8.Section 1 establishes the Scottish Housing Regulator (“the regulator” or “the SHR”) as a body corporate. Although not covered by the Act, it is intended that the SHR will become a non-Ministerial office holder of the Scottish Administration (in other words, a non-Ministerial Department) and that its employees will be civil servants. The formal mechanism for this will be by an order made by Westminster under the Scotland Act 1998. Section 2(1) gives the regulator the objective to safeguard and promote the interests of those who are, or who may become, tenants of social landlords, or homeless, or the recipients of housing services provided by social landlords. Section 2(2) requires the regulator to perform its functions in a way that is in line with its objective and which it considers most appropriate for the purpose of meeting that objective.
9.Section 3(1) sets out the regulator’s general functions. These are to keep a publicly available register of social landlords and to monitor, assess and regularly report on all social landlords’ performance of housing activities and on registered social landlords’ financial well-being and standards of governance. (“Social landlords” provide housing for people in housing need at rents below open market levels. They can include registered social landlords (“RSLs”) and local authorities that provide rented housing and other housing services. )
10.Section 3(2) requires the regulator to perform its functions in a proportionate, accountable and transparent way that is targeted only where action is needed and that is consistent with any other principle which appears to it to represent best regulatory practice. Under section 4, the regulator must prepare, consult on and publish a statement explaining how it will discharge its functions with regard to the groups covered by its section 2 objective, in a way that is also consistent with section 3(2).
11.Section 5 requires the regulator to consult and involve bodies representing homeless people, tenants and other service users in its work where appropriate, and to publish a statement about how it intends to do this.
12.Section 6 requires the regulator to consult the Accounts Commission for Scotland on how it will carry out its powers and duties in respect of local authority landlords. The regulator must publish a statement on how it will do so.
13.Section 7 makes the regulator independent from Scottish Ministers by preventing them from directing or otherwise trying to control how the regulator carries out its functions (except where contrary provision is made).