Salix tenants to vote on mutual status

Salford City Council has approved plans for Salix Homes to become a mutual, owned by tenants and employees, if residents support plans for a proposed stock transfer.

Last year Salix Homes was named by Salford City Council as the chosen landlord to take ownership of the 8,500 council homes in Salford it currently manages in a stock transfer.

If tenants vote 'yes' to transfer, Salix Homes would become one of the first mutual housing organisations in the country, giving tenants greater control over the way housing services are provided.

A new mutual Salix Homes would be owned by and accountable to its members, made up of tenants and employees, creating a new form of genuine public ownership with true resident involvement.

Joe Willis, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: "Becoming a mutual is the next natural step for an organisation like Salix Homes, which has been at the forefront of creating opportunities for our tenants to influence how we do things for many years now.

"A new mutual Salix Homes would be based on the longstanding principles of co-operation and mutuality providing a bright future for social housing tenants in Salford who, in partnership with Salix Homes' employees, will be in charge of the future of their homes. However, this bold vision can only become a reality if tenants vote for transfer."

Tenants, leaseholders and employees would all be invited to become members of the 'mutual' Salix Homes with the power to vote on changes and have a legal say in how the organisation is run.

The proposals form part of plans to transfer the ownership of the homes from Salford City Council to Salix Homes. Due to Government changes to how social housing is funded the council does not have access to the money needed to make the necessary improvements and bring the properties up to modern standards.

Transferring the ownership to a new registered housing provider is the only option available if the homes are to get the improvements they need and Salix Homes is promising to invest £700m in homes and communities over the next 30 years if the transfer goes ahead.

Tenant Barbara Harper, who lives in Ordsall and is chairman of the Salix Homes Customer Senate, said: "This is a very exciting time for tenants and employees at Salix Homes. Becoming a 'mutual' would bring together those that provide services – employees – with those that receive services – residents – as owners of a new type of registered provider of social housing.

"A mutual Salix Homes would be a relationship of equals with employees and tenants working together to help shape the future of housing in Salford, but this exciting opportunity for the people of Salford will not be possible if the homes remain under council ownership, so I would urge tenants to make sure they use their vote."

A ballot is expected to take place later this year when all Salix Homes tenants will have the chance to vote on whether the transfer goes ahead. If tenants do vote in support of transfer it's aimed that the transition into a mutual organisation will be complete within two years of the transfer taking place.

Rochdale Housing became the UK's first mutual landlord in 2012.

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