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Commission for the New Towns proposed 1992 housing stock ballot


In early 1991 Basildon Development Corporation's successor the Commission for the New Towns (CNT) produced a small 12 page booklet for each of its tenants. It detailed the proposed transfer of their existing housing stock in the form of a tenants ballot.

The text below is a transcript of the booklet as it originally appeared.


Choosing a new landlord

This booklet explains your part in the transfer of ownership of the Commission's housing in Basildon.

Why do we need the transfer?

It has been known for some time that eventually, all housing built or owned by the New Towns would have to be transferred to a different landlord.

This has been confirmed by recent legislation and you are aware that we have started the process of transferring ownership of our housing stock in Basildon.

Date of transfer

We expect the date of transfer to be at the end of 1992.

Helpline

This booklet deals with a wide range of the issues raised and explains as much as possible before you receive formal proposals. If, after reading this booklet, you would like further information, there is a telephone helpline for you to call.
Basildon 288*** (number not shown as may have been reassigned to another subscriber)
There's more about help and extra information on the last page.

The ballot...your part in the transfer process

You will have the right to vote for your choice of new landlord. Each household has only the one vote. * You will given enough information and time to discuss the choice before you have to decide how you will vote.

Making the choice

Your choice is between the West Kent Housing Association and Basildon District Council. To help you decide, each will be sending you at the time of the ballot a formal statement saying how they intend to manage your home, including repairs and maintenance. From what they say, you should be able to make up your mind which of them you would prefer as your new landlord. During the 12 months leading up to the ballot you will also receive information and be able to make enquiries from both prospective landlords.

Your new landlord will be who you vote for, except if you live in a flat or sheltered housing, where special arrangements have had to be made. Details of these arrangements are on page 4.

* If you are in a Shared Ownership scheme or have a Joint Tenancy, see page 10.

The ballot

Naturally, the ballot has to be strictly impartial, so the Commission for the New Towns has appointed the totally independent Electoral Reform Society.

The official Ballot Papers will come by post, along with the formal statements from West Kent Housing Association and Basildon District Council. Everything you need to know about voting will come in this package.

Voting will take place during March/April 1992.

If you do not vote, or if a property is empty at the time of the ballot, the Commission will have to allocate the property to one of the proposed landlords.

The survey

As part of the transfer process, we have to make a survey of the properties. We will not be surveying every property, but a substantial number of representative types of houses, blocks of flats and sheltered units will be surveyed as part of a large sample.

If your home is selected for this important survey, we will give you warning in advance and we will appreciate you co-operation.

Special arrangements

Sheltered housing

If you live in sheltered housing, you will have a vote in the ballot, as will everyone else on the basis of one home, one vote. However, a sheltered housing scheme is best run by a single landlord for many reasons. Therefore, the new landlord in your scheme will be the one who receives most votes. Each sheltered housing scheme will vote for its own new landlord.

Flats

If you live in a flat, you will be voting for the landlord you want to manage and set rent for your individual flat. However, as you know, there are shared areas in blocks of flats. After transfer, these shared, common areas and services will be looked after by the landlord who receives the majority of votes in the block.

Private developments

You may have bought the leasehold of your property on the open market from a private developer. In this case, you will be paying ground rent to the Commission for the New Towns since they own the freehold. You will be able to take part in the ballot on the basis of one household, one vote, but as with sheltered housing above, your new landlord will be the one with the majority of votes from your development.

Your right to buy houses and bungalows

If you are buying your house or bungalow, your Right to Buy is not affected by the transfer arrangements. However, there is a date which affects the way things are organised. That date is 19th September 1990.

1 If you submitted your application to buy your home before 19th September 1990, it will not be transferred to a new landlord. You will be given a vote, though, because if for any reason, the application is withdrawn, you will still want your choice of landlord.

2 If you submitted your application to buy your home after 19th September 1990, you will be given a vote and your home will be transferred, if the sale is not completed to the landlord you choose. Then unless the application is withdrawn, you complete the purchase from the new landlord. All you'll do is start to buy your home from the Commission and finish buying it from the new landlord with no change in terms.

Of course, if you complete the purchase before the transfer date in 1992, or if you own the property already, it will not be included in the transfer arrangements.

Your right to buy flats or maisonettes

If you are buying your flat, your Right to Buy is not affected by the transfer arrangements and the date of your application to buy has no effect. However, the date you actually complete the purchase of your leasehold affects the freehold of the property, so your vote is still needed.

1 If the sale is completed before the transfer date in 1992, the freehold passes back to the landlord who receives the majority of votes from your block.

2 If the sale is NOT completed before the transfer date, then your flat will be transferred to the landlord of your choice. You start buying the flat from the Commission and simply finish buying it from the new landlord.

