Pentland Tenants Urged To Vote Yes To A Transfer To Cairn Housing Association As Formal Ballot Opens
1st October 2021
The ballot for Pentland tenants to decide if they want to transfer to Cairn Housing Association has opened with participants able to easily vote by post, phone, text message or online. The transfer will only go ahead if a majority of tenants vote YES before the ballot closes on 2nd November.
If tenants vote in favour of the proposals, Pentland's homes and services will transfer to Cairn Housing Association, guaranteeing additional investment in tenants' homes, alongside a locked-in affordable rent guarantee and continued local services from a combined Cairn and Pentland team in Thurso.
An extensive public consultation exercise was completed over the summer with representatives from Pentland and Cairn speaking to tenants on their doorsteps and finding a strong majority indicating they are in favour of the proposed transfer.
Pentland and Cairn have promised the transfer will bring considerable benefits to tenants, which include:
*Cairn will FREEZE rents in the first year of the transfer and provide an affordable rent guarantee for the following four years, with lower rent increases than proposed by a stand-alone Pentland
*Cairn will invest £6,300,000 in Pentland's homes and communities over the next five years, with hundreds of new kitchens and other home improvements guaranteed
*Local services will continue for a new combined Cairn and Pentland team, with new options for getting in touch online. Existing Pentland staff will be protected and will transfer to Cairn
Cairn will provide financial security and opportunities for new services to Pentland's tenants by being part of the larger Cairn Housing Group
Jim Hair, Chair of Pentland Housing Association, said:"The Pentland Board is united in urging our tenants to vote YES to this transfer to Cairn Housing Association. It is important that every tenant take this opportunity to make their votes count. Our transfer proposals will guarantee lower rent increases whilst significantly increasing the money available for home improvements, all delivered by a new combined Cairn and Pentland team. It is a good offer which will benefit every Pentland tenant."
Don Jamieson, Chair of Cairn Housing Association, said:"Cairn is a forward-thinking housing association which, like Pentland, is committed to providing great homes and services to our tenants. From our very first conversations with the Pentland team, it became clear this was a great opportunity to join forces and expand our services to Caithness and North Sutherland tenants. We are looking forward to meeting with tenants and working with them to deliver on the transfer promises."
The transfer will see Cairn invest £6.3m in Pentland's homes and neighbourhoods, which is almost £2m than can be offered by a standalone Pentland, offering guarantees of hundreds of new kitchens and other home improvements.
Pentland anticipate that to meet their costs as a stand-alone housing association they will propose significantly higher annual rent increases than can be guaranteed by Cairn, who will also freeze rents in the first year of the partnership. This means, that for a Pentland tenant who currently pays £400 a month in rent they will benefit from an immediate monthly saving of £14, and a total cumulative saving over five years of £1,661.
The rent savings are based on Pentland plans to link inflationary rent increases to Consumer Price Index (modelled at 1.9%) plus 1.5% for the next five years. If tenants vote for the partnership, they will benefit from an initial rent freeze in year one after the transfer, followed by annual increases capped at Consumer Price Index only.
The election process will be managed by Civica Election Services.