The Regulator of Social Housing has published its response to the consultation on the Rent Standard 2020 and issued the final version of the Standard which will apply from 1 April 2020.
You can view the Regulator’s Decision Statement and the new Rent Standard is this downloadable PDF document.
As expected, only very minor changes have been made to the draft Standard issued for consultation in May this year. Principally this is because the Regulator is bound to follow the Rent Direction from Government which has already been consulted on.
If you have been preparing for April 2020 based on the draft Rent Standard, you do not have to worry – nothing of substance has changed. However, a number of clarifications have been provided by the Regulator.
A summary of the clarifications are provided below:
Clarifications to the Rent Standard 2020 provided by the Regulator in its Decision Statement dated 31 October 2019:
- Clarification that HIST rents (rents for high income social tenants) are not mandatory for RPs, only voluntary.
- Exemption from compliance for local authorities is not in the ‘gift’ of the Regulator and is dealt with in the Rent Policy Statement (the Policy Statement on rents for social housing published in February 2019).
- 5% and 10% flexibilities can be applied to new developments.
- Rent caps were frozen at 2016 levels but will increase by CPI + 1.5% each year from April 2020 and the Regulator will publish the new caps annually in November (as was the case prior to 2016).
- Guidance on the new Rent Standard is not required as the Policy Statement on Rents already provides this.
- The Standard continues to apply to an RP subject to a housing administration order (as part of an insolvency) unless the RP has been granted an exemption by the Regulator.
For more information, please contact Nick Billingham, Partner and Head of Housing Management and Property Litigation at Devonshires.