TENURE POLICY. 1.2 The Policy sets out the type of tenancy agreement we will offer when letting our properties for the following tenures.

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1 Part of the Trust s Tenancy Management Framework Level 1 policy approval TENURE POLICY 1. Introduction 1.1 The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust (the Trust) is a Registered Provider of homes. In accordance with the Homes and Communities Agency s (HCA) Tenancy Standard; the Trust will issue the most appropriate form of tenure compatible with the purpose of housing provision, the sustainability of the community and any other requirements consistent with the regulatory framework. 1.2 The Policy sets out the type of tenancy agreement we will offer when letting our properties for the following tenures. General needs Adapted accommodation Housing for older persons in Independent Living schemes It does not include shared ownership properties, Live Work Units or Commercial properties. 1.3 The objectives of this policy are to: Ensure we comply with all legal and regulatory requirements and standards Make the best use of housing stock, by ensuring that the right person is in the right home at the right time Encourage tenants to explore other housing options, such as low-cost home ownership or the private rented sector Help tackle specific housing management issues, such as anti-social behaviour (ASB) and/or other breaches of tenancy Target social housing so it meets the needs of the community, for example by addressing under-occupation of larger family accommodation Ensure tenancies granted are consistent, transparent and fair Assist mobility and respond to the changing needs of our tenants Reduce the impact where demand for social housing exceeds supply Co-operate with Local Authority partners in the development of their tenure strategies. 2. Background 2.1 The HCA s Regulatory Framework sets out the Tenancy Standard which requires Registered Providers to publish clear and accessible policies which outline their approach to Tenancy management. Tenure Policy Page 1 Version 1

2 2.2 Government policy has undertaken to protect the rights of existing tenants but for new tenants they have been clear that a social housing tenancy should not automatically be seen as a tenancy for life. 2.3 The Tenancy Standard enables Registered Providers the flexibility to grant fixed term tenancies for a term of no less than five years, in addition to a probationary period. 3. Tenancy 3.1 The type of tenancy issued by the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust will be influenced by a number of factors including; The date the agreement will commence The type of tenancy agreement, if any, held immediately prior to the new agreement being granted The tenure of property to be occupied e.g. supported, house in multiple occupation, temporary accommodation and general needs Restrictions arising from nomination agreements, deed title, covenants, S106 and any other planning consents and funding streams used to provide the accommodation. 3.2 Each tenant is issued with a Tenancy Agreement which contains rent and service charges (where applicable), and outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the Trust. The rent level charged for each property is determined in accordance with our Rent Policy. 3.3 Tenancies are determined by statute and the various types were introduced by the Housing Act 1988 and amended by the Housing Act 1996 and further amended by the Localism Act We make use of the following tenancy Types. Assured Shorthold Tenancies Assured Shorthold Fixed term Tenancies Assured Tenancy Licence agreements and Equitable Tenancies 3.4 Assured Shorthold Tenancies The Trust will continue to make use of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) for all new housing applicants who currently do not have an assured or secure tenancy. These tenancies are issued for a period of 12 months and AST agreements will include provision for a break clause to accelerate possession where there is a serious breach of the tenancy agreement Where a fixed term tenancy is to be offered for example with an Affordable Rent property a 12 month AST will be offered prior to the fixed term and is therefore in addition to the fixed term. Tenure Policy Page 2 Version 1

3 3.5 Assured Tenancy Most of our tenants hold Assured Tenancies. These are often referred to as lifetime tenancies because the tenant has security of living in the property for the rest of their life as long as they do not breach their tenancy agreement. 3.6 Assured Shorthold Fixed term Tenancies The Trust will make use of fixed term tenancies for all properties designated Affordable Rent (80% market rent) properties and in accordance with the Government s programme. These are normally let on a six year term consisting of an AST for one year and a fixed term of five years. This use of and designation of properties under this programme will be reviewed annually. 3.7 Licence Agreements We will continue to make use of licence agreements. These are used predominantly where there is a non statutory succession and are seeking suitable alternative accommodation. We also make use of licences for temporary moves such as decants where we require a tenant to move to another property temporarily in order to carry out improvement or repair works. In either scenario it allows the occupant to pay a fee for the use and occupation of the dwelling. 3.8 Equitable Tenancies The Trust will not usually grant tenancies to people under the age of 18 years for general needs housing as persons of this age cannot be legally held responsible for a tenancy under the Law of Property Act This Act prevents people under the age of 18 years holding a legal interest. However, the Act does not prevent minors from holding an equitable interest, such as an equitable tenancy Should a minor require re-housing then the tenancy will be granted an equity with the legal interest being held by a trustee on the minor's behalf. The trustee will also be the guarantor for the tenancy, helping to assist in sustaining the tenancy, accessing support and tackling issues relating to rent and tenancy management. We will regularly monitor such tenancies to ensure that when the minor reaches the age of 18 the tenancy is reviewed and amended accordingly. 3.9 Joint Tenancies Joint tenancies are normally offered to married couples, civil partners and people in a relationship who live together. Joint tenants share the same Tenancy Agreement and are both responsible for complying with the conditions of the agreement. We do not offer joint tenancies to siblings or friends living in the household. Joint tenancies apply to all tenancy types. 4. Mutual Exchanges 4.1 For mutual exchange tenancies which both started before 1st April 2012 (pre Localism Act 2011) are as follows: Secure tenants with protection have the right to exchange their tenancy by way of mutual exchange with another secure tenant or and assured tenant (social Tenure Policy Page 3 Version 1

