Growing RSL sector will blow away the cobwebs

10 Feb 00
Housing associations have been promised lighter regulation and less bureaucracy as the Housing Corporation studies new ways to cope with the growing number of registered social landlords (RSLs).

11 February 2000

Under the proposals in the corporation's response to its governmental five-yearly review, smaller RSLs would no longer be subject to full-scale regulation, while simpler performance standards will apply to all housing associations.

The corporation also plans to abolish the requirement for RSLs to apply for exemptions when tenants become its employees – widely seen as a barrier to tenant participation in RSL activities.

While such a move would require changes to the 1996 Housing Act, other proposals can go ahead immediately.

The corporation already plans to introduce performance and risk rating for RSLs.

The corporation points out that the sector already has 1.3 million homes and is forecast to double in the next five years – mainly because of further local authority stock transfers. Many RSLs now also tackle social exclusion.

Baroness Dean, chair of the Housing Corporation, promised to 'blow away the cobwebs' surrounding the corporation. It was important, she said, to differentiate between RSLs. 'I believe our proposals will revolutionise our regulatory process, streamlining it and making it more sensitive to the full range and size of RSLs.'

Jim Coulter, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: 'We welcome the corporation's recognition that the present regulatory arrangements are ineffective.'


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