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AHB Regulation

AHBs Signed up to Regulation Click here


The Housing Agency has been given responsibility, on an interim basis, for regulating Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).

The Voluntary Regulation Code

Regulation of the sector is based on a Voluntary Regulation Code (the Code): Building for the Future - A Voluntary Regulation Code For Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland

The Standards

The Financial Standard and Assessment Framework was launched on 14 July 2015. This Financial Standard further extends the existing Regulatory Framework to provide for robust financial regulation and oversight of the sector.

The Governance Standard was launched in November 2017. This standard sets out six core principals of good Governance. These principals build on those established in the VRC and are supported by best practice recommendations.

Governance Standard Guidance

The Performance Standard was launched in December 2018. The overall purpose of the Performance Standard is to define and set a standard for essential service performance from the AHB sector. This refers to the arrangements for the delivery of tenancy, housing management, asset management and other tenant-facing services by an AHB. The Standard has been developed in consultation with the sector and a range of other key stakeholders and is underpinned by the guiding principles of the Voluntary Regulatory Code.

Performance Standard Guidance

The Circular

While the Code is voluntary, funding eligibility is aligned to those AHBs signed up to and demonstrating compliance with the Code, as per Department Circular 15/2016:

‘From 1 January 2017, in addition to the requirement to have signed up to the Code, only those AHBs that are able to demonstrate commitment to and engagement with both the VRC [Voluntary Regulatory Code] and the Financial Standard and Assessment Framework, having undergone a satisfactory assessment as part of the annual assessment process by the Regulation Office will be considered eligible for funding.’

The Regulatory Framework

The Regulatory Framework for Approved Housing Bodies provides an oversight of the objectives and functions of the Regulation Office alongside an overview of the Regulatory assessment processes and outcomes.

The Housing Agency has established a Regulation Office to support this work and reports to an interim Regulatory Committee appointed by the Minister.

The Voluntary Regulatory Framework will:

  • assist AHBs to improve their governance, management and financial capabilities, and
  • provide oversight of the sector.

The Code was launched in July 2013, by Jan O’Sullivan T.D., Minister for Housing & Planning.

Why Regulate?

The Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan places AHBs at the heart of social housing provision in the coming years, with a view to the sector expanding significantly and playing a lead role in the delivery and supply of new social housing.

Regulation is a key element of this enhanced role of AHBs and is necessary in order to:

  • Provide assurance to tenants, Boards, government and potential investors that the AHB sector is stable and well regulated
  • Safeguard public investment in the sector
  • Encourage private investment into the sector
  • Encourage long term strategic thinking and facilitate collaboration, alliances and mergers within the sector
  • Help AHBs to manage risk and to focus on achieving best outcome for tenants
  • Protect existing and future AHB tenants by promoting openness and accountability.
  • Demonstrates that the Government is delivering on its key housing policies and priorities, and
  • Contributes to the overall sustainability of the sector.

What is an Approved Housing Body?

Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) (include Housing Associations and Co-operatives) provide and manage social rented housing. They are private, non for profit organisations formed for the purpose of relieving housing need.

Under Section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1992, bodies must obtain ‘approved status’ from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. A body seeking to obtain, and to retain, approved status must: -

  • have as primary objective the relief of housing need, or poverty or hardship or the welfare of Travellers, and the provision and management of housing,
  • have in its memorandum of association or registered rules, provisions prohibiting the distribution of any surplus, profit, bonus or dividend to members and requiring that the assets of the body be applied solely towards its objects.

There are approximately 520 Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland with a stock size of over 26,000 units. AHBs provide housing in response to a range of different needs including families on low incomes, households with special needs, such as older persons, people with disabilities and homeless persons. AHBs work in partnership with Local Authorities. AHBs take nominations from the Local Authority's social housing waiting list to fill available accommodation provided by the AHB.