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Questions and answers

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Ask a question There are 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)

Call centre script

  • We are putting together a new call centre script for customers ringing in to report repairs that are required.

    Does anyone have any examples we can use - just looking for best practice.

    Thank you

    (Karen Bissell, Aster Property Ltd,, 01380 735585)
    Karen Bissell 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)

Grant application process

Strategy and Policy
  • We are looking to offer grants to registered providers to push through affordable developments that may not be viable without council assistance.

    Does anyone have any grant application forms, acceptance criteria, or grant agreements that we could use to base our own application process on?

    Many thanks

    (Ian Green, North Tyneside MBC/Homes,, 0191 6436204)
    Ian Green Answers (0)

Letting out part or all of tenants garden

Strategy and Policy
  • We are considering supporting tenants to 'sublet' all or part of their garden for others to cultivate. Do other landlords allow this sort of arrangement? If so, please can you let me know the following:

    1. Is this arrangement taken account of in your tenancy agreement and, if so, how?

    2. Your experience of the risks and issues arising from such arrangements?

    3. How you have dealt with any risks or issues or supported tenants in managing any issues arising from such arrangements? For example have you become involved in helping to draw up an agreement between the tenant and the 'subletter'?

    4. Do you allow tenants to sublet an on-site garage (one which is let as part of the dwelling tenancy)?

    5. What sort of issues has such an arrangement raised?

    Many thanks

    (Jane Medforth, Hull City Council,, 01482 614201)
    Jane Medforth Answers (0)

Leasehold buildings insurance

  • I’m doing some benchmarking on leasehold buildings insurance charges. The current arrangement we have with Zurich for our leasehold stock is coming to an end next year.

    We will therefore be going through a full section 20 consultation process with our leaseholders on the new contract for the buildings insurance.

    The initial premiums being quoted by Zurich suggest a substantial increase to the premiums paid by our residents.

    Would any HQN or LEN members be able to provide me with information on who insures their leasehold properties and the current rate of insurance charged to your leaseholders.

    We currently charge our insurance £1 per thousand pounds insured, see below

    Eg, Property valued at £94,710.69

    Annual cost £94.71
    Monthly cost £7.89
    IPT at 6% £5.58

    Total annual premium £100.39
    Monthly cost £8.37

    Any information you can provide would be very much appreciated.

    (Duncan Bird, Isos Housing,, 0300 300 1505)
    Duncan Bird Answers (0)


  • I would be grateful if anyone could send me through a copy of their inventory process, as we (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) are in the process of creating one.

    With thanks

    (Sara Kennedy, Barking & Dagenham London Borough,, 0208 2272343)
    Sara Kennedy Answers (0)

Equitable tenancy

  • We have a sad case where a 17 year old and 14 year old have been left in the home alone. I am looking to draw up an agreement for Dad to sign-up to a tenancy on trust for the two sons until the boys are old enough to hold the tenancy in their own right. Does anyone have an agreement I could use please?

    (Brenda Sipple, Greenfields,, 01376 535400 ext 4276)
    Brenda Sipple Answers (0)

End of an intro tenancy

  • We have been granted an eviction within 42 days for an intro tenancy, but the tenant has now paid in full.

    Can we grant a new intro tenancy rather than enforce the eviction or is it best to get the tenant to terminate the tenancy, and then grant a new intro when the notice period expires?


    (Chris Shepherd, Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing,, 01743 255949)
    Chris Shepherd Answers (1)

Charges for ASB service to RPs

  • Do other local authorities charge registered providers for helping them to investigate ASB, in cross-tenure cases?

    Many thanks

    (Craig Kendall, Greenwich London Borough,, 0208 9214424)
    Craig Kendall Answers (0)

Probity policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently reviewing our probity policy and wondered if anybody would be prepared to share their policy with us?

    (Karen Airey, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209061)
    Karen Airey Answers (0)

Temporary accommodation

  • I’d like to know:

    1) Do local authorities have dedicated temporary accommodation officers, and would they be willing to share the job description with us?

    2) What arrangements do local authorities have in relation to out-of-hours homelessness provision? Is this managed by on-call staff or an emergency duty team? Would partners be willing to share some data about the effectiveness of each scheme with us?

    Many thanks

    (Rob Locker, Stoke on Trent City Council,, 01782 238963)
    Rob Locker Answers (0)

Referral to court for arrears due to bedroom tax

Welfare Reform
  • We are interested in gauging the practice in other organisations in terms of referring tenants subject to the under-occupancy charge (bedroom tax) to court for possession action. Please could you let us know what your policy is regarding this issue and whether you have referred any cases so far where the arrears are purely due to the bedroom tax? It would be great if you could also indicate whether you are a LA landlord or an ALMO/HA.

    (Ria Toutountzi, Hull City Council,, 01482 612402)
    Ria Toutountzi Answers (0)

Customer Insight

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I'd like to know what policies or strategies you have in place with regards to Customer Insight, or in other words how do you get information out of your residents and then how do you use it?

    I'd appreciate short summaries or copies of policies and strategies.

    Thanks in advance.

    (Paul Mountford, Bournville Village Trust,, 0121 6671190)
    Paul Mountford Answers (0)

Any day tenancies

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Do you use any day tenancies? If so, has this improved your void re-let times?

    Have there been any issues around Section 13 Notices and annual rent increases?

    Many thanks

    (Pauline Williams, Orbit Group Limited,, 0345 8 500 500)
    Pauline Williams Answers (0)

Do RSLs/LAs start tenancies before existing private tenancies have ended?

  • Does anyone have any sort of arrangement or agreement with other landlords in your area (particularly with private landlords) that when an applicant is offered a tenancy with your organisation you will not start the new tenancy until their existing tenancy with the other landlord has ended, ie, the tenant has given their existing landlord notice and that notice has expired?

    (Sam Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Sam Webster 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)

Utilising the private rented sector - access to bonds, rent guarantees and support

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I am researching best practice in relation to bonds, rent guarantees and support to access the private rented sector. If your organisation offers such schemes I would appreciate it if you can answer any of the following questions:

    1. how many applications are received on a monthly or annual basis?
    2. of applictions received how many are supported?
    3. how many tenancies end before the end of the tenancy term taken up?
    4. the number of landlords who let to those supported by your scheme?
    5. how many payments are made to landlords (on a monthly basis) from the scheme?
    6. how much does your scheme(s) cost to administer including staff costs?
    7. how do you assess value for money for your scheme.

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

Common Assessment Framework

  • I'm looking at whether housing associations (or similar) have internal staff who are trained in CAF to carry out assessments in the cases of issues with children or vulnerable adults, or do you use external organisations, ie, social services, police, etc.

    What are your experiences of working with external organisations in relation to CAF?

    Many thanks

    (Sarah Graham, Livin,, 0845 5055500)
    Sarah Graham 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)

Income and expenditure and budgeting

Welfare Reform
  • I am very interested in income and expenditure forms and how others provide budgeting advice.

    Livin have a relatively new 'smart money team', who carry out I & E with every case, however our budgeting experience requires improvement.

    I would appreciate any good ideas or examples please.


    (Jan Welsh, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Jan Welsh Answers (0)

Promoting Direct Debits

Welfare Reform
  • We are exploring the promotion of Direct Debits as a way of ensuring payments and supporting people to manage their money better. Is anyone else doing this?

