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Last updated 03/06/2015

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Tenancy Policy

  • Statement

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    The Group offers most new tenants the most secure form of tenancy available to private registered providers - an assured tenancy – which comes into effect on satisfactory completion of a starter tenancy period of 12 months. By combining the security of tenure with a trial period, the Group supports tenants and their families with the opportunity for a stable home, whilst sustaining communities by dealing effectively with tenants who commit serious or repeated breaches of their tenancy agreement

    Other forms of tenancy are offered to meet the specific purposes of certain types of property (e.g. Temporary Social Accommodation, Emergency Accommodation).

    The tenancy agreement is the basis of our relationship with tenants, forming a contract between the tenant and the landlord. The Group may carry out enforcement action in cases of tenancy breaches, where it judges it reasonable and proportionate to do so, up to and including termination of the tenancy.

  • Aims

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    • To create stable communities
    • To make effective use of a scarce resource: social housing
    • To provide security of tenure for tenants and their families
    • To assist tenants in sustaining their tenancies
    • To take effective enforcement action where tenants are breaching the tenancy agreement, up to and including termination of the tenancy.

     

    This policy contributes to the following corporate goals of the Association:

    • Provide value for money customer services - Provide effective services: maintain a Net Promoter Score of >30 to 31 March 2018.
    • Provide economic services: achieve consolidated operating costs of £3,336 per property managed by 31 March 2018.
  • Scope

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    This Group-wide policy applies to all general needs, sheltered and extra care tenants of Adactus Housing Group where new tenancies have been created.

     

  • Context

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    The Tenancy Standard of the Regulatory Framework for Social Housing in England and Wales allows registered providers to grant general needs tenants a periodic secure or assured tenancy, in addition to any probationary period. The standard states that where registered providers use probationary tenancies, these shall be for a maximum of twelve months. 

    The Tenancy Standard also states that registered providers shall offer tenancies or terms of occupation which are compatible with the purpose of the accommodation, the needs of individual households, the sustainability of the community and the efficient use of their housing stock. 

    This policy ensures the Group complies with the relevant parts of the Regulatory Framework and also takes into consideration:

  • Definitions

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    Assured Tenancy

    An Assured Tenancy is a form of residential tenancy in England and Wales that grants a degree of security of tenure to the tenant. A tenant under an assured tenancy may not be evicted without a reason and the rent under the assured tenancy will often fall under the supervision of a Rent Assessment Committee.

    Starter Tenancy

    A Starter tenancy is a trial or probationary tenancy and gives tenants the same rights as an assured shorthold tenancy for the first year. This means tenants have fewer rights and less protection from eviction than an assured or secure tenant during the 12 month probationary period. If the tenancy is conducted in a satisfactory manner during the trial period, it is automatically converted to an assured tenancy.

    Assured Shorthold Tenancy (Temporary Social Housing)

    It is a form of Assured Tenancy with limited security of tenure (usually 6 months), which was introduced by the Housing Act 1988 with important changes made by the Housing Act 1996.  It is used by the Association when letting properties that are owned by a third party landlord.  Adactus can end this type of tenancy by giving the tenant 2 months notice and a court can then give us possession of the property.  This tenancy will never convert into an Assured tenancy.

    Affordable Rent

    An Affordable Rent tenancy is an Assured Tenancy with a 12 month probationary period. Affordable Rent is the rent level that social landlords can charge to a portion of new tenancies.  This initiative allows social landlords to charge up to 80% of a market rent in the locality, as opposed to social rent which is generally lower.

    Licences

    A licence agreement gives the tenant permission to occupy the property. The tenant does not gain any interest in the property or land, merely a consent from the landlord to occupy for a period of time.  Adactus use licence agreements for Emergency Accommodation properties.  Families occupy these properties until a suitable permanent home is offered to them.   We also use them for some of our supported accommodation projects.

  • Our Approach

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    We let properties based on an assessment of the suitability of the prospective tenant. The criteria of that assessment are set out in the Group’s Allocations Policy.

    We offer most tenants the most secure form of tenancy available to a private registered provider, in addition to a starter tenancy of 12 months (exceptions are defined below). This includes assured tenancies let at an Affordable Rent. By doing this, we provide tenants the opportunity for a stable home, with security of tenure earned by demonstrating that they can conduct their tenancy satisfactorily during the starter tenancy period.

    We use starter tenancies to assist us in sustaining the communities that we work in by enabling us to deal more effectively with any breaches of the tenancy agreement in instances such as anti-social behaviour (both from tenants / occupants and visitors to their home). They also help us to make efficient use of our housing stock by allowing us to end tenancies where tenants do not pay their rent. This helps to protect the Group’s income and in turn safeguards the standard of service provided to all tenants, as well as satisfying demand for the Group’s properties. 

    For tenants who were social housing tenants on 15th January 2012 (the date on which section 154 of the Localism Act 2011 came into force) and have remained social housing tenants since that date, we will grant a tenancy with no less security if they choose to move to another social rented home, whether they remain our tenant or move to one of our properties from another social landlord.  (This requirement does not apply where tenants choose to move to accommodation let on Affordable Rent terms).

    In cases of succession and mutual exchange, the successor or incoming tenant will be offered the same tenancy agreement as their predecessor.

