations aimed at maintaining standards for tenants in order to implement policy through the backdoor.
That feeling remains, but the sector has relaxed as the penny has dropped that the regulator will not be able to enforce tenant cashback standard in reality anyway.
Under the new regulatory framework, the regulator will only intervene on consumer issues in cases of ‘serious detriment.’ Instead most consumer cases which can’t be resolved by a landlords internal complaints department will be considered by a tenant panel, MP or councillor.
‘Serious detriment’ has not been defined clearly, but the TSA has said it refers to action that is likely to cause harm to tenants.
Not ensuring tenants can do their own repairs is hardly likely to cause them harm – so the tenant cash back requirement is essentially unenforceable and meaningless. This point has been made by the G15 group of housing associations in London, which in its response said it ‘questions the value’ of including the requirement in the framework.
From Housing matters
Carl Brown looks at regulation, training, board members, pay and a host of other issues that impact the day to day running of social landlords