Origin is set to be taken over by PfP in its centenary year

Origin Housing’s board has approved its merger with Places for People and is set to become a subsidiary of the 230,000-home housing association in spring this year.

greg reed full resized

Greg Reed, chief executive of the Places for People group

Following a consultation with residents and recommendations from its board, the merger was given the seal of approval by shareholders yesterday.

The potential merger between Origin and PfP was mooted in October last year.

This came shortly after the Regulator of Social Housing placed Origin under review on 13 October last year amid concerns it was not meeting the regulator’s governance and financial viability standards.

In December, the RSH published a regulatory judgement stating that it lacked assurance that Origin had a ”robust risk control and business planning framework”. The regulator noted that Origin had not notified it promptly of a potential covenant breach and flagged errors in the housing provider’s financial reporting.

The review found that Origin was not compliant with the regulator’s economic standards, which resulted in its viability and governance status being downgraded to V3/G3. 

>> See also: Places for People buys 80-home site from developer Wain Homes

>> See also: Three social housing landlords found in breach of regulatory standards

In its financial accounts for the year ended March 2023, Origin Housing posted a turnover of £68.4m and a deficit of £1.6m. Its operating surplus was £13.9m.

Origin reported a much larger deficit in the 2021/22 financial year, posting a loss of £21.3m due to one-off refinancing costs.

Origin has said that the merger will secure an additional £100m of investment in tenants’ homes over the first ten years following the merger, as well as “improved local services, a stronger voice for customers and more”.

Origin owns and manages over 7,000 homes across London and Hertfordshire. Places for People owns 240,000 properties and had a turnover of £849.6m in the last financial year.

Carol Carter, chief executive of Origin Housing, said: “The merger will be hugely beneficial for our residents, staff and the communities we serve.. Crucially, it means more investment in our homes and improved local services, as well as the retention of all of our hard-working staff who know the communities and people in them better than anyone. For residents, my message to you is that you won’t need to do anything differently - your tenancy, how your rent is paid or what to do when you need help, all remains the same.”

Greg Reed, group chief executive officer of Places for People, described the merger as one “that works for, and benefits, absolutely everyone”.

He added: “We will be able to use our resources to make an additional £100million available to invest in these homes so we can ensure they are improved and maintained to the best standard.

“At the same time, community runs through absolutely everything we do as an organisation and that is why we’re really focused on ensuring local services are not only protected but built on by recruiting, retaining and developing skilled and hardworking staff and in the longer term we will be looking to create community hubs. Customers and communities will always come first, and we want to strengthen local accountability by having effective resident involvement in day-to-day services and for their voice to be heard at the highest level.”

Origin Housing will now complete the legal process to become a subsidiary of Places for People and will provide an update in the coming months.