Applying to buy your home through Right to Acquire

Applying to buy your home through Right to Acquire

Buying your housing association home with the Right to Acquire scheme is a simple process. First, youll need to ask your landlord if you qualify for the scheme. Find out what else you need to do and when. Your Right to Acquire application To start the process, ask your landlord for the Right to Acquire claim form (RTA1). You can also download the form from the link below. Complete and return the RTA1 form to…

Read More

Buying your council or housing association home – your options

Buying your council or housing association home – your options

If you’re a council or housing association tenant, there are government schemes in place to help you buy your home. You can use Right to Buy and Right to Acquire to buy your home at a discount. You need to have been a tenant for at least five years. Help buying your home the basics You can use the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes to buy your home at a discount on…

Read More

Council housing – evictions

Council housing – evictions

Your council will always take all reasonable steps to try to resolve tenancy or rent arrears problems. However, if all else fails, the council will apply to the courts to repossess a property. Reasons for eviction The most common ground for eviction is non-payment of rent, although it is possible for tenants breaching any other aspect of their tenancy agreement to be evicted. Once a possession order is obtained from the courts any application to…

Read More

Council housing – tenancy issues

Council housing – tenancy issues

Your council deals with a wide range of issues relating to its tenants. All councils have a policy, ruling how they allocate property and treat tenants. They aim to treat all tenants the same and will not discriminate against anyone. The Tenancy Agreement When someone moves into their council house, they receive a copy of the Tenancy Agreement. This clearly states what a tenant’s responsibilities are and outlines all of the conditions. These refer to…

Read More

Council rent, parking and other charges

Council rent, parking and other charges

Paying your council rent Information for council tenants about how you can pay your rent Setting rents for council housing Find out here how rents are set for council housing Insuring your council home and its contents Information for council tenants on insuring your council home and its contents Parking on council estates Information and advice on parking within social housing estates Rent arrears (money, tax and benefits section) Falling behind with your rent –…

Read More

Council tenants – your right to repairs

Council tenants – your right to repairs

What is the Right to Repair scheme? The ‘Right to Repair’ scheme grants Council tenants rights to have certain repairs done within prescribed time limits. These repairs fall broadly into two categories: minor repairs, which can be completed quickly and easily urgent repairs, which have the potential to affect health, safety or security. Council and Housing Association tenants should report repairs within a reasonable time of their discovery and certainly before the problem is exacerbated….

Read More

Decent Homes standard

Decent Homes standard

All property owned and managed by the council must meet the Decent Homes standard. To meet the standard, property must have reasonably modern facilities, be warm and weatherproof. Improving standards The government wants all social housing to be brought up to the Decent Homes standard by 2010. To improve its housing stock, some councils may need further investment to assist with the financial cost. Three schemes designed to help local councils are: transferring stock to…

Read More

Exchanging council homes

Exchanging council homes

If you are a council house tenant wanting to move home, you may be able to exchange your home with another council or housing association tenant – this is called mutual exchange. Find out about mutual exchange A mutual exchange gives council tenants the opportunity to live in the property and area that meets their needs. The process involves two or more tenants exchanging their homes. For tenants of registered social landlords (other local authorities…

Read More

FAQ 32 – I am homeless. What can I do?

FAQ 32 – I am homeless. What can I do?

The council should investigate why you became homeless. They may do this straight away, or ask you to return to their office at a later date. The council normally has 33 working days to make a decision. The council must tell you their decision in writing. If you think that the council have got it wrong you have the right to ask for this decision to be reviewed. Even if the council decides you are…

Read More

FAQ 34 – My house is part of a Council Stock Transfer. How does this affect me?

FAQ 34 – My house is part of a Council Stock Transfer. How does this affect me?

A ‘council stock transfer’ means that you change from being a secure tenant of the council to an assured tenant of a registered social landlord. Before a transfer can take place your new landlord must agree to offer a new assured tenancy agreement. Your new tenancy agreement specifies your rights and sets out details of the rent and any other charges, how often they will increase, and how much notice you must get of any…

Read More

Finding another socially rented home

Finding another socially rented home

If you are a social housing tenant there are a number of ways that you can apply to move home to another area. One alternative is to use a mobility scheme. Mobility schemes are designed to assist social housing tenants who wish to move within the social rented sector. Housing mobility schemes There are currently two housing mobility schemes: Seaside & Country Homes and LAWN and these are delivered by the housingmoves service on behalf…

Read More

Homelessness – getting help from your council

Homelessness – getting help from your council

You don’t have to be living on the streets to be considered homeless. You can be legally homeless if your home is unsuitable for you or you have no legal right to be there. Find out what help your council can give you if you’re homeless or at risk of losing your home. Homelessness and your council Homelessness Councils must ensure that free housing advice and information is available for everyone. They must also provide…

