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Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Section 294 - Ballots before certain disposals to private landlords

826.Section 294 makes amendments to Schedule 3A to the Housing Act 1985. Schedule 3A outlines the consultation process necessary before a local housing authority can seek the consent of the Secretary of State to transfer ownership of occupied council housing to a private sector landlord (e.g. a housing association). The amendments add the requirement that the local authority must hold a ballot of affected tenants as part of the consultation process, and that a vote in such a ballot against transfer will prevent the Secretary of State granting consent to the transfer. The powers of the Secretary of State are exercisable in Wales by the Welsh Ministers.

827.Subsection (2) sets out at what stage in the consultation process the ballot should take place, requires the local authority to conduct the ballot themselves or appoint an appropriate person to do so, and requires that, once the result of the ballot is known, the local authority must inform tenants of the result and, where the local authority intends proceeding with the transfer, inform them that they can, within 28 days, raise any concerns with the Secretary of State or (as the case may be) the Welsh Ministers.

828.Subsection (3) establishes that the Secretary of State cannot grant consent to a transfer where the majority of those voting in the ballot vote against the proposal.

829.Subsection (4) requires the Secretary of State or (as the case may be) the Welsh Ministers to issue guidance to local authorities on meeting the requirements in Schedule 3A regarding consultation, and it requires relevant local authorities to have regard to such guidance.

830.Subsections (5) and (6) establish that these new provisions do not apply to consultations that have already begun, and make clear at what point a consultation can be deemed to have begun.

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