Ballee tenants to get new landlords

The Ballee estate in Ballymena.  Picture: Google Maps
The Ballee estate in Ballymena. Picture: Google Maps

The Housing Executive has announced plans to transfer its housing stock in Ballee to Triangle Housing Association.

While the plans for the transfer of over 300 properties in the estate are still in the early stages, letters were sent to all tenants last week, advising of the proposals.

A public meeting will be held early next year to allow tenants and leaseholders to hear more on the transfer proposal and have their say.

Following on from this, residents will be asked to take part in a Tenant Ballot to vote for or against the transfer proposal.

The move is part of the Housing Executive’s Small Scale Stock Transfer Project, which had been requested by the former Minister for Social Development as part of the Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland. which aims to transfer approximately 2,000 properties across a number of estates to housing association ownership.

The rationale for the project is that by transferring the ownership and management of homes owned by the Housing Executive to a housing association, substantial investment in the properties can be made mainly through private sector debt.

It is argued that if successful, this would result in a lower requirement to the public purse compared with the capital funding the Housing Executive would require to ensure the properties comply with modern housing standards.

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said tenants’ rights will not be affected by any transfer.

“The proposed transfer of Housing Executive properties is still at a very early stage,” the spokeperson said.

She added: “In Ballee, the transfer involves 371 properties and 45 garages. We are close to beginning the formal consultation process with 
tenants and leaseholders in Ballee.

“A letter was sent out to all tenants and leaseholders this week informing them of this and advising them of the next steps in the process.

“We will provide tenants with all of the details about the transfer proposal and will give them the opportunity to express their views on it.

““We will also be organising a public meeting early in 2018 and will give details of this in a letter which will be hand-delivered to tenants in January.

“Following this meeting we will ask residents to take part in a Tenant Ballot to vote for or against the transfer proposal.

“We would like to assure tenants that it is they who will decide if their homes can be transferred. The conditions under which stock transfer takes place are designed to ensure that the transfer is to the benefit of the tenants and that they are not disadvantaged by it.

“A tenant’s key rights are not affected by transfer.”