    (Amanda Tattershall, Paradigm HG,, 01494 830734)
    Amanda Tattershall 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)

Solar panels and permission to install from the landlord

  • Do any authorities/HAs give permission before tenants can install their own solar panels?

    Thank you

    (Sam Webster, Hull City Council,, 01472 612092)
    Sam Webster Answers (0)

Repairs manual

  • Hull City Council is currently reviewing the cost and demand of its comprehensive repairs manual.

    How do other authorities and HAs make their manual accessible to customers (by producing specific repairs fact sheets which are cheaper to update, website, etc)?

    Do any have an App from where a repair can be reported from a customers android phone/tablet, etc?

    If so, how successful has this proved to be?

    Many thanks

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Electronic interface between Arbitas and Capita

  • Does anyone have an electronic interface between an Arbitas choice based lettings system and a Capita single point of entry gateway access system?
    (Kate Stevenson, Worcester City Council,, 01905 721155)
    Kate Stevenson Answers (0)

Electricity supply during accompanied viewings-adapted properties

  • I wonder if you can help me please?

    What you do to enable customers to try stairlifts/through floor lifts at accompanied viewings in terms of the electricity supply?

    Most, if not all of the properties do not have a supply until the new tenant is signed up and the company can create an account in their name.

    Has anyone got good procedure that they would be willing to share, that enables you to have electricity at viewings in advance of there being a tenant?

    Thank you

    (Becky Thorpe, Hull City Council,, 01482 300300)
    Becky Thorpe Answers (0)

Banding Vs patch work collection

  • We are in the process of a review within the rent section. I have been asked to look at a process of officer working to a rent arrears banding rather than on a patch basis.

    Has anyone been collecting rent arrears using a banding system? If so please let me know how you are coping with this different way of working.


    (Herbbie Clarke, Hammersmith and Fulham LB,, 0208 7535579)
    Herbbie Clarke Answers (0)

Rent Deposit Schemes for ALMO Social Housing in the context of Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform
  • Derby Homes is considering setting up a rent deposit scheme for the social rented sector in Derby.

    We’d like to hear from any HQN members who have done this or are in the process of doing it. Some of issues we’d be grateful for info about are:

    • How will you enable tenants to create a deposit (we have the idea of a no interest loan from us that we could claw back through the rent)?

    • What opposition to the idea are you meeting (if any) politically or from tenant groups/your governance structures? What are the arguments against?

    • If you are running such a scheme, what has been the level of take-up?

    • If you are running a scheme, what has been the impact (if any) on your rent arrears?

    In addition we would warmly welcome any comments or observations about the idea. We would of course be willing to share our work with our respondents.

    Many thanks

    (Mark Crown, Derby Homes,, 01332 88 8595)
    Mark Crown Answers (0)

Exempt accommodation

Welfare Reform
  • Last month the Government said that HB paid to households in supported exempt accommodation would be disregarded from the impending benefit cap. Their definition includes accommodation provided by a housing association, etc, where the body or person acting on their behalf provides the claimant with care, support or supervision. However, such service providers are invariably contracted and act on behalf of the council, not the housing association. In this situation the accommodation is thus not exempt?

    (Barry Newitt, Hillingdon London Borough,, 01895 277323)
    Barry Newitt Answers (1)

Vehicle Use by Trade Staff

Asset Management
  • We are completing a review of our vehicle usage (trades staff vans), and would like to know what others have in place:

    1. Are trade operatives allowed to take vehicles home at the end of each working day?

    2. If they are, does the organisation cover the fuel costs?

    3. If the organisation covers the fuel cost, do you view this as a perk or adjust their salary/terms and conditions to reflect this?

    Thank you,

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (0)

Electrical maintenance contract

Asset Management
  • Blackpool Coastal Housing are due to procure the electrical maintenance contract. We are looking at what length the contract term should be! This will include responsive repairs, periodic/condition reports, void repairs and out-of-hours.

    What is length of your electrical maintenance contract for your housing stock?

    (Robert Wolstencroft, Blackpool Coastal Housing,, 01253 477473)
    Robert Wolstencroft Answers (2)

Gas safety - using injunctions instead of NOSPs

Asset Management
  • More housing associations now seem to be using injunctions rather than NOSPs to gain access to carry out gas safety checks.

    I'd like to hear more about why the use of NOSPs is not considered best practice within the sector and why landlords feel that injunctions are generally more effective at gaining access?

    I'd be grateful to hear from organisations that have switched from using NOSPs to using injunctions, why you took the decision to switch and any impact you've seen.

    (Sharon Ford, Affinity Sutton Group,, 0208 235 7214)
    Sharon Ford Answers (0)

Integrated Reception System

  • Has anybody upgraded their IRS equipment or installed equipment to incorporate a computer network point into their housing stock - similar to IPTV?

    (Robert Wolstencroft, Blackpool Coastal Housing,, 01253 477473)
    Robert Wolstencroft 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)

Use of loft space

  • What policy (if any) do other authorities have on the loft space of tenanted properties please? Do you permit the space to be used for storage?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Private landlord tenant references

  • Does anyone have a standard form they use when a private landlord requests a reference please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Rent policies

  • Your Housing Group is in the process of establishing a new rent policy. We are interested in learning from others who have recently reviewed their rent policies about what approaches they are taking and how they have accounted in their policy for recent sector policy changes including affordability issues and welfare reform, eg, are organisations continuing to maximise rents or is that being offset against the priority to optimise occupancy rates given the 'bedroom tax', etc?

    We are more than happy to share information as we progress with drafting our policy so any information would be greatly appreciated.

    (Alison Riley, Your Housing Group,, 0161 248 2381)
    Alison Riley Answers (0)

Post Right to Buy Issues

Strategy and Policy
  • I am reviewing our current policy on issues that arise post right to buy specifically requests to extend leases and the possibility of levying charges for dealing with requests to remove/amend convenants or grant permission for changes to the property. I am interested in any examples of how other local authorities deal with these issues. How could a fair tariff of charges be developed and what considerations need to be taken into account when extending a lease?

    (Jane Dabbs, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 506690)
    Jane Dabbs Answers (0)

Best practices for estate inspections and walkabouts/peer reviews

  • I've been asked by some of the Neighbourhood Managers at Orbit to find out best practices and frequency of estate inspections from other peoples point of view.

    Any tips on how other organisations approach estate walkabouts/peer review, would be extremely useful.

    (Paul Bishop, Orbit Group Limited,, 01622 633279)
    Paul Bishop Answers (2)

Downbanding and ineligibility decisions on housing applications

  • Does anyone have a specific policy on the downbanding and ineligibility criteria/decision process of housing applications please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Gardening services

  • Do any organisations use volunteers to carry out work to tenants' gardens? If so what are the pros and cons?

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

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)

ASB and estate management

  • Firstly, given the proposals concerning ASB in the government’s recent White Paper, how are other housing organisations gearing up to implement the changes?

    Secondly, to what extent do the proposals capture what you may already be doing in your organisation with regards to ASB? Are the proposals a question of the regulatory framework catching up with practice or is it the other way around?

