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Questions and answers

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Ask a question There are 87 articles in this section and 347 articles in total.


Unit costs for ASB

  • Have you undertaken a unit costing exercise in respect of ASB. At Hullcc we want to try and work out how much each enforcement action costs e.g. informal warnings, NOSP's, NOPP's, Demotion, Eviction etc. If you have any information that you are able to share with us I would be very grateful.
    (Anita Gunderson, Hull City Council,, 01482 612053)
    Anita Gunderson Answers (0)

Sheltered housing fire safety

  • Are there any sheltered housing providers who are using residents to act as fire wardens to reset fire alarm panels once the fire service have attended? If so, can you offer any advise on how you have set this up?

    Many thanks

    (Steve Tredwell, Vale of Aylesbury Housing,, 01296 732692)
    Steve Tredwell Answers (0)

Direct Debit promotions

  • We have run a number of Direct Debit promotions as part of our Welfare Reform preparations with limited success. Has anyone run any promotions / initiatives that have proved to be successful for their organisation? If so I would be very interested to know what you did and the results. Thanks

    (Georgie Standring, Orbit Group Limited,, 01788566469)
    Georgie Standring Answers (0)

Rewarding staff

  • I am carrying out some desktop research as to how other housing organisations/support providers reward their staff teams/individuals? I am particularly interested in those that use an appraisal system linked to pay reward or performance related pay? I would really like to hear from people who have innovated and developed other ways of rewarding staff. I am developing a paper for our Board looking at how we should reward our 100 plus staff spread across maintenance, neighbourhoods, support and finance teams?

    I would be grateful if you can provide me with any information on the above (policies/procedures/protocols/initiatives and reward amounts and how they have impacted upon staff and teams).

    (Chris Leek, Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing,, 07582 003687)
    Chris Leek Answers (0)

Housing organisational structure

  • I am carrying out some desktop research as to how other housing organisations housing service and housing delivery teams are structured and whether you are changing your delivery structure in the light of welfare reform and the onset of Universal Credit.

    I would be grateful if you can provide me with any information on the structure of your housing service. I am not particularly looking for numbers (although these are always appreciated).

    Thank you

    (Jane Medforth, Hull City Council,, 01482 612418)
    Jane Medforth Answers (0)

New tenant visits

  • Does your organisation visit all new tenants within a certain time period (eg, six weeks) into their tenancy to check that they have settled in and that there are no problems or support needs?

    If so, do you have a problem with non access and what steps do you take to eradicate this?

    (Dawn Statham, North Tyneside MBC/Homes,, 0191 6437915)
    Dawn Statham Answers (0)

Pets Policy for Elderly

  • Can anyone please advise if you are able to assist & 'share' your policies regarding pets within elderly tenants complexes / flats / bungalows? I would very much appreciate it if you could e-mail me with any advice / assistance / policies.

    Many thanks in advance.
    (R Adams, Nuneaton and Bedworth BC,, 02476376376)
    R Adams Answers (1)

Unused tap checks

  • We want to make sure that we keep our customers protected against legionella and at the moment we carry out weekly checks by running any unused taps.

    Does anyone carry out such checks in customer's flats either in rented or leasehold accommodation, where they are away for more than seven days? If so, how do you agree access?

    (Michelle Robinson, Anchor Trust,, 07771 831404)
    Michelle Robinson Answers (0)

Do you reward your customers?

  • Do you run an incentive/reward scheme for your customers? If so, I'd like to hear from you. We run a scheme internally and would be happy to share our details and compare schemes with a view to improving it.

    I am particularly interested in hearing what you reward customers for and how you go about it.


    (Beverley Horner, Orbit Group Limited,, 01788 566484)
    Beverley Horner Answers (0)

No Fixed Abode

  • I am currently working on a project for tackling tenancy fraud - obtaining a tenancy by deception.

    I am looking at our categories NFA (No fixed abode) and cross matching them with other data that we hold on them within the council database.

    I would like to know if anyone has a definition of NFA that they use?

    Has anyone else done any work on obtaining a tenancy by deception and if so I would be very interested in how you are preventing this.


    (Kerrie Lammiman, Hull City Council,, 01428 612062)
    Kerrie Lammiman Answers (0)


  • I am the Stock Untilisation Development Officer at Hull City Council and I am looking into promoting "lodgers" in social housing.

    Have any authorities promoted lodgers? If so, what have you done and have you considered the safeguarding issues? Are you targeting a particular housing group i.e. single tenants in 2 bed flats?


