Association Vice Chairperson Annie Macfarlane, who lives in the target area of four tenement blocks in South-West Govanhill, said:
“It’s really encouraging that the initiative has reached the milestone of 100 property purchases. After just one year of the programme, we had met our two-year target of 80 purchases so we are continuing to make progress in taking properties into the social rented sector. The Association has also increased its factoring role in the area and now manages 25 closes out of 78.
“However, although the project has achieved a lot within a short time, addressing the issues that exist in South-West Govanhill requires a long-term approach. We have written to around 520 owner occupiers and landlords in the area to gauge the interest in further property sales. While more funding would be required for further acquisitions, we will continue to repair and improve the properties already bought.
“The aim of the programme is to provide better living conditions in the area, while also helping to tackle overcrowding and deliver a more effective system of property management and maintenance.”
Of the 100 purchases, 54 were from landlords and 46 from owner occupiers. Annie Macfarlane added:
“A majority of purchases have been from landlords. Some were selling due to inability to let, low rents achieved or the cost of improvements. We have also bought properties from other private owners. Some of these may have been unregistered landlords. These flats have prevented the natural market turnover from going to private let. We are pleased that about a third of owners have stayed on as tenants, wishing to remain in the neighbourhood.”
The buy and repair scheme involves the Association buying, repairing, letting and then managing some of the poorest quality housing properties in a target area of four tenement blocks between Annette Street, Dixon Avenue, Westmoreland Street and Calder Street. Grant funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council for 2016/17 is £3.5 million.
Councillor Soryia Siddique, Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Citizens and Communities, said:
“Securing the 100th property though the acquisition programme means we have exceeded our original target by some distance.
“Our partnership with Govanhill Housing Association and the Scottish Government is pushing forward. Reaching this landmark fully justifies the council’s decision to invest additional funds in the programme.
“The aim of the programme is to ensure properties are properly factored so that many of the issues in the area can be tackled effectively. Through the acquisition programme and wider engagement with owners, the number of addresses factored in South-West Govanhill has almost doubled in the past year.
“The powers available to us as part of the Enhanced Enforcement Area and also our efforts to target failing landlords will add significantly to efforts to make a lasting difference in Govanhill.”
Glasgow City Council invested an additional £1.8 million in the programme in the past year on top of an initial first year commitment of £1.5 million. The number of factored closes in the ‘four blocks’ was 38 at the start of the programme; it is anticipated that up to 70 closes will have factors by the end of next month.