Deregulation measures to come into force in March

Registered social landlords (RSLs) will not need regulatory consents regarding disposals of land or assets as well as constitutional and organisational changes from March.

The provisions of the Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2018 removing the Scottish Housing Regulator’s (SHR) powers of consent under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 will come in to force on March 8.

Deregulation measures to come into force in March

That means that RSLs will no longer need to apply to the Regulator for consent to sell homes and restructure their businesses.

In a letter to all RSLs, the Regulator advised that for relevant disposals and constitutional changes where the Regulator has given consent before March 8, the disposal or constitutional change may proceed under the provisions of the 2010 Act and will not be affected by the 2018 Act.

Under the changes, RSLs will still be required to notify the Regulator of relevant disposals and constitutional and organisational changes, and to notify it of the outcome of tenant consultation where that is required by the 2010 Act.

The Regulator will issue guidance on such notifications by the end of February.

The deregulation measures follow a move by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to reclassify Scottish RSLs to the public sector in 2016.

The ONS judged that Scottish RSLs should be considered as institutional units as they have the ability to incur liabilities and hold assets on their own accounts, enter into contracts, and exhibit sufficient decision making autonomy.

It also concluded that RSLs are subject to public sector control due to, amongst other things: SHR powers over the management of an RSL, SHR powers over constitutional changes of an RSL, and SHR powers of consent in relation to the disposal of land and housing assets.

Associations were reclassified back to the private sector in October following the enactment of the Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2018 and the new measures are necessary to facilitate the process.

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