RSLs receive tenants vote of approval

4 Apr 02
Council tenants are increasingly backing proposals to transfer their homes to registered social landlords.

05 April 2002

Just two proposals have been thrown out in ballots this year, including Dudley Council's plan to transfer its stock of 32,300 homes.

Three councils with places in the current programme dropped out before a vote could take place, while 17 ballots resulted in 'yes' votes.

During March, the government confirmed that four transfers that had received tenant approval could go ahead. The moves – in Chelmsford, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, and Reigate & Banstead – involve more than 21,000 properties switching to the RSL sector.

At the same time, 26,000 tenants in Bradford voted by nearly two to one in support of a transfer to Bradford Community Housing Trust. The move is expected to take place in early 2003.

Ministers, who want transfers to proceed at a rate of about 200,000 homes a year, were delighted by the results.

In each case they argue that switches will allow improvement work to go ahead more quickly as the new landlord is not subject to local government borrowing restrictions.

Kris Hopkins, Bradford Council's executive member for housing, said that tenants in the city had made an informed decision. 'This council has worked hard to give tenants the standard of homes they deserve but, with the vote to transfer, the money will be available for the repairs and modernisation they badly need,' he added.

Since last year, the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has operated a rolling two-year stock transfer programmes with new authorities being added to the list each spring. The 2002/03 list, announced recently, so far includes only 13 councils wishing to transfer a total of about 64,000 homes.

However, housing minister Sally Keeble said a further 11 proposals would almost certainly be added to the list in the next few months, taking the total number of properties above 180,000. The 11 councils are either seeking valuations or need to develop their proposals further.

In the meantime, a vote by tenants in Birmingham, which could result in 88,000 homes switching to new community landlords, draws to a close this week.

Glasgow Council will announce the result of a ballot among its 78,000 tenants on April 5.


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