Town hall to retake control of social housing

LEEDS City Council has axed the three companies managing its housing stock and will bring the service back in house from next month.

The city’s three arms-length management organisations – East North East Homes, West North West Homes and Aire Valley Homes – will merge into one umbrella body, Housing Leeds, from October 1.

It is hoped the move will streamline services for council tenants, and could eventually save the authority up to £2.4m.

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All existing staff will transfer over to the new organisation, but restructuring will be happening eventually and there will be job losses. Numbers have yet to be confirmed.

However, the city’s housing spokesman confirmed that staff leaving are not being replaced, and several managers have recently departed.

The council insists the centralisation will not have a negative impact on tenants, and each council estate will still keep its local support offices.

It means Leeds City Council will now be the sole landlord for its housing stock, taking over responsibility for engagement with tenants and any repair work.

The decision to create the new umbrella body came after an extensive review, and a consultation with 70,000 tenants and interested groups.

Coun Peter Gruen, executive board member for neighbourhoods, said: “We will work hard to ensure that areas of existing best practice are replicated across the city to ensure we don’t lose what works well, but will also look to offer the best possible service to all tenants. The new service will offer greater consistency across the city and investment in areas where it is most needed.”

The management organisations were created in 2002 and operated as not-for-profit semi-independent companies.