    We offer assured shorthold tenancies (Temporary Social Housing) when letting properties owned by a third party landlord. 

    We provide tenants with a tenancy agreement in a format of their preference (paper or electronic). Prior to signing the agreement, we explain the key elements of the agreement to the tenant and answer their questions to assist their understanding of their rights and responsibilities as tenants. New tenants with a starter tenancy will have their status and the  consequences of breaching their tenancy in the first 12 months clearly explained.

    A prospective tenant has the right to appeal to a Director of Asset Management against the form of tenancy offered to them. This right will be explained in the tenancy offer letter.

    Most new tenants will be on starter tenancies. At the end of the ‘trial’ 12 month period, their tenancy will automatically convert to an assured tenancy unless within those first 12 months we have:

    1. Started possession proceedings against the tenant(s)
    2. Served a notice upon the tenant(s) requiring possession pursuant to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended)
    3. Served notice on the tenant that we require possession pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended).

     

    Breaches of a starter tenancy will be investigated in line with the relevant policy. In cases where there are serious and / or persistent breaches of the starter tenancy then we will consider serving a Section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy. The decision to end a starter tenancy will be made by a manager. Examples of breaches of tenancy where we may decide to serve a Section 21 notice and apply for possession include:

    • Consistently poor rent payment patterns leading to rent arrears with little evidence of engaging with officers to agree a repayment plan,
    • Repeated or single serious breach of the tenancy agreement due to anti-social behaviour from the tenant(s), occupants or visitors to the tenant’s home,
    • Any other consistent breach of the tenancy agreement such as failure to allow access for essential works or tenant damage to the property.

     

    Tenants can request a review of our decision to terminate their Starter Tenancy; this must be requested within 14 days of the notice of proceedings being served.  

    The review process will incorporate the following key points:-

    • The review shall not be by way of an oral hearing unless the tenant informs us (within 14 days of the notice of proceedings being served)  that s/he wishes to have such a hearing
    • If there is not to be a hearing the tenant may make representations in writing in connection with the review and these should be considered by the reviewing officers. The tenant should be advised of the date by which the representations must be received and they should be given 5 or more working days to submit these. 
    • If the tenant requests a hearing they will be given notice of the date, time and place of the hearing and this should be arranged for no less than 5 days after the receipt of the request from the tenant. If the required notice is not given the hearing can proceed with the consent of the tenant or his/her representative. 
    • The hearing will involve two impartial officers who have not been involved in the decision to apply for an order for possession and who are senior to the officer who made the decision to apply for possession. 
    • The tenant has the right to be heard and to be accompanied and may be represented by another person, whether that person is professionally qualified or not.
    • The tenant (or their representative) has the right to call persons to give evidence (although there is no requirement to force unwilling witnesses to attend the hearing), put questions to any person giving evidence at the hearing and to make representations in writing.
    • If the tenant fails to attend the hearing, the officer conducting the review may continue in their absence, taking into account all information and any reasons for absence. A tenant may apply for a postponement of the hearing, but any agreement to postponement is at our discretion.
    • Hearings may be adjourned by the officers hearing the appeal at any time during the hearing on the application of the tenant, his/her representative or at the motion of the person hearing the appeal. However, if the appeal is part heard, any continuation must involve the same officer, or the hearing must start again as a rehearing. If more than one person is conducting the appeal, any hearing may, with the consent of the tenant or his representative, proceed with the absence of one of the officers. 
    • The tenant will be notified of the decision from the review and if the decision is to confirm the original decision, the tenant should be given reasons for the decision.
  • Service Standards

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    Rights and responsibilities under the tenancy agreement explained at the sign-up meeting.

    Tenant provided with a copy of their signed tenancy agreement in the format they prefer.

  • Equality and Diversity

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    The policy promotes equality and diversity by offering all new tenants the most secure form of tenancy available to the Group on completion of a 12 month probationary tenancy.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

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    The policy will be reviewed by Board every other year. The number and outcome of appeals against section 21 terminations are reported to the Board of management quarterly.

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  • 03/06/2015

    Updated by Athanasios Protopapas on 03/06/2015 14:29:02

    Comment: Updated tenancy policy following the changes approved at the June 2015 Board Meeting.

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    Chapter titled "Equality and Diversity" content changed.
    Chapter titled "Monitoring and Evaluation" content changed.

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  • 22/01/2014

    Updated by Sam Ryan on 22/01/2014 11:13:29

    Comment: format changes

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  • 22/01/2014

    Updated by Sam Ryan on 22/01/2014 11:08:34

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  • 22/01/2014

    Updated by Sam Ryan on 22/01/2014 11:01:47

    Comment: updated policy

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    Chapter titled "Scope" content changed.
    Chapter titled "Context" content changed.
    Chapter titled "Definitions" content changed.
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  • 22/01/2014

    Updated by Sam Ryan on 22/01/2014 10:39:36

    Comment: editing document

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  • 18/11/2011

    Updated by Admin on 18/11/2011 15:23:43

    Comment: changed the title and made minor typographical amendments and changes to tags to improve search results

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    Document title changed from "Tenancy" to "Tenancy Policy".
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  • 18/11/2011

    Updated by Elesh Makwana on 18/11/2011 13:51:19

    Comment: New policy following board approval

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