Residents living in council houses across Caerphilly County Borough will be balloted on whether or not their homes will be given away to a housing association.
At a meeting last night, councillors voted to allow the stock transfer of 11,000 council-owned homes to a registered social landlord meaning tenants will now have to vote on the plan.
Major investment is needed to ensure Caerphilly County Borough Council’s housing stock is brought up to the Wales Housing Quality Standard.
If tenants vote yes, then £116.4 million will be spent over the next 20 years by whatever housing association takes over, bringing the housing up to scratch.
If residents vote no, council officers have drawn up alternative plans to raise the cash through borrowing, higher rent charges and potential job cuts at the council.
After a lengthy debate on Thursday night, with many contributions from members on both sides of the chamber, councillors agreed to transfer the housing stock to a registered social landlord.
This will firstly involve the ballot of council tenants and then approval from the Welsh Assembly Government.
During the meeting council leader Lindsay Whittle made an impassioned appeal to fellow councillors urging them to allow local tenants to have their vote.
He said: “I’ve had many sleepless nights agonising over the options before us.
“In an ideal world we would all want to retain control of our housing stock, but we must be realistic and look at the financial implications, especially in light of the budget pressures we will be facing over the next few years.
“I believe that the best way forward is to give our tenants the power to choose. These are the people who live in the properties, so it must be up to them to decide what is best for their future.”
He added: “We sometimes need to make tough decisions that go against our principles, but I’m confident that this is the right decision and I truly believe that this option will deliver the best outcome for our tenants in the future.”