Enfield social homes provider hit by funding freeze over ‘financial inadequacies’

Christian Action (Enfield) Housing Association no longer able to access City Hall cash after rebuke from Sadiq Khan, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Bell Lane Estate in Enfield Wash
Bell Lane Estate in Enfield Wash

An Enfield-based social housing provider has been hit by a City Hall funding freeze as part of a crackdown on poorly-performing landlords.

Christian Action (Enfield) Housing Association can no longer access Greater London Authority cash for affordable homes schemes after the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) found weaknesses in the organisation’s financial governance.

In December last year, the regulator downgraded the housing association over “inadequacies in financial monitoring and board reporting” and a “lack of effective board oversight and scrutiny”.

It said the failings meant the housing provider “came within weeks of a potential loan covenant breach”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned City Hall’s housing partners last September that they could have their funding frozen if they breached regulatory standards. The restrictions were announced earlier this month following a review by the mayor’s housing and land team.

Christian Action (Enfield) Housing Association owns and manages around 1,600 properties, mostly in Enfield and Waltham Forest.

The housing provider said the funding freeze meant no additional affordable housing projects would be allowed under existing programme contracts but schemes “can be considered in future subject to making progress when all regulatory issues are resolved”.

It added: “Since being placed on the review list and downgraded we have been working closely with the RSH transparently and with determination to agree an action plan which will enable us to regain compliance. Our financial viability grading remains compliant.

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“With the leadership and commitment of our board we have learnt lessons and are already taking steps and planning to make the improvements required. We remain focused on providing good services to our tenants and residents and addressing any poor performance appropriately.

“We will continue to work collaboratively as an organisation to deliver and improve our services to our tenants/residents and to be the good local organisation we are and aspire to remain.”

Two other social housing providers – Industrial Dwellings Society and Swan –have also had their funding frozen by City Hall after breaching standards.

Khan said: “I am doing everything in my power to drive up the quality of housing in London, which is why I’ve put in place these funding restrictions for three social housing providers who have failed to meet both the standards that City Hall expects and that Londoners deserve.

“London is building some of the most impressive new affordable homes in the country, but it is vital that existing residents experience high standards too.

“The tragic death of the toddler, Awaab Ishak, shone a light on the appalling conditions many people are living in and I simply will not tolerate any more needless deaths because of poor housing. That’s why I will not only continue to take action in London, but put pressure on the government to also take responsibility for pushing for higher standards and to provide additional funding.

“We owe it to all Londoners to provide better, safer and fairer housing in the capital.”

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