Housing transfer plans unveiled to tenants

The multi-million pound homes, estate and service improvement programme that Merton Council tenants would get if they vote in favour of transfer to Merton Priory Homes was unveiled today.

Merton council tenants are set to receive their formal consultation document in the next few days setting out in full the details of the £129 million plus improvement programme that would be possible, if the council’s homes are transferred to the new, not-for-profit, local housing organisation.

Every tenant will receive a formal consultation document through the post, which includes details on:

· The investment programme Merton Priory Homes would deliver for tenants’ homes in the first 10 years
· The money Merton Priory Homes would plough into estates and environmental improvements in the borough
· Their five-year rent and service charge guarantee
· The protection of their key rights, such as the right to buy and the right to pass on their home

It will be accompanied by a summary guide to the document, which compares what transfer would mean for tenants with the consequences of staying with the council. A short DVD, presented by Christopher Ellison, The Bill’s DCI Burnside, will also be sent to every council home in the borough.

As part of the transfer consultation tenants will receive a home visit from a member of the council’s staff to give them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the proposal. All staff will carry their identification badges.

Transfer to Merton Priory Homes can only go ahead if the majority of tenants who vote in a postal ballot, planned to take place later in the spring, vote in favour of the proposal.

The council’s leaseholders and service charge paying freeholders are not affected by the transfer proposal in the same way as tenants. However, the council is sending out a separate consultation document to leaseholders and service charge paying freeholders on the transfer proposal, together with a summary guide to their document and the DVD too. The council will also carry out a test of opinion on transfer with its leaseholders and service charge paying freeholders.

Councillor Linda Scott, cabinet member for housing, adult care and health says, “We are delighted to be able to provide tenants with a document that showcases the investment and improvements that would be possible with Merton Priory Homes.

“I would urge every tenant, leaseholder and service charge paying freeholder to take time to go through their documents to find out what would be on offer with the new landlord, if there is a yes vote to transfer, and compare it with what would be possible with the council, if there is a no vote.”

If tenants, leaseholders or service charge paying freeholders have any questions about the transfer proposal they can ring the council’s Better Homes Team on 0800 923 0037. Or they can ring the Independent Advisor, TPAS, on freephone 0800 731 1315.