Housing minister response


9 October 2012

Dear Mr Hall,

Thank you for your email of 10 September to Mark Prisk MP.  Your email has been passed to me for a response as this team has responsibility for housing management issues.

The Government strongly supports giving tenants and residents a stronger role in managing their homes.  For example we are empowering social housing tenants to set up tenant panels so that they can challenge their landlord, and to gain the skills and confidence to manage local services by exercising their right to manage.  We are providing significant funding to Lambeth to bring homes up to a decent standard and for the provision of new affordable housing in the borough, including £203,000 to a Lambeth based community group from the Empty Homes Community Fund.

Strategic decisions on how best to manage their housing stock are though, as Andrew Stunell set out when replying to Kate Hoey MP in the House of Commons on 6 December properly ones to be taken locally.  In some instances special consent may be required from this Department for local authority landlords to dispose of housing stock, but where it is not, it would be at odds with our localism agenda to intervene in individual cases.

I recognise that the history of decision making around the future of ‘short life’ housing in Lambeth is a long and vexed one and the prospect of being evicted from properties which for a number of tenants have been their homes for many years must be a distressing one.  Decisions to evict in individual cases as well as the wider policy decision driving these are of course susceptible to challenge in the courts, but I hope that a constructive way forward can be found locally that balances the need to fund new investment in social housing in Lambeth and existing tenants’ wish to stay and shape how their homes are managed.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Owen

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