Issues regarding housing transfer

IN regards to the current discussions on the Northumberland County Council proposal to take back the management of the housing stock from Homes for Northumberland (HfN), the tenants have a few issues relating to this.

Two years ago the council handed the stock over to HfN as it had no experience in this area. So what has changed?

We admit we were not totally happy when HfN were put in charge, but have to admit that the service provided has surpassed expectations.

The standards achieved are something that must not slip, whoever manages the housing stock.

The council report states it can save £400,000 by taking back the stock, yet an HfN value assessment proposes potential savings of more than £800,000, with a potential of further savings if the county will renegotiate service contracts with them.

Yet these are not the only two options, it is merely the only ones currently discussed.

We feel that the tenants should be allowed to consider all options available, in detail, with costs.

Another worrying matter is the future of these houses.

Tenants are concerned that – at some point in the future – the properties will be sold off to raise cash for the council.

The county has been asked this question but so far has not said ‘yes’, but has not said ‘no’ either.

This issue affects more than just the tenants, including those in former council owned properties, and those on the waiting list.

We have been assured that the tenants’ opinions count and will be taken into consideration, so be sure to speak up.

It’s your home, your future, your decision.

Further information can be found on the county council website.

MARK SWINBURN

On behalf of the tenants’ forum