KATHERINE S HOUSE, DUNSTABLE STREET, AMPTHILL, BEDS, MK45 2JP TEL: FAX: (01525)

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1 MOVING TENANCY POLICY KATHERINE S HOUSE, DUNSTABLE STREET, AMPTHILL, BEDS, MK45 2JP TEL: FAX: (01525) INTRODUCTION All registered providers are required to develop and publish a tenancy policy, having regard to the local authority s tenancy strategy. This policy sets out how the Association will use the new range of options available under the revised Regulatory Standards Framework to ensure we issue tenancies which are compatible with the purpose of the accommodation, needs of the individual households, the sustainability of the community and efficient use of our housing stock. OBJECTIVES The Tenancy Policy sets out: The types of tenancies we will grant and the circumstances under which we will grant each type of tenancy. The length of fixed term tenancies granted. The circumstances in which tenancies may or may not be re-issued at the end of a fixed term in the same or a different property. The way in which a tenant or prospective tenant may appeal against or complain about the length of a fixed term tenancy offered and the type of tenancy offered, and against a decision not to grant another fixed term tenancy on the expiry of the fixed term. Our policy on taking into account the needs of those households who are vulnerable by reason of age, disability or illness and households with children, including through the provision of tenancies which provide a reasonable degree of stability. The advice and assistance provided to tenants on finding alternative accommodation in the event we decide not to re-issue a tenancy. Our policy on granting discretionary succession rights. TENANCY TYPES Assured Tenancies Most existing Aragon tenants hold an Assured tenancy. These are often referred to as lifetime tenancies because the tenant is usually able to stay in their property for the rest of their life provided they do not breach the tenancy agreement.

2 Aragon will continue to offer Assured tenancies to new tenants who hold an Assured or Secure tenancy with Aragon, another Registered Provider or a Local Authority immediately prior to the allocation in accordance with the Regulatory Standards Framework. Starter Tenancies Aragon will continue to offer starter tenancies for all new tenants, except those holding an Assured or Secure tenancy with Aragon, another Registered Provider or a Local Authority immediately prior to the allocation. Starter tenancies will be issued for an initial period of 12 months for all properties whether social or affordable rents, fixed term or lifetime tenancies. Where a fixed term tenancy is to be offered, a 12 month starter tenancy will be issued prior to the fixed term. The 12 month starter tenancy will be in addition to the length of the fixed term. Assured Shorthold Fixed Term Tenancies This term is used to apply to tenancies which are offered for a specified period of time, as opposed to lifetime tenancies Fixed term tenancies will not be offered where: An existing Assured or Secure tenant of a Registered Provider or Local Authority. Sheltered/retirement housing and properties designated for tenants aged 50 years or over. Supported housing schemes. Local lettings schemes in rural areas, where properties are let to applicants with a local connection in accordance with planning agreements. In the above circumstances Assured tenancies will be offered, following a Starter tenancy where appropriate. The Association will grant 5 year fixed term tenancies in other situations. Assured Shorthold (periodic) An Assured Shorthold tenancy is a rolling weekly tenancy that can be ended at any time after 6 or 12 months from the start of the tenancy by the Association giving 2 months notice. These tenancies are generally used for market and intermediate rent properties, where the Association holds a short term lease, or where the length of occupation is likely to be short term e.g. in accordance with the Asset Management strategy the Association is considering future refurbishment, change of tenure or disposal of the property. 2

