Govanhill’s £9.3m plans to tackle poor housing conditions move forward

Govanhill Housing AssociationGovanhill Housing Association has taken the next steps in its £9.3 million plans to buy and repair poor quality private housing in Glasgow.

Last week, the Association sent around 600 letters to all property owners in a target area of four tenement blocks in south-west Govanhill. The letters include information about the plans and contact details for those interested in selling their properties.

Meanwhile, the first of two meetings was held with owners in the blocks. Around 50 owners and private landlords have expressed an interest in selling to the Association as part of the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme.

John McLardie, chairperson of the Association, said the aim of the programme is to provide better living conditions and tackle overcrowding. With private sector housing subject to little regulation, it also aims to deliver a more effective system of property management and maintenance.

He added: “Sending letters out to all the owners and beginning to meet them is a big step forward.

“A staff team has been visiting and assessing every close in the target area to identify any issues and build relationships with residents and tenants, and this is the next phase of the plan.

“This is a two-year pilot programme that will begin to take properties out of private ownership and into the social rented sector.

“It is a positive way forward and we are keen to see how well it works on the ground. But it is likely that a more comprehensive approach will be needed in the future if a sustainable solution is to be delivered.”

The initiative will initially involve the Association buying, repairing, letting and then managing up to 80 properties from private owners and landlords in four tenement blocks between Annette Street, Dixon Avenue, Westmoreland Street and Calder Street. It will also take on factoring where it has majority ownership.

The Scottish Government has provided a grant of £4.3m to purchase and improve the properties for social letting. Glasgow City Council will supplement the funding with £5m from its affordable homes and property repairs budgets, and will be working in partnership with the Association in using its statutory powers to support change.

The Association currently owns around 40 properties in the target area. It provides factoring services in five tenements, and expects to factor more.

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