The Housing Agency’s Regulation Office is responsible for regulating the governance, management and financial viability of Approved Housing Bodies.
The Regulation Office, operating within the Housing Agency, has been designated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government as the interim regulator of Approved Housing Bodies. Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) are organisations including Housing Associations and Co-operatives that provide and manage social rented housing.
AHBs will play a key role in delivering the 35,000 new homes as set out in the Social Housing Strategy and regulation of this sector is essential in underpinning this expanding role for AHBs and supporting the sector’s long-term growth.
‘Building for the Future: A Voluntary Regulation Code for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland’ (The Code), was launched in July 2013 and is a precursor to statutory regulation. The code outlines the building blocks of a statutory regulatory framework.
The mission of the Regulation Office is to protect AHB managed social housing assets and safeguard the interests of their current and future tenants by regulating well governed, well managed and financially viable organisations.
A well-regulated sector helps AHBs to access the finance they need at competitive rates, while tenants benefit from the reassurance that comes from the sector being regulated correctly. The presence of regulatory oversight is critical in building the confidence of lenders to invest in the sector.
The work of the Regulation Office has highlighted how regulation is necessary to facilitate the delivery of more social housing. In its first annual report published in July 2015, the Regulation Office has provided, for the first time, key data and analysis on the AHB sector operating in Ireland based on individual regulatory assessment of 142 AHBs.
Key findings from the Regulation Office’s first Annual Report and Sectoral Analysis include:
• 80 per cent of all AHB housing stock or 23,831 tenants’ homes are now protected through regulation;
• 215 AHBs are now signed up to regulation;
• these AHBs are performing well against the regulatory standards;
• significant investment has been made by the state in the sector with over €1.7 Billion provided in capital grants to the larger AHBs alone.
The Financial Standard and Assessment Framework for AHBs published by the Regulation Office in 2015 further extends the existing regulatory framework to provide for robust financial regulation and oversight of the sector. It is an important step in building confidence in the new regulatory system and the reputation and creditworthiness of AHBs.
The new regulatory structures established by the Minister are already demonstrating their value, providing an important overview and insight into AHB’s governance, financial viability and performance. The Regulation Office in the Housing Agency will continue to work with AHBs and other stakeholders over the course of the period leading up to the introduction of statutory regulation to establish further insights and provide additional support in the delivery of high quality, well funded social housing in Ireland.
53 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2
Tel: 00 353 (1) 656 4170