Regulatory update: Regulator of Social Housing publishes quarterly survey for Q4 (January - March) 2019/2021/05/20
The Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) has this morning, 21st May, published its quarterly survey for Q4 (January - March) of the financial year 2019/20 and which is available in full here. In this article, we highlight some of the key messages in the publication.
Always a helpful guide to trends in the sector, the Quarterly Survey for Q4 2020 is of particular interest given the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown in the UK. It does, however, come with the warning that lockdown started only just before the end of this reporting quarter and so its impact will be more significant in the coming period.
Overall, the Quarterly Survey shows that the Sector is still financially strong and has access to sufficient finance. There are some challenges for registered providers (RPs)around sales receipts, but most RPs are anticipating a decrease in development and housing market exposure and in investment in existing stock.
The key points from the Quarterly Survey include:
- Governance and Financial Viability Standard: RPs must still inform the RSH in a timely manner if any viability issues arise
- Consumer Standard: The RSH recognises that it may not be possible for RPs to comply in full with the Consumer Standard during the Covid-19 pandemic BUT RPs should contact the RSH if tenant safety is threatened.
- Liquidity: Liquidity must be ensured and the RSH will engage with any RPs with low liquidity indicators. RPs must ensure that they are considering the impact of cash/facilities being unavailable; reduction in trading cashflows; and reduction in sales receipts.
- Emerging risks: These should be monitored and factored into cashflow planning.
- Market exposure: RPs are asked to consider their exposure to market and AHO sales and ensure contingency plans are in place.
- Income collection: This remains within business plan assumptions for 80% of RPs, but must be monitored closely as a third of providers anticipate that lockdown will have an adverse impact in the coming periods.
In summary, the Sector was looking strong immediately before lockdown, but the RSH anticipates a significant impact as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Maintaining liquidity and cashflow is essential for all RPs, as is compliance with the Economic Standards. The Regulator continues to take a practical approach given current limitations, but RPs should keep a clear audit trail demonstrating how they are trying to ensure continued compliance with the Consumer Standards – particularly as lockdown begins to lift.
How Capsticks can help
Capsticks’ housing team provides a truly full-service, with particular expertise in development, corporate and securitisation, housing leasehold and asset management. We advise housing associations and local authorities on a range of matters including estate regeneration schemes, housing management and tenant engagement, commercial and financial issues, including disputes and governance advice.
If you have any queries around what's discussed in this article, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Susie Rogers to find out more about how Capsticks can help.