COUNCIL tenants are being urged to vote on plans to transfer their homes to a new landlord.

Durham County Council wants to hand ownership of 19,000 homes across the former Durham City, Easington and Wear Valley districts to a new body, the County Durham Housing Group, possibly as early as next year.

Tenants are being balloted on the proposals.

Almost 22,000 ballot papers have been sent out and tenants have until midday on Monday (August 18) to respond by post, phone, online or text.

Councillor Eddie Tomlinson, the cabinet member for housing and rural issues, said: “The council looked long and hard at all the options for the future of its homes, involving tenants and other stakeholders in the process.

“We firmly believe that transfer is in the best interests of our tenants but the decision quite rightly lies with them.”

For more information, call 0800-073-1051 or visit

If the ballot produces a yes vote, the Government is ready to cancel £130m of historic housing debt.

Former council houses in other areas of County Durham have already been transferred to social landlords.