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Housing Now Out Of Council Hands

Coventry’s council houses have now been transferred to a private company, completing the largest switch of its kind in the country.

The entire stock of 20,169 houses has now been passed over to the Whitefriars Housing Group.

Councillors decided to go ahead with the plans because of a huge backlog of repair work.

As part of the deal the government has written off the debt the council owes for building the houses.

This means that Whitefriars will now have money available to carry out repairs, and Ł240m of work is planned to be carried out over a six-year period.

The transfer took place following a vote among tenants last December. Councillors, tenants and people outside the council will sit on boards to give input to Whitefriars.

Housing staff have been transferred from the city council to the new Registered Social Landlord, and the new company will take on new offices soon.

Cllr George Duggins, the cabinet member responsible for overseeing the transfer said:

“The whole concept of transferring the city’ s housing stock has been three years in the making.

“It will benefit not only the tenants but the whole city too, through having a knock-on effect to the local economy though jobs and training.”

Repairs lined up for include a uPVC window replacement programme, and modernisation of heating, kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Existing tenants have been guaranteed that their rents will not go up by more than one per cent above the Retail Price Index for the next five years.

Socialist councillors have complained that new tenants will not enjoy the same rights, and that they could face large increases.

But Cllr Peter Lacy, the unpaid chairman of the Whitefriars Housing Group said:

“I am confident that the transfer will provide Coventry housing tenants with a first class housing service and a real say and stake in the future housing needs.”

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 26 Sep 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM