THOUSANDS of tenants have voted for their homes to be transferred out of council ownership.

Just over half of the 22,000 tenants in County Durham took part in the ballot on the future of the county council-owned properties.

The council has announced that 82 per cent of those who voted supported the transfer of the homes to

social landlord County Durham Housing Group.

The council’s cabinet will be recommended approving the transfer in the light of the result when it meets on Wednesday, September 10.

The Labour-run authority is one of a dwindling number that still owns council housing, although the stock, in Durham City, Easington and the west of the county, is managed by separate organisations that make up the housing group.

These organisations, Durham City Homes, East Durham Homes and Dale and Valley Homes, will become the new landlords.

The ballot was run by Electoral Reform Services Limited.

Eddie Tomlinson, the council cabinet member for housing, said: “The council has always believed that the future of its homes should lie in the hands of its tenants, and over the last two years has worked hard to provide the facts about what transfer could mean.

“This result highlights that tenants have been able to make an informed decision for the future of their homes, which the council firmly believes is in their best interests and that of local communities across the county.”

Ian Thompson, the council’s corporate director for regeneration and economic development, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the consultation and this ballot result will pave the way for a better future for homes in Durham.

“The council has always strived to ensure tenants are happy in their home with access to efficient services - however transfer will enable the new group of landlords to deliver the standard of housing that tenants have told us they want to see.”

The council’s Offer Document says the move could mean more than £800m of investment over the next 30 years, including the building of 700 properties within the next 10 years.

Judith Common, Chairwoman of County Durham Housing Group Limited Shadow Board, said: “We are delighted with the result and will continue to work with the council to ensure the new group of landlords deliver on the offer made to tenants.”