    Many thanks

    (Mark Crown, Derby Homes,, 01332 88 8595)
    Mark Crown Answers (0)

Increasing the rent for refurbished sheltered housing

Asset Management
  • We are currently planning the refurbishment of a sheltered housing scheme. Currently there are bedsits in the scheme which will be converted into one bedroomed flats. This would usually trigger a rent increase, however we want to manage this for current tenants. Does anyone have any experience of this?

    One suggestion is to increase the target rent to a one bedroomed rent. The tenant will then only see the usual increase per year. Has anyone done this?

    Many thanks

    (Jo Webb, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 506575)
    Jo Webb Answers (0)

Social HomeBuy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are a stock retained local authority and are considering introducing Social HomeBuy for our own tenants. Has anyone done the same and would you be willing to share your policy and any procedure documents with us?

    (Rob Purser, Mansfield District Council,, 01623 463123)
    Rob Purser Answers (0)

Number of stock in your area

  • Does anyone know where I could find a list of current Registered Providers operating within a geographical area and the number of stock they have?

    (Rahima Ahmed, Cheshire West and Chester Council,, 0151 356 6952)
    Rahima Ahmed Answers (1)

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)

Static arrears

  • How do organisations address and take action on static arrears of £100 or less please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Customer profile strategy

  • Does anyone have a customer profile strategy that covers the following areas:

    - What data is collected
    - Frequency etc
    - How the data is stored
    - What the data will be used for (strategically and operationally)
    - How the data is kept up to date

    (Karen Woodcock, Mercian Housing Association,, 0121 322 7370)
    Karen Woodcock Answers (0)

Housing benefit under occupation penalty

  • 1) In advance of the introduction of the housing benefit underoccupation penalty, are landlords amending their existing eligibility criteria or are they going to give tenants the option of paying the difference in the rent on a property that is technically too large for the household under the new rules?

    2) What are landlords existing criteria in terms of the ages and genders of children sharing bedrooms?

    3) Do landlords have a definition of the minimum size of a bedroom that they consider reasonable for 2 children to share?

    (Ria Toutountzi, Hull City Council,, 01482 612402)
    Ria Toutountzi Answers (0)

Communal Heating Systems

Asset Management
  • We are carrying out a review of our long-term approach to communal heating systems at present and it would be really good to hear views from others.

    There have been issues surrounding the fairness of charges, the efficiency of such systems, heating regimes at each site etc even following energy advice and awareness visits.

    For example, does your organisation have plans to:
    - remove such systems in the longer term
    - install individual meters when boilers require replacing
    - move the communal system to background heating and provide individual top-up heaters in each appartment
    - or are continuing with communal systems?

    Any response no matter how brief appreciated.

    Thank you.

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (0)

Assessment frameworks for older people's housing

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Does anybody know of any assessment companies or frameworks that I can use to measure our housing for older people services?

    Previously we have used the Centre for Housing code of practice for support services and also the Quality Assessment Framework.

    If you know of any different ones, please email me at

    Many thanks in advance,

    (Sarah Knapper, Saxon Weald Homes,, 01403 22 6045)
    Sarah Knapper 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)

Day to day repairs service for leaseholders

Asset Management
  • Greenfields Community Housing are investigating offering a day to day repairs service for leaseholders. Has any organization experience of such an investigation and what were the outcomes?

    (Mike Gosling, Greenfields,, 01376 535400)
    Mike Gosling Answers (0)

Tenancy Policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We transferred all our housing stock to the LSVT company in 2004.

    However, during 2009/10 we were successful in a bid for Local Authority New Build and now have 82 units owned by the Council. These units are mananged by the LSVT company.

    Will we be required to produce a Tenancy Policy for our Council housing stock? We are currently working with our sub regional partners to develop a Tenancy Strategy.

    If any other authority is in a similar situation it would be useful to hear what you are doing.

    (Karen Kelly, Hartlepool Borough Council,, 01429 284117)
    Karen Kelly 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)

Rural Affordable Housing

Strategy and Policy
  • Can anyone advise of organisations that undertake (or could) a rural affordable housing enabling role in the Warwickshire region? Initially it would be for a 12 month fixed term period on a part time basis.

    (Abigail Hay, Warwick District Council,, 01926 456044)
    Abigail Hay Answers (0)

Risk assessments for evictions

  • Does anyone have a specific risk assessment procedure please for evictions, and the subsequent storage of belongings?

    Or do you follow a generic lone working policy?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 612092)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

What to include in annual reports

  • We are preparing our annual report. We are obliged to provide details of complaints performance and outcomes, wider performance and information on repair and maintenance budgets. We are unsure if we should include the Board's self assessment.

    What are others covering in their annual reports?

    (Dawson Noone, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7661)
    Dawson Noone Answers (0)

Development Agreements

Development and Regeneration
  • Does anyone have any examples of a development agreement they have set up between a Local Authority and an RP to carry out an estate regeneration scheme?

    We are about to partner an RP to redevelop a number of Unity homes we have and I would like a formal development agreement in place to ensure that obligations of both parties are clearly set out and review mechanisms/delivery clauses are included.

    Any sample agreements gratefully received!

    (Julie Abbey-Taylor, Mid Suffolk District Council,, 01449 724782)
    Julie Abbey-Taylor Answers (0)

Fuel poverty schemes

  • We are considering setting up a ‘low cost’ loan scheme through a local credit union to assist our tenants in paying their fuel bills – particularly to help with minimum delivery volumes for oil discounts.

    Has anyone tried a similar type of scheme? Or had success with an alternative approach to tackling fuel poverty?

    (Mike Gosling, Greenfields,, 01376 535400)
    Mike Gosling 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)

Repairs and maintenance of hostels

  • We are a non-stock holding authority and we own and manage a number of homeless hostels.

    We are looking at options for the repairs and maintenance of the hostels.

    Has anyone let a contract of this type, and if so, would they be willing to share a draft contract specification?

    (Emilia Plotka, Borough of Broxbourne,, )
    Emilia Plotka Answers (0)

Communications strategy

Strategy and Policy
  • Has anyone produced a new, or are in the process of updating their communications strategy?

    We have just started the process of reviewing ours and would like to see what others are doing and how you are incorporating new legislation.

    Many thanks

    (Linda Nash, Kettering Borough Council,, 01536 535650)
    Linda Nash Answers (0)

Affordable rent

  • We are exploring the option of charging Affordable Rent (ie, 80% of market rent) on a number of refurbished properties and this would only apply for new, not existing tenants.

    I am, however, concerned that the rents would be part of the calculation for rent rebate subsidy limitation (rent capping) and thus generate housing benefit subsidy penalties for us; such that we in effect lost most of the additional rent.

    Is anyone aware of any way that these rents could be excluded from that calculation?

    Our initial reaction is that they are part of the calculation at this stage which fundamentally undermines the approach of charging Affordable Rent on any property.

    (Graeme Smith, Hull City Council,, 01482 613081)
    Graeme Smith Answers (0)

Asking new customers for deposits

  • We are currently reviewing our lettings policy and are looking into the feasibility of asking new customers to pay a deposit before they move into their home. The deposit would be to help remind customers of their responsibility not to leave any arrears when they end their tenancy; keep to the terms of their tenancy agreement and return their home to us in a reasonable state at the end of their tenancy. We are considering a deposit of a maximum of two weeks rent. There are clearly a number of good management reasons to do this, but also a number of problems for some people to be able to find the money for a deposit. Alternatively, we might just consider a much smaller deposit for returning keys at the end of the tenancy.

