Thistle asks Regulator to direct Sanctuary Scotland transfer

The management committee of Glasgow-based Thistle Housing Association has asked the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) to direct its transfer to Sanctuary Scotland.

Thistle asks Regulator to direct Sanctuary Scotland transfer

A massive 92.4% of Thistle tenants support the transfer, an independent ballot showed last week.

Of the 687 votes cast, 635 tenants wanted a change of landlord to Sanctuary Scotland and the package of benefits the transfer would bring.

The desire for change motivated more than 70% of Thistle’s tenants to take the time to vote.

Lawrie West, Thistle HA chairperson, said: “The ballot tells us more than 9 in every 10 Thistle tenants who voted want the transfer to Sanctuary Scotland to take place.

“The management committee firmly believes that the transfer is the best way to address the problems which our tenants and factored owners have experienced in the past.

“To achieve this we have asked the Scottish Housing Regulator to use its legal powers to direct the transfer of all of Thistle’s assets to Sanctuary Scotland. 

“This outcome would secure a positive future for the Association and see every Thistle customer benefit from Sanctuary Scotland’s transfer commitments.”

The independent tenant ballot conducted by Civica Election Services ran for four weeks, from October 5 to November 2.

The planned next step was two Special General Meetings (SGMs) with Thistle’s shareholders, on November 19 and December 9.

It is thought a small group of shareholders would vote against the required transfer resolution, potentially stopping or delaying the transfer.

Mr West explained: “In other situations where there has been broad community support for transfers, housing associations have arranged SGMs to ask shareholders to consent to the transfer. Shareholders often include factored owners and others interested in an Association’s wellbeing.

“In this case the Management Committee has reason to believe a small minority would use the SGM process to try to block the transfer, irrespective of the clear wishes of tenants evidenced by the independent ballot. 

“A directed transfer by the SHR would deliver what our tenants voted for.”

The SHR has legal powers to direct the transfer to Sanctuary Scotland under Section 67 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. The SHR will now make inquiries and consider whether the conditions for a directed transfer are met. If it is an option a directed transfer would be subject to the SHR’s own consultation with Thistle’s tenants.

Pat Cahill, director – Sanctuary Scotland, said: “The ballot result is a ringing endorsement of the operational support Sanctuary has given Thistle and we’re thrilled tenants want the transfer to proceed.

“Sanctuary will honour our transfer promises to Thistle customers whichever way the transfer is concluded.

“We look forward to being able to create a better Toryglen for tenants and factored owners alike.”

The full letter sent to Thistle customers about the directed transfer request can be viewed on the Association’s website.

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