Regulator gives landlords more information on coronavirus changes
The Scottish Housing Regulator has written to all social landlords with more information on how it is adjusting its approach in light of the coronavirus pandemic as it revealed almost all landlords have been in contact with the Regulator over the last fortnight to tell it how key services are being affected.
In its letter, the Regulator said it recognises landlords’ extremely hard work to manage and mitigate the impact of coronavirus on their services and to safeguard their tenants, people who are homeless and other service users, and to look after staff’s wellbeing and safety.
Earlier this month, the Regulator revealed changes to its regulatory approach to deal with the pandemic. The letter confirms to landlords that the annual regulatory returns, which open in April and May, will have extended deadlines.
The Regulator’s letter states: “If you are in a position to, you can provide this information to us. But please give us this information only if you have the capacity to do so. Do not let it divert you from your focus on delivering services in these very difficult circumstances.”
The letter highlights the work of the Social Housing Resilience Group, which was convened last week to respond to the evolving and significant challenges which the social housing sector is experiencing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It explains that the Regulator is finalising with the Group a short monthly return to gather critical information from each landlord to help understand the scale and nature of disruption and to help plan co-ordinated responses.
The letter also asks landlords to continue to provide the Regulator with Notifiable Events to inform it about the impact of the pandemic and provides further details on this.
George Walker, the Regulator’s chair, said: “We want to support social landlords through the coronavirus crisis. To do that, we need a clear picture of the impact on social landlords and tenants. We want to understand trends, emerging issues and where landlords may need help. This monitoring framework will provide up to date information about the impact on landlords’ operations.
“Each month we will ask landlords for a small amount of information. We will use this to provide the Scottish Government and the new Social Housing Resilience Group with regular reports to help in their coordination of the national response to the pandemic.
“As an organisation, we are working fully remotely to deliver the shift in our regulatory focus. Our board continues to function as normal and to direct our activities.”
The Regulator has also published updated Charter technical guidance and FAQs for landlords completing their Annual Return on the Scottish Social Housing Charter due in 2020.
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