Welsh Assembly plans huge transfer of homes to community landlords

21 Feb 02
Tenants will be able to transfer their local authority homes to 'community mutual' housing associations, enabling them to manage and collectively own their properties, under plans drawn up by the Welsh Assembly.

22 February 2002

The Financial Services Authority is considering a request by the Assembly to approve model rules for industrial and provident societies, whereby tenants would become shareholders in associations formed to take over council homes. It is hoped that the rules will be approved by April.

Tenants could then be balloted for a series of large-scale voluntary transfers of housing stock. Under the plans, the ideal transfer would involve the whole of a council's existing housing stock being handed over to a specially formed community mutual, which would be a registered social landlord.

Although the community mutuals would be similar to housing co-operatives, they would be much bigger, consisting of thousands of tenants. But local authority tenants could opt out of a transfer and choose to retain the council as their landlord.

The Wales Co-operative Development and Training Centre has been involved in preparing the plans and is supporting the proposals.

The Assembly hopes the initiative will raise tenant satisfaction by increasing involvement in the management of properties, and that it will also lead to increased investment in poor areas. Community mutuals might be more likely to award repair contracts locally, generating employment on deprived estates.

'We think this has tremendous potential,' said John Bader, director of housing for the Assembly.

Bader added that stock transfers in England had often created spare capital. If this were achieved in Wales, the surpluses could be used not only to invest in the housing stock, but also as security for the creation of community facilities and locally based social enterprises.


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