    (Kerrie Lammiman, Hull City Council,, 01428 612062)
    Kerrie Lammiman Answers (0)

Garage Tenancy Agreement

  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council have garages aross the borough which are rented to council and private tenants. We are in the process of reviewing our garage tenancy agreement and would like to know the terms and conditions that other authorities include in their garage tenancy agreements.

    I would really appreciate it if you could email me a copy of your garage tenancy agreement.


    (Sanjiv Pooni, Nuneaton and Bedworth BC,, 024 76376126)
    Sanjiv Pooni Answers (0)

Client Service Level Agreement

  • We are in the process of outsourcing our tenancy management team where we will be their client. I have been given the task to write a Service Level Agreement between my section, Income Recovery (who will remain part of the Council) and Tenancy Management. Has anyone completed a similar type of exercise?

    (Herbbie Clarke, Hammersmith and Fulham LB,, 02087535579)
    Herbbie Clarke Answers (0)

Charging tenants for mutual exchanges

  • Is anyone re-charging their tenants for the cost of gas and electrical checks on mutual exchanges? Or charging an administration fee?

    If so, have you had any complaints from tenants and has charging reduced the number of abortive exchanges? Do you waive/reduce the charge for any particular groups?

    (Carol Hall, Aldwyck Housing Group,, 01582 869280)
    Carol Hall Answers (0)

Selling former tenant arrears

  • Claire Rowlands

    Has anyone ever sold their former tenant arrears debt to a debt purchasing company?

    I am interested in the cost and legal implications and also which debt companies specialise in working with social housing / local authorities.

    (Claire Rowlands, South Tyneside Homes,, 0191 426 8392)
    Claire Rowlands Answers (0)

Pets and leaseholders

  • Were developing our pet policy at the moment and the intention is that we will limit the number of pets people living in different properties can have and, for some properties (eg, flats with communal entrances only) we are only permitting one caged animal (ie, no cats or dogs).

    One major issue weve come up against is how we deal with leaseholders. Weve got no problem having a pet policy that applies to tenants and applicants for housing as we can change the tenancy agreement and our lettings criteria. However, we have a number of different leases that all say different things. This means we would have to ask each leaseholder to agree to a variation of their lease or try to impose a change which is not really viable financially.

    Obviously this will cause some friction, especially if tenants are told they cannot house particular animals but leaseholders are free to do so.

    Can anyone else offer any advice on how they deal with leaseholders and pets?

    (Emma Garland, North Lincolnshire Homes,, 01724 298647)
    Emma Garland Answers (1)

Successful promotion of mutual exchanges

  • In light of the impending welfare reform changes, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing are exploring options for making the best use of its housing stock including the potential to maximise the effective use of mutual exchanges.

    Have any organisations done any active promotion of their schemes to this end or got examples of effective partnership working with HAs/other housing providers in their area?

    I would be grateful for any new ideas or guidance as to how we could promote this in order to support tenants currently threatened by the advent of legislative change.


    (Vicki Haslam, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing,, 01706 273804)
    Vicki Haslam Answers (1)

Managing crash pads for young people

  • Derby Homes is working towards a partnership with our local YMCA on a scheme to enable vulnerable young people to stay in our properties for a short time (as little as a week or shorter) as part of a multi-agency support package enabling them to get back on their feet.

    There are lots of potential risks with such schemes. Therefore we'd be grateful to hear from other landlords who may operate established crash-pad schemes - in particular we'd be grateful if other landlords could share their practices, management agreements or protocols with us concerning such schemes.

    (Mark Crown, Derby Homes,, 01332 888595)
    Mark Crown Answers (0)

Home loss payments - double decanting

  • It is our policy to offer permanent moves to decanting tenants. In exceptional circumstances we may have to move tenants into temporary accommodation before finding them a permanent home. Our approach is to grant assured shorthold tenancies and serve a S21 notice, but allowing the AST to rollover until a permanent home is found.

    My question is whether there is a legal requirement [under the Land Compensation Act 1973] to pay a second home loss payment if the length of occupation of the temporary home lasts for more than a year?

    (Mark Slowikowski, Islington & Shoreditch HA,, 020 7704 7351)
    Mark Slowikowski Answers (0)

Specialist rent team structures

  • Rochdale Boroughwide Housing is currently undergoing a re-structure, moving away from generic area-based service delivery towards more specialist teams.

    Would any organisation be prepared to share the following information in relation to its rent collection/arrears team structure?

