“Ireland has a worse housing crisis than the UK,” according to Greg Campbell, partner at management consultancy Campbell Tickell.
Speaking ahead of the Irish Council for Social Housing annual conference (10th-11th October), Campbell said: “Finding new routes for approved housing bodies [AHBs] to fund more social housing is critical.
“Regulation of the sector is part of the answer – ensuring that housing associations are well-governed, well-managed, financially viable, and providing homes and services that meet the needs of present and future tenants and local authority partners.”
In the Republic of Ireland, Campbell Tickell has worked with the government’s Housing Agency and its Regulation Office, developing all three regulatory standards (finance, governance, and performance).
It has also supported most of the larger AHBs, many medium-sized and smaller organisations, as well as care and support providers and councils.
“Organisations that are sufficiently robust and well organised will be in a far stronger position to be able to access commercial loans, alongside government funding, in order to drive up the supply of high quality, affordable housing,” said Campbell.
“The UK experience has been that regulation has been worth around half a percent in lower borrowing costs for housing development.”
Draft legislation, the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Bill, was published in late summer and has begun its journey through the Dáil.
It seeks to move the regulation of AHB’s from a voluntary to a mandatory basis.
The Bill is now being debated in the Dáil, with approval sought by the end of the year for potential implementation in 2020.
Speaking on the housing regulation, Campbell said: “This is an important milestone on the journey to enabling AHBs to step up and meet the challenges of housing supply.
“The legislation will give the regulator new powers to take action in instances of poor practice, which have in individual cases damaged the reputation of the wider charitable and non-profit sector.”