The government has made agreements with Aedes, the umbrella organisation of housing associations, on the role of housing associations in investments, on segregating activities and on the role of the regulator, the Social Housing Guarantee Fund (WSW). Minister Blok for Housing and the Central Government Sector announced this in a letter to the Lower House of Parliament.
Investments and levies
Extra funding will become available for housing associations to make investments in their property. This involves approximately 60 million euros from the scrapping of the VAT adjustment payment and 400 million euros from the Energy Agreement for energy-saving measures undertaken by landlords in the subsidised rented sector. It remains unclear, however, whether this boost will prompt housing associations to start investing in social housing again in the near future. According to the agreement, they will only be required to do so if they can afford this after paying the landlord levy.
Segregation of activities
In order to limit the financial risks, housing associations are going to split off their social housing activities from other commercial activities or activities that cannot be designated a service of general economic interest (SGEI). The housing association can opt for a legal or administrative split-off. In the event of a legal split-off, the non-SGEI activities will be transferred to a separate legal entity. In the event of an administrative split-off, the housing association will face a tougher regulatory regime.
Role of the regulator WSW
The WSW is being given greater responsibility in the reorganisation of housing associations, for instance in the practical implementation, the assessment of reorganisation plans and the calculation of reorganisation aid. The government stipulated the important precondition that the state, as the backer of this fund, must not face any higher risk as a result.
The main points of the agreements as these have been put on paper between Aedes and the government are still to be worked out in further detail.
Robert Rijpstra, lawyer