Northampton Defend Council Housing (NDCH) NOTE:
The government added some last minute clauses to the housing and planning bill to prevent local authorities offering new tenants long term tenancies. It was somewhat surprising to see such major changes added to the bill on its last day of committee scrutiny.
The new measures would only permit local authorities to issue new tenancies of 2-5 years, except in very limited (and undefined) circumstances. All households would be reviewed 6-9 months before the end of the fixed term and the council would have to decide whether to renew the tenancy, move them to a new home, or terminate. Measures will also prevent relatives inheriting a lifetime tenancy when a tenant dies.
We NDCH will be watching has the bill makes it way to becoming law and highlighting the changes that will be made to what currently takes place
Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) have provided the current position:-
NPH’s purpose is to provide homes which enable people to live happy and healthy lives in enriched communities – so our tenants really are the reason we are here.
The main types of tenancies that the council can now grant are secure tenancies, flexible (secure) tenancies and introductory tenancies. The type of tenancy we will offer you will depend on your circumstances.
If you are elderly (i.e. at state retirement age or older) you will be offered a secure lifetime tenancy. Households with a disabled person (i.e. who qualifies for Mobility Level 1 or 2 on the Housing Register) will also be offered a secure lifetime tenancy. Families (including single parent households) will be normally be offered a flexible tenancy of 5 years. All tenancies will be introductory for the first year.
Please note: Existing tenants who move to another social rented home will be granted a tenancy with no less security of tenure when they move. However if an existing tenant chooses to move to an affordable rent property, they may have to pay a higher rent.
New tenants will initially be offered an introductory tenancy for 12 months.
If you have an introductory tenancy you must:
- pay your rent on time
- look after your home
- abide by your conditions of your tenancy agreement
- not behave anti-socially, cause a nuisance or harass other people, our staff or contractors – this includes other household members, guests and visitors.
Whilst you have an introductory tenancy you cannot:
- buy your home
- take in lodgers sub-let part of your home
- make alterations
- exchange your home with another tenant (a mutual exchange)
We will monitor your tenancy and if there are no problems in the introductory period, the tenancy automatically becomes flexible or secure. If the tenancy is not conducted in a satisfactory manner, because of breaches of tenancy conditions, we can extend your introductory tenancy for a further 6 months or begin proceedings for repossession of your property. This means you could be evicted.
If you have an introductory tenancy and are struggling to pay your rent, it is really important that you talk to us as any level of arrears can lead to the loss of an introductory tenancy.
A flexible tenancy will usually be offered for a 5 year period and follow on from an initial 12 month introductory tenancy. In exceptional circumstances we will offer a 2 year flexible tenancy and the reasons for this are set out within the Tenancy Policy. A flexible tenancy is still a secure tenancy but unlike a lifetime secure tenancy it will usually last for a fixed period of time.
If you hold a flexible tenancy you will have the same rights as those tenants that hold a secure tenancy apart from the right to make improvements and the right to compensation for improvements.
If you are offered a flexible tenancy you can seek a review about the length of the term of the tenancy that you have been offered. If you choose to do this you must do so within 21 days of receiving the offer notice. You may attend a review in person or submit a written request.
We will visit you at home 12 months before your flexible tenancy is due to end. The purpose of this visit is to check on your circumstances and consider all other relevant factors such as the conduct of your tenancy and the condition of the property. We will decide whether you are to be granted either a further flexible tenancy or not, or whether you are to be granted a lifetime secure tenancy. If you are granted a further tenancy is may not necessarily be at the same property.
If you are not going to be granted a further tenancy you have the right to seek a review of our decision. You must request a review within 21 days of being given notice of our decision.
If it is decided you are not going to be granted a further tenancy then we will serve you with a notice at least 2 months before your tenancy is due to end.
If you are offered a secure tenancy, it will become secure after the introductory period if there has been no breach of tenancy. This means that your tenancy has no fixed end date and you are entitled to stay in your home for as long as you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement. You will also acquire additional rights such as the Right to Buy and being able to exchange your home.
If you had a secure or assured tenancy with another council or a housing association immediately before you moved into your current home it is likely you will be given a secure tenancy from the start.