To seek approval of the Tenancy Management Policy (report of the Portfolio Holder for HRA and Private Sector Housing and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for HRA and Private Sector Housing and Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151) which sought approval of the Tenancy Management Policy.
There was some discussion around how tenants were made aware of the regulations surrounding succession in social housing properties, and general changes to the Tenancy Management Policy. The Housing Services Manager confirmed that all tenants would be sent a letter, clearly explaining the rules around Successions as well as the Right to Buy. This would also include contact details for individual officers within the Housing team. It was stated that tenants could also contact the Housing Department directly with any queries
In order to inform the wider public on these issues, it was suggested that the Portfolio Holder work in conjunction with the Communications Manager and Housing Officers to provide an interview to the local Press.
1) That the Housing Tenancy Management Policy be adopted
2) That amendments to the appendices of the Policy and minor operational amendments be delegated to the Housing Landlord Services Manager in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for HRA and Private Sector Housing.
(Other options considered:
Reasons for decision:
To seek approval of the Tenancy Management Policy (report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health and Executive Director – Commercialisation (S151 Officer) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Commercialisation which sought approval of the Tenancy Management Policy.
South Holland District Council’s Housing Services Team managed approximately 4000 properties. The Tenancy Management Policy set out how the Team managed Introductory and Secure tenancies including: Succession, assignment and mutual exchange; Right to buy; Joint tenancies; Relationship breakdown; Running a business from home; Sub-letting and lodgers; Gardens; Infestations; Keeping animals and pets; Anti-Social Behaviour; Access; Abandonment; Disabled aids and adaptations; Termination of tenancies; Rent and use and occupation accounts; Other breaches of tenancy; Decanting to alternative accommodation; Management of introductory tenancies; Monitoring tenancies and the condition of properties; Safeguarding; Personal property and insurance; and Tenancy fraud.
The introduction of a Tenancy Management Policy and supporting procedures would ensure a consistent and transparent approach was delivered, and would be a point of reference for officers to base decisions on. Many items in the policy related to items prescribed by housing legislation.
Members considered the report, and the following issues were raised:
· Members commented that the succession of tenancies only seemed to allow one succession to a tenancy. Was there any flexibility to extend beyond this?
o Officers clarified that criteria for who could succeed a tenancy was dictated by Housing Law, and that the law stated that there could be only one automatic succession. It was also clarified that succession was linked to the tenancy, and not the property. It was important to consider how the Authority managed demand for housing.
· Members noted the information provided by officers, but requested that consideration be given to making succession less constrained by allowing succession to carry on beyond one.
· Members also stated that making tenancy succession more flexible could have an impact on housing stock and the ability to provide it to other people in need – any changes would need to balance these two issues.
o Officers responded that a policy for discretionary successions could be developed, but that it would be discretionary, and the succession would succeed the tenancy and not a property. It was difficult to adopt such a policy as they did not always operate as intended however, officers would consider the members’ request.
· Members were concerned that, with regard to joint tenancies, a joint tenant could serve a notice to end a joint tenancy, even without the knowledge or consent of the other joint tenant.
o Officers agreed that in some circumstances, this could be a cause for concern however, the ability to do this was detailed within the Housing Act, and the Authority could not override this legislation. If there was a joint tenancy, the Authority would ensure that the other party was aware of the situation, but could not stop notice being served on the tenancy.
· With regard to Joint to sole tenancy, members understood that a joint tenant could be removed from a joint tenancy – what would happen with the remaining tenant if they did not wish to end the tenancy?
o Officers advised that, ... view the full minutes text for item 24