Rochdale Council is to enter into formal consultation with its tenants on proposals to transfer its 13,700 housing stock to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.
RBH, already the council's arm's length management organisation, would become a mutual business with tenants and employees as members. Gareth Swarbrick, chief executive of RBH, said. "We have been working with the council on this for the past year. We are really pleased that we now have the green light from the council for formal tenant consultation on the transfer to begin, and to take a further step forward in the creation of our new and unique mutual organisation.
"If transfer goes ahead RBH would become the largest mutual housing organisation in the country and we are very aware that many other organisations, particularly in the housing sector will be watching developments in Rochdale with great interest. We have learnt much from the existing tenant owned transfer organisations in England (Community Gateways) and Wales (Community Mutuals). We are seeking to go a stage further by offering employees the opportunity to become members as well."
RBH and the council have also worked closely with the Homes & Communities Agency to take forward the mutual transfer plans.
Deborah McLaughlin, executive director North West at the HCA, said: "This looks to be a great opportunity for Rochdale that will give residents further direct involvement in making local housing decisions which will help shape their neighbourhoods and services."
Subject to approval by a tenant vote, the transfer would take place at the end of March 2012.
RBH is advised by Mutuo.