Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire, has today been given approval to transfer its entire housing stock of 5,330 homes to a newly established Registered Social Landlord, Burnley and Padiham Community Housing Limited.
Burnley's tenants had voted overwhelmingly last July to transfer their tenancies to the new landlord which is guaranteeing that rents will rise annually by no more than RPI+1% for the next five years. In addition, Burnley and Padiham Community Housing will carry out a five-year programme of repairs and improvements to bring all the
properties up to modern standards.
'This is a significant step toward our objective of making transfer a realistic option for a wider range of authorities. I am that tenants in Burnley will benefit not only from modernised homes, but also from an investment programme designed to ensure that the maintenance and repair needs are met for the next 30 years.'
Today's announcement brings the number of approved large scale voluntary transfers of local authority stock to over 110, involving more than 390,000 homes. These transfer have raised more than #6.5 billion in private finance which has been used to purchase and invest in social housing.
The new arrangements for dealing with overhanging debt were announced to Parliament by Nick Raynsford on 16 December 1999. A guidance note setting out the detailed arrangements was issued to all local authorities and a copy is available on the DETR website.
The Housing Act 1996 enables the setting up of Local Housing Companies (LHCs). LHCs allow greater local authority and tenant participation than other Registered Social Landlords such as housing associations. Like housing associations, LHCs are not restricted by the same borrowing restrictions imposed on local authorities.
Under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 a local authority proposing a transfer of more than 499 dwellings must first obtain a place on the annual programme approved by the Secretary of State. Councils must then obtain the Secretary of State's consent under the 1985 Housing Act after it has formally
consulted its tenants and can demonstrate that a majority are not opposed to the proposal.