0370 270 6000

Oftenant - the Social Housing Regulator for the future

23 May 2008

Anthony Mayer has been announced as the first Chair of the soon to be Social Housing Regulator, Office for Tenants and Social Landlords (Oftenant). Oftenant has been created by the Housing and Regeneration Bill which is in the process of passing through Parliament. The Bill was produced following a review by Professor Martin Cave into the regulation of social housing which was published in June 2007.

It is proposed that Oftenant will take over the regulatory functions of the Housing Corporation and its objectives have been set out and include:

  • Encourage and support a supply of well managed social housing of appropriate quality, sufficient to meet reasonable demands
  • Ensure that actual or potential tenants of social housing have an appropriate degree of choice and protection
  • Ensure that tenants of social housing have the opportunity to be involved in its management
  • Ensure that registered providers of social housing perform their functions effectively, efficiently and economically
  • Regulate in a manner which:
  • Minimises interference; and is
  • Proportionate, consistent, transparent and accountable

Oftenant is on schedule to be created by April 2009. It is expected that the regulator will be an organisation of around 250 staff with two principal centres in London and Manchester. One of the first tasks of Oftenant will be to design a new regulatory system. However, Oftenant will for a period of time regulate using the same 1996 legislation that is currently being used by the Housing Corporation.

At present, it is only proposed that Oftenant regulates Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). The Government has indicated that in due course local authorities and Arms Length Management Organisations will be brought within the remit of Oftenant.

It will not be obligatory for RSLs to register with Oftenant. However, if they do not, they are unlikely to be eligible for grant funding.

Oftenant will have the power to set minimum standards of and ensure compliance with specified rules such as criteria for allocating accommodation, terms of tenancies, levels of rent, maintenance, methods of consulting and informing tenants of changes to rent/service charges etc.

If Oftenant suspects that a registered provider is failing to meet its standards, Oftenant can carry out an inspection. Following an inspection, Oftenant can adopt a process whereby the social landlord is fined for failing to meet the required standards. Its powers are greatly increased from those of the Housing Corporation.

Critics of the Bill say that as it is currently drafted, it gives Oftenant the right to regulate RSLs work at the local level and impose fines if they do not implement the policy of Central Government. As a result, various niche local schemes could be under threat as registered providers feel the need to focus on the subject areas the Government says are priorities which in turn may threaten the independence of registered providers.

The legislation that will create Oftenant is currently being discussed in Parliament and it is likely that further changes will be made before the legislation is finalised. We will keep you up to date in relation to any of these changes that will affect how social landlords are regulated.

Training and events

10Oct

Health & Care Connect East Midlands Conference Centre, Beeston Lane, Nottingham NG7 2RJ

Our conference will connect leaders, executives and professionals from across the health and care sector to discuss the challenges, opportunities and strategies for delivering services, resilience and looking after our people in the new world.

View event

Focus on...

Legal updates

The reality of the future of devolution arrangements in England

Devolution is the transfer of powers in areas like transport, housing and skills in England and since the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 has been a much-discussed topic.

View

Legal updates

Improving the performance of the NSIP planning process and supporting local authorities

Boosting local growth and improving infrastructure are key policy goals within the now familiar Government “Levelling Up” agenda. The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, when enacted, aims to ensure faster delivery of such infrastructure projects, through amendments regarding the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) Development Consent Orders (DCO) system.

View

Legal updates

Are Local authority companies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

In this article we look at local authority companies and whether they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. And for those that are, what information are they legally obliged to submit.

View

Legal updates

Government pension's consultation on the reporting of climate change risks

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published a consultation on proposals to require Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administering authorities (AAs) in England and Wales to assess, manage and report on climate change risks.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up