Last edited 19 Jan 2021

Right to transfer for local authority tenants

The coalition agreement published on 20 May 2010 outlined plans to promote devolution and give communities greater powers to shape local developments and local services. A range of ‘community rights’ were subsequently enshrined in law by the Localism Act which was given Royal Assent on 15 November 2011.

The Housing (Right to Transfer from a local authority landlord)(England) regulations came into force in December 2013. The regulations give local authority tenants a statutory right to initiate a transfer to a new private-registered provider of social housing and require the local authority to co-operate.

The transfer can only go ahead if a majority of secure and introductory tenants vote in favour, and if the Secretary of State grants consent. The local authority may ask the Secretary of State to halt the proposal if it would have a significant detrimental effect on their ability to deliver housing services or regeneration within the local area. This 'get out' for local authorities is seen by some to significantly weaken the initiative.

Where a transfer proves to be favoured and viable, the Regulations require that the local authority starts the process of transferring ownership of those homes.

The then housing minister Mark Prisk said: ‘The new right to transfer is a win-win offer for tenants, giving them the chance to decide who owns and manages the homes they live in... I want to see tenants making full use of the rights at their disposal, and councils standing ready to work with them to maximise any deal’s potential to meet local housing need.’

Funding was made available to provide debt write-off and early redemption cover for transfers.

In March 2016, the government published an interactive map showing the location of community rights projects.

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