Council consults tenants over stock transfer
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Council to talk to tenants about possible stock transfer
The future of a North West ALMO is uncertain after its council announced a review of how its stock is managed.
Salford City Council is to work with its ALMO, Salix Homes - which currently manages its 8,500 homes - and its tenants on the review.
The options include:
• The council keeps ownership of the homes and either has them managed by Salix Homes under the current arrangements or manages them internally with the capacity to access improvement and development funds
• The ownership of the housing stock is transferred to Salix Homes or another housing provider
The council has warned the borrowing cap on councils - part of the Government's self-financing reforms - means that it will not be able to generate the amount needed to complete improvements on its properties and bring them up to the Decent Homes Standard.
The appraisal of the options available will be led by Salix Homes tenants and the recommendations will be considered by the council later this year. If the option to transfer owners is preferred then work will be done to explain that option fully to all tenants, who ultimately will vote whether or not they agree with it.
Barbara Harper, Chair of the Salix Homes Customer Senate, said: "It is disappointing that, through no fault of the council or Salix Homes, we now have to go back to the drawing board.
“Significant improvements have been made to many homes and to the quality of housing services since Salix Homes was set up. However it is crucial that we find a way to safeguard the improvements already made and to find the shortfall in funding to finish the job we started in 2007."
When Salix Homes initially took over the management of the housing in central Salford and Beech Farm in 2007 they made an application to government for Decent Homes grant funding to improve council homes that aren’t in the Pendleton PFI area.
Whilst some funding has been provided by the government, it has not been enough to do all of the work, and more than £30m has still to be approved by the government.
Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment at Salford City Council, said: “We’ve been working for some years now to improve the quality of social housing in the city and bring it up to decent homes standards.
“This change in legislation now makes it impossible for Salix Homes to continue with these improvements in central Salford.
“We now need to look at what alternatives there are that will help us to continue to maintain and improve the social housing available in Salford. We’re just starting this process now and will be considering all available options.
“Tenants will be at the heart of examining the options and will of course have the final say. We need to find a solution that works for everyone and we will fully consult with all interested parties throughout the process.”