The Homes and Communities Agency has today (25 November 2016) published a statutory consultation on introducing a fee-charging scheme for the regulation of private registered providers of social housing. The consultation follows a discussion paper in 2014 setting out initial proposals and the 2015 Spending Review.
Charging fees would enable the regulator to ensure that it maintains the capacity and capability to promote a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs.
The proposed fees scheme would be in line with the regulator’s powers under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 and its statutory objectives. Following consultation, the principles will have to be approved by the Secretary of State.
The statutory consultation sets out the following anticipated fee charges:
an annual fee of £5 per unit for all registered providers with 1,000 or more units of social housing
a fixed fee of £300 for providers with fewer than 1,000 social housing units
a one-off fixed rate fee of £2,500 for successful new registrations with the regulator
Julian Ashby, Chair of the HCA Regulation Committee said:
With more complexity and risk in the sector it is essential that we maintain the right level of skills and capacity to deliver effective regulation into the future. The fees proposals will help ensure that the regulator remains adequately resourced to do this.
As with most regulated sectors, in the context of wider reductions in public spending it is reasonable to ask providers to contribute towards the cost of regulation given the benefits including lower borrowing costs. Being fee funded will support our ability to retain investors’ confidence in the sector.
It is proposed that some elements of regulation such as enforcement action and unsuccessful registration applications will continue to be funded through government grant in aid.
Depending on the outcome of the statutory consultation, fees may be introduced in April 2017. If this occurs, the regulator plans to confirm final proposals and the relevant fee amount for each provider by early 2017.
The statutory consultation paper is available on the HCA website - the page includes a link to respond online.
The Homes and Communities Agency is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England, and is the regulator of social housing providers.
As regulator, its purpose is to promote a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs.
It will do this by undertaking robust economic regulation, as enshrined in legislation, focusing on governance, financial viability and value for money that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer.
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