Almost 40 per cent of social housing providers sign up to regulatory code
Almost 30 per cent have no sinking fund for future maintenace of their properties
The regulation office has assessed 142 of the bodies who have so far signed up to the code, and found organisations were performing well against most standards. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Fewer than 40 per cent of non-Governmental social housing providers have signed up to a regulatory code which will become compulsory next year.
The code, introduced on a voluntary basis two years ago, requires housing bodies to meet certain governance, performance and financial viability standards, to protect existing tenants and allow the organisation to access private finance.
Some 194 out of about 520 State-approved housing bodies have signed up to the code and almost 30 per cent of them have no sinking fund for the future maintenance of their properties.
“The larger housing bodies have signed up, so in effect 80 per cent of all approved housing body stock or 23,831 tenants’ homes are now protected through Regulation,” Rosalind Carroll, head of regulation with the Housing Agency’s Regulation Office said.
Under the regulations, housing bodies must implement good governance measures by having a skilled board which meets regularly, must comply with companies law, and must submit annual reports and accounts .
They must have performance management standards for dealing with tenant issues such as rent and rent arrears payments, maintenance and repairs, and the turn-around of vacant units.
They also have to demonstrate sound financial management by having a sinking fund and a strategic business plan.
The regulations apply on a tiered basis, with all approved housing bodies signing up to a minimum level of regulation, organisations with 50-300 housing units having more intensive regulation, and organisations with more than 300 houses, of which there are about 15 in the State, agreeing to more stringent requirements in relation to audits and financial planning.
However, there was a concern that 28 per cent of housing bodies had no sinking fund in place .
Better financial planning was needed to safeguard the existing assets, and thereby the tenants’ homes, and to put organisations on a better footing to secure private finance from banks and other institutions, she said.