    Does anyone have any experience, good or bad, of this that they would be able to share?

    We would also be interested in other people's ideas/alternatives to requesting a traditional deposit.

    (Alicia Pearson, Irwell Valley Housing Association,, 0161 610 4792)
    Alicia Pearson Answers (1)

Cost Floor Rule and Right to Acquire

  • Please can anyone tell me whether the Cost Floor Rule applies to Right to Acquire sales?

    I would be very grateful for your response.

    (Fatima Begum, Calico Homes Limited,, 01282 686342)
    Fatima Begum Answers (0)

Probity policies

  • I have been asked to review my organisations probity policies.

    As part of doing this I would like to do some benchmarking on the various allowances organisations have.

    I would be grateful if any organisations that have reviewed their policy in the last 18 months could share them with me.

    I am happy to share any work I do with anyone who contributes.

    (Paul Moralee, Derwentside Homes,, 01207 524212)
    Paul Moralee Answers (0)

Flexible tenancies

Strategy and Policy
  • We operate an introductory tenancy scheme. With flexible tenancies does the fixed term start at the end of the introductory period or can the one year introductory period be included in the fixed term period?

    For example does a five year fixed tenancy start at the end of the one year introductory period (therefore in effect it is a six year period) or is the tenancy granted for a fixed term of five years with the first year being introductory (therefore equals a total of five years)?

    (Carol Brannan, Berneslai Homes,, 01226 774267)
    Carol Brannan Answers (2)

Tenant reward schemes

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Please can anyone help with my question below?

    Do you offer rewards to working families who are tenants in light of the 7% rent increase.

    Any responses in writing or phone will be very much appreciated.

    (Carol Adams, Basildon District Council,, 01268 465148)
    Carol Adams Answers (0)

Affordable housing issues - examination in public of core strategy

Strategy and Policy
  • Have any housing authorities been involved in the core strategy development and been through EIPs. If you have are you willing to be contacted by us?

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 443384)
    Nicola Levett Answers (0)

Publicity ideas

  • Does anyone have any successful promotion documentation to share, I am wanting to be very creative and wacky in encouraging tenants to pay their rent and contact the financial inclusion services within livin?

    I would be very grateful.

    (Jan Welsh, Livin,, 08455055500)
    Jan Welsh Answers (0)

Pets and leaseholders

  • We’re 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 we’ve come up against is how we deal with leaseholders. We’ve 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)

Document imaging

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Does anyone use document imaging technology for new tenants sign-up? If yes, was the system internally developed or did you purchase/rent it from an external source?


    Neville Elliott (Quality Improvement Manager), 02083568802, email:

    Paul Dixon (Project Officer), 02083562060, email:

    Many thanks

    (Paul Dixon, Hackney Homes,, 0208 3562060)
    Paul Dixon Answers (0)

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)

Smoke alarm servicing/testing in domestic properties

Asset Management
  • We are currently reviewing the smoke alarm testing and servicing intervals in our domestic dwellings.

    Our current 3* gas servicing contract includes a requirement that the contractor test and service smoke alarms fitted within tenants dwellings. They do so at the same time the annual gas service is carried out, thus significantly reducing the cost of having to pay for a separate visit.

    For those dwellings that do not have gas, we have looked at applying the same annual test/service but the cost is rather horrendous.

    Has anyone else looked at this issue and put together a smoke alarm test/service programme?

    (Paul Crow, Jephson Homes Housing Association,, 01908 226555)
    Paul Crow Answers (2)

Obtaining a tenancy by deception

  • What preventative measures do other authorities and HAs take to ensure that tenancies are not obtained through deception? This could include application, pre sign-up, new tenancy visits and yearly tenancy audits.

    How do you deal with an applicant pre tenancy or post tenancy that has obtained a tenancy by deception? For example:

    - What evidence have you collated?
    - Do you interview under caution?
    - What action have you taken against the person obtaining the tenancy by deception?
    - Do you have a separate advice sheet on tenancy fraud at sign-up or post tenancy visit?

    Thank you

    (Kerrie Lammiman, Hull City Council,, 01482 614282)
    Kerrie Lammiman Answers (1)

Tenant cashback for repairs and maintenance

Asset Management
  • I’m interested in any examples of where tenant cashback for repairs and maintenance is working and how, or where organisations have decided against it and why. Are there any examples of customer consultation?

    Any help would be most welcome.

    Many thanks

    (Chris Thompson, Homes for Northumberland,, 01670 542099)
    Chris Thompson Answers (1)

Legal services

  • I am presently reviewing the provision of legal services to include the option of bringing all or part of the service in-house.

    Please can you let me know if you have brought all or part of the service in-house, or indeed, have outsourced an in-house service?

    Many thanks

    (Claire McKenna, Synergy Housing Group,, 01202 308607)
    Claire McKenna Answers (0)

Car parking

  • We are currently thinking of ways in which we can improve car parking on our housing estates.

    I wondered if anyone has had any problems with parking in the past, such as the amount of space, neighbour disputes, security, etc, and what you have done to address/improve this.

    Thank you

    (Rachel Ford, Mid Devon District Council,, 01884 234936)
    Rachel Ford Answers (1)

Electrical testing regime

Asset Management
  • We are reviewing our electrical testing, maintenance and improvement policy at present. I would be very interested to hear from colleagues about any policy or advice they may have regarding this.

    Especially for periodic and void testing, it would be useful to know:

    - How often carried out?

    - The level of testing applied (to an; ACOP, BS, legislation, guidance note or similar).

    I would also be interested in details of any standards adopted, and whether agreed with residents in some way (minimum number of sockets per room, outside lights, etc).

    All answers appreciated, no matter how brief.

    Thank you

    (Stewart Gayden, GreenSquare Group,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (1)

Sheltered housing

  • Under the current economic environment and financial cut backs there are many changes affecting existing services. In respect of the sheltered housing service, including lifelines, has any organisation introduced a policy/procedure for customers who cannot pay due to financial pressures or who will not pay?

    (Gary Hepworth, Hull City Council,, 01482 614320)
    Gary Hepworth Answers (0)

Changes to tenants promises made in original local offer documents when transferred

  • I have been asked to conduct some research to see how other HAs have approached changes to the tenants promises made in their original local offer documents when they transferred. For example, how they have provided consultation to tenants, the TSA and the strategic local authority, as we may need to do some amendments to our promises as well.

    Any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    (Rachel O'Kane, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Rachel O'Kane 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)

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)

Tenant panels

  • In light of the revised regulatory framework due to come into effect in April 2012, please can you help with the following questions?

    What experience can organisations that already have tenant panels share?

    For example, how did you recruit tenants to the panel, and what positive outcomes have already been achieved?

    (Melanie Clay, Ashfield Homes,, 01623 608927)
    Melanie Clay Answers (0)

Adding to affordable housing stock via special purpose vehicles or joint venture developments

Development and Regeneration
  • Question for stock-holding authorities:

    Has anyone set up a special purpose vehicle or other type of company which operates outside their Housing Revenue Account to build or buy affordable housing units to add to the HRA stock?

    I am particularly interested in whether this would allow the development of housing for private sale to cross-subsidise affordable housing.

