North Ormesby Development Trust – working in partnership with a housing association

Image of North Ormesby Development Trust

North Ormesby Development Trust has been working in partnership with Accent Housing Association to own, manage and refurbish local housing for the good of the local community – keeping them in social ownership, improving the area and creating employment and training opportunities for local people.

Accent Housing Association owns 90 street properties in North Ormesby, and in 2015 decided to dispose of some of its vacant properties which were seen as hard to re-let and expensive to maintain.

Accent’s decision to sell at less than market value was influenced by a judgement that a local organisation could better manage the properties and that it might have a knock-on effect in terms of improving the area, which would help them with managing their other properties in North Ormesby.

With the backing of North Ormesby Development Trust (NODT), a Community Land Trust that was formed to manage the properties. With financial support from North Ormesby Big Local, it was resolved to approach Accent to acquire six properties to keep them in social ownership.

The open market value of the properties was £25,000 but a discounted sale price of £13,000 per property was agreed, which would be funded by a grant from Big Local. Accent was able to sell the properties for less than market value because they were selling them to another charity with compatible objectives, and an agreement was reached with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for their disposal.

A deal was then struck with Thirteen Housing Group to use a HCA Empty Homes Grant to finance the refurbishment of all six properties. As a result, the properties will be leased to Thirteen for five years at a peppercorn rent to enable them to claim the HCA grant.

Following their refurbishment (£24,500 per property), Thirteen will then lease them back to the NODT for five years on the same basis. At the end of the five-year lease, the properties revert to the NODT as the freeholder.

Their refurbishment is also providing an opportunity to create training and employment opportunities for the community, using local labour. In this case, another CLH organisation, Community Campus, are working with their trainees on refurbishing the properties.

Ownership of assets can make it possible to secure further funding to acquire further properties to rehouse people from the local community. A further £48,000 has been allocated by Big Local to try to purchase more properties.

Find out more about community-led housing