CML supports independent social housing regulator

CML supports independent social housing regulator

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has thrown its support behind plans for a separate social housing regulator.

Following a period of public consultation, the CML has welcomed government plans for the independent regulation of social housing, claiming that it will improve confidence among lenders.

Previously, social housing has fallen under the remit of the Housing and Communities Agency (HCA), which operated a so-called ‘ethical wall’ when regulating the sector.

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While the CML insists that there has been no conflict of interest, the spokesperson added that independent regulation will “help reinforce confidence in robust oversight of social housing provision”

“We support the principle that the regulation of social housing should be completely independent from the HCA as the government provider of funding and land for social and affordable housing in England,” said a CML spokesperson.

“Lenders continue to fund housing in all tenures, and our members have so far provided more than £60bn in finance for the social and affordable housing sector. Independent and effective regulation is crucial in safeguarding this lender investment, and in encouraging firms to continue to fund the sector.

“We therefore welcomed the decision...that the Department for Communities and Local Government was in favour of establishing a regulator separate from the HCA.”

The spokesperson added: “The proposal to separate the regulator from the HCA and establish it as a stand-alone non-departmental public body would be consistent with the principles of better regulation.”

Last November, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) opened a public consultation into its plans to change the regulatory structure of the social housing sector, with the consultation period closing on 28 January.

The DCLG had proposed using a Legislative Reform Order to establish the new regulator as a stand-alone body, separate from the HCA. 

According to the CML, an independent regulator could establish its own governance arrangements, and set out how it would be accountable, thereby strengthening its regulatory authority and reinforcing the confidence of lenders and others.