Scottish Housing Regulator discusses its work with Holyrood committee

George Walker
George Walker

The Scottish Housing Regulator has given evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee on its work over the past year.

Opening yesterday’s session, the Regulator’s chair, George Walker, who appeared alongside chief executive, Michael Cameron, took the committee through the key areas of the Regulator’s work in 2016/17.

He highlighted rent affordability as an issue of particular importance to tenants, noting the increase in inflation to 3% and tenant concerns about future affordability. He told the committee that rent affordability will remain an area of focus for the Regulator, and stressed the importance of landlords considering tenants’ ability to keep paying their rent over the longer term.

Commenting on social landlords’ performance, George said: “We know social landlords continue to perform well across almost all of the standards and outcomes in the Scottish Social Housing Charter. Most are managing resources to ensure their financial well-being.”

But he also advised the committee that the Regulator is actively engaging with one in eight registered social landlords on serious governance issues and has used statutory intervention powers in seven landlords over the last three years.

The Regulator has begun a review of its regulatory framework, which will run through 2018. It will examine the building blocks of good governance, such as internal audit and whistleblowing, as part of the review and consider how these tools can strengthen RSLs’ governance.

George also discussed the Regulator’s work around homelessness and how it empowers tenants by publishing accessible information about landlord performance.

Read the Regulator’s Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17

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