    - Structure charts
    - Number of properties managed
    - Current total rent arrears
    - Job descriptions
    - Arrears policy.

    (Nigel Allan, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing,, 01706 273832)
    Nigel Allan Answers (0)

Sign up benchmarking

  • We are reviewing our sign-up process and would like to know how other organisations carry them out quickly without compromising essential steps.

    Our pack is currently made up of a series of forms and leaflets which have evolved over time and a sign-up currently takes approximately one hour 30 minutes to complete, including carrying out a financial assessment.

    We would like to streamline this process and possibly introduce a sign-up DVD.

    Please let us know if you have an efficient sign-up process that you would be willing to share and help us with some of our questions:

    Are there any checks or processes, eg, financial assessments which you carry out beforehand?

    Does anyone use a sign-up DVD? Do you give these to residents or just show them to them?

    Do you carry out group sign-ups?

    Do you use any new/mobile technology to carry out sign-ups?

    Have you found any other innovative ways to reduce sign-up time?

    Has anyone ever carried out or considered benchmarking tenancy completion with the private sector?

    We would be very grateful to hear from you. If you wish to contact us directly, please contact Janki Tank at or Alex Turner at

    (Alexandra Turner, Family Mosaic Housing,, 020 7089 1120)
    Alexandra Turner Answers (2)

Home contents insurance

  • Has anyone made home contents insurance a condition of tenancy or levied a mandatory service charge for it? If so, has there been any problems?

    (Mark McGee, Berneslai Homes,, 01226 772740)
    Mark McGee Answers (5)

Mutual exchanges on rural exception sites

  • 1. Have any housing associations or councils encountered problems with tenants wishing to mutually exchange from a property built on a rural exceptions site?

    2. Have housing associations removed the right to mutual exchange for those properties built on rural exceptions sites, or have they kept the right in?

    3. If they have removed the right have they encountered any problems following this removal?

    Id be grateful for any advice/contact on this subject.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (2)

Charging for the administration of mutual exchanges

  • Derby Homes is exploring the possibility of making charges to tenants when a mutual exchange takes place.

    What we'd like to know is:

    1 Are there any organisations who already do this, and if so, how? For example, what elements of the process do you charge for? Would it also be possible to give us examples of the sort of charges you make?

    2 Can any organisations share with us any cost saving measures they have found to be effective in the management of mutual exchanges?

    Thank you in anticipation.

    (Mark Crown, Derby Homes,, 01332 888595)
    Mark Crown Answers (1)

Tracing former customers

  • Could any organisations share their practices with regards to tracing former customers? We currently refer to a tracing and collection agency, but I am keen to see if we can reduce costs, perhaps bringing this in-house via Experian or some other alternative.

    I am particularly interested to hear from organisations who do not benefit from being able to directly access council/HB information to trace customers.

    If you do this in house, what methods do you use, what does it cost and what would you estimate your success rate to be?

    (Lee Steele, Orbit Group Limited,, 01788 566480)
    Lee Steele Answers (4)

Household members away at university/college

  • In respect of allocations, how do you consider family members who are studying away from their principal/parental home, but are on the application for rehousing with the household? Does anyone have a policy/practice on this, please, in respect of bedroom entitlement, etc?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (5)

Rescinding termination notices

  • I would like to find out from other social landlords how they handle withdrawals of termination notices from tenants. Can anyone let me know:

    1. Do you allow terminations to be rescinded?

    2. If yes, is this based on working practices or legal advice? If you have a policy, I would appreciate it if you could forward it to me. If you don't have a policy, what criteria do you apply before accepting the withrawal of termination?

    Thank you

    (Kala Parmar, Leicester City Council,, 0116 2526255)
    Kala Parmar Answers (1)

Verification of housing applications

  • We have been working on the verification process for our housing applicants, and would like to know what evidence, if any, other providers take for overcrowding points? Do you accept the stated circumstances as correct? Do you have a home visit for every case with overcrowding points? Do you request any other evidence for overcrowding? Also, have you experienced any issues with people taking advantage of the points system relating to overcrowding, and how did you overcome this?

    (Ash Reid, Langstane HA,, 01224 423 107)
    Ash Reid Answers (8)

Anti-social behaviour service user survey

  • We are looking to launch a new policy and procedure for anti-social behaviour (ASB). As part of this we are looking to introduce service user surveys, which will be sent to victims of ASB once a case is closed by the housing management team.

