The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has welcomed the formal establishment of the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority. Speaking on foot of today’s announcement, ICSH CEO, Donal McManus, welcomed the new CEO and Board to their roles. “The ICSH and our member organisations are pleased that the journey towards regulation of approved housing bodies (AHB) is now reaching its end. This is an important milestone as it formally establishes the AHB sector as a statutory partner in the delivery of social and affordable housing, with an oversight regime that provides assurances to the State, tenants and the wider public that public funds are being managed carefully for the construction and maintenance of our public housing stock. Growing our public housing stock requires a range of financial measures, including government assistance and supports from financial lenders. This vital investment is further safeguarded through statutory regulation of the sector”
In 2013 a voluntary regulation framework (VRC) was introduced as predecessor to the statutory regulatory framework in place today. This set out guiding principles that all AHBs should adhere to, relating to governance structures, financial management and tenant services. In 2015, the draft Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Bill was published and in December 2019, the legislation was enacted. Working closely with successive ministers and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the ICSH has been consulting with and advocating on behalf of our members in advance of its commencement this year to ensure that the regulation of AHBs is established on a robust, fair and transparent footing.
- The legislation provides for the establishment of a Regulator to oversee the effective governance, financial management and performance of AHBs.
- The Regulator will safeguard public and private investment in the AHB sector. The statutory regulatory framework will provide further assurances to investors, tenants, the Government and to the sector itself that social housing providers operate in a well-regulated and stable environment.
Donal McManus added: “Since voluntary regulation was introduced in 2013, our sector has gone from delivering 400 homes per year to over 4,000. Our member organisations now own and manage 40,000 social homes with affordable rents. It is important that the new statutory framework will enable and oversee continued growth of the sector in the coming years under housing delivery targets set by Government in the Programme for Government. The new Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority Board brings together a diverse range of skills and knowledge that will be key to a proportionate regulatory framework to support this growth”.