Registered social landlords’ financial strength weakening in the face of tough economic and operating conditions

Updated

12 March 2024

Registered social landlords’ (RSL) liquidity remains strong despite the challenging economic and operating conditions, but they have reduced financial headroom and reduced capacity to respond to further challenges. This is the main finding of a new report from the Scottish Housing Regulator.

The Report is the Regulator’s analysis of Registered Social Landlords audited financial statements for the year to 31 March 2023. The report highlights that RSLs’ operating costs rose at a faster rate than turnover and increased by 5.7% to £1.6 billion, while their operating surplus after exceptional items dropped by 3.4% to just under £370 million. RSLs’ interest cover also reduced, reflecting the tightening financial headroom.

Shaun Keenan, Assistant Director of financial regulation said:

“Overall, the RSL sector’s financial position is weaker than it has been for several years. And the scale of the financial challenges faced by RSLs’ since March 2023 remains significant, reflecting the continuing difficulties and volatility in their operating environment.

“It is therefore important that RSLs’ continue to adjust their business plans in response to changing circumstances to manage their resources effectively to ensure their financial well-being, while maintaining rents at a level that tenants can afford to pay.”

Read our analysis of registered social landlord audited financial statements for the year to 31 March 2023.

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and seven Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
  2. SHR’s current approach to how it regulates social landlords is set out in its current Regulatory framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.

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Tracy Davren Communications Manager