CTM40405 - Particular bodies: housing associations: introduction
Housing associations are ‘non-profit making’ organisations which aim to provide for people in housing need.
Some housing associations rely on the work of a committee of (usually unpaid) volunteers; others employ staff. Most associations provide rented accommodation, including houses, flats and hostels. Some also provide homes for sale through low cost home ownership schemes, such as shared ownership which is part sale, part rent. Some associations buy sites or properties for redevelopment. Others take over existing tenanted housing from local authorities or other public sector landlords under voluntary transfers.
Housing associations registered with the appropriate authority have been known as Registered Social Landlords in England and Wales since October 1996 and in Scotland since April 2002, but the term ‘housing association’ is still commonly used throughout the UK.
In this chapter the term housing association should be read as including registered social landlords (where the body has been incorporated as an industrial and provident society see CTM40500 onwards) unless the context indicates otherwise. (It is possible for an registered social landlords to be incorporated as a Companies Act company, in which case the normal CT rules apply.)
The fact that housing associations and registered social landlords are often described as ‘non profit making’ means, in broad terms, that it is not their primary purpose to make a commercial profit which can be distributed to their investors. Any profits that do in fact arise are, subject to the guidance contained in this section, subject to CT in the normal way.
The Housing Corporation has a statutory responsibility to maintain a register of housing associations in England. Similar bodies fulfil similar functions in other parts of the UK. Registration with the Housing Corporation entitles a housing association to a number of benefits. These include:
- access to public grants,
- the credibility and status required to borrow money from private lenders,
- tenants are protected by the Corporation's supervision.
In order to register with the Housing Corporation a housing association must have a legal identity. It must be registered with either:
- The Mutual Societies Registration section of the Financial Services Authority,
- The Charity Commission.
Those registering with The Charity Commission are either charitable trusts or, more commonly, companies limited by guarantee (CTM40460). Those registered as Industrial and Provident Societies may be either charitable or non-charitable.