The RSL sector retains the confidence of lenders and investors, but the sector face significant challenges ahead. This is the main finding of a new report published today by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
The report is the Regulator’s annual analysis of RSL loan portfolio returns for the period April 2022 to March 2023.
The report highlights that 25 RSLs arranged new finance during 2022/23, totalling £578 million and total agreed borrowing facilities in Scottish RSLs is now £6.71 billion. RSLs also plan to increase their borrowing by £1.47 billion over the next five years.
Shaun Keenan, Assistant Director of Financial Regulation, said:
“It is essential that RSLs maintain sufficient liquidity and access to new funding to ensure their continued capacity to deliver new homes and invest in existing homes, including to meet the Scottish Government’s plans for net zero carbon.
“RSLs’ increased reliance on debt in their business plans has for a number of years been underpinned by assumed continued low interest rates in forecasts. In the current context of increasing interest rates and where interest rates are now at their highest level in 15 years, RSLs are continually having to revise their business plans and reconsider the assumptions which underpin the forecasts these plans are based on. Governing Bodies therefore need to continue to ensure they understand how a movement in interest rates could impact on their costs and covenants.
“It is important that RSLs’ ensure they have contingency plans and robust mitigations, and engage early with their lenders where they identify potential covenant breaches. We will continue to engage with RSLs that have low liquidity indicators or potential covenant breaches.”
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and seven Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
- SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.