Pioneering residents' commission says council houses should be transferred to community ownership

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Image captionThe Residents' Commission on Council Housing

Hammersmith & Fulham’s pioneering Residents’ Commission on Council Housing last night (3 November) recommended that the council transfer ownership of its homes to a local, not-for-profit, community-owned housing organisation.

The proposals are contained in the final report of the independent commission, established to report on the future of council housing in Hammersmith & Fulham.

“This report is hugely impressive in its depth and detail, and is a fitting testament to the huge amount of work and engagement that the commission has carried out,” says Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Cabinet Member for Housing.

“The commission clearly thinks a transfer of ownership will provide the best safeguard for local tenants, leaseholders and their homes in the long term, while also providing the funding needed for repairs, improvements and new housing.”

“The report makes a compelling case, and my cabinet colleagues and I will now consider the recommendations very carefully. If we support the recommendations, it is crucial that tenants and leaseholders understand that a transfer will only happen – and can only happen legally – if residents support it and vote for it in a formal ballot.

“The council is absolutely committed to doing what is best to protect the interests of residents of council homes now and in the future. We want to ensure that homes are safeguarded for the future, tenants' rights are protected and the quality of homes maintained and improved,” Cllr Homan adds. “That is why we established this trailblazing commission and why we will now take the next few weeks to properly consider their recommendations.”

The council will make a final decision at a cabinet meeting on 7 December.

Established by H&F Council in February, the commission was chaired by former housing minister, the Rt Hon Keith Hill, along with six tenants, three leaseholders and three independent housing experts.

Chair Keith Hill says: “Our decision to recommend a community gateway option has been exhaustively examined and passionately debated. And we think a full transfer is the best option for council tenants, leaseholders and housing in the borough.”

H&F Council specifically asked the independent commission to look at ways to:

  • safeguard council homes and estates for the future
  • give residents greater local control over their homes
  • protect tenants’ rights and keep rents and charges at levels residents can afford
  • fund improvements to homes and housing services.

Nine special public hearings were held, with a wide range of expert and highly experienced witnesses sharing information with the Commission and members of the public on topics such as resident involvement, ownership and management of social housing and investment needs.

Read the commission’s full report or watch videos from any of the public hearings at www.hf-residents-commission.org.uk.