Social landlords in England are facing the biggest overhaul in regulation for decades.

The tragic events in 2017 at Grenfell Tower set in motion a return to levels of regulatory oversight of the sector’s work not seen since the 2000s. The news in the last week from Rochdale is also a defining moment for the sector with staff and organisational responses to residents under huge scrutiny.  Even though it has long been on the horizon, the introduction of Tenant Satisfaction Measures – with regulatory surveys and management information – is happening in less than six months. Following not far behind is a new system of proactive scrutiny – inspections, assessments – looking at the services you provide to residents. So the big question is… are you ready for regulation? 

There’s a general sense of concern about the new regulatory framework, with much of this centred upon the 22 new Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs) which come into force from 1st April 2023, with results being reported to the Regulator in spring 2024. The concerns, we are hearing from Housemark members are borne out of a range of reasons, depending on a landlord’s context – small landlords are feeling anxious that they lack the skills and capacity to be able to collect and report the necessary data; local authorities have not been subject to this degree of regulation previously and have to weigh up the needs and demands of housing regulation against their full range of duties; and larger housing associations who have – in recent times, for good reason – become more focused on transactional scores and digital transformation.

However, the new regulatory framework, and specifically those 12 TSMs which must be measured by a perception survey, have created a reactive situation with so many landlords carrying out fresh perception surveys ahead of regulation. These surveys are generating satisfaction results which are invariably lower than a few years ago (this is the recent sector trend), and this in turn creates a sense of panic amongst leadership teams and then causes a kneejerk approach which is essentially about box ticking. 

The TSMs have really brought customer experience to the fore but seeing it as just a new set of metrics is a mistake. The sector must use it as an opportunity to really consider the customer voice and hear from tenants who have become disengaged, follow up on messages about dissatisfaction, and get under the skin of the results and segmented themes. Through understanding results in context, landlords are able to make all survey responses count, and drive service improvements to deliver better outcomes on the frontline for residents 

At the heart of the new regulatory framework is the requirement to listen to tenants and act upon their views – so that the awful events from Grenfell to Rochdale are not repeated. 

As you wrestle with big decisions and competing priorities, you need insight you can trust from a partner you can rely on. Housemark is here to support you to stay ahead of regulation, and to build and grow a resilient, well governed business based on datadriven decisions.