In either case the right to withdraw your application is unaffected, too, so there's no need to carry on with the purchase if you don't want to.

Special arrangements for rents-to-mortgages: Houses and Bungalows

If you are considering purchasing your home under the new Rents-to-Mortgages Scheme you will still be able to vote.

If you complete your purchase before the transfer date in 1992 your property will not be included in the transfer arrangements.

If you decide not to complete a purchase under the Rents-to-Mortgages Scheme or have not yet completed by the date of transfer, you will transfer to the landlord of your choice.

Special arrangements for rents-to-mortgages: Flat and Maisonettes

The procedures will remain the same as described for Houses and Bungalows but if you are in a flat or maisonette - irrespective of whether you complete the purchase - you will still have a vote. the reasons and arrangements for this are explained above in the section about your Right to Buy.

If you own your Flat or Maisonette

If you have already bought the leasehold of your flat or maisonette, you will still receive a vote in the ballot. This is because the freehold of your flat and the responsibility for all the common, shared areas and services in the buildings, will go to the landlord who receives the most votes from your block.

Housing Benefit

The amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to is completely unaffected by your choice of landlord. However, the Commission will no longer calculate or pay the benefit. This will become the responsibility of Basildon District Council. It may be that the way the benefit is actually paid may be different, but the end result - help with the rent - will be the same.

Shared Ownership

If you already own a share of your home under the Shared Ownership Scheme, you are entitled to vote in the same way as tenants of the Commission. Whoever you vote for then takes over the role of the Commission in your lease. The terms of the lease have already been agreed and are unaffected.

There is an exception, which is if you are in a shared ownership home within a sheltered housing scheme. Then, as with all sheltered schemes, your new landlord will be the one chosen by the majority of voters in your sheltered scheme.

Joint Tenancies

There is only one vote per household, as with all other affected properties, even where the tenancy is held jointly.

Exclusions from the proposed transfer

There are some exclusions from the transfer arrangements and people living in these properties will not be voting for a new landlord.

They are properties under control of the Commission For The New Towns, but not let in the normal way. They include hostels, staff flats and properties due for redevelopment.

If you are a tenant in one of these excluded properties, the Commission will get in touch with you separately at a later date with proposals for the future of your home.

Information

The intention is that eventuality, there will be a completely independent advice service for all tenants.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please phone the Commission on our special Housing Help Line during office hours. Outside office hours, there will be an answering machine for you to leave your name and telephone number.

Don't forget, this booklet is simply to alert you to what is going to be happening shortly. You will be contacted by both the West Kent Housing Association and Basildon District Council, who will each send you a statement on how they intend to manage the housing if it is transferred to them.

You will be receiving a lot of information through your letterbox over the next 12 months, but it is important to remember that you should give careful attention to the official statements that you receive with the ballot paper.

Read then carefully and discuss them with family and friends. It is your vote that counts. It's a ballot for a new landlord and you should make sure you vote for the one you think will be the best for you!




CNT Housing Help Line
Basildon 288***

Commission For The New Towns
Church Walk House
Church Walk
Basildon
Essex SS14 1XA

Title: CNT Basildon Housing - Choosing a new Landlord

Author: Commission for the New Towns.

Comments: In the event the proposed March/April 1992 ballot did not go ahead, possibly as a result of West Kent Housing Association's decision to withdraw from the ballot. It did however eventually take place over a later time period. The results of the tenants ballot saw a majority vote for the local Council as their new landlord with 15% of tenants opting for the not-for-profit Basildon Community Housing Association (BCHA).

Page added: 22/11/2019
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Other points of interest:

1) West Kent Housing Association later withdrew their choice as a future landlord and were replaced in the ballot by Basildon Community Housing Association (later absorbed into the Swan Housing Group), who were formed in 1991.

2) Swan Housing Association Limited. Company type: Registered society and Co-operative and Community Benefit Society. Date registered: 23/01/1997.

3) The transfer of the Commission For The New Towns housing stock took place on 31st January 1994. The necessary parliamentary legislation to enable the transfer was contained in The New Towns (Transfer of Housing Stock) Regulations 1990 which came into force on 14th September, 1990 and its amendment which took effect from 27/12/1990.

4) One notable housing estate excluded from the ballot was the Laindon 1, 2 and 3 (Bluehouse Siporex) estate. This large 950 home 'system built' estate dating from the mid 1960s comprising houses, flats and maisonettes was transferred to Basildon Community Housing Association and completely demolished - with the exception of 4 blocks of conventionally built flats. The estate had been constructed under new building methods using a material known as Siporex. Unfortunately this method of design had proved problematic and costly with frequent remedial works carried out resulting in the Commission effectively 'writing the estate off' and handing it over to Basildon Community Housing Association who redeveloped the area as Church View during the mid 1990s.
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