TENANTS are being urged to use their vote in a ballot on the ownership of their homes.

Almost 22,000 people across County Durham, will be asked whether they want their landlord to be Durham County Council or a local management organisation that currently manages the housing for the council.

The Labour-run council’s cabinet agreed to the move after hearing how successful initial consultation with tenants had been.

Councillors were told that 87 per cent of tenants had spoken in favour of their homes transferring to a new owner.

Eddie Tomlinson, cabinet member for housing and rural issues, said: “The consultation showed that people’s priorities were to maximise the amount of money we invest in improving homes and neighbourhoods, protect tenants’ rights and ensure fairness and consistency in housing standards. Protecting services from cutbacks while creating jobs and building much needed new homes was also important.

He added: “I would urge tenants to look out for their ballot papers in the coming weeks and when the time comes, please take this opportunity and vote.”

Ballot papers will be posted by Electoral Reform Services, who will manage the ballot independently from the council.

Tenants can vote by post, online, by calling a freephone number or by text.