7,800-home housing association completes merger after regulatory downgrade

Origin Housing became a subsidiary of 240,000-home housing association Places for People yesterday and will be folded fully into the group over the next year.

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Source: PfP

Greg Reed, chief executive of Places for People

As part of the merger deal, Places for People (PfP) has promised an additional £100m of investment in the 7,800 homes that Origin owns across London and Hertfordshire, over the first ten years following the merger.

PfP has said that the merger will be “seamless, with tenancies unimpacted and services such as repairs, paying rent and service charges or raising issues with neighbourhood managers, all continuing to be delivered by existing staff from existing offices”.

Places for People first revealed that it was in merger discussions with Origin Housing in October last year.

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This came after the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) in December downgraded Origin to non-compliant ‘G3’ and ’V3’ grades for governance and financial viability. RSH said Origin’s weak internal controls had put its viability and social housing assets at risk.

Greg Reed, group chief executive officer of Places for People said that the merger “will benefit everyone”.

He added: “This year will mark 100 years since Origin Housing was founded, and together we will build on this great legacy of delivering affordable, quality housing in this part of the country. We will be able to use our resources to invest an additional £100m into these 7,800 homes so we can ensure they are improved and maintained to the best standard.

“We will also support a wider range of services in local communities by recruiting, retaining and developing skilled and hardworking staff who know the area. In the longer term we will be looking to create community hubs and will be investing in ways that customers can have a stronger voice on things that matter to them most.”

Carol Carter, chief executive of Origin Housing, said: “The partnership brings so many benefits for our customers, meaning we will be able to invest in their homes, continue to build new homes and maintain our community focus.

“When we started 100 years ago, our founders created innovative solutions to meet the desperate need for decent, affordable homes in our local communities. Over time Origin has adapted and grown, developing successful partnerships that have had a real impact in the areas we work. I see this as the next stage of our evolution, to continue making difference to people’s lives.”

In February, PfP’s proposal to take over the 357-home South Devon Rural (SDR) Housing Association was approved by the South-west housing provider’s shareholders.