    Also, have any local authorities had a successful joint venture with a private developer which produces a mixed tenure development with affordable housing being added to the HRA stock, using land owned by the council?

    Many thanks.

    (Nick Molyneux, Guildford Borough Council,, 01483 444242)
    Nick Molyneux Answers (1)

Census - response rates

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • SHG are currently carrying out a full census of all our residents, regardless of tenure, to provide more complete profiling information.

    I would like to hear from anyone who has gone through this process to find out what return rates you achieved, so I know what percentage is reasonable for us to aim for.

    Thank you very much for your help, in anticipation.

    (Sarah Platt, Shropshire Housing Group,, 01588 676210)
    Sarah Platt Answers (1)

Air source heat pumps

Asset Management
  • We are contacting tenants who have recently had air source heat pumps installed to establish how the system is performing, and what impact it has had on utility costs and usage of the system.

    Prior to the install, the properties operated electricity storage heaters using economy 7.

    Has anybody undertaken a similar exercise, and they would be happy to share questions they asked their tenants.

    (Derek Conway, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836334)
    Derek Conway Answers (3)

Bin chutes

  • We are looking to do a trial on one of our housing sites to shut off the bin chute in the hope that it will increase recycling and mean that we don’t have to send teams out to unblock it regularly. The building is only four storey’s high and contains 19 flats so not huge, but if this goes well we would potentially look at doing this at other sites.

    I was just wondering if anybody else in The Network has done this and what they put in place to achieve this and getting the residents onboard. Any advice, sample letters, project plans, enforcement info used, etc, would be gratefully received.

    (Abigail Hay, Warwick District Council,, 01926 456044)
    Abigail Hay Answers (0)

Heat electric systems

Asset Management
  • We are contacting tenants who have recently had heat electric systems installed to establish how the system is performing, and what impact it has on utility costs and usage of the system.

    Prior to the install the properties operated electricity storage heaters using economy 7.

    Has anybody undertaken a similar exercise, and they would be happy to share questions they asked their tenants.

    (Derek Conway, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836334)
    Derek Conway Answers (0)

Asbestos surveys

Asset Management
  • I have been asked to determine how other authorities are categorising their housing stock particularly with regard to carrying out refurbishment and demolition asbestos surveys.

    North Ayrshire has at present a stock of 13,300 properties and wishes to carry out a survey for 10% of identifiable types.

    With this in mind it would be beneficial to know how other authorities have broken their stock down into manageable numbers to achieve this.

    Unfortunately the timescale for this part of the exercise is very short and I would welcome any response you could provide.

    (Ian Cathcart, North Ayrshire Council,, 01294 225156)
    Ian Cathcart Answers (3)

Housing policy - mobility scooters

  • We are drafting our mobility scooter policy and would be grateful for your copy and/or experiences. (I like your policy, Newcastle – great advice and guidance. I will be issuing similar help separately).

    Do any of you allow mobility scooters subject to an application/consent scheme? I am thinking of introducing – how has it gone for you?

    We cannot give consent for storage outside. Have you had to spend additional finance on alternative storage/adaptations?

    It would also be good to get any London authority fire risk strategy plans, please.

    Any other tips?

    (Rachael Crellin, Greenwich London Borough,, 020 8921 3740)
    Rachael Crellin Answers (8)

Contents insurance - opt out

Asset Management
  • Does anyone implement a contents insurance opt out for tenants at sign-up?

    I am currently looking at ways to improve the take up of contents insurance and would welcome any suggestions/ideas to improve this.

    (Debbie Lavis, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209018)
    Debbie Lavis Answers (1)

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)

Theft of copper piping/cable and boilers from empty properties

  • Have any organisations put measures in place to help prevent the increasing theft of copper piping/cable and boilers from empty properties? Would you be willing to share these details with me?

    Many thanks

    (Stefanie Weirs, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 01302 862727)
    Stefanie Weirs Answers (1)

Organising tenant and community events

  • Can any other members help regarding a procedure you may have in place for the organising of small to medium-sized events (10 to 1,000 attendees) for tenants and the local community, organised by neighbourhood officers.

    Would anybody be willing to share their procedure so I can compare what I have and see if I can improve on any section?

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    (Colin Wibberley, Synergy Housing Group,, 01202 308600)
    Colin Wibberley Answers (1)

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?

    I’d be grateful for any advice/contact on this subject.

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

Fairer access policy or statement

Strategy and Policy
  • Does anyone have a copy of a fairer access policy or statement for accommodation-based services in supported housing that they can provide me with?

    (Godfrey Heyman, Swan Housing Association,, )
    Godfrey Heyman Answers (1)

Funding DFGs for housing association tenants

  • I am currently looking at expenditure on Disabled Facilities Grants for housing association tenants.

    Whilst we have a memorandum of understanding with our largest HA and minor adaptations up to £1,500 are undertaken by them, larger works are dealt with by the tenant making a DFG application.

    I recall that the Housing Corporation had guidance that HAs should usually fund their own adaptations (although they [or their tenants] retained a statutory right to some grants). The HC was clearly of the view that HAs should fund these themselves.

    We currently spend around 67% of our DFG budget on adaptations for the main HA which is equivalent to some £800,000 of a total spend of £1.1m and is made up of 125 HA applications compared to 25 owner-occupier applications over the last 20 months.

    As you no doubt appreciate, HA DFGs for tenants are non-recoverable, whereas others are within a ten-year period.

    With budgets being ever more closely examined for savings I was looking for information on the number of HAs that fund their own adaptations rather than looking to DFG monies in line with the earlier HC advice.

    Is anyone able to provide information on the number of HAs that undertake adaptations themselves or have agreements with LAs on the level of works that they might undertake to provide adaptations for their tenants? Alternatively are there any websites that may provide this information that I can access?

    I have already asked for assistance from the TSA but they could not assist.

    (John Freeman, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council,, 01737 276426)
    John Freeman Answers (8)

Diversity profiling and gender recognition

  • Our diversity profiling does not currently ask about gender recognition and we want to change this. The Equality Act made gender reassignment a protected characteristic and it is generally considered good practice to gain an understanding of the needs of people with issues around gender recognition.

    However, we are struggling to do this in a manner that allows us to use the information effectively and remain within the constraints of the Gender Recognition Act. Have any other members faced this issue and what was your response?

    Many thanks

    (Dawson Noone, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7661)
    Dawson Noone Answers (1)

Private housing strategy

Strategy and Policy
  • Hull City Council is a large retained stock local authority. We are about to write a new private housing strategy to sit beneath our housing strategy and would like to hear from anyone who has recently updated their private housing strategy and would be willing to send us a copy and have a quick chat about how they developed it. We are also particularly interested in seeing copies of enforcement and empty property policies.

    If you would prefer to give me a call rather than post replies, my phone number is 01482 614201.

    (Jane Medforth, Hull City Council,, 01482 614201)
    Jane Medforth 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)

Mobile technology for estates and tenancy services staff

  • Are any organisations using mobile technology in their management of estates and tenancy services? We are considering the use of such technology for estate management staff carrying out home visits, tenancy reviews/audits, estate walkabouts and inspections, etc. I am interested in the experiences of other organisation who have introduced this way of working, especially in relation to the costs and benefits.

