Sector finances remain resilient, but landlords continue to face significant challenges. This was the main message from the Scottish Housing Regulator to finance professionals at the SFHA Annual Finance Conference today in Aviemore.
Helen Shaw, Director of Regulation, said:
“Landlords continue to face significant challenges including those stemming from the cost of living crisis. And, as a result, landlords are facing continuing and competing pressure on resources. Despite this, sector finances remain resilient and most RSLs are managing these challenges.
“Our recent analysis of RSLs loan portfolio returns showed that lenders remain willing to lend to the sector. At the end of March 2023, the sector had £6.7 billion of debt facilities available during 2023/24. RSLs arranged new finance totalling £578 million compared with £325 million the previous year.”
Helen also spoke of the challenges landlords continue to face.
“Inflation and interest remain higher than before the pandemic. This alongside the other challenges landlords face including for example in relation to the energy efficiency and decarbonisation of their homes could mean landlords will have to make some difficult decisions. Our early analysis of RSL’s 5 year financial projections indicates that RSLs are planning to develop fewer homes over the next five years. They are also planning to cut back or delay investment in their existing homes and in the range of activities which benefit their tenants and communities as a result of the pressures.
“It is critical that landlords continue to keep their business plans under review, stress testing these plans to ensure they understand and are manging the risks to their business whilst still delivering for their tenants.”
Helen also highlighted the Regulator’s consultation on its Regulatory Framework and encouraged delegates to take the time to give their feedback by 15 December 2023.
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and seven Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
- SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.
- SHR published its annual analysis of registered social landlord portfolio returns for the period April 2022 to March 2023 on 31 October. The report is available on its website at https://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/about-us/news/rsl-sector-retains-lender-and-investor-confidence-but-continues-to-face-significant-challenges-says-regulator/
- SHR launched its consultation on the future of social housing regulation in Scotland on 20 October. It is open until 15 December and is available on its website at https://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/about-us/news/regulator-launches-consultation-on-the-future-of-social-housing-regulation-in-scotland/