Kevin Sturgeon: Business continuity plans & coronavirus – what RSLs need to consider
Harper Macleod solicitor Kevin Sturgeon provides an update for RSLs on the latest requirements from the Scottish Housing Regulator.
The Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) has written to all Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in the wake of COVID-19 to assist RSLs on assessing their business continuity plans and dealing with any issue that arises.
The SHR has stressed the importance to RSLs of ensuring that their business continuity/resilience plan is up to date, having due regards to the latest advice from Government, the NHS and the Chief Medical Officer (links to such advice are provided below). The details of the business continuity plan should be accessible to all who may need it.
The SHR has advised that RSLs should keep a record of any instances where a service cannot be properly delivered because of COVID-19. This will apply to both minor services and to services required to meet statutory and regulatory obligations, such as:
- Gas and electrical safety checks;
- Repairs and maintenance services;
- Debt and welfare services; and
- Sheltered accommodation services.
RSLs are advised to keep an audit trail to demonstrate when and why such services cannot be provided or obligations complied with, for example, where a tenant is self-isolating and cannot give access to their home for purposes of a gas or electrical safety check, or where the tenant cannot attend the landlord’s office to discuss rent arrears.
RSLs are encouraged to consider whether alternative solutions to any such problems are available.
Impact on the Annual Risk Assessment
RSLs should notify the SHR as and when COVID-19 causes a significant disruption to any service or causes financial impact on the RSL. The SHR will assess the landlord’s performance in the annual risk assessment, having due regard to the RSL’s response to any issues caused or worsened by COVID-19
The SHR will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on RSLs and will report any significant impact to the Scottish Government.
- Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.