Many housing associations are running out of time to prepare for the introduction of new accountancy regulations.

Social housing providers must prepare their annual accounts under Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102 from the start of the next financial year.

However, the National Housing Federation (NHF) believes some are failing to take steps to ensure they are ready for the new system, Inside Housing reports.

Indeed, research by the body has found that more than three-quarters of housing associations have not yet spoken with lenders in any detail about renegotiating the terms in existing lending agreements.

Joseph Carr, finance policy leader at the NHF, stressed that this is an "extremely important issue that needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency".

He urged housing associations to "start having conversations as early as possible with the banks", particularly as many have already expressed concerns about the "timescale and protracted nature of the renegotiation process to date".

The issue is particularly urgent as providers who fail to adapt to the new system in time could face regulatory downgrades from the Homes and Communities Agency.

According to the watchdog, it is likely to view loan covenant breaches as a "material breach of the governance and viability standard" and therefore take action.