Birmingham ponders housing options

12 Dec 02
Birmingham's housing department should be broken up into 35 community-based organisations, according to the commission set up after tenants rejected stock transfer.

13 December 2002

Although the city's 80,000 homes would continue to be owned by the council, decisions about repairs and lettings would take place at local level.

Ultimately, tenants in one or more of the community-based housing organisations (CBHOs) could vote for transfer to a registered social landlord.

The commission's findings, published on December 9, are designed to allow Birmingham to remain as a landlord while finding new ways to carry out £3.5bn worth of repairs.

The council is hoping some will be funded through land sales and other capital receipts.

The CBHOs would be in charge of 80% of the housing management budget and the council's entire £75m annual repairs budget.

Local teams of caretakers, repair workers and wardens should provide improved on-the-spot management at lower cost, says the independent commission, whose report will go to the council next month. Pathfinder CBHOs could begin in two areas as early as March.

Anne Power, chair of the commission and a professor in social policy at the London School of Economics, said: 'Birmingham needs to sort out its landlord service with the utmost speed if it is to remain solvent and viable as a housing service.'

The council has already transferred two small estates to RSLs. Council leader Sir Albert Bore said the authority was committed to more devolution of governance and service delivery.


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