Regulator completes annual RSL risk assessment
The Scottish Housing Regulator will have a low level of engagement with almost two thirds of RSLs, its annual regulatory assessment has revealed.
The regulator has published new regulation plans for the 65 RSLs that it will engage with during 2015/16. This is two fewer than last year. It will have medium engagement with 61 RSLs and high engagement with 4 RSLs.
The regulatory assessment includes a review of financial health, governance and performance. This year’s assessment also takes account of landlords’ performance against the Scottish Social Housing Charter for the first time. And publication of the regulation plans coincides with the deadline for landlords to achieve the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS).
Helen Shaw, assistant director (finance and risk), said: “We know that most RSLs are continuing to manage their resources to ensure their financial well-being and deliver the services that tenants want despite an increasingly challenging environment. So for these landlords our engagement will be routine.
“RSLs continue to face risks in relation to pension funding, rent affordability, welfare reform and the implementation of new accounting rules. We will seek assurance from some RSLs that, as well as delivering good services for tenants, they are managing their businesses to ensure that they can prepare for these challenges and remain financially viable and well governed.”
A small number of RSLs are systemically important because of their size, debt profile, turnover and the degree of community dependence on the landlord. This means that the regulator needs to have more detailed knowledge of these organisations’ business models and how they are managing the risks they face. The regulator has reviewed the thresholds for systemically important RSLs and identified 20 RSLs as systemically important compared to 15 last year.
In 44 of the new regulation plans, the regulator’s principal focus is financial health. The regulator will also be engaging with a number of RSLs who still have some work to do to ensure that all of their homes meet the SHQS.
The regulator plans to publish more information on how it delivers the annual risk assessment. In the spring, it will publish a summary of the regulation plans highlighting which RSLs it is engaging with and why. Later in the year it will publish information on the main risks and issues that its next annual risk assessment will focus on.
The regulator will shortly publish the outcome of its risk assessment of local authorities’ work.