Social Housing Company puts future in Tenants’ Hands

Housing associations and social housing companies are having to make some difficult decisions recently, and many are concerned that the upcoming welfare reforms will mean things will only get harder. We have published numerous news articles recently discussing how private rented sector landlords are protecting themselves against the upcoming reforms with landlord insurance, however many housing associations and social housing companies are choosing to discuss with their tenants how the reforms will affect them.

One social housing company has gone even further though, and has actually decided to let their tenants vote on who they want to run the company in the future. Even though many housing associations and social housing companies have been discussing financial matters and the upcoming reforms with their tenants recently, this is one of the very few times that a company or association has actually asked the tenants about how it should be managed.

Salix Homes in Salford have launched their ‘Your Home, Your Say’ survey that will inform the City Mayor’s decision as to whether the Salix’s properties should remain owned by the local council or goes to a tenant ballot for transfer to a housing association or a registered provider. The survey is giving the Salix Homes’ tenants the choice as to whether they want to stay with Salford City Council – who currently own the homes – and have them continue to be in charge of their housing services, repairs and improvements on the council’s behalf, or be transferred to a registered provider.

Even if the tenants do choose to transfer the properties to a registered provider, Salix Homes could become a registered provider itself if it is supported in the survey and the potential ballot. Discussing the survey, Assistant Mayor for Housing, Councillor Gena Merrett said: “The Your Home, Your Say survey is a unique opportunity for Salix Homes’ tenants to shape the future of their own social housing. I hope as many tenants as possible take part in the survey, so the customer panel has a true picture of opinions on such a crucial issue.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Harper, a Salix Homes tenant and chair of the survey’s customer panel said: “I’d encourage each and every tenant to make sure they take this chance to have their say on what they want for their home and future housing service. We will be making a recommendation to the City Mayor informed by what tenants say in this consultation, so it is important that we get as many views as possible.”

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