Housing Stock To Be Brought Back In-House

Posted by: caroline smith on 13 March 2024 13:44

The management of South Tyneside Council's housing stock is to be brought back 'in-house', in the biggest change to social housing in the Borough for almost two decades.


The decision by Cabinet follows statutory consultation with tenants and leaseholders, in which 94.2 per cent of those who answered the question supported proposals to return housing 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.


The move will include a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations) transfer of all South Tyneside Homes staff.


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, that 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. The outcome of the ballot means that the council will take full control and ownership of its housing stock.


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.


"I'd like to thank South Tyneside Homes for the fantastic job they've done for almost 20 years, transforming thousands of homes. We are excited to welcome South Tyneside Homes colleagues, with all their experience and expertise, into the council.


"This is now the start of an exciting journey where together, we can identify areas for improvement and create a joined up, streamlined housing service fit for the future.


"Having that direct relationship will result in better communication and accountability, ensuring a transparent and responsive service which involves and empowers tenants.


"Bringing all housing services together also means we can make better use of resources."


Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, added: "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.


"This decision signifies the biggest change to our social housing in nearly two decades but we are confident it will ensure the very best outcomes for residents."


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 will help us to build on our achievements and ensure compliance with our new legal and regulatory duties."

Last modified: 13 March 2024 13:45