Council To Consider Bringing Housing Stock Back In-House

Posted by: caroline smith on 11 March 2024 16:33

South Tyneside Council's Cabinet is to consider if the management of its housing stock should be brought back 'in-house'.


Their decision later this week will follow statutory consultation with tenants and leaseholders, in which 94.2 per cent of those who answered the question supported proposals to return housing and related services to direct council control.


All tenants and leaseholders were given the opportunity to vote in an independent ballot about the future of council housing, and 10.6 per cent responded.


The consultation followed an independent review commissioned last Autumn in anticipation of revised regulatory and legislative requirements, and to ensure the best outcomes for residents.


If Cabinet agree to return the management of housing back to direct council control, it will mark the biggest change to social housing in the Borough for almost two decades.


South Tyneside Homes was originally established in 2006 to access the government's Decent Homes Fund that councils couldn't access directly. Since then, it has brought thousands of properties up to Decent Homes standard and beyond, improving conditions and enhancing residents' quality of life.


However, Decent Homes funding no longer exists and with changes to regulations and the sector facing increasing financial challenges the council agreed it was time to look at whether it was still right to use a separate organisation to deliver housing services.


Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: "Tenants are at the heart of all this, and they have given their overwhelming support for bringing services back in house.


"As a responsible landlord, it's important that we listen and act upon what they've told us.


"We believe that having that direct relationship would result in better communication and accountability, ensuring a transparent and responsive service which would involve and empower tenants.


"Bringing all housing services together would also mean we could make better use of resources.


"Housing is about so much more than bricks and mortar and we want to deliver a 'whole housing system' approach which focuses on early intervention and prevention and allows us to consider tenants' housing and social needs in an integrated way."


From next month, the Regulator of Social Housing is changing the rules about the homes and services tenants can expect from landlords. They are introducing four new consumer standards: The Safety and Quality Standard; The Transparency, Influence and Accountability Standard; The Neighbourhood and Community Standard and The Tenancy Standard. The Regulator will hold all social landlords to account with regular inspections and scrutinising data on tenant satisfaction and repairs.




Cllr Foreman added: "We had to consider if there was a more effective and efficient way of delivering housing services.


"Bringing all our housing services together would help us to build on our achievements and ensure compliance with our new legal and regulatory duties."


If agreed, the move would include a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations) transfer of all South Tyneside Homes staff.

Last modified: 11 March 2024 16:34