Plus Dane Group and a consortium led by Liverpool Mutual Homes have been selected to bid for management of 5,600 council-owned homes in Ellesmere Port and Neston, Cheshire.
Cheshire West & Chester Council chose the pair from a shortlist of six bidders. Cllr Myles Hogg, chairman of the Ellesmere Port Housing Stock Panel, said: "After a thorough and detailed analysis of each bid we are satisfied that we've endorsed the decision to select the best two candidates to take through to the next stage of the process.
"Both will now have to demonstrate that they can meet the council's objectives of delivering a top performing service within the next two years and work with communities in the wider regeneration of Ellesmere Port and Neston."
Liverpool Mutual Homes is bidding with partners Mitie and Savills.
The final stage of bidding will be completed by the end of this year and a decision on the successful bidder made in early spring 2012.