Regulatory standards

Economic and consumer standards that registered providers of social housing must comply with.

Applies to England

As mentioned on our About us webpage, parliament has given the Regulator of Social Housing two main objectives:

  • Economic objective: to make sure that registered providers (landlords) are well-managed and financially stable

  • Consumer objective: to make sure that tenants get quality accommodation, have choice and protection, and can hold their landlords to account.

To achieve these objectives, we have a set of regulatory standards that contain specific expectations registered providers of social housing must comply with and the outcomes that providers are expected to achieve. Providers’ Boards and local authority Councillors who govern service delivery are responsible for meeting the relevant standards and determining how this is done.

The regulatory standards are classified as either ‘economic’ or ‘consumer’.

Economic standards

We proactively seek assurance from providers that they are meeting our economic standards. These apply to all registered providers except for local authorities because we do not have the power to set economic standards for local authorities (except rents).

The 3 economic standards are:

We maintain regulatory judgements on how well registered providers are meeting our standards. To ensure that the system of judgements is transparent a gradings under review system identifies providers who are in danger of having their regulatory judgement downgraded to a non-compliant grade. See our Regulatory judgements and notices, and gradings under review page.

Consumer standards

The regulator also sets consumer standards. Currently our role is reactive in response to referrals or other information received and to intervene where failure to meet the standards has caused, or could have caused, serious harm to tenants. These consumer standards apply to all registered providers, including local authorities (note exclusions below).

The 5 consumer standards are:


The consumer standards and the Rent Standard do not apply to all types of housing. Please note the following exclusions:

  • The Rent Standard and the consumer standards do not apply to 100% owned low-cost home ownership
  • The Rent Standard does not apply to less than 100% owned low-cost home ownership, nor to certain types of housing detailed in the Government standard on rents for social housing.
  • The Tenancy Standard does not apply to intermediate rent nor to less than 100% owned low-cost home ownership.

Our approach

We take a co-regulatory approach. This means Boards and Councillors who govern providers’ service delivery are responsible for ensuring their organisation is meeting our standards, and for being open and accountable in how their organisation meets its objectives. Co-regulation also requires providers to support tenants in the shaping and scrutinising of service delivery and in holding boards and councillors to account.

We are risk-based in our regulatory approach. We use our sector risk analysis and assessments of registered providers with 1,000 or more social housing units to identify those we judge to be more complex and who consequently have an increased level of risk exposures. Providers with fewer than 1,000 social housing units are subject to a lower level of regulatory engagement. Our Sector risk profile is published annually and it can help registered providers to manage risks effectively.

The approach we take to assessing registered providers’ compliance with the regulatory standards is set out in our document called Regulating the standards.

Details of our approach where there are issues of non-compliance with the regulatory standards can be found in Guidance on the regulator’s approach to intervention, enforcement and use of powers.

Further information

The regulatory standards are an element of the Regulatory framework for social housing in England.

Published 1 April 2015
Last updated 23 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. TSM standard referenced.

  2. Changes made for new Rents standard from 1 April 2020

  3. Rent Standard from 1 April 2020 added alongside link to guidance on exemption and rent increase limits.

  4. Updated layout for regulatory standards page for clarity.

  5. First published.