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MORE TIME FOR TRANSFER - BETTER FOR TENANTS

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New arrangements to help improve housing for tenants were announced ...
New arrangements to help improve housing for tenants were announced

today by housing minister Lord Falconer. Local authorities will now

be given two years in which to complete the housing transfer process,

instead of the current one year.

This means more time to consult and involve tenants in decisions

about their housing services before and after transfer.

Lord Falconer said:

'Our vision is for better housing services and more tenant

involvement following transfer. Tenants will have more say in running

their services, with tenants making up one third of decision-makers

on the board. Because registered social landlords are independent

there is a greater chance for a more local focus and tenant

empowerment.'

The government announcement means new arrangements will relieve

pressure on local authorities and new landlords to complete housing

transfers to registered social landlords (RSL) within the financial

year of the programme.

Transfers are complex and time-consuming, involving a range of

private sector organisations, all of whom offer services to the local

authority and new landlord. Lord Falconer, said the

new arrangements were timely as transfers are now taking place in

larger urban authorities.

'The overall aim of the government's housing policy is to ensure

everyone has the opportunity of a decent home by 2010. Housing

transfer therefore offers an excellent opportunity for achieving

this.

'Tenants benefit from improved maintenance and future repairs to

their homes. Increased investment from private sources means repairs

can be carried out more quickly than if the properties had remained

in local authority ownership. Over time rents will be similar to

local authority rents, due to the Government's policy of bringing

greater fairness and cohesion to the structure of social rents.'

Housing transfers are voluntary, taking place only if tenants are in

favour. The consent of the Secretary of State is also required, which

will only be granted if a majority of tenants wish the transfer to

proceed.

Notes

1. Full details can be found here.

2. The Order will make one change to the administration of the

department's Annual Housing Transfer Programme:

Allowing local authorities up to two financial years in which to

complete a housing transfer.

3. The Regulatory Reform Act replaced the much more limited power

under which Deregulation Orders were made with a powerful tool to

facilitate regulatory reform on 5 April 2001. It enables ministers to

use orders to remove or reduce burdens contained in legislation, to

correct inconsistencies and anomalies, and, in certain strictly

defined circumstances, apply new burdens. It is an alternative

legislative route capable of large-scale reform of entire regulatory

regimes. The Act also gives ministers the power to set out a code of

good enforcement practice. Full details of the Regulatory Reform

order-making process and its potential uses can be found here.

4. Where such a transfer involves more than 499 dwellings over a

five-year period, to the same landlord, it requires a place on the

annual housing transfer programme.

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