News and Publications

A guide to the new consumer standards regulations for housing providers – Safety and Quality Standard

Posted: 21/03/2024

The new Safety and Quality Standard (SQS) will come into force on 1 April 2024, replacing the current Home Standard.

This article will explore the differences between the current Home Standard and the new SQS, and outline some next steps to take, in order to comply with these new requirements.

Under the current Home Standard, registered providers (RPs) are required to demonstrate the following two outcomes, each of which have one specific expectation:

  • quality of accommodation; and
  • repairs and maintenance.

However, the new SQS has five outcomes, which are more detailed, and include more specific expectations. They are:

  • stock quality;
  • delivery of repairs, maintenance, and planned improvements to stock;
  • decency;
  • health and safety; and
  • adaptations.

Stock quality

RPs must now have an accurate, up to date and evidenced understanding of the condition of their properties, that reliably informs their provision of good quality, well maintained and safe homes for tenants. To achieve this, RPs are expected to have:

  • an accurate record of the condition of their homes at an individual property level. This will be achieved by conducting a physical assessment of each home and means that the current practice of ‘cloning’ data as regards similar properties may no longer be acceptable; and
  • to then use this data, as well as information across all their records, to inform their provision of good quality, well maintained and safe homes, including by being compliant with the health and safety requirements and the Decent Homes Standard, which is currently under government review, as well as ensuring the delivery of repairs and planned improvement to stock, and allocating homes with adaptations appropriately.

Delivery of repairs, maintenance, and planned improvements to stock

Pursuant to this standard, RPs will be obliged to provide repairs that are ‘effective, efficient and timely’. To facilitate this, RPs must now show that there is an easy system in place for tenants to report faults, but also which allows for ongoing communication throughout the completion of works of both timescales and responsibilities, in order for the fulfilment of work to be transparent to a tenant. 

The political sensitivity of this issue means that RPs are going to have to demonstrate that their processes for getting repairs done are simple, easy to use by tenants – and work. Administrative delays will no longer be tolerated.


RPs must provide decent quality homes to tenants that meet the Decent Homes Standard.

Health and safety

Enshrined throughout the new SQS is the focus on prioritising building safety for residents. RPs need to ensure their tenants’ safety in every aspect of the building. This includes, but is not limited to, meeting all legal requirements of building safety, with all assessments carried out in reasonable timescales, and responses to any emergency repair requests or complaints being delivered with tenant safety at the forefront of the action being taken.

It is also worth noting that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched a consultation in respect of Awaab’s Law. This includes a proposal that will require landlords to complete emergency repairs, such as broken boilers or gas leaks, within 24 hours.

Other hazards would need to be investigated within 14 days, and once identified would need to be fixed within a further seven. There has been concern expressed as to what constitutes an ‘emergency repair’, as this could widen the scope of this new law considerably. In any event, it is certain to lead to a resurgence of disrepair claims and RPs need to plan for this accordingly.


In cases of tenant homes that need adaptations, the SQS requires clear communication to tenants on how they will assist those that require home adaptations. There is also a requirement to cooperate with appropriate local authority departments and other organisations.

What should RPs be doing?

It is recommended that RPs do the following:

  • create stock condition records for each of their homes; remember that this must be at an individual property level;
  • set timescales for repairs/maintenance/improvements, taking into account the proposed timescales under Awaab’s Law, and prepare for an increase in disrepair claims;
  • create an effective reporting system that is simple for tenants to access and use;
  • do not forget the need to demonstrate value for money; and
  • work with local authorities in relation to adaptations.

For further information on this topic, please contact Caroline Leviss or Hugo Stephens.

Related articles

Arrow GIFReturn to news headlines

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP