Weslo seeks transfer of all homes and services
Weslo Housing Management has launched proposals for the transfer of all its homes and services after a strategic review found that it cannot afford to make the necessary improvements to its properties.
The Bathgate registered social landlord (RSL), which manages and maintains around 2,300 homes primarily in West Lothian and Falkirk, is now seeking an established social landlord as a partner for the transfer.
A stock condition survey carried out in 2019 identified that Weslo’s social rented properties require a large amount of investment over the next 30 years, with many tenants unhappy with the condition of their homes.
Kate Dewar, chair of the board at Weslo, said the review found that Weslo “cannot afford to make these improvements and continue to keep rents at an affordable level”.
Ms Dewar said: “We looked at a range of options for the future to ensure that the homes and services can be improved whilst keeping your rents affordable.
“The board reviewed these and after careful consideration it was decided that the best option for Weslo and Weslo tenants is to transfer all the Weslo homes and services to another financially strong, stable, experienced social landlord who can deliver the improvements needed.
“We are now seeking an established social landlord as a partner for the transfer. We will be working with the chosen partner over the summer to develop a detailed business case.”
Weslo said this option means that the rights and security of its social, mid-market and market rent tenants will remain exactly the same, and ensured that legal agreements are in place with the new social landlord to deliver the property and service improvements needed.
Because Weslo is an RSL, its social tenants have the final say on the proposal. A period of consultation is planned over the autumn so that tenants can shape the business case ahead of a secret ballot later in the year.
Ms Dewar added: “It is important to stress nothing is yet agreed with any proposed new landlord. Only Weslo’s social tenants can decide the future of Weslo.”
Councillor Frank Anderson said the announcement is an opportunity for West Lothian Council to increase its stock.
He told the Linlithgow Gazette: “I have already raised this with our head of housing and specifically said we should be looking at this as an opportunity, if possible.
“It could set a precedent for housing stock that was transferred under Thatcher to come back under the council umbrella.
“We should consider, in my opinion, joining forces with Falkirk Council and seek to acquire these homes.”
In July last year, Weslo revealed it had commissioned an independent investigation after it identified weaknesses in its governance and performance management.
The Scottish Housing Regulator, which is engaging with Weslo about its governance, financial health and its development and investment plans, said in an engagement plan in December that the report on the findings and recommendations resulting from the investigation identified serious weaknesses and concerns in several areas.