4 tenant). In these cases the tenancies will effectively be swapped between tenants, with the tenancy remaining with the property rather than with the tenant. This mutual exchange must be by way of deed of assignment 4.2 For mutual exchange tenancies which both started after 1st April 2012 (post Localism Act 2011) are as follows: A tenant will surrender their tenancy and be granted the same tenancy for a different property. 4.3 If one tenancy started pre April 2012 and the other started post 1st April 2012 then an exchange is possible and this must be by way of surrender and re-grant. 5. Succession 5.1 Succession is dependent on whether it is statutory or contractual succession. For tenants with a tenancy start date before 16 July 2006 this will be in accordance with transfer promises and therefore contractual. For tenants after this date the Trust will deal with succession in accordance with relevant legislation. With either approach the Trust will grant statutory or contractual successors the original tenancy of the deceased resident. 5.2 The law on succession is that spouses, civil partners and couples living together as if they are a spouse or civil partner, have statutory succession rights, providing that they can submit evidence to confirm they are occupying the property as their sole and principal home at the time of the tenant s death. Legally there is only one right of succession. 5.3 If the tenancy agreement is an affordable rent agreement the successor will take on the remainder of the term and will be subject to the review at the end of the five year period. 6. Tenure Review for Affordable Rented tenancies. 6.1 The tenant will be informed at the start of the tenancy that specific criteria will be used as a means of reviewing the tenancy. At the review, which will be approximately eight months before the end of the tenancy, we will deem whether a new tenancy will be granted or the existing tenancy terminated. 6.2 The following criteria will be used as a means of determining if a new fixed term tenancy will be offered: There have been no breaches of tenancy e.g. any anti-social behaviour and the property has been maintained in good condition throughout the tenancy. There are no rent arrears. The home is still suitable for the households needs, e.g. is there a change to the size of the family (children have left home etc.) or that disabled adaptations within their property are no longer required. That joint household income does not amount to more than 100,000 a year. Tenure Policy Page 4 Version 1

5 6.3 When the review is undertaken the Trust will take into account the needs of those households who are vulnerable by reason of age, disability or illness and households with children for example. Where as part of the review process the Trust discovers that the size of the accommodation does not match the household requirements we will support the tenant to find alternative accommodation of a suitable size through the Choice Based Lettings scheme. 6.4 Where a new tenancy is to be offered we will advise the tenant approximately six months prior to the end of the original fixed term. Not less than two months before the end of original term we will serve a formal notice on the tenant ending the tenant s right to occupy after the end of the fixed term. At the same time we will enter into a new tenancy to run consecutively to ensure the household retains its rights as a fixed term tenant. 6.5 If the tenant s circumstances do not justify a renewal of the tenancy, the Trust will offer reasonable advice and assistance to those tenants where that tenancy ends. The Trust will provide details of all other housing options we have available at the time including low cost home ownership opportunities and shared ownership housing. In all instances if the tenancy is to be terminated at the end of the fixed term the tenant will be given six months notice. The tenant will be advised of a variety of housing options available to them including private landlords, estate agents operating in the locality and referral to the local council if they are eligible to join the waiting list. 7. Appeals 7.1 A resident can appeal to the Trust in relation to any decision contained within this Policy. This includes for example, not to offer another fixed term tenancy at the end of the tenancy term. The Appeal can be made in writing, by telephone or in person. This is to be considered by the Tenancy Services Manager in the first instance through the Trust s Housing Management Review Procedure. 8. Equality and Diversity 8.1 In accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy we will ensure that this policy is applied fairly and ensure we do not discriminate on the grounds of: Race Age Disability Religion or belief Gender reassignment Sexual orientation Sex Marriage and civil partnership Pregnancy and maternity 8.2 The implementation of procedures will be sensitive to the specific needs of the individual tenants in accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy. Tenure Policy Page 5 Version 1

6 9. How the Policy will be Implemented 9.1 The Tenancy Services Manager has responsibility for the implementation of this policy. 9.2 Relevant policies and procedures are in place to ensure that the details within this policy have been embedded within the organisation and taken forward. 10. Review 10.1 This policy will be reviewed in three years and as appropriate following changes in Government legislation and regulatory standards. 11. Legislation and other Documents 11.1 This policy is linked with a number of other policies within the Trust: Tenancy Management Policy Allocations Policy Rent Arrears Prevention & Recovery Policy Contact & Publication details Author Debbie Ruff Job title Tenancy Services Manager Phone Publication PUBLIC Tenure Policy Page 6 Version 1

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