Housing Registrar newsletter - June 2021

Welcome to the June edition of EQUIP, the Housing Registrar’s quarterly newsletter.

Read the full newsletter

From the Director – David Schreuder

Dear valued stakeholder,

Welcome to the Housing Registrar’s second quarterly Equip Newsletter for 2021, as we approach the end of the financial year. We continue to operate in a growth and system reform environment with many registered agencies and new applicants seeking to participate in the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, Rapid Round and National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation funding. The Review of the Victorian Regulatory System for Social Housing published its background paper earlier this month with subsequent consultation papers to be published in July and August. We encourage registered agencies to provide submissions to the Review Panel to inform the future state of social housing regulation in Victoria. Input can be made directly to the Panel on the Engage Victoria website.

Annual Compliance Assessments for the 2019-20 financial year have been published on the Public Register, including Executive Summaries and the newly introduced Performance Reports containing key performance metrics for each registered agency. Performance Reports have been introduced as part of the Housing Registrar’s transparency reforms (largely based on the Scottish regulator’s ‘Landlord Reports’) and reflected in our 2020-22 Corporate Plan. This transparency reform project has been undertaken in collaboration with CHIA Vic and the sector.

Housing Registrar 2020-2022 Corporate Plan
PDF 7.38 MB
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We continue to progress our strategic priorities of organisational excellence, better regulation and strong partnerships and engagement. This has included identifying opportunities to reduce regulatory burden by reporting changes and system enhancements, improving our approach to risk-based and proportionate regulatory activities and promoting the timely release of compliance and sector performance data. Thank you for your ongoing feedback and engagement, which assists us in identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.

Sector performance information from the recent Annual Compliance Assessments will be published in the 2019-20 Sector Performance Report and presented at the Housing Registrar’s annual forum to be rescheduled for Q3, 2021 due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. We will provide further details shortly once they have been finalised.

This edition of the Equip Newsletter features updates on:

  • the publication of annual compliance and performance information for the 2019-20 financial year
  • new registrations under the Housing Act 1983
  • changes to regulatory reporting requirements for registered agencies for annual compliance assessments
  • dates for registered agencies to revise policies and procedures reflecting changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
  • the Sector Performance Report and Regulatory Update Report
  • the Housing Registrar’s annual forum, rescheduled for Q3, 2021, and
  • CHiMES enhancements.

On behalf of the team we look forward to continuing our engagement with you in 2021.

Yours sincerely

David Schreuder

Better regulation

Publication of annual compliance assessment executive summaries and performance reports

Annual Compliance Assessments (ACAs) for the 2019-20 financial year have been assessed by the Registrar of Housing Agencies. Compliance and performance information for each registered agency is available on the Public Register and provides:

  • executive summaries for each assessment, including compliance status under the Housing Act 1983 and Performance Standards and a summary of any other relevant information from that financial year, including any significant milestones, development activity, new services or partnerships and any organisational changes
  • a summary of registered agency compliance status against each of the seven Performance Standards, and
  • a Performance Report on each registered agency’s performance against a selection of Key Performance Measures (KPMs), including a comparison of registered agency performance against its corresponding registration category, either as a housing association or housing provider.

Feedback on the public reporting of compliance and performance information is welcomed through your registered agency’s lead regulator and by email: housingregistrar@dtf.vic.gov.au.

The outcomes of key sector performance findings from the 2019-20 ACA cycle will be presented at the Housing Registrar’s forum in Q3, 2021 and will accompany the launch of the 2019-20 Sector Performance Report.

Update on new registrations in Victoria

The Housing Registrar continues to receive a high volume of registration enquiries from local and interstate providers in response to new funding opportunities arising from the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build and National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. In response to this demand, the Housing Registrar has assembled a dedicated Registrations Team to focus on additional registration and ongoing compliance activities.

In April 2021, Building Communities Vic Limited (BCVL) obtained registration as a housing provider. BCVL is a special purpose vehicle established by Community Housing (Vic) Limited, a registered housing association, for the purpose of participating in the Victorian Public Housing Renewal Program (PHRP). The PHRP project will see BCVL develop and operate 1,110 residential dwellings across three existing public housing estates in Flemington, Prahran and Brighton, of which 619 social housing dwellings will be made available to low-income Victorians from the Victorian Housing Register.

A number of enhancements have recently been made to CHiMES to support registration applications. More information about these enhancements can be found in the Chimes enhancements article below.

For more information on registration processes, visit the Housing Registrar website.

Changes to reporting requirements

The Housing Registrar continues to explore reporting changes under the Housing Act 1983 to reduce regulatory red tape, ensure timely public reporting of compliance and performance information and improve our regulatory framework.

To reduce regulatory burden on registered agencies, the requirement for housing associations to submit un-audited financial statements as part of August reporting requirements has been removed. This reporting change is effective from 1 July 2021. This means the Housing Registrar will not require housing associations to submit un-audited financial reports from 31 August 2021.

Further reporting changes for ACAs are being reviewed with updates to be provided over coming months. This has included consultation with the sector, and we thank those who have provided feedback on the proposed changes for 2021-22 performance year and future compliance assessments.