Read More

Housing allocation – general information

Housing allocation – general information

Your local council can allocate accommodation to you through a secure tenancy using its council housing stock. Councils can also nominate someone to be an assured tenant of a housing association home. Why do councils have housing allocation schemes? A council must have an allocations scheme which sets out the priorities and procedures for allocating housing. A council will: provide an application form to anyone who wishes to apply for housing assess whether someone who…

Read More

Housing allocation – points system

Housing allocation – points system

Councils must ensure priority for social housing goes to those in the greatest need. Some councils do this by using a points system. Points are awarded according to the circumstances and level of housing need. What are points? The law states that in allocating housing ‘reasonable preference’ must be given to certain categories of persons. These categories are: people who are homeless people living in insanitary, overcrowded or unsatisfactory housing people who need to move…

Read More

Housing allocation – rehousing decision appeals

Housing allocation – rehousing decision appeals

You can ask your council to review a decision to treat you as ineligible if you haven’t been given preference under the scheme due to ‘unacceptable behaviour’. This is behaviour serious enough to make a person unsuitable to be a tenant of the housing authority How to apply for a review If you think the decision is wrong you must write to the council. A senior officer who was not involved in the original decision…

Read More

Housing associations – how to apply

Housing associations – how to apply

Housing associations offer independent property for rent run by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). Find out how you can submit an application to be considered for housing association accommodation. Information on housing associations There are two routes you can take to be considered for a housing association property. You can apply directly to the relevant housing association or to your local council which may then ‘nominate’ you for a property. In both cases, you will have…

Read More

Housing associations – what they are

Housing associations – what they are

Housing associations offer housing to local people often to people on a low income or people who need extra support. Find out more about how they are run, the types of property they offer and applying for a housing association property. How housing associations work Housing associations are separate from councils, but often work closely with them to offer flats and houses to local people. For example, people who become housing association tenants may have…

Read More

Housing associations – what they are >> Council Housing

Housing associations – what they are >> Council Housing

Housing associations offer housing to local people often to people on a low income or people who need extra support. Find out more about how they are run, the types of property they offer and applying for a housing association property. How housing associations work Housing associations are separate from councils, but often work closely with them to offer flats and houses to local people. For example, people who become housing association tenants may have…

Read More

Housing options and your local council

Housing options and your local council

Your local council can tell you about its services and about care homes and supported or sheltered housing in your area. Your local council should also have a list of housing association properties in your area, and can advise you which ones may be suitable. Sheltered housing Sheltered housing properties have generally been built for older people and/or disabled people. The accommodation is usually self-contained flats or bungalows. They often have an alarm call system…

Read More

Housing renewal – funding for repairs and adaptations

Housing renewal – funding for repairs and adaptations

Local councils are able to provide discretionary assistance for housing renewal for householders. This may take the form of low cost loans and equity release, as well as grants to private homeowners and others to help them to renovate, repair or adapt their home. Home improvement grants for private householders Local authorities have a great deal of flexibility and freedom in providing discretionary assistance for repairs and adaptations. It is also for the local authority…

Read More

Housing repairs – communal areas and services

Housing repairs – communal areas and services

If you live in a house or block of flats with other tenants there will be areas and services of the property used by several people. Some areas or services will be your responsibility to repair and maintain while others will be fall to your landlord. What are communal areas and services? Communal areas are those areas of a house or a block of flats or a street or an estate which tenants have a…

Read More

Housing repairs – decoration and disturbance allowances

Housing repairs – decoration and disturbance allowances

You may be eligible for a payment to help with moving into a new home or to help decorate after the council has carried out work on your council home. In some cases the council will have to move you out of your property for a period of time. What is a decoration allowance? A decoration allowance is a payment made by the council to a tenant in two circumstances – where a tenant is…

Read More

Improvements and adaptations to a council property

Improvements and adaptations to a council property

Many tenants may wish to carry out improvements or alterations to their home. There will also be times when the council needs to make improvements to a home or to adapt a home to suit the needs of a person or the people who live there. What happens if you want to improve your home? Do you need to get permission? All council tenants have the right to improve their home but they will need…

Read More

Improving your council property

Improving your council property

Under your tenancy agreement, you have the right to carry out improvements to your council property, like fitting a new bathroom suite, replacing kitchen units or building a new fireplace. Do you need permission? Before carrying out any improvements or alterations to your property, you must ask your local council for permission (which, if granted, will be given in writing). Permission will not be unreasonably refused- a council will only refuse permission if the proposed…

Read More

Improving your council property yourself

Improving your council property yourself

If youre a council tenant you may want to carry out improvements to your property. The type of improvements you can do depends on what council tenancy you have. Find out more about carrying out work and when you need to get your councils permission. Check what kind of improvements you can make If youre unsure what type of improvements you can make – contact your council Find your local councilOpens new window The kind…

