Hope for tenants as regulator steps in
Scotland’s housing regulator has transferred assets from a scandal-hit housing association to another after years of mismanagement.
The Scottish Housing Regulator has directed a transfer of tenants’ homes and other assets and liabilities from Thistle Housing Association to Sanctuary Scotland. The regulator said it took the decision to safeguard the interests of tenants and other service users.
The move comes following years of incompetence at Thistle HA, which have seen residents endure a long battle for repairs to botched works to their homes.
SHR stepped in to support Thistle but its interventions were not enough to turn the housing association around and so Sanctuary stepped in to offer operational support.
A group of residents have fought for the past four years to see Thistle held accountable for issues in Glasgow's Toryglen community.
The Regulator first intervened in Thistle in August 2018 as a result of serious failures by the association. Following the intervention further breaches of regulatory requirements were uncovered, including failures to comply with health and safety requirements relating to tenants, residents and employees.
As a result of a detailed options appraisal, Thistle decided that it would be in the best interests of its tenants and residents to transfer to another registered social landlord. It identified Sanctuary Scotland as its preferred transfer partner in early 2020. In an independent ballot of tenants 92% voted ‘yes’ to the transfer.
Following the positive ballot outcome, and to avoid further delay, Thistle asked the Regulator to direct the transfer using its power under section 67 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010.
After making inquiries and consulting with tenants and factored owners the Regulator concluded that the transfer of all of Thistle’s assets to Sanctuary Scotland will safeguard the interest of tenants and other service users.
On 19 January 2020, the Regulator decided to direct Thistle to transfer its assets and liabilities to Sanctuary Scotland by 1 March 2021.
Ian Brennan, director of regulation at the regulator said: “Tenants voted overwhelmingly in favour of the offer made by Sanctuary Scotland and our consultation has confirmed the strength and depth of the support for the transfer.”
“We have today written to Thistle’s tenants and service users to inform them of our decision. We will continue to ensure that tenants and service users are kept informed throughout the transfer and following the transfer we will engage with Sanctuary to ensure the commitments made to tenants and residents are delivered.
“This will include plans to address the problems caused by the mismanagement of a major works contract.”