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HOUSING STOCK TRANSFER PASSES HALF MILLION MARK

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The number of council houses transferred to registered social landlords (RSLs) under the large scale voluntary tran...
The number of council houses transferred to registered social landlords (RSLs) under the large scale voluntary transfer (LSVT) programme has passed 500,000 with the first transfer to take place in West Yorkshire.
Calderdale Council will transfer more than 12,700 properties to Pennine Housing 2000, following a vote by tenants last October, in which 68 per cent of tenants voted to support the transfer.
Pennine Housing has agreed to pay the council£36m for the stock and will carry out a£112m repair and improvement programme during the first five years.
This is the third transfer to proceed under arrangements for dealing with 'overhanging debt' announced in December 1999.
Housing minister Nick Raynsford said Calderdale tenants would benefit from an accelerated programme of repairs and improvements, whilst rents remain affordable.
'I am pleased to see the first transfer in West Yorkshire. By working together, the council, Pennine Housing 2000 and tenants now have an excellent opportunity to provide real improvements to tenants' living conditions.'
Today's announcement brings the number of approved LSVTs to 137, involving 509,000 homes. These transfers have raised over£8bn in private finance raised to purchase and invest in housing stock.
Nick Raynsford continued: 'We have made clear that we are willing to support a transfer programme of up to 200,000 units per year, where tenants and councils decide this option best meets their investment and management needs.'
NOTES
1. Provision to set up Local Housing Companies (LHCs) appears under the Housing Act 1996. LHCs allow greater local authority and tenant participation than other Registered Social Landlords such as housing associations and are not limited by the same borrowing restrictions imposed on local authorities.
2. 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 an annual disposals programme approved by the Secretary of State. Councils must then obtain the consent of the Secretary of State under the Housing Act 1985 for each
transfer after it has formally consulted its tenants.
3. The first transfer under the LSVT programme was of 4,650 dwellings by Chiltern District Council to Chiltern Hundreds Housing Association in December 1988. With the Calderdale transfer, 110 authorities will have transferred all or part of their stock to an RSL.
The housing policy statement - quality and choice; a decent home for all - the way froward for housing - issued on 13 December 2000, confirmed that the government is willing to support the transfer of up to 200,000 dwellings a year, where the authority believes this is the right choice and tenants are in favour.
4. Overhanging debt arises where the capital receipt from a transfer is less than a council's housing debt. The 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 passed to all authorities and a copy is available onthe DETR website.
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