So the minister has today backed tenants looking to build the Big Society in their neighbourhoods with up to £8m government cash.
This money will be used to set up Tenants Panels where the key decisions to improve the local area can be made – such as how quickly repairs should be made, measures to make their streets safer and children’s play schemes. The panels can also be used to hold landlords to account.
The Minister is also planning to reduce bureaucracy and red tape to make it easier for tenants across the country to use their Right to Manage their council-run properties, take responsibility for managing their home from their landlords and take control for themselves.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
"The Big Society is alive and well in many housing estates across the country – but I want to make it easier for those who want to build the Big Society in their own back yard to do so. The Right to Manage gives council tenants the opportunity to take power back from their landlords, and take control over their own homes and to make the changes they want to see.
"There are inspiring examples across the country of where tenants have taken control. But at the moment, only two per cent of council properties are managed by their tenants – I want to see that figure increase substantially. That’s why I’m backing tenants to the tune of up to £8m, and looking to cut the red tape and bureaucracy that stop so many people from coming forward."
"Council house tenants know the small changes that could make a big difference to their local community. They know the improvements that need to be made, and what local people want to see done. I want to see more tenants able to act and take control for themselves. But for years these tenants have felt powerless to act. From today, that can all change."
Steve Wylie, Director at Urban Owners said:
“Allowing council tenants to take control of the management of their own properties and local community is likely to be in everyone’s best interests and we hope that people will be inspired to take this on.
“The Right to Manage process is proving extremely beneficial for homeowners in the private sector, giving them control and transparency over how their block is managed, as well as saving them substantial sums of money.
“While cutting red tape would be welcome, we would caution that our experience of mixed tenure blocks has shown that some social housing tenants struggle to take on the responsibility of the upkeep of their property. The Government will certainly need to have a clear plan in place to equip the tenants with the resources and information to allow them to take on this task.”
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