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Housing Index

Streetwise Highland

Guide To Housing Options In Highland

Busting The Myths Of Housing Transfer
Highland Council Has Provided Answers To Some Of The Wrong Information Being Circulated

Myth: Housing Transfer is privatisation.
Housing associations are not private landlords. Highland Housing Association is a not for profit organisation governed by a voluntary committee, none of whom are paid. The Association will have an open membership policy and by law is run for the benefit of all tenants. By law any surplus must be used to benefit tenants eg by improving their homes or housing services. The Association aims to become registered as a charity.

Myth: The Scottish Executive will write-off debt or provide extra money to the Council if tenants vote ‘No’.
The Scottish Executive has clearly and consistently stated that transfer is the only route through which the UK Treasury will write off the Council’s housing debt. The table below has been provided by Communities Scotland and compares what was included within the overall proposed transfer package for Edinburgh City, with what has resulted from their No vote in December 2005. Much of the information has been assembled from the City Council’s Statutory Stage 1 Notice, issued to all tenants prior to transfer, and following liaison with colleagues in the Communities Scotland Area Team, who were involved with the transfer.

City of Edinburgh – Comparison of Housing Transfer and Retention

The table above clearly illustrates that the claims made that Edinburgh City Council has received the same level of debt write off and resources despite the no vote are completely inaccurate.

Myth: Housing Transfer has not been successful in other areas.
An anti-transfer newsletter also alleges that evidence from Glasgow and areas where housing transfer has already gone through show a catalogue of failings. This is completely untrue. In March 2006 Audit Scotland published a report on Council Housing Transfers which examined:

• the housing transfer policy and its impact on councils, central government and tenants;

• how well the council housing transfer policy is being implemented; and

• whether transfers have provided good value for money.

The key findings of the report are that new landlords are delivering higher investment, rent increases are being restricted to within the guaranteed limits, and that tenants consider the service is better. In addition the Audit report found that transfers have promoted greater tenant control, though there is still more to be achieved.

A copy of the Audit Scotland report is available on Audit Scotland’s website: