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'This is an historic day for Scottish Borders Housing Association!' Oliver Angus, chairman of the new association, ...
'This is an historic day for Scottish Borders Housing Association!' Oliver Angus, chairman of the new association, said after SBHA's board of management met to formally ratify its bid of over£16m for Scottish Borders Council's housing stock. Cllr Angus's comments came on the same day that Scottish Borders Council agreed that the SBHA bid proposal met all its expectations for the stock transfer and agreed to request first minister Henry McLeish's consent to hold a ballot of all tenants on the transfer proposal.

Mr Angus praised the efforts of the SBHA board of management, which has been working for more than a year to set up the new housing association and to develop the bid for the council's stock of approximately 7,000 houses.

'Tenants can rest assured that Scottish Borders Housing Association will put in every conceivable effort to provide a housing service which they will be happy with - the five tenant representatives on the Board will make sure that is the case.'

The association has been developed as a non-profit making voluntary organisation, whose main objective is the provision of affordable rented housing and high-quality services for tenants. SBHA is also registered as a Scottish charity, which means that it cannot seek to make a profit out of its housing activities. Any surpluses which it generates will be ploughed back into the organisation, to help keep rents down and to improve services for tenants.

A group of SBC tenant's representatives, the 'Joint Tenants' Panel', has been active in advising SBHA on its policies and in agreeing the details of how it should provide its services for tenants. Mr Angus expressed his gratitude for the effort put in by these tenants, stating that: 'the joint tenants' panel has been immensely constructive and help to SBHA in its efforts to become a landlord which tenants will want to vote for.'

Nearly every SBHA policy has been amended in light of tenants' comments and new services such as 'repairs by appointment' and the 'Borders quality standard' for all houses arose directly from the input of the joint tenants' panel members.

The stock transfer process now awaits the formal approval of the Scottish executive and the first minister. Scottish Borders Housing Association will be awaiting their response with a particularly keen interest, given that this is the last hurdle the association will have to cross before its future is decided by the tenants of Scottish Borders Council at the ballot in November.

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