The Right to Transfer (RTT) for council tenants is brand new, never been used and as such is unknown territory. This blog will chart its progress from theory to practice and hopefully be useful and informative to those with an interest in tenant empowerment generally.
Why do we need a Right to Transfer?
Imagine that you are part of a tenant group; perhaps you’ve been involved in running the estate as a volunteer. You know the local issues inside out, the people personally, the stock intimately, the investment it needs, and your neighbours’ aspirations for their homes. Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of time and money investigating all the options and concluded that tenant-led stock transfer is the best option for your community and this has been backed repeatedly by your fellow tenants.
In these circumstances, how would you feel if your local authority flatly refused to countenance the possibility and to not even give tenants a vote on the matter?
This is the problem that the Right to Transfer is meant to solve. It empowers tenants to pursue their hopes and dreams, in spite of local authority indifference or intransigence.
How does it work?
For those that don’t know, RTT allows council tenants to initiate a stock transfer to another landlord (who must be a Registered Provider).
RTT is possible thanks to section 296 of the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008 which gives the Secretary of State (or Welsh Ministers) the power to make regulations which require local authorities to co-operate with tenant groups who wish to pursue tenant led stock transfer.
When does it start?
For England the Right to Transfer Regulations and accompanying Statutory Guidance have been published and are due to be laid before Parliament in October 2013.
Why it has taken 5 years for this important new community right to be enacted is another story (fodder for another blog post) but all indications are that we are nearly there. Assuming this happens without further delay, this will fire the starting pistol for those tenant groups who have been waiting, in some cases for nearly 10 years.