Liverpool tenants vote for transfer to RSL

18 Apr 02
The government's housing transfer programme was back on course this week after Liverpool tenants voted to switch 13,500 homes to registered social landlords.

19 April 2002

The move was approved by 7,720 votes to 2,591 in three ballots. The result was announced on April 15 – one week after it was revealed that Birmingham City Council's plans to transfer 94,000 homes had been rejected.

Liverpool's transfer, which involves the homes moving to three new RSLs, will lead to £150m of investment, said Richard Kemp, the council's executive member for housing. 'Tenants are not interested in a debate about who does what – they just want it done,' he added.

The council, which transferred 4,000 homes to an RSL two years ago, has no plans to part with its remaining 26,000 properties.

Meanwhile, the anti-stock transfer group Defend Council Housing admitted trade unions were crucial in determining the success of 'no' campaigns. This month, 78,000 Glasgow tenants voted for transfer. 'In Birmingham, tenants got the unions to support them,' said DCH national co-ordinator Mark Weeks. 'In Glasgow, tenants never really got any firm backing from trade unions.'

John Perry, director of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing, agreed that the contrasting results in Birmingham and Glasgow could be explained by the role of unions, but said that there were other factors.

The CIH has welcomed the Law Commission's decision, announced on April 10, to back government plans for a single social housing tenancy to replace the current secure tenancies for councils and assured tenancies for RSLs.

Only secure tenancies have legislative backing and guarantee tenants the right to buy their homes, while assured tenancies are contracts. According to the institute, a single tenancy will assist stock transfers.

'Explaining the change of tenancy [before a transfer] is a minefield for local authorities,' said Perry. 'Tenants get hung up on the fact that they are losing a secure tenancy for an assured tenancy although it can mean much the same thing.'


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