The financial performance of most registered social landlords (RSLs) remains strong, but landlords are facing unprecedented challenges and will have to prioritise in order to take care of tenants and service users.
This was the key message from the Scottish Housing Regulator to finance professionals at this week’s SFHA Annual Finance Conference.
Ian Brennan, Director of Regulation, said:
“Our analysis shows a sector that is in good financial health. But there’s no question that the scale of the future challenge exceeds anything that we have faced in the past. So that means that tough choices are going to have to be made. Simply put, if you can’t do everything that you would wish to do then what do you prioritise?”
In a wide ranging speech, Ian also discussed services for homeless people, tenant and resident safety, rent affordability, cybersecurity, decarbonisation and the need for landlords to have a good understanding of their housing stock.
On decarbonisation, Ian signalled the Regulator’s intention to monitor the provisions made by RSLs in their financial forecasts. He said:
“The Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce (ZEST) has recommended a “fabric first” approach for social housing. It’s important for landlords now to be considering what this might mean for their stock and their business plan. And, as part of our Five Year Financial Projections return next year, we plan to include a line for decarbonisation costs.”
On day two of the conference, Michael Cameron, SHR’s Chief Executive emphasised the importance of landlords’ resilience:
“Building and testing organisational resilience and capacity to handle unexpected events will be even more critical elements of business planning. I think it will be hugely important for each landlord to understand what it will need to do to be resilient and to stay resilient.”
Notes to editors
- 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 eight Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
- SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.