Inside Housing – News – Large London landlord gets £34m from government cladding fund

While Catalyst was able to recoup some funds, it also saw a 44% rise in fire safety spend in the 2020/21 financial year to £22.8m, it confirmed to Inside Housing. It has also started a review of all its buildings below 18 metres.

During the previous year, the landlord saw its remediation spend leap to £15.8m.

In December, the associations was downgraded to a V2 rating by the English regulator partly due to concerns over its increased fire safety spending.

However, Catalyst’s investment on remediation work is not as large as some of its G15 peers. The 12-strong G15 group has collectively warned that its members will have spent an estimated £3.6bn on fire safety work by 2036.

Catalyst’s results also revealed a halving of its annual surplus to £39.4m. However, the previous year’s figure was skewed by a significant gain from an £83m gift of net assets after taking on Aldwyck Housing Group as a subsidiary in 2019.

The landlord’s revenue in the 2020/21 year rose 4% to £298.2m.

In its core social housing division, turnover increased to £227m from £217.7m the year before, producing a surplus of £12.9m. Its social hosing operating margin grew to 29.7%.

Like many many of its peers, the organisation reported a sharp fall in completions. The number of homes built slid to 305 – a 61% decrease on the prior year. In total, Catalyst completed 264 social homes and 51 non-social homes in the year to March 2021.

It spent £123m on developing new homes, compared with £150m the year before.

The association sold 386 homes either for shared ownership or market sale, bringing in revenue of £95.6m.

Rent arrears at year-end were 4.95%. Rent loss from voids were £2.6m, compared with £1.8m the previous year.

Total committed loan facilities were £1.77bn, of which £1.25bn are drawn. Gearing was 41.3%.

Catalyst’s merger with Peabody, which is expected to complete next April, will create a 104,000-home organisation.