The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has launched a 12-week consultation on a revised Rent Standard that will come into effect from 1st April 2020.
Open until July 30, the consultation is as a result of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Direction to RSH in February 2019, following the government’s consultation in autumn.
RSH is also required to have regard to the government’s Policy Statement on rents published alongside the Direction.
The key elements of the Direction are:
- For RSH to also regulate rents charged by social housing stock-owning local authorities (LA registered providers) – aligning the regulation of council rents with private registered providers
- To lock in the annual 1% reduction in social rents between 2016 and 2020, implemented through the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 – which aimed to help reduce costs for tenants paying all or part of their rent and put welfare spending on a more sustainable footing
- To restrict rent increases on social rent and affordable rent properties by up to CPI+1% annually from 2020 for a period of at least five years – striking a balance between the interests of landlords, tenants and taxpayers
- To reinstate the 5% flex for general needs stock and 10% for supported housing providers – allowing registered providers discretion over the rent set for individual properties, taking into account local circumstances and affordability in consultation with tenants
Fiona MacGregor, chief executive of RSH, said the consultation would focus on whether RSH had “appropriately reflected” by the government’s Direction.
“The Direction itself has previously been consulted on by the government, but the aim is to ensure that the setting and management of rents is clear and easy to understand for all registered providers of social housing,” she said.
“The long-term rent settlement should help provide a stable financial environment for the social housing sector to make the best possible use of its resources in supporting the delivery of new homes and effectively managing and maintaining properties, while protecting the interests of social housing tenants.”