Homes agency consults on regulation reform

Wed 17th April 2013, 5:38 pm

The government's housing watchdog has published a consultation on regulating the housing association sector, which could ringfence social housing from riskier activities.

Housing associations: new rules proposed

The Homes and Communities Agency is seeking feedback on changes to investment rules due to a "more complex and risky" operating environment.

It said the proposed changes would help maintain the confidence of investors and tenants as providers move into a broader range of activities.

Julian Ashby, chair of the HCA's regulation committee, said: “The sector used to rely on substantial levels of government grant for new development, housing benefit underwriting rental income in full, and banks providing long term debt on low margins. This no longer applies. The consequences for both providers and the regulator are profound."

The HCA is seeking views on changes about:

  • Ringfencing social housing assets to ensure that they are sufficiently isolated from potentially riskier non-social housing activity
  • Consents to dispose, to ensure that the public value of social housing assets is adequately captured
  • Recovery plans to support risk management.

Feedback from the discussion document will inform a formal consultation document, which when published will be subject to a statutory 12-week consultation period.

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