Call for more power for Wales' housing association tenants

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Housing associations should be more transparent about their investments, a committee of AMs has said.

The assembly's public accounts committee has been looking at how associations are regulated in Wales.

It said tenants should have the power and information to scrutinise what their association is doing for them.

The Welsh Government said it would consider the recommendations, but said some improvements had already been made or were being planned.

The AMs found some were investing in projects outside of their core purpose of providing social housing.

'Serious risks'

These included student and nursing accommodation, retail and commercial opportunities and independent maintenance services.

The sector provides 158,000 homes across the country, housing about 10% of the population.

AMs recognised the potential benefits but warned of "serious risks" if the activities were not managed effectively.

They asked for more clarity on how it is overseen by the Welsh Government, particularly when undertaken by a non-registered social landlord subsidiary.

Committee chairman Nick Ramsay said: "Generally we found governance and regulation within the sector to be working well enough for housing associations to be granted more autonomy.

"But, in return, we think they should do more to be open and transparent in their decision making."

Clarissa Corbisiero-Peters, of Community Housing Cymru, welcomed the report and said it would work closely with the Welsh Government.

She said generating further investment made public money go further and allowed associations to focus on providing affordable homes.

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