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HCA recognises challenge of diversity in social housing

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has highlighted the increasing demand of the social housing sector on regulators, as the industry becomes more complex and diverse.

HCA Regulation Committee chair Julian Ashby said a more tailored approach to the regulator's remit is required in the future, as the sector moves into an increasingly risky operating environment.

Current issues include possible future amendment to the sector's regulatory framework to better protect housing providers, developers and tenants themselves, while the continued growth of the industry means more and more businesses are involved in the maintenance, delivery and design of UK social housing developments.

Mr Ashby noted: "While unregistered organisations have the potential to cross-subsidise social housing or provide other benefits in their own right, they also have the potential to undermine or threaten the viability of a registered association and put social housing, its tenants and lenders at risk."

Indeed, this increasing level of complexity within the provision of social housing means that standing still is not an option for the HCA and the government, with action to streamline and regulate the industry more effectively now of the highest priority.

He made his comments at yesterday's (September 18th) National Housing Federation Annual Conference in Birmingham.

Meanwhile, the HCA announced earlier this week that improved risk management and planning continues to provide significant support for the UK social housing sector, with borrowing facilities for the industry growing all the time.

According to the HCA's latest data, the UK social housing borrowing facility currently stands at £66 billion - up by £1.7 billion during the last quarter.

Jonathan Walters, deputy director of regulatory operations at the HCA, said at the time: "That the sector continues to be in strong financial health is welcome and shows that in general providers are working to manage their risks effectively, with the regulator able to intervene if necessary." 

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