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What is a Community Benefit Society and what does it mean for me as a tenant?

This FAQ explains what a Community Benefit Society is, what this means for WDH as a business and what it means to tenants.

Community Benefit Society

From 5 April 2017 WDH became a charitable Community Benefit Society (CBS) to better reflect what we do.  

What is a CBS?

A CBS is a type of not for profit organisation that is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority with the specific intention that it must benefit the community. CBSs used to be known as ‘Industrial and Provident Societies’ and are well established in many sectors. Most housing associations are CBSs, because of the nature of the work they carry out.

Are WDH still regulated as a CBS?

Yes, as a CBS WDH continue to be registered with and regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH). We remain a charitable organisation and are still required to comply with charity law.  However, we are now an ‘Exempt Charity’ which means that we have the benefit of the same business flexibilities which are available to the majority of housing associations.

Does being a CBS change who can live in a WDH property?

No, as a charitable organisation our lettings policy already ensures that our houses are provided to people who are in genuine housing need.  On becoming a CBS we did not make any changes to the services we deliver or the support we provide and the promises we have made will be kept. In fact, converting to a CBS has helped to better protect what we do and helps us to continue to invest in homes and communities.

What effect does becoming a CBS have on tenants’ rights?


Becoming a CBS did not affect any rights of tenants under their tenancy agreement or lease, and any statutory rights that they may have, such as the preserved Right to Buy or Right to Acquire.

Qualifying leaseholders also retained their statutory right to claim an extension to their lease or to collectively purchase the freehold to their building.

Changing to a CBS does not affect the rent, or any service charges that tenants pay, or how these are calculated.