Stock transfers occur when local authorities dispose of all or part of their rented housing to an external organisation, usually a housing association. Tenant involvement in this process has developed over more than 20 years. However, research with tenants who have been involved in stock transfers highlights the deficiencies of the current arrangements for supporting their involvement.
This briefing paper is based on research for a PhD thesis, which focused on tenants’ experiences of involvement with stock transfer and the importance of education to allow tenants to engage effectively with the process. The research was summarised by BSHF.
The research suggests that current support for tenants is often ineffective and that a new approach is needed to enable tenants to effectively influence processes such as stock transfer. The briefing makes recommendations as to how this could occur:
- Government should produce new good practice guidance on tenant support. The emphasis of this should be on enabling tenants to engage in critical thinking and to understand the complex interplay of competing interests involved in processes such as stock transfer.
- The role of Independent Tenant Advisors should be refocused on ensuring that this new approach is followed. A recognised body with competence in community capacity building should take a major role in the appointment, management and payment of ITAs.
- Housing providers should engage in a more complete and open dialogue with tenants about the issues involved with stock transfer, including acknowledging the range of competing interests involved.
- Government and housing providers should recognise that tenants are active citizens who want to critically engage with the stock transfer process for the benefit of their community, rather than simply as consumers who want to maximise their personal advantage.
Although the research focuses on stock transfers, is it is widely applicable to other areas of tenant involvement and empowerment.