Dumfries and Galloway Council has now received consent from Iain Gray, minister for social justice, to consult tenants on the proposals. The statutory consultation period will help to ensure that tenants have the opportunity to consider the Partnership's proposals in detail.
'These proposals represent a significant step towards our goal of good quality, affordable housing for all and follow the landmark votes in Scottish Borders and Glasgow where tenants voted 'yes' to transfer to community ownership.
'Transfer to DGHP will deliver substantial new investment for housing in Dumfries and Galloway, rent guarantees, provide employment opportunities in the building industry and give tenants a much greater say in the future management of their homes and estates.
During the formal consultation period, tenants will be able to make representations to the council about the proposals. They will then be asked to vote in a secret ballot. Only if tenants vote 'yes' will the transfer of some 12,800 houses take place.
If the transfer takes place, arrangements will be made jointly by the Scottish executive and the treasury to tackle the council's housing debt burden. Currently, around 40 pence in every pound of tenants' rent money is spent servicing historical debt.
DGHP is a new not for profit organisation, created specifically to own and manage the council's 12,800 houses. It is registered with Communities Scotland who will monitor the partnership's activities and expect it to meet a rigorous set of performance standards. Tenants, the council and the wider community are all represented on DGHP's board of management.
The partnership is committed to encouraging tenant and community involvement. It aims to set up four local district management committees and delegate powers to those committees.
In order for potential new landlords in each council area to purchase council stock, it is necessary to agree a price following an independent valuation. The valuation is based on a transfer of a rented housing business to a not-for-profit organisation. It takes into consideration that the not-for-profit landlord will have a clear requirement to bring the houses to an acceptable condition of repair, to maintain the housing in good condition over the longer term and to retain the stock for affordable renting. This means that the valuation will be lower than the open market value of the individual houses. It will be an accurate reflection of what the business aims to deliver based on affordable rents.
Dumfries & Galloway Council has received the consent of Scottish ministers to consult tenants on the transfer proposal. The council will decide whether to make a formal application for consent to transfer the houses following the tenant ballot. Ministers cannot approve a transfer unless the majority of tenants voting support the proposal.