Empowering tenants will remain at the heart of regulation, says Regulator’s new chair

George Walker
George Walker

The Scottish Housing Regulator’s new chair has used his first conference speech to give a clear message on empowering tenants, ahead of a review of the regulatory framework.

George Walker was speaking to delegates at the Tenants Participation Advisory Service Scotland (TPAS Scotland) national conference in St Andrews on Friday.

He said: “We’re at the earliest stages of the framework review. But I can guarantee you that we will build on our approach to empowering tenants, and we will continue to give tenants a voice.”

George explained to delegates that the Regulator will be asking stakeholders for views on its future regulatory priorities, starting with a discussion paper early next year. Tenant and resident safety, empowering tenants, and homelessness will be prominent in the Regulator’s conversations.

A further discussion theme will be around landlords assuring firstly themselves and their tenants, and then the Regulator, that they are meeting regulatory standards and requirements. He encouraged delegates to get involved in these discussions.

Having taken up his post as chair in July, George told delegates that his early priority is to spend time getting to know the social housing sector and meet a wide range of people and organisations.

Friday’s TPAS conference marked the start of George’s conversations with tenants.

George said: “Tenants and service users are at the heart of our work. So it’s fitting that my first formal outing is to address a national tenant event.”

George spoke about the social housing sector’s hard-earned good reputation and shared his early impressions. He told delegates that in his first few months as chair he has been struck already by the commitment and drive to see social housing as a thriving, successful sector that provides good quality homes and services. He also highlighted the important role the Regulator plays in achieving that.

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