Revised registered agency policies and procedures reflecting changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997

In March 2021, the Housing Registrar published a guidance note providing guidance on compliance requirements for registered agencies to revise their relevant policies to reflect recent changes to residential tenancy laws (effective 29 March 2021), by 30 June 2021.

Guidance Note - Changes to residential tenancy laws
PDF 188.64 KB
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If you are unable to meet these compliance requirements by 30 June 2021, please contact your assigned regulatory analyst.

Contact CHIA Vic for any questions about how the legislative changes affect tenancy management and rent setting policies.

Strong partnerships and engagement

Housing Registrar annual reports

The 2019-20 Sector Performance Report will be published in July 2021, providing a detailed analysis of sector performance for the 2019-20 financial year. This includes financial and non-financial data such as overall annual compliance assessment outcomes, Key Performance Measure sector results and an overview of registered agency tenancies.

The 2020-21 Regulatory Update Report is also scheduled to be published in August 2021, providing an update on progress against the Housing Registrar’s 2020-2022 Corporate Plan and strategic priorities of:

  • organisational excellence
  • better regulation
  • strong partnerships and engagement.

Stakeholders will be notified by email when both reports have been published on the Housing Registrar website.

Housing Registrar 2021 annual forum

The Housing Registrar’s annual forum scheduled for 15 July 2021, has been postponed to later in the year due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

The forum will feature the presentation of sector performance information by the Housing Registrar and includes guest speakers from Homes Victoria, CHIA Vic and the Chair of the Panel from the Review of Regulatory System for Social Housing.

We will provide further updates once they are finalised.

CHiMES enhancements

In April 2021, the Housing Registrar completed updates to CHiMES to allow publication of Performance Reports to the Public Register and to enhance and fix other functions These updates include:

  • updating the Public Register landing page to provide a list of currently registered agencies separated into two tabs – housing associations and housing providers
  • providing registered agencies with access to their Performance Reports through the registered agency compliance menu
  • creating the ability to record an acting CEO role that can be reflected on a registered agency’s home page and in the Public Register
  • simplifying the Declarations page in the registration application form and providing registration applicants access to the Financial Performance Report template within the form
  • allowing registration applicants to provide extra information and documents after their application has been submitted
  • fixing bugs related to updating Agency Authoriser records and print views of the Reportable Events page.

The Housing Registrar has also updated the asset list and asset summary report in CHiMES to include Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) as a new housing type. SDA is now displayed in the asset summary report as a sub-category of long-term housing. Registered agencies can update their asset lists to include all SDA properties owned and managed by selecting ‘SDA’ from in the ‘Housing Type’ field. If these properties are already currently included in your asset list as long-term properties, they will need to be updated to reflect the housing type ‘SDA’. The disaggregation of some long-term properties as SDA will allow the Housing Registrar to assess the impacts of SDA portfolios on Key Performance Measures ahead of the next ACA reporting cycle.

The updated CHiMES agency user manual is available from the CHiMES home page and features details on the new updates outlined. Further guidance will be circulated to the sector about asset reporting ahead of the upcoming ACA cycle.

Further planned updates to CHiMES before the next ACA reporting cycle include:

  • making changes to the Self-Assessment of Performance Against Performance Standards report template to allow registered agencies to report against each indicator relating to each Performance Standard
  • removing the requirement for un-audited financial statements as an August reporting requirement for housing associations.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact your assigned regulatory analysts. Contact details for your regulators can be found on your registered agency’s home page in CHiMES.

Organisational excellence

Resourcing changes in the Housing Registrar

The Housing Registrar recently welcomed three new Senior Regulatory Analysts:

  • Sylvia Tran on 8 March 2021
  • Jessica Griffin-Achmad on 15 March 2021
  • Cathryn Sullivan on 3 May 2021.

Introductions from each of the new team members are provided below.

Cathryn Sullivan - Senior Regulatory Analyst

'I have worked in a regulatory environment for more than seven years, including roles with the Victorian Building Authority and the Northern Ireland Policing Board. I look forward to supporting the growth of the sector and contributing to improving housing for some of the most vulnerable groups in society. Outside of work I am also a certified positive psychology and wellbeing coach, and enjoy doing muay thai and krav maga.'

Sylvia Tran - Senior Regulatory Analyst

'I am a chartered accountant with compliance and investigations experience gained at Consumer Affairs Victoria and most recently was business manager at the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. I am excited to be part of the delivery of increased social housing in Victoria and to support safe, secure and sustainable community housing for Victorian tenants.'

Jessica Griffin-Achmad - Senior Regulatory Analyst

'I am an experienced regulator who has worked across a range of state and federal government agencies, most recently as a Senior Economist at the Essential Services Commission. With a focus on efficiency and risk-based regulation, I am looking forward to improving our processes to support registered agencies to deliver for tenants and the community.'

Cathryn, Sylvia and Jessica each have a portfolio of registered agencies to regulate and look forward to meeting registered agency representatives over coming months. Sylvia and Cathryn also form the Housing Registrar’s Registrations Team and have hit the ground running as we continue to receive a high volume of new registration enquiries.

We also recently farewelled Robert Akdeniz (Regulation Manager) and Doreen Arulanantham (Senior Financial Analyst) who both made considerable contributions during their time with the Housing Registrar.

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