The following information is to inform our customers about changes being made to the way in which housing is allocated. The government will be making more information available to us about the new changes and we will pass this on to you as quickly as possible.
You will notice changes to the way in which properties are advertised through Homes 4 Wiltshire. The main differences that will affect you include:
Length of Tenancy
WHY THE CHANGE?
The government is making some changes to social housing which intends to make the allocation of housing fairer to all applicants. The changes also aim to ensure that the support which social housing provides is focused on those who need it most for as long as they need it.
The Government has asked housing providers to let some of their homes at an Affordable Rent level. This means, compared to a similar property, the rent charged will be less than the amount charged by a private landlord but will be more than a traditional housing provider’s rent (now known as a Social Rent).
All properties advertised through Homes 4 Wiltshire will soon state which type of rent level will apply. The affordable rent icon (AR) will appear on the advert if the affordable rent applies to the property being advertised.
Tenants of Affordable Rent properties will be able to apply for housing benefit and claims will be assessed based on household circumstances. If housing benefit does not cover the full rent, tenants will have to pay the difference.
This has always been the traditional rent level for both council and housing providers’ homes. The only difference you will see is that the rent for these homes will now be called Social Rents.
LENGTH OF TENANCY
As well as the rent levels changing, the government is also proposing to give councils and housing providers the freedom to grant two different types of tenancies:
• Lifetime tenancies – The tenant can live in their home for as long as they wish.
• Fixed term tenancies – A fixed term tenancy is not a lifetime tenancy; it is a shorter tenancy with an end date. A tenancy period may last 5, 10, 15 years or longer but cannot be less than 2 years. The individual landlord decides the length of a fixed term tenancy.
On occasions there will be times when the length of tenancy will be changed from that advertised. This will only happen if the applicant matched to the property has individual needs that need to be taken in to consideration.
Wiltshire Council will be consulting on the introduction of fixed term tenancies during the next 12 months and you will have the opportunity to comment on any proposals during this time.
Some answers to questions you may have:
I am an existing tenant, how will these proposals affect me?
Existing tenancies will not be affected. The proposals only affect new tenants. Landlords will have the discretion to offer all their new tenancies on a lifetime basis if they so wish.
Will a new fixed term tenancy be reviewed?
The fixed term tenancy will be reviewed at least 6 months before the end of the tenancy period. There are a number of ways why a fixed term tenancy may be reviewed, such as; a tenant’s financial circumstance has considerably improved, a family home has become too large after the adult children have left home Confirmation of how and when tenancies will be reviewed will be contained within your landlord’s tenancy policy.
If I am on a fixed term tenancy what rights will I have?
A fixed term tenancy will have many of the same rights attached to secure or assured tenancies, including security of tenure (while the fixed term lasts), right to buy, right to acquire, succession rights (for spouse or partner), the right to take in lodgers, to have repairs carried out, and to be consulted.
If I decide to exchange my property will I keep my secure / assured tenancy when I move?
Yes, if you move to another council or registered provider of social housing property, you will retain your security of tenure. If you move to a registered provider of social housing property, you will retain security of tenure under the terms of the provider’s tenancy agreement, normally an assured tenancy.
What happens at my 6 months fixed term tenancy review?
As mentioned above, your landlord will meet to discuss your circumstances and decide if another fixed term tenancy will be granted based on a full assessment of your situation. If your landlord decides not to renew the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, you will be given six months notice before the tenancy term is due to end. Your landlord will provide you with help and advice to find alternative accommodation.