Housing minister Nick Raynsford said that with local housing companies now an established part of the social housing sector, tenants are clearly benefiting from the extra say they now have in the management of their homes.
'Richmond Housing Partnership is not limited by constraints on local authority borrowing so it has access to additional financial resources. Tenants will benefit from an accelerated programme of repairs and improvements to their homes, while rents will be pegged at the rate of inflation plus 1% each year, for the next 10 years.'
The application from Richmond Upon Thames LBC to transfer its stock follows a ballot in which 64% of tenants voted, of whom 64% supported the transfer. Richmond Housing Partnership will pay the council£59.5m to acquire the 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.
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 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.