    Does anyone currently do this? And if so would you be willing to share a copy of your survey with me?

    Thank you

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443 384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (22)

Tenant/resident resource centre

  • I am looking to start a new resource centre for our community groups.

    I would like to hear from organisations that have such a facility. I am interested in finding out how it is funded and I am particularly interested in the idea of charging a tenant levy on rents - has anyone else done this? If so, is it a compulsory levy? Does anyone charge a membership fee?

    If you cover a large geographical area, how did you decide where to have your centre? Is it well used?

    I am also interested in learning people's experiences.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (2)

Housing board

  • We are a stock retention council and as part of our new TSA work are looking at setting up some new governance arrangements to give tenants a role in actively managing the service.

    We currently have a panel of councillors (which in turn reports to the council's executive committee) which is attended by two members of our tenants' forum, but they have no voting rights.

    We are interested in setting up a housing board governance arrangement and would be grateful for any advice from colleagues.


    (Nick Gowrley, Mid Suffolk District Council,, 01449 724 804)
    Nick Gowrley Answers (4)

Sheltered housing - resident manager service vs alternatives

  • The Trust is currently reviewing the resident manager service provided at one of its sheltered housing schemes.

    We are considering the possibility of moving away from the traditional resident manager service and replacing it with a concierge-type service in the hope that the new service can be in part funded by Supporting People and Housing Benefit. The reason for doing so is because the local authority is unable to commit to future funding of the scheme.

    I am therefore keen to hear from other providers who have reviewed their service in favour of the concierge-type service or another alternative service.

    The scheme consists of 34 flats, with varying degrees of vulnerability within the scheme and a three-bedroom service flat which would need to be brought into the equation.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


    (Angie Newby, Richmond Upon Thames Churches Housing Trust,, 02084 818 961)
    Angie Newby Answers (2)

Gypsy and Traveller site management

  • We own and manage an existing G&T site. We are interested in involving the Gypsy and Traveller community in managing the existing site.

    We are interested in seeing how this has been done elsewhere, and learning about any housing associations or organisations who are involved in site management.

    (Neil Davies, Sefton Met Borough Council,, 0151 934 4837)
    Neil Davies Answers (3)

Garage sites

  • We are in the very early stages of considering the options available to use for our garage sites.

    I'd like to hear from anyone who has undertaken a review of their garage sites. Does anyone have a garage strategy? Or, if you have any other specific knowledge on this subject, please get in touch.

    (Vickie Bailey, Orbit Heart of England,, 07879 481 166)
    Vickie Bailey Answers (9)

Designing a new assured tenancy agreement

  • Would anyone be able to email me copies of their assured tenancy (protected), assured tenancy and assured shorthold tenancy agreements? We are in the process of updating ours and are looking for examples that we can model our new tenancy agreements on.

    Many thanks

    (Susie Moloney, North Lincolnshire Homes,, 01724 298 834)
    Susie Moloney Answers (3)

Former tenant arrears

  • The City of York Council is currently reviewing their former tenant arrears procedure.

    How do other organisations deal with a current tenant who has a former tenant debt which is not being addressed. The current tenancy also has rent arrears on it and legal action is being taken, advice given etc etc.

    Do you write the debt off the former debt or continue to pursue?



    (Joanne Whitehouse, City of York Council,, 01904 554 101/551 277)
    Joanne Whitehouse Answers (1)

Gas safety inspection procedures

  • We are developing a new gas safety inspection procedure and hoping that some of you would share your procedures, particularly how you tackle tenants that do not respond to correspondence and allow access to undertake the safety check.

    We have been advised by our legal department of three options which do not include forced entry; however, we would also be interested to know the views of those of you who do use forced entry and the impact this may have had on your tenants and/or organisation.

    Many thanks
    Jayne Bough

    (Jayne Bough, Redditch Borough Council,, 01527 64252 ext 3131)
    Jayne Bough Answers (9)

Advertising media for CBL

  • I am interested in how other ALMOs and registered providers advertise their properties via CBL. We currently use local newspapers in addition to posting our advert on our own website. We want to withdraw from newspaper advertising as it is very expensive. Does anyone have any experience of this change in process? I am particularly interested in how you managed this transition, especially for vulnerable applicants with no access to the internet at home.

    (Maria Brambles, Newark and Sherwood Homes,, 01636 655273)
    Maria Brambles Answers (3)

Behaviour change

  • There is a Greater Manchester group researching behaviour change in relationship to energy usage in housing. This group is aiming to produce recommendations with examples of experiences and good practice for a report to be produced early in 2011.