3 Temporary Tenancies These tenancies are used when the Association provides accommodation to people who have applied to the Council for assistance under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996 and the Council owes a duty to secure accommodation. These are weekly periodic tenancies, which may be determined by either the tenant or the Association giving notice to quit. Affordable Rents Grand Union Housing Group has entered into a contract with the Homes & Communities Agency which commits Aragon to letting new developments at affordable rent. Aragon does not intend to convert property from social rent to affordable rent at the present time, although this decision will be kept under review. It is made clear to new tenants when properties are being offered at affordable rents, rather than social rents. EXPIRY OF A FIXED TERM TENANCY The tenant can end the tenancy at any time by giving the Association 4 weeks notice to quit in writing. Aragon will not seek to end the tenancy prior to the end of the fixed term unless the tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement. A review of the tenancy will be carried out 12 months prior to the end of the fixed term and then a further review 7 months prior. The purpose of these reviews is to monitor the tenant s circumstances in order to decide whether or not to renew the tenancy and offer advice and assistance to help the tenant explore options for alternative housing where appropriate. A further fixed term tenancy will be offered when it is decided to renew the tenancy. The Association may decide not to renew the tenancy in the following situations: 1. There has been a change in the composition of the household, which has resulted in the household under occupying the property by one bedroom or more, or overcrowding the property. The tenant will be advised about options for moving to a suitable property through transfer, exchange or where appropriate to the private sector. 2. There has been a substantial improvement in the household s financial circumstances (income or assets). Consideration will be given whether a new tenancy can be granted at an Affordable rent, or whether the household could afford accommodation in the local housing market including shared ownership, private renting and outright purchase. 3. An adapted property is no longer suitable for the household s needs, for example where adaptations have been provided for a disabled person who is no longer resident and the adaptations are no longer required. Where there are 3

4 other households needing this type of adapted accommodation the tenant will be advised about options for moving to a suitable property, for example a transfer or exchange. 4. The tenancy has not been conducted satisfactorily, for example the tenant has a history of anti-social behavior, serious rent arrears, or other serious breaches of tenancy. The Association will need to consider such decision is reasonable and proportionate. 5. Where the tenant is not engaging in the review and/or renewal process. The Association will consider any vulnerability issues and support needs. The onus is on the tenant to provide information and evidence to the Association in order that a decision can be made about whether to renew or end the tenancy. When considering the above mentioned situations, the Association will: Consider renewing the tenancy if a move would occur during the year a child in the household is to sit GCSE or A levels or equivalent. Not expect households with school age children to move to a location which would require a child to change schools (unless it suits them to do so). Not expect a household with specific needs to move to a location they are unable to access support networks and services on which they rely. Not expect a household in work or training to move to a new location if this would compromise their ability to travel to their work or training. Where the Association decides to end the tenancy the tenant must be given at least 6 months notice, stating the reasons why and giving a right to request a review of the decision. The Association will then need to give 2 months notice requiring possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act FIXED TERM TENANCY REVIEW PROCESS An applicant or tenant has the right to request a review of: The proposed length of any fixed term tenancy if the proposed length does not comply with this policy. This must be done within 28 days of the date of the offer of tenancy, however the tenant will need to accept the offer and start the tenancy as soon as the property is ready to let, which is likely to be prior to requesting a review or the outcome of the review being decided. The decision to end the tenancy and to seek possession of the property. This must be done within 28 days of the 6 months notice being issued. The appeal should be made to the Head of Housing Services, who will be provided with: A copy of the housing application and allocation decision; or A copy of relevant information and evidence provided by the tenant, the tenancy review form and decision to end the tenancy. 4

5 The decision will be provided in writing and reasons for the decision within 28 days of the review request being received by Aragon. MUTUAL EXCHANGE Aragon will continue to promote mutual exchanges to make best use of the housing stock. The Association grants Assured and Assured Shorthold Fixed Term tenants the right to exchange subject to written consent from the landlords. Assured tenants will continue to exchange by assignment of existing tenancies. Where an Assured tenant wishes to exchange with a Fixed Term tenant this may involve issuing new tenancies in accordance with Section 158 of the Localism Act SUCCESSION Succession rights are detailed in the tenancy agreement. For new tenancies from April 2013 succession rights will be limited to joint tenants, spouses or civil partners. No succession rights will be given to other household members, however where appropriate the Association will consider granting a new tenancy of the same property or a more suitable alternative property to vulnerable household members. OTHER RELATED POLICIES Asset Management Strategy Development Strategy Mutual Exchange Policy Rent Arrears Policy Starter Tenancy Policy Tenancy Changes Policy Tenancy Fraud Strategy MONITORING This policy will be monitored through the annual policy review programme. Customer consultation: June 2014 Equality Impact Assessment carried out: Initial screen Person responsible for review: Area Housing Manager Date of review: March

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