Future proofing social housing: how to ensure compliance with government regulations

Future proofing social housing: how to ensure compliance with government regulations

By Sophie Neaves on Fri 28 June 2024

Future proofing social housing: how to ensure compliance with government regulations

Ensuring compliance with government regulations in social housing not only protects the health and wellbeing of tenants, but helps the sustainability of housing projects. Understanding and adhering to these regulations is key to future proofing your investments in the building, development and management of social housing. Read on to discover the regulations you need to know about, the main areas of compliance and how you can achieve them. 

What regulations are in place?

Social housing landlords are subject to numerous regulations and standards designed to ensure safe, comfortable, and efficient living conditions for tenants. Here's an overview of the key regulatory frameworks to be aware of:

  • Regulatory Framework for Social Housing in England: Social housing in England is governed by a robust regulatory framework overseen by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH). The RSH sets regulatory standards covering various aspects of social housing management, such as governance, financial viability, tenant involvement, and property standards. The framework includes regulatory requirements, codes of practice and regulatory guidance. This comprehensive framework aims to ensure social housing providers, known as registered providers, maintain compliance and provide safe, well-managed housing for tenants.
  •  Regulatory Standard for Social Housing Landlords: Social housing is defined by the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 and has a set of regulatory standards that landlords including local authorities must comply with. It covers consumer and economic standards covering governance, financial viability, value for money, rent levels, tenant involvement, property standards, tenancy management, and community impact. Key standards include ensuring well-maintained, safe properties meet decent living standards; proper tenancy management; and contributing to neighbourhood wellbeing. This comprehensive set of standards aims to ensure social housing is well-governed, financially sustainable and provides a decent living environment for tenants.
  •  The Decent Homes Standard: This standard mandates that all social housing in England and Northern Ireland must be in a reasonable state of repair, have modern facilities, and be warm and weatherproof. It defines a "decent home" as one free from serious health and safety hazards, including risks related to falls, fire, or carbon monoxide. The standard assesses several factors, such as structural integrity, facilities' age and layout, noise insulation, efficient heating, and protection against damp, mould, and poor thermal comfort. Social housing providers must comply with these standards, in coordination with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), under a legally enforceable framework. Read more in our guide to the Decent Homes Standard.
  •  The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023:  Aimed at enhancing tenant safety and increasing landlord accountability, this legislation builds on the Social Housing White Paper of 2020 and addresses the need for rigorous regulation to protect tenants from severe hazards such as damp and mould. Compliance with this Act is crucial for landlords as it not only encourages solutions such as adequate ventilation systems to be put in place to prevent hazardous conditions but also safeguards the wellbeing of tenants and avoids severe legal repercussions for non-compliance, enhancing the quality and safety of social housing. Find out more in our guide to the Social Housing (Regulation) Act.
  •  Awaab’s Law: Currently in its consultation phase, this proposed legislation forms part of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 and suggests mandatory checks to combat issues like mould and damp in social housing properties. It is named after Awaab Ishak, a two-year-old who tragically died from a respiratory condition caused by prolonged exposure to mould in a social housing flat. Read more in our guide to Awaab’s Law and everything you need to know to ensure compliance.
  •  PAS 2030:2019 and PAS 2035:2019:  PAS 2035 is a publicly available specification (PAS) that establishes a robust, overarching framework for domestic whole-house retrofit projects. Adhering to PAS 2035 is crucial for landlords and developers as it provides a definitive guideline for executing high-quality, sustainable retrofits. This standard not only bolsters consumer confidence but also promotes the broader adoption of energy-efficient housing solutions. When a business achieves PAS 2030:2019 certification, its projects must comply with PAS 2035:2019 under the supervision of a registered Retrofit Coordinator. Additionally, data must be recorded in the TrustMark Data Warehouse to enhance consumer trust. Also, if wave 3 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is applied for, there is a requirement for PAS 2035 compliance. 
  •  2013 Building Regulations, Approved Document F1, and Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide 2010: These documents prescribe minimum ventilation rates and guidelines for adequate ventilation in residential properties, which is crucial for preventing dampness, mould growth, and maintaining healthy indoor environments. Approved Document F1 specifically deals with ventilation requirements, while the Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide provides guidance on complying with the ventilation regulations.

What is needed to comply with government regulations?

Ensuring proper ventilation and moisture control is essential in order to meet the standards set by government regulations and to protect tenants’ health. Here’s an overview:

Safe and decent housing

Safe and decent housing is a fundamental requirement, ensuring that properties are structurally sound, and provide adequate ventilation. Proper ventilation is essential to prevent issues like mould growth, damp conditions, and poor indoor air quality, which can be detrimental to tenant health. Implementing effective ventilation systems, such as Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery System (MVHR), can help maintain a healthy indoor environment and prevent costly repairs due to moisture-related damage.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a key aspect of compliance, as it directly impacts the sustainability and affordability of social housing. Implementing energy-efficient systems, such as insulation, double-glazed windows, and modern heating and cooling systems, can significantly reduce energy consumption and associated costs. This not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also helps to keep housing expenses manageable for tenants.

Tenants satisfaction

Transparency, influence, and accountability are vital when it comes to ensuring tenant satisfaction. Engaging with tenants and incorporating their feedback through Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSM) is crucial to understanding their needs and expectations. By actively involving tenants in decision-making processes and addressing their concerns, social housing providers can encourage a sense of community and ensure that their services meet the required standards.


Providing accessibility in social housing is not just a regulatory requirement but also a moral obligation. By providing accessible housing options for individuals with disabilities, social housing providers can promote inclusivity and equality. This may involve incorporating features such as ramps, wider doorways, grab bars, and other modifications to accommodate individuals with varying mobility needs. Accessible housing enhances the quality of life for those with disabilities and a more inclusive community.

How to ensure compliance

Maintaining regulatory compliance in social housing can be achieved in several ways. Here are some practical strategies and techniques to proactively meet standards.

Proactive approach

Adopting a proactive approach to compliance is essential for social housing providers. By considering regulatory requirements and best practices during the planning and building stages, providers can implement solutions early on and avoid the need for costly and reactive measures. Incorporating features like proper ventilation systems, energy-efficient designs, and accessible features from the outset can streamline the compliance process and ensure long-term adherence to standards.

Risk management

Effective risk management involves identifying potential risks early, evaluating their impact, and taking preventive or corrective actions promptly. This proactive approach can help social housing providers stay ahead of compliance issues and maintain high standards. Regular inspections, maintenance, and monitoring can help identify potential risks and enable timely interventions.

Timely action

Quickly addressing any compliance issues as they arise and responding appropriately to regulatory changes are key to maintaining standards and tenant satisfaction. Social housing providers should stay informed about changes in regulations and promptly implement necessary measures to ensure ongoing compliance.


Why future proofing social housing is important

Investing in future proofing the building and maintenance of social housing is crucial for long-term sustainability and regulatory compliance. By implementing good ventilation solutions, energy-efficient designs, and accessible features, social housing providers can create living environments that are not only compliant with current regulations but also resilient to future changes and able to adapt to evolving standards and tenant needs.

How Airflow can help

Airflow offers trusted expertise and a range of products that support the compliance and futureproofing of social housing. Our solutions ensure safe, efficient, and sustainable living environments. Discover more about how our ventilation solutions, teamed with our experience and selection software, can match you with the products you need for your social housing developments.

By adhering to these guidelines and utilising effective products and strategies, social housing providers like you can ensure compliance, enhance tenant satisfaction, and futureproof your housing investments against upcoming regulatory changes.