SHR: RSL financial performance remains strong amidst unprecedented challenges

The financial performance of most registered social landlords (RSLs) remains strong, but landlords are facing unprecedented challenges and will have to prioritise in order to take care of tenants and service users, the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) told finance professionals at this week’s SFHA Annual Finance Conference.

SHR: RSL financial performance remains strong amidst unprecedented challenges

Ian Brennan

In a wide-ranging speech, Ian Brennan, director of regulation, also discussed services for homeless people, tenant and resident safety, rent affordability, cybersecurity, decarbonisation and the need for landlords to have a good understanding of their housing stock.

He said: “Our analysis shows a sector that is in good financial health. But there’s no question that the scale of the future challenge exceeds anything that we have faced in the past. So that means that tough choices are going to have to be made. Simply put, if you can’t do everything that you would wish to do then what do you prioritise?”

On decarbonisation, Mr Brennan signalled the Regulator’s intention to monitor the provisions made by RSLs in their financial forecasts.

He said: “The Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce (ZEST) has recommended a “fabric first” approach for social housing. It’s important for landlords now to be considering what this might mean for their stock and their business plan. And, as part of our Five Year Financial Projections return next year, we plan to include a line for decarbonisation costs.”

On day two of the conference, Michael Cameron, SHR chief executive, emphasised the importance of landlords’ resilience.

He added: “Building and testing organisational resilience and capacity to handle unexpected events will be even more critical elements of business planning. I think it will be hugely important for each landlord to understand what it will need to do to be resilient and to stay resilient.”

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