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Improving Local Housing

Volume 570: debated on Tuesday 12 November 2013

I am publishing today, following consultation, a stock transfer manual for the period to 31 March 2015. The manual sets out the process for housing stock transfer and the criteria local authorities will need to meet where they propose, with the support of their tenants, to transfer their housing stock to a new or existing housing association landlord.

Following consultation, we have introduced some additional flexibility for local authorities and tenants who wish to transfer their homes and provided some further clarification on how the Government will assess transfer applications to ensure that they represent good value for money for the taxpayer. Where that is the case and a stock transfer offers opportunities for growth locally through more private investment in new and existing affordable housing stock, then Government financial support will be available.

We expect transfer proposals brought forward under the terms of this manual to complete by March 2015. Resources are available from the Department for Communities and Local Government to write off debt associated with the housing stock being transferred in this period.

It remains the case that transfers may only take place where that is the option favoured by a majority of tenants voting in a ballot. We also want to give tenants more opportunities to weigh up the benefits of transfer and lead the transfer process themselves.

The Government will shortly be laying the associated secondary legislation before Parliament. It will outline how local authorities should co-operate with tenant groups which wish to explore transfer and commence the process of transferring ownership where this is the favoured option.

Copies of the stock transfer manual and the analysis of responses to the consultation on the draft manual have been placed in the Library of the House and are available on the Department’s website.