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Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Standards
Section 193 – Provision of social housing

543.Subsection (1) of section 193 gives the regulator the power to set standards for registered providers in respect of the social housing that they own. These standards may be in relation to the nature, extent and quality of accommodation, facilities and services provided by them in connection with social housing.

544.Subsection (2) of this section further provides that the standards that the regulator sets under subsection (1) may incorporate rules in relation to the matters set out in paragraphs (a) to (j) of subsection (2) as follows:

a)

criteria for allocating accommodation,

b)

terms of tenancies,

c)

levels of rent (and the rules may, in particular, include provision for minimum or maximum levels of rent or of increase or decrease of rent),

d)

maintenance and repair,

e)

procedures for addressing complaints by tenants against landlords,

f)

methods for consulting and informing tenants,

g)

methods of enabling tenants to influence or control the management of their accommodation and environment,

h)

policies and procedures required by section 218A of the 1996 Act in connection with anti-social behaviour,

i)

landlords’ contribution to the environmental, social and economic well-being of the areas in which their property is situated, and

j)

estate management.

545.Subsection (3) provides that in setting standards, the regulator must have regard to the desirability of registered providers being free to choose how to provide services and conduct business.

Section 194 - Management

546.This section gives the regulator the power to set standards that relate to the financial viability and management of the organisation, and other affairs. Subsection (2) provides that these powers also extend to profit-making providers, although only in relation to their provision of social housing. Subsection (3) provides that in setting standards, the regulator must have regard to the desirability of registered providers being free to choose how to provide services and conduct business.

Section 195 - Code of Practice

547.Subsection (1) of this section gives the regulator a power to issue a code of practice which relates to, clarifies or amplifies standards issued under sections 193 and 194.

548.Subsection (2) of this section gives the regulator the power to have regard to codes of practice issued under subsection (1) when considering whether registered providers have met the requirements of standards issued under sections 193 and 194.

549.Subsection (3) of this section gives the regulator the power to revise or withdraw a code of practice issued under subsection (1).

550.Subsection (4) of this section requires the regulator to bring a code of practice issued under subsection (1) to the attention of registered providers.

Section 196 - Consultation

551.Subsection (1) provides that the regulator, before it sets standards, or issues, revises or withdraws a code of practice, must consult bodies representative of registered providers, and the tenants of registered providers, and the secured creditors of registered provider, the Audit Commission; and one or more bodies appearing to the regulator to represent the interests of local housing authorities, the HCA and the Secretary of State, or ensure that they have been consulted.

552.Subsection (2) requires that before setting a standard which would apply, or before issuing, revising or withdrawing a code of practice which applies or would apply to charities, the regulator must consult the Charity Commission.

Section 197 - Direction by Secretary of State

553.Subsection (1) gives the Secretary of State power to direct the regulator to set a standard under section 193 or about the content of a standard under that section, or for the regulator to have regard to specified objectives when setting a standard under sections 193 or 194.

554.Subsection (2) gives the Secretary of State the power to give a direction under subsection (1)(a) or (b) only if it relates in the Secretary of State’s opinion to one of three issues: the quality of accommodation, rent, or involvement by tenants in the management by registered providers of accommodation.

555.Subsection (3) requires the Secretary of State to have particular regard to the regulator’s objectives in deciding whether to give a direction.

556.Subsection (4) requires the Secretary of State to consult the regulator, the HCA, the Audit Commission; and one or more bodies appearing to the Secretary of State to represent the interests of local housing authorities and bodies appearing to the Secretary of State to represent the interests of tenants and of registered providers before giving a direction.

557.Subsection (5) requires that before giving a direction about a standard which would apply to charities, the regulator must consult the Charity Commission.

558.Subsection (6) allows a direction to disapply the requirement for the regulator to consult under section 196 in relation to specified matters.

559.Subsection (7) provides that the regulator must comply with any direction given and subsection (8) requires that the Secretary of State publish each proposed direction for consultation; each response to a consultation; and each direction.

Section 198 – Supplemental

560.Subsection (1) specifies that failure to meet standards set under sections 193 or 194 will be grounds for exercising the powers of the regulator to intervene and enforce compliance as set out in Chapter 7.

561.Subsection (2) of this section specifies that the regulator, having set standards, must make arrangements to bring them to the attention of those registered providers to whom the standards apply.

562.Subsection (3) of this section gives the regulator the power to revise or withdraw standards that have been previously set under powers in sections 193 and 194. If this power is exercised by the regulator, the same requirements for consultation that are set out in section 196 will apply as when standards are originally set.

563.Subsection (4) makes clear that standards may be expressed by reference to documents prepared by others. This recognises that other bodies, or stakeholders acting as a group, may propose and consult on documents, which the regulator may then approve and issue.

564.Subsection (5) of this section provides that standards set by the regulator under sections 193 and 194 may apply generally or may be limited in their application, and that the standards may be different for different cases, circumstances or areas.

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