Merton residents invited to Housing Open Day

Merton Council is holding a Housing Open Day, sponsored by Connaught, for council tenants and leaseholders on Saturday 19 July from 10am to 3pm at the civic centre in London Road, Morden.

The Housing Open Day is a chance for tenants and leaseholders to get a clearer picture of the proposed transfer of the council’s homes to a housing association, known as ‘Better Homes – Count Me In’ and on how their housing needs could be met in the future. The event is free and attendees could win shopping vouchers valued at £150 in total.

The open day will give tenants and leaseholders a chance to meet possible partners for the housing transfer if it goes ahead. Jo Williams, Head of Housing, will be making presentations on the proposal to transfer ownership and management of council homes to a housing association at 10:30am, 12pm and 2pm.

Staff from Repairs, Major Works, Tenancy Management, Consultations and Communications, Leasehold Estate Services, Housing Needs and Better Homes will also be available to answer questions from residents. Connaught Partnership Ltd, Safer Merton and the Tenant Partnership Advisory Service (TPAS) will also have stalls at the open day.

Cabinet member for Adult Care, Housing and Health, Linda Scott said:

“The needs of our tenants and leaseholders are our priority and we are working hard to ensure that they have the standard of homes and estates they have told us they want and which they rightly deserve. I encourage all tenants and leaseholders to come to the Housing Open Day to find out more about the proposed transfer of properties to a housing association and to have their say about a possible partner for the housing transfer if it goes ahead.”

“The council has looked at all the options available and believe transfer is the only way for tenants to enjoy the modern standards they have a right to expect. A transfer to a housing association offers our residents significant improvements and a secure future, for the same rent they pay now.”

For more information on the Housing Open day residents can call Merton Council on 0800 923 0037.

Notes to Editors:

The transfer of the council’s homes to a housing association, known as Better Homes – count me in, is being proposed by Merton Council because it will provide tenants with better quality homes and neighbourhoods and give them a bigger say in how they are managed. Currently, 60% of council houses in Merton do not meet the Decent Homes Standard, a basic standard set by Government, let alone the higher standard tenants have said they want to see. The council does not have, and strict Government rules mean it is not allowed to borrow, the money needed to bring its homes up to even the basic standard.

In addition, 35p of ever £1 of tenants’ rent has to go to the Government and is used to subsidise housing in other parts of the country. If transfer goes ahead, this would stop and the money would be spent on improving homes and providing the housing service instead. If transfer goes ahead, it would unlock a multi-million pound programme of investment to bring homes up to the standard tenants want to see and improve estates and the environment too. Visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/betterhomes for more information on the Better Homes project.

Under the proposal, 6,350 homes and 2,550 leasehold homes would be transferred to a housing association. Merton Council can only transfer its homes to a new housing association if the majority of tenants who vote, vote in favour for the transfer in a ballot next year.