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tenancy policy

Tenancy Policy

Provisions under the Localism Bill 2011 which allowed registered providers a greater degree of flexibility on granting tenancies came into force in April 2012. From January 2012, the Localism Bill (Section 150) also placed a duty on every local authority to produce and publish a Tenancy Strategy, which sets out, in high-level terms, the matters which all registered providers of social housing in their area should have regard to when framing their own tenancy policies. In reviewing this policy the Trusthas taken due regard of Halton Borough Council’s Tenancy Strategy.

The Home & Communities Agency (HCA)’s current Tenancy Standard also states out that housing associations must publish ‘clear and accessible’ policies which outlinetheir approach to tenancy management. Part of the requirements in fulfilling this part of the standard relates to what types of tenancies housing associations will grant.

The main aim of this policy is to set out the circumstances in which the Trust will grant tenancies to both new customers and existing customers (on transfer).

The objective of this policy is to enable the Trust to grant tenancies in a way that is fair, transparent and proportionate to individual customers who are subject to it, as well as being reflective of the needs of the wider community in Halton.

Employees working in Housing Services will mainly deal with the implementation of this policy.

Policy Statement

As Halton Housing has decided against using flexible/fixed term tenancies for any of its new customers, the approach regarding the granting of tenancies will be based on the following principles:

  1. Halton Housing’s default position will be that the vast majority of new customers will be offered a lifetime tenancy. (It should be noted that additional conditions will apply to those new customers who are offered Starter Tenancies. See the‘Starter Tenancies’ section below for further details.)
  2. However, we reserve the right to use other types of tenancies, such as fixed term tenancies, in exceptional circumstances. For example, as part of a Government initiative to assist in housing refugee families who are initially allowed entry into the country for a fixed period which is then subject to review.
  3. Any existing customer who transfers to another Halton Housing property via the waiting list will retain their current security of tenure and other rights.
  4. Maximum flexibility will be exercised to ensure the approach regarding anyoffers made can cater for differing customers’ needs and circumstances, whilst at the same time using the opportunity to make best use of Halton Housing’s stock.
  1. Any approach will take proper account of customers’ personal circumstances; such as permanent/deteriorating ill health or disability, vulnerability, caring responsibilities and family make up and profile and the property type.
  2. Customer choice will be preserved.

Starter Tenancies

Some new customers will be offered assured shorthold –‘starter’ – tenancies for the first 12 months, in line with our Lettings Policy.

These customer(s) will initially sign the Starter Tenancy Agreement that automatically converts to a Standard Assured Tenancy at the end of the starter period subject to them conducting the tenancy satisfactorily, i.e. with no ASB or other serious breach of tenancy conditions.

After the successful completion of the probationary period, the customer will be notified of the conversion but will not need to sign any new agreement.

Responsibility

The Director of Housing Services and Wellbeing has ultimate responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy, as well for ensuring that all appropriate staff are aware of and are trained in this policy and any associated procedures.

Day to day responsibility for the policy will lie between the Housing Options Manager and the Tenancy Services Manager.

Regulatory and/or Legal Compliance

The HCA revised all its standards including the Tenancy Standard in 2015.

As mentioned in the Introduction above, the revised Tenancy Standard sets out that housing associations (and stock-holding local authorities) must publish ‘clear and accessible’ policies which outline their approach to tenancy management, includinginterventions to sustain tenancies and prevent unnecessary evictions and tackling tenancy fraud.

The standard then sets out a number of requirements that such policies must set out. Many of these requirements relate to the use of flexible tenancies. The relevant requirements that the Trust is looking to comply with under its current approach relate to:

  • the types of tenancies it will grant
  • the circumstances in which it will grant tenancies of a particular type.

We will look to meet the above requirements of this standard in implementing this policy.

Diversity Considerations

An EIA Stage 1 Screening Form has been completed as part of the review of this policy. This has determined that a stage 2 full assessment is not required.

Links to Strategies

This policy has links with the following documents:

OD 2.0 – ‘Protect Current Income’

Related Help & Support Articles

Find helpful articles on finding your next home with Halton Housing, and how to apply for a home here.

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