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).
The specific requirement in 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 1.5.1(a))
The accompanying Code will require liabilities to be “in the widest context” and that is hardly surprising given the tale of woe apparent from the Cosmopolitan saga. There is no prescribed format, nor a list of what is to go in – it is all up to each provider, or to be specific, each board, since the Code states that the Regulator expects the Board to oversee the Asset Register.
In our view clients should be considering the following areas: -
|Property (understand property as an asset)||Finance (cashflow etc)|
|Planning (making sure conditions are complied with and you have evidence to that effect)||Title (the need to link with development)|
|Regulatory (known and anticipated potential impacts)||Loans (treasury management etc)|
There is a clear risk of a compliance industry being created here but we are not talking about a requirement for some all-encompassing database/spreadsheet; what we are talking about is for providers to have this information up to date, accurate, and at hand – and crucially to see it not just in the light of a compliance requirement but as an essential business tool fundamentally informing the VfM agenda. And to underline the point the Code provides that assets which have a negative impact should be easily identifiable.
Another way of looking at things is to consider if you were working for another provider and rescuing your organisation what would you need? What would the Regulator want to see if they ever had to intervene? What do you want to see when you are purchasing properties from another provider?
Finally the asset register needs to scope up all that company information that the board needs to be able to make decisions; what are the cross group guarantees; what off balance sheet funding is there; what dependencies are there.
Don’t forget that boards will need regularly (at least annually) updating.
For more information
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.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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