The HCA sets consumer standards covering a range of issues, including the quality of accommodation and tenancy arrangements. While the regulator does not have powers to monitor compliance, it retains intervention powers to be used following a breach of a standard when that breach has caused, or could cause, serious harm to tenants.
The report published today sets out the regulator’s approach to consumer regulation in 2014 to 2015 – where 6 cases of a breach of the consumer standards were considered to have met the serious detriment test, out of a total of 589 referrals – and includes case studies and lessons learned. It notes that the risk for providers of non-compliance is significant as interventions in the event of failure are likely to be of serious consequence.
Fiona MacGregor, Interim Director of Regulation at the HCA, said:
Boards are responsible for ensuring that registered providers comply with all of the regulator’s standards, both economic and consumer. Obligations around essential services such as repairs and health and safety are particularly important.
Where we conclude that a breach of the consumer standards has, or could have, caused serious harm, we will take robust action. A breach of the consumer standards results in a published regulatory notice and could lead to a downgrading of a provider’s governance rating.
We hope by continuing to explain the arrangements, and providing case studies, we can help landlords – and the local bodies that hold them to account – ensure that problems do not get to the stage where the regulator has to get involved.