BCHF’s New Tenancy Policy As you know, the government is bringing in a number of changes both in welfare reform and for future tenants of housing association and council landlords. It wants to make sure that the best use of social housing stock is made. BCHF must put together a new Tenancy Policy by the beginning of April – we want your views about the issues and will discuss this on March 1st. Question 1 Do you think BCHF should use fixed term tenancies in the future? The government has said that housing associations can give future tenants fixed term tenancies, usually of 5 years duration. At the end of the period, BCHF would then have to decide whether to renew the tenancy. If the tenants have enough money to rent privately, buy their home or there is another reason why their tenancy should not be renewed, the tenancy would be brought to an end and the tenants would have to leave. Points to consider: • • •
BCHF want tenants to look after their homes and neighbourhoods. Will this help or hinder? Should tenants be made to move if they can afford to privately rent or buy? Are there other ways in which we can make sure homes are not underoccupied and the best use of them made eg. so we don’t have one person living in a 4 bed house?
Question 2 Should BCHF change rights to succeed to a tenancy to only a husband/wife/partner? At the moment, BCHF’s Tenancy Agreement allows both a ‘statutory succession’ (the remaining partner can succeed) or for a close member of a tenant’s family, living with the tenant for at least a year and there at the time of death, to succeed. Points to consider: • •
A child of a tenant would not be able to succeed to the tenancy. Would this help BCHF have more homes available to get the right people in the right type of home, based on their need?
Question 3 Should we give priority to certain groups of people, in addition to the usual categories of need, when allocating homes? For BCHF to get government money to build more homes, we have to let most of our new build homes and a proportion of re-let existing homes, at a higher rent. This is called an Affordable Rent Tenancy; rents will be set at 80% of the local market rent.
Points to consider: • •
How will tenants with an Affordable Rent Tenancy living next to a tenant on a social rent feel, and what can BCHF do about this? We intend giving priority for some Affordable Rent Tenancies to people that are working but on a low wage, to help them get somewhere to live. Is this fair? Would it be better to have Affordable Rent Tenancies in certain areas of the city and not others to get more of a mix in neighbourhoods? The government seems to be suggesting that more priority should be given to applicants that are seeking work or who have been in the armed forces. What do tenants feel about giving these applicants more priority?
Question 4 BCHF wants to make the best use of its housing, making sure the right people live in the right homes. How can we encourage people to move to more suitable housing rather than force them out through the use of fixed term tenancies? Points to consider: •
What incentives would encourage tenants to move from a home that is too big for them, or from a home that has been adapted for a disabled person, that they don’t need? How can we tighten up on fraud – tenants who sublet their home to another person, who lie about their circumstances to get allocated a home or who don’t give correct information to housing benefit? This would free up more homes for people in need of them. How can we make sure that people are able to keep their tenancy, don’t get into debt, manage their money, get help with training and finding a job?
Rachel Cobb Housing Services Manager Feb 2012
Briefing paper for BCHF residents interested in feeding into the consultation about possible changes to our tenancy policy. There is a lot...