Portsmouth City Council is bidding to acquire a large amount of housing from social housing provider Clarion Housing Group, as part of a planned sale by the provider.  

A report is being considered by cabinet on Tuesday 28 November prior to a Full Council decision on Tuesday 12 December. The report recommends that the council’s housing, neighbourhood and building services directorate be allowed to purchase the housing, the largest acquisition of its kind to date for the council. This would strengthen the council’s position as the largest registered social provider in Portsmouth and Havant.

The stock is being sold by Clarion Housing Group as part of their long-term asset strategy. The council has been through a competitive tender process, which included talking to current Clarion residents, and resulted in the council being selected as Clarion’s preferred bidder.

At the point residents formally become council tenants, their tenancy terms will be protected and they will receive the added security that comes from being a council tenant. Shared owners and leaseholders will continue on the same lease conditions they had with Clarion.

The council already manages around 15,000 rented and 2000 leasehold homes across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville.

Adding additional housing would support the council’s housing provision by increasing the social homes and affordable home ownership within its control, which is a core purpose of the local authority. It also provides long term financial strength through increased revenue from the new homes. Nearly two thirds of the new stock has been built after 1980, which means it will last longer and cost less to maintain in the long term.

The homes are located across areas the council already has housing such as Portsmouth and Havant, and includes new areas for the council such as Gosport, Fareham and Winchester.

Homes within areas outside of Portsmouth and Havant will be allocated by their local authority.

The council has planned for the addition of these new homes and will maintain the level of service currently received by all council tenants. The new homes would be served by the existing housing offices that the council operates.

Residents transferring to the council from Clarion will receive the same benefits as existing council tenants with demand-led repairs service, including out of hours support, and will have a named Housing or Leasehold Officer to support them with a range of issues. The council can also offer advice and support on money issues and training opportunities, and sends out a resident magazine, House Talk, three times a year.

110 of the homes under consideration are shared ownership, which is a new type of housing for the council to manage. Officers working in the council’s housing team have existing previous knowledge and experience with these types of schemes, and the council is excited to add this low-cost homeownership option to its diverse housing offer.

Cllr Darren Sanders, cabinet member for Housing and Tackling Homelessness said: ” This is an exciting opportunity to increase the number of council homes. I am delighted that we were the preferred bidder and I hope my council colleagues will back this deal.”

The deal’s success is also subject to Clarion’s formal consultation and board approval and would take effect from the 14 February 2024.

Rob Lane, Chief Property Officer at Clarion Housing Group, said: “We are delighted that Portsmouth City Council has bid for these local homes. The local authority was chosen through a rigorous evaluation process and with the help of Clarion resident representatives who formed part of our assessment panel. All Clarion residents affected by the transfer were consulted, and their feedback taken into account during the process of selecting the new landlord.

“Portsmouth City Council demonstrated it provides a high-quality service and has a long-term commitment to residents and their homes.”

You can view the report on the council’s democracy webpage.