Regulator highlights ‘strong’ sector finances as landlords face continued COVID-19 challenges
The Scottish Housing Regulator has praised the finances of Scotland’s social housing sector but warned that homelessness and tenant safety will continue to be a challenge as social landlords face the risks from COVID-19.
In a wide-ranging speech at yesterday’s virtual Social Housing conference, Ian Brennan, director of regulation, outlined some of the key challenges for social landlords including keeping rents affordable for tenants and service users, providing secure homes for people who need them, and continuing to work to keep tenants and residents safe.
Mr Brennan said: “We recognise and acknowledge the efforts that landlords have made to continue to serve tenants and residents during the national emergency. And our ongoing analysis shows that sector finance remain strong. But, new challenges remain ahead.
“We recognise concerns that tenants are raising around rent affordability and this will be taken into account in our forthcoming risk assessment.
“We recognise the scale of the issues facing landlords in dealing with the needs of people who are or may become homeless and we will consider this in our risk assessment.
“We know that landlords are looking closely at tenant and resident safety in the context of COVID-19 and we will engage as appropriate on this.
“Sector finances have remained strong throughout the pandemic but we will engage with individual landlords where we feel that we need more information to understand how the pandemic is impacting upon financial health.
“We have published advisory guidance on business planning through the pandemic and we welcome feedback from landlords on the usefulness of this guidance.
“We are grateful to landlords and representative bodies for the candour and realism that they have shown in dealing with the issues so far and we look forward to working with them to ensure a successful and sustainable future for tenants, residents and landlords.”