The first phase of plans to buy and repair some of the poorest quality housing in Govanhill has made “major progress”, according to Govanhill Housing Association.
By the end of March this year, the Association had purchased 82 flats – already meeting the target for the whole of the two-year pilot, which runs until 2017.
During 2015/16, a total of 199 offers were made in response to 250 enquiries as part of the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme. Interest was split between landlords (60%) and owner occupiers (40%). Expressions of interest from outwith the target area continued to increase, reaching 110 by the end of the year.
Association Vice Chairperson Annie Macfarlane, who lives in the target area of four tenement blocks, said the aim of the initiative was to provide better living conditions and tackle overcrowding, while also helping to deliver a more effective system of property management and maintenance. She added:
“The original intention was to buy around 80 properties over the two-year period – meeting that target in the first year alone shows we are making huge progress in taking properties into the social rented sector.
“However, although this is a great start, it’s unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. The Association is pushing for the funding and programme to be extended to a further nine blocks of unimproved tenements, which also contain some of the poorest housing in the area.
“As a community controlled and owned organisation, we are determined to play our part in improving the homes and lives of people in Govanhill. The Association owns and manages more than 2,300 properties. We continue to reinvest in our existing housing stock, with around £4.5 million due to be spent on our major repairs and planned maintenance programme this year.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside, said:
“I’m delighted to see real progress on this. The Association has worked incredibly hard and I have been extremely impressed with the dedication and commitment they have shown to make this work.
“This is the pilot phase in what I want to see become a wider commitment. Local residents can be assured that tackling bad landlords, poor housing conditions and overcrowding in Govanhill is a top priority for their local elected members.”
The buy and repair scheme involves the Association buying, repairing, letting and then managing properties in four tenement blocks between Annette Street, Dixon Avenue, Westmoreland Street and Calder Street.
Grant funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council was increased during the year from an original figure of £3.5 million to £5.3 million.
Acquisitions will continue in the year ahead, though there will also be a shift in focus to repairing and improving the properties already bought. By the end of March, the Association was providing factoring services in a total of seven closes and will take over many more in the coming weeks and months.
ENDS 12 May 2016
Notes to editors:
- Established in 1974, Govanhill Housing Association is a community controlled and owned housing association, which owns and manages more than 2,300 homes and provides a factoring service to a further 1,150 owners.
- The South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme, a two-year pilot from 2015 to 2017, was originally announced in February 2015. The Association will take a number of aspects into account when buying flats in the target area – which contains a total of 580 properties within 78 tenements – such as whether a full or majority property interest/ownership exists or could be obtained. The focus will be on properties where common repairs have been carried out or are planned, or factoring arrangements could be improved.
- Before the latest purchases, the Association owned around 40 properties in the target area.
- Over the two-year period of the programme, the Scottish Government will provide a grant of £4.3 million to purchase and improve the properties for social letting. Glasgow City Council will supplement the funding with £6.8 million from its affordable homes and property repairs budgets, and will be working in partnership with the Association in using its statutory powers to support change
- The Association offers are based on independent property valuations made by the District Valuer Service.
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