    If you know of or have examples or experiences you would be able to contribute, please contact me.

    (Peter Smith, St Vincents Housing Association,, 0161 772 2162)
    Peter Smith Answers (2)

Storage of materials and fire safety

  • We have included a condition in our draft tenancy agreement regarding the storage of materials and fire safety in respect of flats.

    Does anyone have a procedure on this that they would be willing to share, please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (2)

Pre-tenancy workshops

  • I would love to hear from any organisations running pre-tenancy workshops. What groups of applicants are they aimed at? How are they funded? And what do the workshops cover?

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (5)


  • Can anyone share with us any guides/procedures they have in place on the use of interpretation/translation and other formats, particularly relating to practical housing management please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (3)

Lodgers and sub-letting

  • Does anyone have a policy and procedure specific to tenants taking in lodgers and legal sub-letting, which they would be willing to share please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (1)

Support plans

  • Does anyone have a support plan written into your tenancy agreement, and/or a standard of which you would be prepared to share please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (2)

Termination of a tenancy

  • When a tenancy is terminated, when do you receive the keys for the property? Do you change the locks once the keys are returned? Do you allow a tenant up to a week to move from one property to another? Should we move to termination on a given date without any leeway between termination date and handover of keys?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    (David Sewell, Derwentside Homes,, 01207 524209)
    David Sewell Answers (13)

Improving and maintaining neighbourhoods strategy/policy

  • Has anyone recently written or updated a policy and/or strategy on maintaining and improving neighbourhoods on housing estates?

    If so, I would like to hear from you and would be grateful for a copy of your document if possible.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (3)

Responsible dog ownership day

  • We have a number of issues with dogs on an estate that we manage, specifically, with tenants/residents letting their dogs foul the area.

    We are looking to hold a responsible dog ownership day in partnership with Dogs Trust and Liverpool City Council.

    I am looking to promote this event and would be grateful to hear from anyone who has held anything similar has any advice on how best to promote it to tenants, ie, leaflet drop, door knocking or any other ideas that have proved successful in your area.

    (Kate Gore, South Liverpool Housing,, 0151 285 5614)
    Kate Gore Answers (3)

Local connection and mutual exchanges

  • We have recently had two housing associations with whom we work seeking clarification about mutual exchanges where there is a Section 106 agreement in place which includes a specific local connection criteria for the allocation of properties. In both cases the person with whom the existing tenant wishes to exchange does not meet the stipulated local connection criteria. There are only ten grounds for refusal to a mutual exchange and there is only ground 8 that might be useable to refuse such an exchange - unless anyone knows different? The housing schemes in question have been developed in partnership with parish councils, with an undertaking to have the schemes for local people. Any suggestions gratefully received.
    (Julie Abbey-Taylor, Mid Suffolk District Council,, 01449 724782)
    Julie Abbey-Taylor Answers (1)

Sheltered housing and dementia

  • Our lettings manager, Clare Dowds, would like to know of anyone who has commissioned a sheltered or extra care scheme specifically for those suffering from dementia?

    If you have, how have you dealt with issuing tenancies to those who may not have full mental capacity?

    Thank you

    (Simon Aslett, Milton Keynes Council,, 01908 679250)
    Simon Aslett Answers (3)

Garden maintenance lists

  • Do you have a policy which supports a tenant garden list maintenance scheme please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614 208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (3)

Dogs in flats

  • We are having a particular issue with dogs in flats; tenants have acquired dogs without the landlord's permission. Also, historically, permission has been granted to tenants where individuals in flats have their own access to their property.

    How is everyone else dealing with this issue?

    (Jane Beard, Nuneaton and Bedworth BC,, 02476 376 312)
    Jane Beard Answers (1)

Compulsory payment of rent on sign-up

  • Does anyone stipulate that rent must be paid on sign-up (where there is a liability) or a fully completed HB form is supplied with supporting proofs?

    What happens if a tenant fails to turn up for the viewing with the rent or HB info?
    Has this approach effected void turn over times?

    Has any landlord seen any positive or negative effects that they would be willing to share with us?

    (Joanne Whitehouse, City of York Council,, 01904 554101/551277)
    Joanne Whitehouse Answers (1)

Tenancy audits

  • For those authorities undertaking tenancy audits, what strategies and/or procedures do you have for gaining access to do the visits? And what is your level of success?