    (Dawn Statham, North Tyneside MBC/Homes,, 0191 6437915/7509)
    Dawn Statham Answers (1)

Tenant panels

  • At Colchester we are looking at the possibility of setting up a multi-landlord, borough-wide tenant panel to provide scrutiny and potentially act as a 'democratic filter' for complaints to the Ombudsman.

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has begun something similar. Amongst other issues I would be keen to discuss:

    - Remit of the panel
    - Constitution, in terms of both member organisations and tenant members
    - Issues which may need addressing within and between organisations, eg, synchronisation of policies/procedures.

    Any information or ideas greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    (Gerardine Murphy, Colchester Borough Homes,, 01206 282826)
    Gerardine Murphy Answers (1)

Allocations review and focus groups

  • We are just about to go out for consultation on our draft allocations policy. We are looking to hold two focus groups, one with members and one with customers.

    Has anyone else done anything similar? If so, I would love to hear from you regarding how you consulted and if you held focus groups, the format of the events.

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

Aids and adaptaions

Asset Management
  • Has or does anyone have any information on means testing for social tenants before any adaptations are placed in properties?

    Does anyone have a policy on this?

    (Donna Rosser, Corby Borough Council,, 01536464601)
    Donna Rosser Answers (1)

Performance monitoring/reporting of tenant/resident walkabouts

  • We currently conduct monthly area ‘patch’ walks across the city with tenant/resident volunteers and report the findings back to a tenant/resident monitoring group on a quarterly basis.

    Does any other organisation do this and if so how do you record and present the data please?

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

Long-term strategy for PRC (non-traditionally) built homes

Asset Management
  • Has anyone developed a long-term strategy (up to 45 years) for Prefabricated Reinforced Concrete (PRC) homes?

    We have a number of PRC homes constructed from a range of different build types.

    Improvement and maintenance works together with regular specialist consultant inspections are undertaken to ensure the structural integrity of these property types and to monitor any deterioration. The consultants report mostly states 'good for another 20 years' and generally tenants are content to live in these homes which have good room sizes and large gardens.

    We are in the process of formulating a long-term strategy which includes consideration of the following options:

    1 Retain the stock and continue to maintain and manage in the stock long-term

    2 Bring all stock up to a mortgageable standard

    3 Redevelop all PRC sites and construct new homes

    4 A mix of the above.

    If you could let me have your views/experiences on this I would be very grateful.

    (Stewart Gayden, Westlea Housing Association,, 01249 466161)
    Stewart Gayden Answers (2)


  • We have recently been advised that it is required that a tenant who wishes to sub-let their property would first have to register with the local authority as a private landlord, and that we should be making sure this is in place before we approve any sub-let going ahead.

    Also we have been advised that the sub-let agreement should be a short tenancy with an AT5 notice.

    If you could let me have your views on this and any examples of procedures/template agreements I would be very grateful.

    (Ash Reid, Langstane HA,, 01224 423107)
    Ash Reid Answers (2)

Photovoltaics and DNO

Asset Management
  • Photovoltaic systems and district network operator

    We are currently putting together a number of PV schemes and are having issues with our DNO where we wish to install clusters of PV systems.

    It appears the electrical network and some electrical supplies to properties need upgrading in order that we can install these systems. Potentially we have a high number of electrical upgrades to do.

    Does anyone else have the same issue?

    (Chris Moorhouse, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing,, 01484 416732)
    Chris Moorhouse Answers (3)

Sustainability indicators : apportioning costs to an estate level

Asset Management
  • We are currently developing a sustainability matrix to help assess the relatively "well being" and future viability of indiviudal estates.

    As part of the matrix we want to agree a methodology for apportioning our overall operating/management costs down to an estate level.

    Has anybody attempted a similiar excercise and can share their experience?

    (Michael Barstow, Pennine Housing 2000,, 01484 824333)
    Michael Barstow Answers (1)

Affordable rents and fixed-term tenancies

Strategy and Policy
  • We have just received our offer from the HCA and are currently working on our policies with regards to affordable rents.

    I just wondered if anyone might be able to share where they are in terms of:

    - Have you agreed a position on AR and tenure with your local authority?

    - If you are going to offer AR on fixed term or lifetime tenancies?

    - What criteria you’ve used to select re-lets to convert to fixed terms?

    - What criteria you are going to use to set the fixed term, eg, are you going to offer different terms for different circumstances?

    - If you have agreed what criteria you will use when you review the fixed term, eg, will you look at income/under-occupation?

    - How are you approaching this from the policy side of things? Are you drafting a separate policy to cover affordable rents/fixed terms or are you integrating this into existing policies?

    - Are you intending to consult with tenants/prospective tenants on this?

    (Emma Garland, North Lincolnshire Homes,, 01724 298647)
    Emma Garland Answers (2)

Customer segmentation

  • I am leading a project on customer segmentation and would like to talk to anybody who has undertaken any similar work. I know a lot of organisations are considering it but I wonder if anybody has succeeded?

    Thanks very much.

    (Angela Ravenscroft, CityWest Homes,, 0207 2452236)
    Angela Ravenscroft Answers (3)

Fencing policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently reviewing our fencing policy and would like to hear from others who have recently carried this out, if so, would you be willing to share with me?

    (Chris Forbes, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533750)
    Chris Forbes Answers (1)

Solar panels

Asset Management
  • We have had a request from a resident for permission to install solar panels on the roof of their home.

    Whilst we are generally happy to give permission to the resident, subject to the usual requirements (ensuring that it is installed properly and to a professional standard, making the resident aware that it is their responsibility to maintain it, etc), we would be interested to know if any other organisations have come across any particular problems or obstacles in terms of giving permission for this type of improvement.

    (Jonathan Carr, Muir Group Housing Association,, 01928 728044)
    Jonathan Carr Answers (5)

Affordable rents - will you include extra care properties?

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently writing our affordable rent allocation policy and have come unstuck with regards to extra care properties.

    There is a debate whether to let extra care properties at affordable rent due to already high costs. We fear that it may make the properties too expensive.

    Are other organisations currently discussing this and has anybody come up with any justification for/against letting extra care properties at affordable rent?

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    (Sarah Knapper, Saxon Weald Homes,, 01403 22 6045)
    Sarah Knapper Answers (2)

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)

Supporting People funding - accommodation-based v floating support models

  • Hi

    With the uncertainties surrounding Supporting People funding, we are currently looking into several options for the future of support in our properties.

    Is anybody using floating support in their schemes for older people or is anybody considering using floating support as an alternative to accommodation-based support? What do your models of support look like?

    If you, like us, are currently debating, piloting or doing these things, please contact me at or call 01403 226045.

    Many thanks and I look forward to some interesting discussions.


    (Sarah Knapper, Saxon Weald Homes,, 01403 22 6045)
    Sarah Knapper Answers (1)

Notice to quit from tenants

Strategy and Policy
  • I work for a large retained stock local authority and we are reviewing our notice procedures. I would like to hear from others about how you deal with notice being given following the death of a sole tenant. Specifically I am interested in answers to the following questions:

    - Do you accept notice from 'next of kin'?
    - If so, how do you establish that they are the tenant's next of kin?
    - Do you have any priority order as to who you accept notice from following the tenant's death?
    - If you accept notice from the next of kin, do you often become involved in family disputes around any goods left in the property or other matters?
    - Do you, in all cases, notify the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee of the ending of the non-secure, contractural tenancy?


