Choice finalises £20m deal to acquire 300 properties from Victoria Housing Estates

Dawn Purvis, chief executive of Victoria Housing Estates with Michael McDonnell, group chief executive of Choice Housing.
Dawn Purvis, chief executive of Victoria Housing Estates with Michael McDonnell, group chief executive of Choice Housing.

CHOICE Housing has finalised a deal with Victoria Housing Estates (VHE) to acquire £20 million of housing stock.

The move, will see almost 300 VHE properties transfer to Choice Housing.

Choice stated in January that it would seek to acquire 429 properties as part of a £28m investment programme.

The programme, which was approved at the start of this year, included a period of consultation between the two housing providers and all VHE tenants.

As part of this process, Choice said the tenants received independent advice and guidance of their options, which included the opportunity to apply to purchase their own home.

Yesterday, Choice confirmed that around 130 tenants opted to purchase their own home.

The social housing provider said it will now undertake a three-year programme of renovation and refurbishment on the 300 properties it has acquired.

Tenants who opted for the transfer moved to their new tenancy agreement on Monday (November 2).

Choice said that a small number of tenants undecided about their future, could move to a new tenancy by the end of January 2021.

Chief executive of Choice Housing, Michael McDonnell, said the deal demonstrated the provider’s commitment to investing in sustainable social housing.

“Throughout this process we were acutely aware that this was more than an investment project between two organisations, this was about the future of tenants and their homes – their engagement and contribution was vital to making this a successful outcome for all,” he said.

“It was pleasing to see many tenants take up the option of purchasing their own homes – something we actively encouraged. Now that we have finalised tenancy agreements and stock has successfully transferred we will now work towards completing the agreed renovations to bring these properties in line with all other Choice properties in the region.”

VHE chief executive Dawn Purvis said: “Following an initial assessment and consultation process it was clear that Choice Housing were best placed to deliver local services to tenants that we could no longer facilitate. This stock transfer not only ensures that tenants keep their homes but that the much needed investment in these properties is guaranteed.

“Choice Housing has consistently demonstrated their commitment to investing in communities and have always had a tenant focus when delivering key services – these were attributes we felt were central in ensuring a successful transfer of homes to a new housing association.

“The opportunity for tenants to purchase their own home was facilitated by VHE and we will support them through the final stages of the purchase which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.”

Properties that have now transferred to Choice include: Riverdale (west Belfast), Worcester Avenue (Bangor), Cherryhill, Holywood Road and Clonaver (east Belfast) and Harmin in Glengormley.