Thursday, 31 July 2014

Government consultation on stock transfer to tenants is now one year overdue

Battle for ‘right to own’ heats up

Frustrated tenants’ groups have called on the government to publish a consultation on ‘right to own’ regulations - after a delay of almost a year.

The Communities and Local Government department said it will be publishing a long-awaited consultation ‘shortly’ on new regulations which would make it easier for tenant groups to take ownership of their estates - and force councils to co-operate with them. The regulations could trigger a wave of tenant-led stock transfers.

The CLG originally said it hoped to launch the consultation in February 2011, but it has been delayed. A spokesperson said this is due to ‘wanting to make sure it gets it right’.

The plans are likely to oblige councils to arrange a feasibility study to examine tenants’ transfer proposals and provide financial support.

Friday Hill Tenant Management Organisation in Waltham Forest, London, has been hoping to take ownership of 1,000 homes from the council for a number of years.

Jeremy Carson, managing director of the TMO, said: ‘The government talks about localism, but a year on we are no further forward, where’s the regulations?’

Two tenants’ and residents’ associations on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in west London have already stated their intention to take ownership of their estates. But Hammersmith & Fulham Council wants to demolish them as part of the £8 billion Earls Court regeneration scheme. The council is now consulting tenants on the plans.

Jonathan Rosenberg, a campaigner helping the TRAs, said: ‘When it comes to localism and the big society, we are long past the “put up or shut up” time.’

The council’s consultation document admits that should the regulations come in and an application from tenants be made, ‘the council would need to reconsider how best to take forward the development’.

Inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act last year revealed nine tenants’ organisations have written to CLG about transferring their estates.

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