    Kind regards

    Sam Webster

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (3)

Equality and diversity measures

  • I would be grateful if members could share what equality and diversity measures are used in relation to gas safety and lettings services. We capture data and set targets for ethnicity, but not for any of the other E&D strands at present.

    (Julie Evans, Curo,, 01225 366142)
    Julie Evans Answers (1)

Young people and involvement

  • From our customer profile we have a large group of 16- to 30-year-old tenants. We are drafting a young people's strategy and thinking about how we can get young people involved. Has anyone else targeted this group of customers and if so, would they be willing to share their methodology, experience and outcomes?


    (Amanda Tattershall, Paradigm HG,, 01494 588266)
    Amanda Tattershall Answers (2)

Customer satisfaction in sheltered housing

  • We are currently looking to identify satisfaction amongst our sheltered housing tenants, particularly regarding the wardens and lifeline service and our call centre. We will be doing this through the tenant inspectors' programme we are currently developing which will include surveying our tenants. Does anyone already carry out this type of survey? If so, would it be possible to receive examples of the surveys?

    Kind regards

    (Kelly Haden, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533606)
    Kelly Haden Answers (1)

Tenancy status

  • Following an eviction of a secure tenant for rent arrears the former tenant finds the cash to clear the debt in full and the local authority agrees to re-instate them in the same property but on a new tenancy. There would only be a short break between termination and commencement of the new tenancy.

    Should the tenancy be an introductory tenancy or another secure tenancy?

    (Roger Ayre, Selby District Council,, 01757 292077)
    Roger Ayre Answers (12)

Local lettings plans

  • We are looking to increase our use of local lettings plans, particularly linked to employment. Has anyone got any examples that they would be willing to share?

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (2)

Gardening service provision

  • I would be interested to hear from other members if their organisation provides a gardening service for residents, ie, hiring scheme for garden tools, contractors for gardening service? Handyman service? Costs?

    Any information would be really appreciated.

    (Gill Whitmore, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533824)
    Gill Whitmore Answers (4)

Anti-social behaviour

  • 1 We are reviewing our ASB policy and procedure and wondered if anyone else has recently completed this exercise and produced a policy and procedure that they would be willing to share with us? Also, have you had this policy/procedure SLCNG accredited?

    2 We are looking to purchase a new system for recording ASB data and wondered if anyone else has recently undergone such an exercise. We would also like to hear from anyone who has such a system in place and their experience of using it.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (1)

Tenant information pack

  • We are looking to review our tenant information pack in terms of the information it contains and also its format. Has anyone else recently completed such an exercise?

    We would like to hear from anyone willing to share a copy of their current tenant information pack which has recently been reviewed.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (1)

New assured tenancies - rent increases

  • When housing associations issue new assured tenancies, how soon thereafter do they increase rents?

    What clause(s) do they insert in their tenancy agreements?

    (Glenn Plews, York Housing Association,, 01904 636061)
    Glenn Plews Answers (1)

Appliances in void kitchens

  • Currently when we have a void we remove any appliances left by the previous tenant. This extends to removing over bath electric showers fitted by tenants. We understand that some orginisations leave appliances for the next tenant and would be very intersted to hear how safety issues are dealt with when applicances are passed on? Also how do you deal with repairs to the appliances?

    (Philip I'Anson, Warwick District Council, philip.i', 01926 450644)
    Philip I'Anson Answers (1)

Voids performance monitoring

  • We are currently reviewing our performance on void re-let times and I am interested to understand how other housing providers calculate the overall void times.

    (Jayne Bough, Redditch Borough Council,, 01527 64252 ext 3131)
    Jayne Bough Answers (1)

Housing allocations and employment

  • Wealden are currently exploring the possibility of introducing a policy whereby certain allocations will be targeted at those in employment.

    I would love to hear from anyone who already has such a policy in place.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (1)

Management of temporary accommodation

  • We are a LSVT authority - but have retained management of a number of hostels for temporary accommodation. We are looking for an affordable rent acounting IT system for around 60 units and maybe 200-300 sundry debtors. None of the mainstream IT systems seem to cater for such a small number of units. Can anyone suggest what products might be available?

    (Stephen Tingley, B3 Living Limited,, 01992 785522)
    Stephen Tingley Answers (1)

Utility suppliers - empty property management

  • We are considering procuring an energy supplier to maintain power supplies while the property is empty. This will help complete void repairs, check and test, etc, and help the new customer. If you have procured an energy supplier, would you please share your tender specification, to help us cover all the issues?

