Helping tenants take control

Published on Thursday, 15 March 2012 16:41
Posted by Scott Buckler

Plans to make it easier for council tenants to take control of their local neighbourhood and services were announced today by Housing Minister Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps challenged tenants who feel their landlords have neglected their neighbourhood to exercise their rights and take matters into their own hands in the spirit of last year's riot clean-up crews.

The Minister today published plans to strengthen and streamline two key rights that can help tenants achieve this.

The Right to Manage gives tenants the chance to take over the day-to-day management of housing services such as cleaning, repairs, refurbishment and security to deliver a more responsive, better quality and value for money service for their community.

New proposals will streamline the piles of paperwork involved in transferring management responsibilities to a tenant organisation, speeding up the handover process.

The Right to Transfer allows tenants to request the ownership of council homes in their neighbourhood to be transferred from the council to a local housing association. This could be because tenants believe this new landlord could provide better services like cleaning and security or bring more investment into their area such as improvement to peoples homes and the environment.

At the moment tenants can put forward a case for transfer, but councils have no obligation to consider their proposals. The changes proposed today will strengthen these rights, requiring councils to work with tenants to explore transfer requests.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:

    "Last year's 'broom army' action in the aftermath of the riots demonstrated the real difference a community can make when they come together for the good of their area. The rights I'm strengthening today can put decision making power into the hands of the tenants who know their neighbourhoods best.

    "I want to make it easier than ever for council tenants to take charge of local services, from minor repairs to major regeneration. And it will no longer be acceptable for councils to dismiss tenants' proposals for improvement out of hand.

    "Nobody knows the needs of a neighbourhood better than the local community. Now I want to see tenants use these powers to prove us right."

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