The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has explained the thinking behind some of its changes to the regulatory framework for social housing providers.

A new system comes into force at the beginning of April and according to the regulator, it has been designed partly with the possibility that another financial crisis may occur.

Julian Ashby, chair of the regulation committee at the HCA, said the UK now exists in a "post-credit crunch world", 24dash reports.

This, he stated, is "very different" from the environment in which the existing standards were first devised.

Mr Ashby also pointed out that the new standards have been created to reflect the varying circumstances of housing associations. 

Indeed, he said there are "diverse needs of the housing market in which associations operate" and "multiple complexities" that need to be reflected in how the sector is regulated.

Mr Ashby went on to stress that the HCA does not have any desire to tell social housing providers how they should regulate themselves. Instead, he said the priority must be effective risk management.

As a result, he believes it is wrong to suggest that the organisation has or ever will be a "light touch".

He insisted that the HCA is "being careful to avoid prescription", but said the standards are "quite high level".

Mr Ashby said this means it is the responsibility of boards and associations to comply in full, but added "it's not fair for us to tell them how to do that".

Among the changes are a requirement for housing associations that operate more than 1,000 properties to conduct internal stress testing on a regular basis.

Housing providers will also be expected to keep a register of their assets and liabilities in order to keep track of the value of the property they own.