Read More

Insuring your council home and its contents

Insuring your council home and its contents

Councils are not responsible for insuring council tenants furniture or possessions. If you are a council tenant and believe that the council is responsible for damage to you or your possessions you may be able to make an insurance claim. What the council insures The council insures its council dwellings and, thus, in the case of a fire that destroyed a property the council would claim on its insurance for the cost of repairing the…

Read More

Introductory council tenancies

Introductory council tenancies

Many councils offer what is termed an ‘ introductory tenancy’. This is a 12 month probationary tenancy after which tenants may become a secure tenant, provided they meet the conditions of their tenancy agreement. Are you an introductory tenant? You are probably an introductory tenant if your council runs an introductory tenancy scheme (not all councils do run such a scheme), and you satisfy all of the following conditions: the council has given you a…

Read More

Leasehold tenants – who is responsible for what

Leasehold tenants – who is responsible for what

If you are a leaseholder of a council property, the council retains responsibility for the land on which the property is built, and the main structural elements of the building. During the lease, the tenant is responsible for everything within the property walls. What is a lease? A lease is a private contract between the leaseholder and the landlord. The lease sets out the contractual obligations and rights of the two parties. Although many leases…

Read More

Parking on council estates

Parking on council estates

Designated parking areas are provided on council housing estates. Find out what kind of vehicles can be parked in these areas. Rules and enforcement procedure may vary from council to council. Information on what vehicles can be parked in designated areas Tenants should not park any vehicle on the gardens of their property. Any vehicle (caravans, boats on trailers or commercial vehicles) apart from motor cars or motor bikes may not be parked in designated…

Read More

Paying your council rent

Paying your council rent

It is important to keep up to date with rent payments and seek help as soon as you have problems. Find out how your council can help you pay your rent if you have difficulties. Payment methods There are a number of ways to pay your rent such as at a Post Office, by Direct Debit, by cheque, Switch or debit card. Your council may also provide other payment options. Direct Debit is an easy…

Read More

Registering for a council property

Registering for a council property

Each local authority will have different criteria for entry to its housing register. Find out how you can apply for a council property. Apply to join the housing register You can apply to join a council’s housing register, even if you do not live in the area. However, councils are allowed to give people who already live in the area priority so contact the housing department of the relevant council. The following links will let…

Read More

Renting a council garage

Renting a council garage

If you wish to apply to rent a council garage, your local council may be able to help. Priority is usually given to existing council tenants. Find out more information about renting a council garage below. Applying for a council garage You need to contact your local council and ask for a garage application form. Once this form has been completed and returned, you are added to the waiting list and told when your turn…

Read More

Repairs and maintenance – council houses

Repairs and maintenance – council houses

If you live in a council house your council is responsible for certain types of maintenance and repairs to your home and building or estate. Find out how to request repairs, how long they should take, what your responsibilities are and how to complain about your council. Repairs and your responsibilities as a tenant Your council is not responsible for all repairs and maintenance. Youre likely to be responsible for things like: fixing a curtain…

Read More

Repairs and maintenance – council houses >> Council Housing

Repairs and maintenance – council houses >> Council Housing

If you live in a council house your council is responsible for certain types of maintenance and repairs to your home and building or estate. Find out how to request repairs, how long they should take, what your responsibilities are and how to complain about your council. Repairs and your responsibilities as a tenant Your council is not responsible for all repairs and maintenance. Youre likely to be responsible for things like: fixing a curtain…

Read More

Secure council tenancies

Secure council tenancies

Where councils operate an introductory tenancy scheme you will automatically become a secure tenant after 12 months, provided you don’t breach the conditions of your tenancy. Your rights as a secure tenant As a secure tenant you have the right , subject to meeting any applicable criteria or gaining the requisite approval to: live in your home for the rest of your life as long as you continue to comply with the requirements of your…

Read More

Setting rents for council housing

Setting rents for council housing

Each council is responsible for setting the level of rent that it charges its tenants. Find out how your council sets the rent it charges what is included, where the money goes and how to challenge rent increases. How your rent is set Housing associations and councils charge similar levels of rent for properties of a similar size, condition and location, regardless of landlord. The level of the rent is determined by how much your…

Read More

Tenancy agreements – changes and transfers

Tenancy agreements – changes and transfers

When you are allocated a council home, you should be asked to sign a tenancy agreement before moving in. This agreement is very important and should set out much of the detail of what the council and tenant agree to do while the tenancy is in operation. Find out how to request a change in your agreement. The tenancy agreement The tenancy agreement should outline: the council’s obligations to tenants, like carrying out repairs the…

Read More

Tenant organisations

Tenant organisations

If you are a council or housing association tenant you can play an active role in how your home or estate is run. There are grants available to help train you and develop the skills and knowledge you may need Getting involved in where you live This can be anything from: organising community events or projects collecting rent and service charges organising repairs and maintenance making sure buildings are kept clean and tidy Types of…

Read More