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The regulator of social housing (RSH) has published an update to all registered providers (RPs), which includes a further package of concessions aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on RPs during this unprecedented time.
Of particular interest is the postponement of the deadline for the Financial Viability Assessment electronic accounts submission. The update provides that the RSH will not take any action against an RP where accounts due by 30 September 2020 are delayed by up to three months i.e. to 31 December 2020. In line with this, the RSH is postponing the deadline for Financial Viability Assessment electronic accounts submission to 31 December 2020.
Whilst this concession is welcomed - being a recognition of the many challenges that RPs will face in the months ahead - the following cautionary note must be borne in mind.
It is commonplace for facility agreements to include a covenant in which a borrower will undertake to submit accounts within prescribed time frames, often linked to year-end dates. The concession published by the RSH will not alter any separate, contractual, obligation arising under a facility agreement or any note purchase agreement or bond loan agreement. Likewise, many facility agreements also contain obligations to deliver a copy of the Financial Viability Assessment delivered by RPs to the RSH and there may be time limits for this within the facility agreement that do not allow for the postponement permitted today by the RSH.
With that in mind, RPs should liaise with each of their funders first, before taking the decision to delay the submission of their accounts to the RSH. RPs can then, if required, discuss and agree with their funders for the relevant covenant(s) to be waived or modified, as appropriate.
Failure to do so could result in an RP breaching the terms of a facility agreement, triggering an event of default. As ever, communication with funders is going to be key.
Please contact Michael Nutman for further information or assistance.
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