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Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Section 203 - Inspector’s powers

592.This section specifies the powers conferred on an inspector, as defined in subsection (12). In particular these include powers to require provision of documents or information, and enter premises and inspect, copy or take away documents.

593.Subsections (1)to (3) provide that an inspector may by notice require a person to provide specified documents or information. The inspector may require documents and information of a kind in respect of which the regulator can impose a requirement under section 107(1), which specifies that the regulator must have reason to believe that it may be in the person’s possession, and relates to the financial or other affairs of a registered provider or activities which are or may be carried out by a person who is or has applied to become a registered provider. A requirement under subsection (1) is subject to the provisions in section 107(3) to (7) and section 108 with any necessary modifications.

594.Subsections (4) to (6) provide that an inspector may at any reasonable time enter premises occupied by the registered provider being inspected, and inspect, copy or take away any documents found there. They also specify that ‘documents’ includes documents stored on computers or electronic storage devices on the premises or accessible by computers on the premises, and that the inspector may inspect any computer or electronic storage devise on which such documents have been created or stored.

595.Subsections (7) and (8) provide that the inspector may require any person on the premises to provide facilities or assistance as the inspector reasonably requests. This includes requiring assistance from any person in charge of a computer as the inspector reasonably requests for the purposes of subsections (5)and (6).

596.Subsections (9) to (11) specify that it is an offence for a person without reasonable excuse to obstruct an inspector carrying out an inspection. A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 (currently £1000) on the standard scale. Proceedings for an offence under this section may only be brought by or with the consent of either the regulator or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

597.Subsection (12) provides that an ‘inspector’ means a person who is authorised in writing by the Audit Commission to exercise powers under this section for the purposes of an inspection carried out under section 201 or a person who is authorised in writing by the regulator to exercise powers under this section for the purpose of carrying out any inspections under section 201.

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