Housing associations complete on 731-home stock transfer

Today (May 4), social housing provider Stonewater has completed on a tenanted stock transfer of 731 homes in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire from Southern Housing Group.

Nicholas Harris

Despite the current pandemic, the two housing associations have managed to complete the sale without delay or loss of continuity of service to customers.

Stonewater has adapted many of its services in light of coronavirus to ensure it is able to provide emergency repairs and maintenance works to all existing and new customers, as well as proactively contacting any residents considered vulnerable. The former Southern Housing residents have also received an in-depth induction to Stonewater, but this has been conducted digitally by colleagues.

The decision to transfer the properties to another social landlord was part of Southern Housing’s three-year corporate plan. All the properties are located on the western edge of the housing provider’s operational area, where Stonewater has a firmer geographical footprint.

Across the three areas, Stonewater currently owns and manages over 3,000 properties, supporting communities that have a long term need for affordable housing.

The newly transferred schemes consist of 143 retirement living, 8 supported housing, 11 shared ownership, 553 general needs homes and 16 leasehold private properties, bringing the total to 731.

Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive at Stonewater, said: “We completed the first phase of the transfer in March, with 474 properties and given the current situation, we’re incredibly pleased to have been able to complete the final stage of the transfer and welcome another 257 Stonewater households.

“The purchase of these homes aligns with our strategic plan for growth in areas that we have already established strong partnerships with the local authority and customers, so we can build even stronger communities in those areas.”

Alan Townshend, Chief Executive at Southern Housing, said: “We believe Stonewater would be better placed to own and manage our homes in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire due to their strong local presence. They have a well-established commitment to resident involvement and we are confident in their ability to provide our former residents with excellent customer services. The Group’s staff have worked very hard to ensure the transfer was completed smoothly and efficiently as possible.”