Housing groups appoint Beever & Struthers

Accountant and business advisor Beever & Struthers has been appointed to provide business planning validation services by eight social housing groups nationwide.

The Manchester-based firm was appointed by Merseyside-based One Vision Housing, First Choice Homes Oldham, Tristar Homes of Stockton-on-Tees, Cardiff-based Taff Housing Association, Boston Mayflower and Longhurst Group both based in Boston, Lincs, Waterloo Housing Group based in Oadby, Leicestershire, and the Independent Housing Ombudsman based in London.

David Hunter, housing partner at Beever & Struthers, said: "The current economic climate has presented a number of challenges to the social housing sector and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

"The move towards self regulation (and its associated cost) will continue, particularly with the recently announced winding down of the Audit Commission and review of the future of the Tenant Service Authority.

"Pressure on tenants in terms of increasing levels of unemployment and a rising cost of living can only put pressure on rent arrears.

"The behaviour of funders has varied widely, with some being extremely supportive, but reports of others closely monitoring loan covenants for, it would appear, the chance to aggressively re-price loans to reflect the current market rate.

"Discussions with social housing finance directors on the above and the impact to their organisations of the Comprehensive Spending Review have shown that the sector is extremely worried about what the future holds.

"When the historically risk averse world of social housing considers all of the above, it can appear overwhelming. It's no wonder that finance directors and chief executives are increasingly looking for an experienced, independent pair of eyes to ensure that organisational objectives will be met over the period of the business plan and, where it becomes apparent that this is not the case, uses its experience to help the organisation to address difficulties quickly.

"Our extensive experience and commitment to the sector, coupled with significant knowledge of business planning software packages, including Brixx, Sector Weedon Grant and David Tolson Partnership, have made us a natural choice for social housing providers seeking assurance that they can still achieve their objectives."

The not-for-profit division at Beever and Struthers has validated plans for a number of social housing providers, from Arms Length Management Organisations to stock transfers to established housing associations.

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