How you could be affected as more than 900 South Shields properties are sold by housing group

A number of South Shields homes have been sold on by Clarion Housing Group to another social housing organisation.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 6th March 2020, 2:05 pm
Housing group Riverside says it has already held consultation events with residents and will be doing home visits.

Liverpool-based Riverside has added the 936 South Shields properties to its portfolio, alongside another 251 in Newcastle.

The purchase is effective from now – Riverside and Clarion have been responding to tenants' queries. This is what they had to say.

Will rents go up?

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No. Existing terms and conditions will be honoured.

Will people need to change their Direct Debits?

Yes. Tenants have had letters directly both now from Riverside and previously from Clarion, to provide a new direct debit form.

Will people on the waiting list need to re-apply?

As Clarion will no longer own or manage the properties, they will be closing their housing register in the area. Previous applications to Clarion for re-housing will be cancelled and people need to reapply for re-housing with Riverside, by registering an application through Tyne and Wear Homes.

What will happen to the debt or credit of Clarion tenants?

Current rental balances will be carried over.

Will there be any changes to criteria, eg. will a property currently on offer to over-50s be offered to people below that age?

There are some differences in policy which Riverside say they will work through as part of the changeover, but it won’t affect existing customers.

Who will tenants speak to about any problems they have?

Riverside says it has already held consultation events with affected residents and will be doing home visits in due course, particularly with high-needs customers, such as those in retirement living. Residents can also contact them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sarah Paton, Regional Director for the North at Riverside, said: “We’re delighted to welcome so many new customers to the Riverside family in the North East.

“The reception we received at the resident consultation events we held, together with Clarion, was extremely positive and we’re looking forward to building a relationship with them over the coming weeks and months.

“We intend to deliver on our vision in the area – transforming lives and revitalising neighbourhoods.

“We’re extremely grateful to Clarion for their professionalism and teamwork throughout the process and for helping to facilitate the process to make it as easy as possible for residents.”

Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive at Clarion, added: “I am delighted that Riverside has been chosen, in close partnership with our residents, as the new landlord for our homes in Newcastle and South Shields.

“Riverside has been working very hard with us to ensure a smooth transition for residents and is already laying the groundwork for a great relationship with them.

“Riverside has a strong existing presence in the north of England and an excellent track record, holding the highest ratings from the Regulator of Social Housing.”

It is not yet known if any jobs will be lost, but Riverside has re-employed 14 former Clarion staff.