Eildon to acquire Borders homes to keep them available for affordable rent

A total of 41 homes in Galashiels and Innerleithen are to be sold to Eildon Housing to ensure they remain available for affordable rent.

The 21 houses and flats at Chris Paterson Place in Galashiels, and 20 flats at James Hogg Court in Innerleithen were developed by Tweed Property Leasing and acquired by Tweedside National Housing Trust 2011 Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) after Scottish Borders Council agreed to provide affordable homes through the Scottish Government’s National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative. This enabled the council to borrow and then lend to the LLP to buy the properties.

However, the programme set out that the homes had to be made available for mid-market rent for at least five years, and up to a maximum of 10 years, but then had to be sold at market value to repay the loan to the council.

Following negotiations between the council, Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust, Tweed Property Leasing and Eildon Housing, a deal has been reached that avoids the need to sell these homes in the open market and sees Eildon Housing purchasing the properties instead. The current tenants have been given the option to buy their homes at market value or to remain in their homes on the same arrangements as under the NHT initiative long term.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “I am delighted that following the successful delivery of these homes through the National Housing Trust model we have been able to ensure that they are retained for affordable rent in perpetuity through their sale to Eildon Housing.

“The council agreed in 2010 to boost the local affordable housing supply through this model, which safeguarded considerable construction jobs during the two-year construction phase of these sites, provided invaluable support to ensure apprenticeships could be completed and delivered local homes for local people.

“The council is absolutely committed to continuing to work with a range of partners to explore various options to provide more affordable homes for local people into the future, and earlier this year agreed yet another ambitious Strategic Housing Investment Plan which could see as many as 1,177 affordable homes delivered.”

Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon Housing, said: “Eildon Housing Association is committed to working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government to address housing need across our communities. We are currently undertaking an ambitious programme of growth that will have lasting beneficial impacts on the housing market in the Borders and we are looking forward to serving our new customers following the completion of this deal.”

Christa Reekie, commercial director at the Scottish Futures Trust, which manages the National Housing Trust (NHT) programme, said: “The award-winning NHT programme has seen nearly 1,500 new homes already built across Scotland which are providing tenants with quality, energy-efficient affordable-rent housing. I’m therefore very pleased with the news that these homes, with funding support from the Scottish Government, will continue to provide affordable rent accommodation for many years to come.”

Andy Pearson, managing director of Tweed Property Leasing, added: “Tweed Property Leasing was the first company in Scotland to sign up to the National Housing Trust initiative in 2011 after Scottish Ministers accepted our offer to develop, manage and maintain 50 affordable homes in Galashiels and Innerleithen.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Futures Trust and Scottish Borders Council on this innovative housing delivery model and we are delighted to accept a very fair offer for our interest from Eildon Housing Association as this will preserve the affordability of these homes.”

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