    (Jane Medforth, Hull City Council,, 01482 614201)
    Jane Medforth Answers (3)

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)

Security fire doors

Asset Management
  • We are putting together a performance specification for security fire doors (front entrance doors). The environment is an inner city area and the stock is a mixture of high-rise, low-rise and street properties. There are crime hot spots in some areas. I should be grateful if you were willing to share information in relation to required front entrance door performance specifications suitable for use in this environment.

    I'd appreciate early responses: and should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    (Lionel Dezoysa, Hackney Homes,, 020 8356 1647)
    Lionel Dezoysa Answers (7)

Obtaining references

Strategy and Policy
  • Housing 21 is looking into obtaining references for all housing applicants and I am hoping that other organisations can let me know what they are currently doing. There seems to be three ways of doing this, but they all have a downside:

    - Get applicants to self-refer by answering a series of questions. However, this is not independent

    - Ask for references at application stage. However, if an applicant doesn't get housed for some years, the reference will then be out of date

    - Ask for references at offer stage. However, this could delay the letting of the property.

    What are other organisations doing? Who do you ask for references (current/previous landlord/anyone else)?

    Thank you very much in anticipation of any comments and advice you can offer.

    (Andrew Cole, Housing 21,, 0345 606 6363)
    Andrew Cole Answers (7)

Rural lettings policy

  • We are currently reviewing our allocations policy and would like to hear from others that have a rural lettings policy. We are particularly interested to know how you define rural?

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

Quality framework

Asset Management
  • Our business improvement unit is currently setting up a quality framework within the housing department. If your organisation already has a quality framework in place, we would like to hear from you to learn best practice and avoid any potential pitfalls.

    (Anne-Marie Hawes, Southwark London Borough,, )
    Anne-Marie Hawes Answers (1)

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)

Service charge good practice

  • We are currently reviewing our service charges in terms of how they're set, what is included within the charge and who they are charged to.

    Is there any three-star organisation who would be willing to share good practice in relation to their whole service charge process?

    Kind regards


    (Kirsty Bennett, Gentoo Group Ltd,, 0191 5255954)
    Kirsty Bennett Answers (1)

Affordable rents - market rent assesssments

  • I would be interested to hear from anyone who has established a valuation mechanism for affordable rent levels in accordance with the RICS recognised method.

    (Sarah Durrans, Synergy Housing Group,, 01202 308767)
    Sarah Durrans 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)

Garage strategy - ALMOs

Strategy and Policy
  • Hackney Homes is undertaking a fundamental review of its garage strategy, looking at a wide range of options.

    I would be grateful if any colleagues who may have undertaken this type of work could feed back any advice and information.

    Initially, I'm seeking thoughts on:

    1 The use of commercial partners in the use of surface and underground garage sites, especially underground sites

    2 Your current garage rental per week

    3 Has anyone adopted a market rent approach, charging different amounts for garages depending on location, demand and quality, etc?

    4 Has anyone leased out garages on an annual basis and if so, what sort of charges have you made?

    5 Has anyone explored the 'internal market' for parking of council and partners fleet vehicles?

    6 In London, has anyone considered the windfall revenue potential around the Olympics for parking (never mind the protection of residents' parking!)?

    7 Potential for Hidden Homes?

    8 Any other ideas?

    Many thanks

    (Barrie Cotton, Hackney Homes,, 0208 3565216)
    Barrie Cotton Answers (1)

Sheds and structures on communal land

  • I would be grateful for any advice members have on granting tenants permission for sheds and other structures on communal land. I would welcome opinions on whether or not members withhold permission generally and, if so, has it been challenged as unreasonable?

    Thank you

    (Alison Lloyd, Harrogate Borough Council,, 01423 556818)
    Alison Lloyd Answers (3)

Photovoltaic panels – assigning the FITs to the landlord

  • We will shortly be installing photovoltaic panels onto our social housing stock (we are an ALMO).

    Our legal department has queried whether the assignment of the FIT to the landlord (the owner of the equipment) is sound and robust.

    Have any other social landlords come across this issue and, if so, how did they resolve it?

    (Chris Moorhouse, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing,, 01484 416732)
    Chris Moorhouse Answers (6)

HRA reform - information for tenants

  • I am looking for examples of best practice in disseminating information about HRA reform and its potential impact to tenants.

    Our main tenant organisation has been involved in the consultation process, and the subject has been aired in the tenants' newsletter; however I wonder whether a special newsletter is warranted and would welcome sight of any which have been produced.

    If anyone has any examples they could send me that would be a great help.

    (Philippa Dale, Ashford Borough Council,, 01233 330 365)
    Philippa Dale Answers (2)

Project management methodologies/systems

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • We are currently reviewing the project management systems/methodologies that we use across the Group, for example, Prince2, Clearview, etc, and as part of this process we have decided to also look externally for other examples of project management systems or methodologies that we could consider alongside the ones that we already use.

    If you have a system or methodology that you have found to be successful/useful, or maybe has been highlighted as good practice, I would be really keen to hear from you please, either by email or phone.

    Thank you
    (Robyn Payne, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836351)
    Robyn Payne Answers (4)

Rental income management policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently reviewing our rent arrears/rental income policy and were wondering if any other authorities would be willing to share their good practice on the subject please?

    (Samantha Webster, Hull City Council,, 01482 614 208)
    Samantha Webster Answers (0)

Empty homes grants

Development and Regeneration
  • As we know, the amount of housing development taking place is still relatively slow at the moment; we are fortunate here to still have empty homes grant funding available, and are looking for ways to increase the take-up. At the current time, most redevelopment in the Worcester area is for student accommodation as this remains the most economically viable for landlords, as I suspect it still the case in many university cities (not withstanding the predicted reduction in demand as more and more students begin to stay at home). It is still important to promote the development of more standard general needs accommodation in town centre areas. We are therefore considering the following options:

    • Removing or reducing the conditions applied to the empty homes grant funding - at the moment we require all properties to be let through our rent deposit scheme for three years and for the property to be rented out for a total of five years

    • Increasing the grant level - currently we match-fund works up to a maximum of £15,000 on an empty house or £7,500 on an upper floor conversion (if the restrictions were removed, however, we would probably lower the grant instead to make it available to more people)

    • Forming a consortium with a registered provider to look after all aspects of the refurbishment. This would probably work better with empty dwelling management orders, something we have not done before.

    Has anyone else amended existing schemes to make them more viable, or does anyone have any comments regarding options for these types of grant-funded schemes?

    Not an easy one I know - grateful for any comments or ideas!

    (Owen Raybould, Worcester City Council,, 01905 721 155)
    Owen Raybould Answers (1)

Average cost per job

  • I am currently reviewing our maintenance contract performance. I would welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone with regards to average jobs prices (response/voids) and the level of activity in their area.

    Please feel free to call me for a totally informal chat to share information.

    Thanking you in anticipation of your co-operation.