    Please contact if you require any further information.

    Thank you


    (Paul Bishop, Hull City Council,, (01482) 614470)
    Paul Bishop Answers (1)

Digital TV as a service charge

  • At Colchester we are implementing digital TV receivers in 2010.

    As a local authority we have un-pooled the majority of our service charges previously and are now considering how to re-charge the costs of digital receivers to tenants and leaseholders?

    I would welcome any thoughts on how you have applied this as a service charge.

    If like Colchester you are planning to implement over a year, are you proposing to introduce a service charge in the same year?

    Thanks for any help

    (Rachel Eley, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 282333)
    Rachel Eley Answers (1)

What do you give to new tenants in their welcome packs?

  • We are currently revising the welcome packs we give to new tenants and are interested to see what other housing associations give to their new and existing tenants.

    Any starter or welcome packs would be gratefully recieved via email to: or post to: Hannah Thompson, Octavia Housing, Emily House, 202-208 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BN.

    Many thanks in advance for any help you can give.


    (Hannah Thompson, Octavia Housing,, 020 8354 5665)
    Hannah Thompson Answers (1)

Starter tenancies with automatic conversion clause

  • We are currently looking at reviewing our existing starter tenancy and are looking at the option of having an automatic conversion clause.

    Does anyone already have this in their agreement, and if so, would you be willing to share your agreement with us?

    We are also looking to review our existing assured tenancy and if anyone has recently reviewed theirs, would you mind sharing it with us?

    Many thanks.

    (Karen Pierce, One Vision Housing,, 0151 5305649)
    Karen Pierce Answers (2)

Should tenant board members sit on service/mystery shopping panels

  • We presently have tenant board members who also sit on our service panels/mystery shopping panels.

    There appears to be two points of view on this. As part of a review of our services we are looking for examples of best practice. In terms of standards in public life it would appear sensible to have a separation of the two. In our immediate area the three-star housing organisations do not have tenant board members as service panel members, but in a recent Inside Housing article, two out of three housing organisations were listed as including tenant board members in their panels.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    (Shirley Hall, Homes for Northumberland,, 01670 542140)
    Shirley Hall Answers (1)

Management moves

  • We are currently reviewing our policy on management moves. We would be interested to hear from other housing providers how they deal with requests for moves from tenants who are in rent arrears and subject to Court orders, particularly when there is an overcrowding issue.

    (Amanda Jones, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533834)
    Amanda Jones Answers (2)

Request to keep chickens

  • Can anyone advice what the procedures are for allowing tenants to keep chickens?

    Does anyone have clear guidelines outlined in their conditions of tenancy?

    Does anyone stipulate in their policies distance from property, number of chickens allowed and permission agreed with other residents?

    Does anyone have different criteria for urban and rural?

    (Sharon Beckitt, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533513)
    Sharon Beckitt Answers (4)

Debt collection agencies

  • We are looking for a new debt collection agency. Could anyone recommend an efficient and reliable agency that has a reasonably good percentage collection rate that we could call in to give a presentation?

    (Sandra Cove, BPHA,, 01234 221 321)
    Sandra Cove Answers (6)

Local housing allowance payment direct to landlords on rent deposit/private rented schemes

  • Are you a Council who pays Local Housing Allowance direct to landlords who house tenants through a rent deposit/private rented scheme, etc?

    If you do please contact me, Kate Clarke at Woking Borough Council on 01483 743 661

    I am interested in knowing:

    - How you came to this arrangement with your Housing Benefit Department?
    - What evidence base you used to get this service?
    - Whether direct payment is time limited?
    - If a time limit is set, the system that is in place at the end of this period?
    - Has direct payment alleviated rent arrears situations?

    (Kate Clarke, Woking Borough Council,, 01483 743 661)
    Kate Clarke Answers (3)

Major 1 void status process

  • My name is Phil Perry and I am the Empty Homes Manager for Kingston Upon Hull City Council.

    Hull City Council has a turnover of approximately 2,500 empty properties each year, with a current relet time of 46 days.

    I am presently reviewing our Major 1 process, to assist in reducing our overall relet time, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I would appreciate if any organisation could forward a copy of their existing procedures or what method/criteria of identification you use on a property, which is to be placed in to a Major 1 status.

    Your response will be treated with absolute confidentiality unless you are happy to share your process with this group.

