New housing regulator has best interests at heart

The government's new social housing regulator will work towards maintaining industry standards and ensuring the interests of both tenants and landlords are met.

The Office for Tenants and Social Landlords (Oftenant) would listen to tenants' concerns and set standards so the tenants had a clear understanding of what they could expect to receive on matters including repairs or tenant consultation.

And last week, housing Minister Caroline Flint revealed Anthony Mayer would be the regulator's first chair.

Mayer, current chief executive of the Greater London Authority, would take initial responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation of the regulator, and would become its first chair once the Housing and Regeneration Bill received Royal Assent.

"I am delighted that Anthony is taking on the role of chair of the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords. He will bring a wealth of experience to the role with an excellent track record in social housing, local government and the financial sector," Ms Flint said.

"The regulator will ensure that all social house tenants are well protected and enjoy a good standard of service from their landlords, with powers to impose penalties on those who are not maintaining high standards.

Oftenant would have new sanctions for cases whereby tenants received poor service from landlords, such as requiring that landlords paid compensation or in serious cases, change their housing manager.

The regulator would also have the power to cut red tape when landlords were found to provide a good service to tenants.

There would be no routine inspections and paperwork would be kept to a minimum, allowing landlords to concentrate on providing even better services to tenants and building new homes.

The regulator was being created by the Housing and Regeneration Bill currently before Parliament. It would initially cover housing associations, but Ministers hope to extend it to local authority landlords and tenants within two years of the initial set-up.

Mayer said, "I look forward to working to support the interest of tenants. This is a tremendous opportunity to work with social landlords, to reward those providing a top service already and to encourage others to reach those same heights.


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