Social Housing provider put under investigation by the regulator

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has placed Essex-based Swan Housing on its gradings under review list.

The RSH said in a statement this morning that it was now investigating the 12,000-home landlord on an issue that could affect its compliance with the governance and viability elements of its standards.

It said the outcome of the investigation could result in a downgrade for the association, which would mean it becomes a non-compliant provider and result in a G3 or G4 rating for governance, and V3 or V4 for viability.

Swan is one of the biggest providers to be placed on the RSH’s gradings under review list in recent years. It is one of two providers on the list, with the other, Parasol Homes, owning under 1,000 homes.

In October, Swan’s chief executive, John Synnuck, announced that he was to step down after 28 years at the helm of the housing association.

Under Mr Synnuck’s management, Swan grew from a 2,000-home housing association to manage approximately 11,500 homes in east London and Essex.

Mr Synnuck confirmed that, whilst disappointed with the news, Swan will work proactively with the regulator to address its concerns. He said: “At Swan we would like to reassure our customers and stakeholders that our dedicated teams will continue to provide our full range of services as normal, notwithstanding the ongoing review.”

In January last year, Swan was downgraded to a G2 rating for governance by the RSH as it warned the landlord needed to strengthen its stress-testing.

It was also hit with a downgrade from rating agency S&P in November last year, due to its “high sales exposure”.

In September the housing association appointed a new chair; Pat Billingham replaced Valerie Owen on 1 October.

In its last full year to March 2021, Swan reported a jump in pre-tax surplus to £32.9m on an increased turnover of £190.6m. The association has a development pipeline of over 8,000 homes and aims to deliver new schemes via both traditional development and off-site production.

In July 2020, Swan bosses said that it would be “fully transparent” and support investigations into a crane collapse at one of its London sites. One person died and four people were injured in the incident.

A 20-metre crane collapsed on Swan’s Watts Grove site in Bow, east London, and damaged two adjacent houses in the neighbouring Compton Close on 8 July last year.



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