Council tenants wanting more influence and control over their homes will have access to a share of £100 million to do just that, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins announced today (14 July 2014).
Mr Hopkins said the fund will help unlock further investment in maintaining and building social homes across the country.
Since November 2013, tenants living in council housing have had a right to request that the management of their homes be transferred to a housing association - and that the council cooperate in that process.
From today, tenant groups wanting to exercise this Right to Transfer will be able to bid for a share of this £100 million fund to help that process, with the money becoming available from next year.
The £100 million fund is also available for councils wishing to transfer their stock, with proposals that provide good value for money and have the support of residents.
Transferring stock to secure investment
Ministers are clear that any stock transfer from a council to a housing association or other landlord must be done in a transparent way, and with the full support of affected residents.
Mr Hopkins highlighted how councils and tenant groups will have the best chance of securing a share of the £100 million, if their plans for stock transfer include the regeneration of housing estates in their area - to improve the economic outcomes of tenants as well as the physical condition of the homes.
But he insisted that demolition would only ever be a last resort in consultation with residents and urged councils to comply with George Clarke’s 12-point plan, published by the Empty Homes Agency.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:
As I saw for myself in Bradford, the transfer of housing stock from council to housing association control can unlock millions of pounds to invest in people’s homes, considerably improving their quality of life.
Our pledge is that, where tenants agree, we will write off historic housing debt to enable good value deals to take place, with £100 million available next year to do just that.
But I want to see bids from councils and tenants’ groups alike, which place at their heart the priority of improving the economic as well as physical state of housing estates, so they can benefit residents for generations to come.
Already this year, deals have been agreed with government in Gloucester, Salford and Durham where stock will be transferred to the management of housing associations in exchange for the government writing off millions of pounds in historic housing debt.
All of these will, subject to a ballot of residents, unlock investment to make improvements to properties and, in the case of Gloucester, could lead to the building of new social homes in the city for the first time in decades.
The housing transfer manual is published today.
George Clarke’s 12-point plan is published by the Empty Homes Agency.