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The transfer of more than 4,300 homes in south Liverpool to a new ...
The transfer of more than 4,300 homes in south Liverpool to a new

local housing company (LHC) will give tenants a greater role in

running their own estates, housing minister Nick Raynsford said


South Liverpool Housing (SLH) will next week take over as landlord

following a vote by tenants to transfer under the government's

Estates Renewal Challenge Fund programme, under which a grant of over

£43m was awarded towards the refurbishment of these estates.

Mr Raynsford said that, with LHCs now an established part of the

social housing sector, many thousand's of ex-council tenants are

reaping the benefits available to them in the running and management

of their homes.

'This transfer will allow repair work to go ahead more quickly as SLH

is not limited by local authority borrowing restrictions and so they

have access to additional financial resources. Tenants will also

benefit annual rent rises guaranteed at no more than the rate of

inflation plus 1% for the next five years. Even after this period,

the new landlord's financial plans should enable them to keep rents

at around this level for the foreseeable future'.

The application from Liverpool City Council to transfer its stock

came after a ballot in which 78% of tenants voted, of whom 85%

supported the transfer. South Liverpool Housing are receiving a grant

under the government's Estates Renewal Challenge Fund initiative of

more than£43m, in addition to a loan of£38m from

private funders. This means that more than£81m is being made

available for the refurbishment and upkeep of tenant's homes.

Today's announcement brings the number of approved large scale

voluntary transfers of local authority housing stock to 95, involving

more than 360,000 homes. These transfers have raised over£6bn

in private finance to purchase and invest in the housing stock.


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 they are not limited by the same borrowing

restrictions imposed on local authorities.

Estates Renewal Challenge Fund (ERCF)

ERCF was launched in November 1995 with the aim of regenerating some

of the remaining big, run-down local authority estates by

facilitating their transfer to registered social landlords, enabling

private finance to be raised to help meet some of the costs.£511m is

being spent by 25 local authorities on 40 transfer schemes involving

over 44,000 homes.

The third round of ERCF funding was announced in February 1998 and

funding will finish on completion of the third round transfers.

However, private finance remains an important element in maximising

investment in local authority housing. Where transfer remains a

favoured option, councils and local tenants may seek to pursue the

transfer as part of a 'New Deal for Communities' scheme or from the

authority's main housing investment programme.

When a local authority proposes to transfer an estate under the ERCF,

it has to consult and ballot its tenants. Before giving consent to

any transfer, the secretary of state must be satisfied that the

majority of tenants are not opposed to the transfer. This will remain

the case for transfers subsequent to ERCF.

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