    If you have any queries, or would like to discuss my request, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Thank you

    (Phil Perry, Hull City Council,, 01482 616148)
    Phil Perry Answers (3)

Family intervention tenancies

  • We have agreed to introduce family intervention tenancies and would like to hear from anyone that has already done so. I am particularly interested in seeing any FIT tenancy conditions and customer factsheets on FITs.

    We are also looking at setting up a family intervention project and would like to hear from anyone that currently has one with regards to innovative ways of funding them.

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (5)

Management fees

  • I am trying to ascertain the different methods that HAs/landlords apply to recover a management fee from their leaseholders. Do landlords apply a management fee together with a percentage of their service charge or do they just apply a percentage of their service charge. If the latter applies can you also indicate what the percentage has been applied?

    (Paul Richmond, Yorkshire Housing Ltd,, (01484) 440924)
    Paul Richmond Answers (14)

Tenant incentive schemes and golden goodbyes

  • Could anyone inform me of their incentive schemes with information on how they work and the ammounts awarded? I would also be interested if anyone offers an incentive for tenants leaving their properties in good condition.


    Mark Garnham

    (Mark Garnham, Greenfields,, 01376 567331)
    Mark Garnham Answers (2)

Dealing with ASB - alternative approaches

  • We currently have an ASB case where two neighbours have fallen out at some point and therefore have been making complaint and counter complaints for the last 11 years for alleged tenancy breaches including noise, bonfires, etc.

    One tenant has a tendency for violence and the situation is tense. We have suggested mediation, noise monitoring equipment (returned with no evidence), environmental health, etc. We have also served warning notices on both parties.

    All this has left the situation unresolved.

    The question is: are there any other forms of intervention which I have not mentioned, alternative ways to solve this issue without making matters worse? Any help or suggestions members can give would be appreciated.


    (Terry Bailey, Newark and Sherwood Homes,, 01636 655463)
    Terry Bailey Answers (4)

Complaints officer role

  • We are looking at introducing a role that is responsible for managing the complaints process that involves producing reports, trends and satisfaction analysis.

    Does anyone have any similar roles where you could share the job description and person specification?


    (Justine Carroll, Willow Park Housing Trust,, 0161 946 9526)
    Justine Carroll Answers (6)

HB verification

  • Can anyone please advise what procedures they have for housing officers verifying Housing Benefit documents.Do you verify documents at sign up? How far do HO's assist customers with their claim for HB?


    (Sharon Beckitt, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788533513)
    Sharon Beckitt Answers (16)

Tenant representative commitees

  • We are reviewing the way our tenant rep committee votes in their chairperson. At the moment they are voted in and only serve one year in office. However, we are thinking about making them hold chairmanship for three years to keep continuity of work.

    I'd be interested to know how other LA committees work.


    (Sarah Lloyd, Nuneaton and Bedworth BC,, 024 7637 6493)
    Sarah Lloyd Answers (2)

Aids and adaptations

  • We are in the process of reviewing how aids and adaptations are delivered by Green Vale Homes (LSVT) in conjunction with the Local Authority.

    Does anyone have any examples of SLAs between RSLs and LAs they are willing to share? We also want to involve customers more in the service including a review and on-going service delivery and reporting information to customers and we are also looking to review our customer satisfaction forms that we currently use in conjunction with the local authority.

    We are particularly keen to learn about good practice/partnership working arrangements with LAs in terms of reducing waiting times and providing major adaptations promptly for RSL tenants.

    If anyone has any information on how you have achieved this could you please send details to me at or contact me on 01706 836323 to discuss further.

    (Julie Smith, Green Vale Homes,, 01706836323)
    Julie Smith Answers (1)

Using customer profile data to analyse service provision

  • Hello there.

    I would like to hear about examples of good practice for using customer profile data across the six strands of diversity, specifically to provide information on the take-up of services and to identify barriers to accessing services.


    (Nairn Davidson, Luminus Group,, 01480 428724)
    Nairn Davidson Answers (1)

Customer complaints

  • We are reviewing our customer complaints policy/procedure and looking for best practice. It would be good to hear from a high performing RSL and possibly visit several organisations to discuss the process and how it is implemented.

    (Amanda Tattershall, Paradigm HG,, 01494 588266)
    Amanda Tattershall Answers (1)

Housing Associations and Environmental Protection Act 1990

  • There is a considerable number of ALMOs that are using the EPA 1990 for gas servicing purposes. Are there any housing associations that use the EPA 1990 to gain access to carry out gas servicing?

    (Paul Msatida, Knowsley Housing Trust,, 01512907057)
    Paul Msatida Answers (1)