As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The specific requirement of the Standard is:-
“To maintain a thorough, accurate and up to date record of their assets and liabilities and particularly those liabilities that may have recourse to social housing assets” (Paragraph 2.5(a))
As in the consultation documentation there is no particular format for the register. The Code requires the register to be readily available and show such information as would be needed in the event of a potential or actual failure of the provider. What that information is depends on the individual provider, but it needs to contain sufficient information to enable a potential buyer to accurately price the value of the business and/or the value of the social housing assets in the event of distress.
The Code states that the register should identify all social housing assets and where these assets are encumbered. The expectation is that the register will normally include treasury arrangements, key contracts, title information and any restrictions on individual titles (for example planning obligations, charitable or other restrictions), valuations, stock condition and lender covenants. But this list is the starting point; with the pointer that liabilities included on the register need to be “in the widest context”. The Code suggests: -
- loans including borrowing from other group companies or related undertakings
- guarantees, indemnities etc. including those provided to subsidiaries and SPVs
- whether secured or unsecured
- leases, sale/lease and leaseback transactions
- mark-to-market exposures on derivative positions
- cross default provisions (for example, a provision in a loan agreement which provides that a default on one loan agreement gives rise to a default on another one, including where these potentially cross between organisations within a group)
- a duty or responsibility that obligates one organisation to another, leaving it little or no discretion to avoid settlement
- the potential for any impairment particularly in relation to investments in non-core activities
An important aspect is the role of a RP’s Board in compliance with the Asset Register requirements. It is the Board which “owns” the Register since it is the Board who certify compliance in the annual accounts.
It is hoped that Boards will see the Register as a tool for them to use as having an accurate assets and liabilities register is so closely allied with the expectation of stress testing.
For more information
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
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