TENANTS of thousands of council-owned homes look set to get a new landlord.

Durham County Council is looking to transfer its stock of 19,000 houses, bungalows and flats to a new management organisation.

Council homes in most areas of the county have been owned and managed by social landlords for some years.

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But the county council inherited stock in Durham City, Easington and Wear Valley from the former district councils when it became a unitary authority in 2009.

The 6,100 homes in the city are managed in-house and arms length management organisations (ALMOS) run the stock –totalling 13,000 homes - on the council’s behalf in the other two areas.

Now the council plans to put all the properties in the hands of a single organisation made up of the three current stock managers.

Tenants will be balloted on the proposal, which also has to be approved by the Government.

It is expected that the new social landlord will have better access than the council to funding for stock and neighbourhood improvements.

Clive Robson, the council cabinet member for housing, said the decision has been made based on the results of a detailed appraisal which has included consultation with tenants.

He added: “Tenants and other groups will continue to be involved in the process and will be consulted before any changes take place."

Next Wednesday (December 12) the Labour-run authority’s cabinet will be recommended to draw up a case to put to the Government for the stock transfer. It will also be asked to agree an alternative course if the Government rules out a transfer or tenants vote against it.