    (Graham Seery, Circle,, 07894 543540)
    Graham Seery Answers (1)

Using Twitter and Facebook for reaching young people

Strategy and Policy
  • We are exploring the possibility of trying to reach young customers and provide them with information/advice on housing/homelessness. Does anyone have any experience of using social networking sites for this purpose or similar purposes at their council? We would be very interested in finding out if it has worked and if it would be worth trying?

    (Thomas Fitzsimmons, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 282 548)
    Thomas Fitzsimmons Answers (6)

Policy for spending using commuted sums

Strategy and Policy
  • Has anybody written or developed a policy or procedure for spending commuted sums? Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    (Melanie Taylor, Mansfield District Council,, 01623 463 128)
    Melanie Taylor Answers (1)

Developing a local offer - hardstandings and footway crossings

Strategy and Policy
  • I am in the first stages of developing a local offer for tenants and residents in respect of hardstandings and footway crossings.

    The strategy is linked to improving car parking on estates. The offer will create a menu of options for tenants to buy in to the scheme.

    I would really appreciate contact with colleagues who have experience of developing a similar strategy.

    (Aimee Bradbury, Wolverhampton Homes,, 07772 086 318)
    Aimee Bradbury Answers (0)

Tenure strategies for new affordable rents

Strategy and Policy
  • In response to social housing reform: we will be developing a new tenancy strategy which comprises the new affordable rents and fixed-term tenancies – have any other registered providers looked at this, and if so would you mind sharing your thoughts with me?

    (Katie Moore, WM Housing Group,, 07984 978 667)
    Katie Moore Answers (2)

Schedule 7 benefits

  • I would like to hear about what other organisations do when they are considering allocating a property to an applicant who has various links to the association, a member of staff or committee member (this is under Schedule 7 of the 2001 Act).

    We have a procedure in place at the moment which involves alerting senior management at the application stage, with final approval by the chair of our management committee.

    If you would be willing to share your procedures with me, I'd be most grateful.

    (Ash Reid, Langstane HA,, 01224 423 107)
    Ash Reid Answers (1)

Formula for calculating compensation

Strategy and Policy
  • We are shortly going to be reviewing our compensation policy and I would like to know if any other housing providers use a specific formula for calculating compensation payments for 'distress' or 'stress' caused?

    Would appreciate any help or guidance on this issue.

    (Emma Garland, North Lincolnshire Homes,, 01724 298647)
    Emma Garland Answers (6)

Offering a heating repair service to leaseholders

  • We have recently started offering our leaseholders preferential rates to have an annual gas safety check. We are now considering extending the service we offer to also include heating repairs and breakdowns, similar I guess to the packages offered by British Gas and other gas suppliers.

    The principal of the scheme would be that for a monthly fee they would receive an annual safety check and service and we would also attend heating breakdowns and carry out the necessary repairs. We have not confirmed all the details yet, eg, eligibly criteria, costs, etc, but I was just wondering if anyone else runs a scheme like this?

    (Kate Crowther, Stockport Homes,, 0161 218 1944)
    Kate Crowther Answers (1)

GIS/electronic mapping system

Asset Management
  • We are investigating the possibility of introducing an electronic mapping system (GIS) for a variety of tasks - but spurred on recently by the transfer of responsibility of communal areas, and amenity land grounds maintenance from one of our District Councils.

    Ideally, we would like to integrate all grounds maintenance maps/trees, etc, onto this system, and then incorporate a number of other aspects covered by asset management.

    Can anyone who has an electronic mapping system recommend a company/service/specific system, and summarise what your company uses it for, and advise on the sorts of costs involved?

    Many thanks


    (Alix Nel, Paradigm HG,, 01628 811 758)
    Alix Nel Answers (7)

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)

One-to-one and performance appraisal review

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • We have just successfully completed our 2010/11 performance appraisal round and are now taking stock and reviewing our procedure with a view to making some useful changes for the next year. Our current procedure probably meets many people's view of good practice (objective setting, meeting competences, etc), but our feeling is that it is rather long-winded and that the real benefits to staff and our organisation are perhaps not as clear as they should be. We want to explore appraisal and one-to-one alternatives that are demonstrably effective at driving continuous improvement and offer improved value for money.

    If any members have policies, procedures and paperwork that they feel deliver real benefits without generating War and Peace, I would be delighted to receive copies and/or discuss options.

    (Simon Goulding, Southern Housing Group,, 02075 536 403)
    Simon Goulding Answers (3)

Welcome/post-letting visits for homeowners

Strategy and Policy
  • Paradigm is considering introducing welcome visits or phone calls for shared owners and leaseholders. Are there any organisations who have a current policy on this and would be able to give us an indication of how successful it has been?



    (Tony Lovelee, Paradigm HG,, 07702 673 042)
    Tony Lovelee Answers (2)

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)

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)

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)

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)

More than decent programme - benchmarking

Asset Management
  • We have for a number of years been running a refurbishment programme for hard-to-let voids, carrying out works to a higher standard than our normal voids programme in order to:

    - Improve lettability standard
    - Reduce ongoing maintenance costs
    - Improve the rental stream by charging higher rents.

    We have developed bespoke arrangements for the identification, specification, implementation and project management of the works which are commissioned on a unit-by-unit basis.

    The overall unit cost of the works is currently circa £32,000 per unit and we would like to find some way of benchmarking this.

    We would be interested in talking to anyone who is carrying out similar programmes of work about how they arrange such work and what the unit cost might be.

    (Peter Sheehan, Womens Pioneer Housing,, 02087 497 112)
    Peter Sheehan Answers (2)

Customer satisfaction surveys

  • I'm wanting to develop customer satisfaction surveys for debt recovery and financial inclusion: has anyone got any good examples they can share?

    (Jan Welsh, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Jan Welsh Answers (6)

Policies or procedures allowing tenants to install water meters

  • Can anyone contact me with their policies about giving permissions for tenants installing water meters? Our water authority insists that once a meter is fitted it cannot be taken out. How do other councils or ALMOs deal with the issue of when a new tenant moves into a property that has had a water meter installed by the previous tenant?


    (John Whittington, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing,, 01484 416 436)
    John Whittington Answers (3)

Aids and adaptations performance benchmarking

Asset Management
  • I am carrying out a benchmarking exercise on aids and adaptations performance indicators. Are there any members willing to share major and minor works performance figures?

    (Mike Beecroft, Synergy Housing Group,, 01929 558 422)
    Mike Beecroft Answers (8)

Mould growth

  • We are developing our policies regarding mould inspections. The majority of cases are not damp-related but a result of condensation. Can anyone help by providing their strategies for dealing with this issue? Of particular interest is identifying the boundaries between tenant's and landlord's responsibilities.

    Kind regards

    (Philip Hull, Synergy Housing Group,, 01202 864 216)
    Philip Hull Answers (3)

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)

CRB checks

Strategy and Policy
  • We are a social housing organisation looking to introduce a framework to support CRB enhanced and standard checks across roles within our organisation. I appreciate that this will be a significant piece of work and that there are some sensitive issues to consider, in respect of both protecting the vulnerable and promoting to our board, managers and staff in terms of what the checks may or may not provide in terms of information.

    If anyone is able to either share their framework or has a piece of work around this area I would be interested to learn from you and your experience.

    I look forward to hearing from you


    (Andrea GIbson, Homes for Northumberland,, 01670 542519)
    Andrea GIbson Answers (2)

Extra care lettings

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I would like to know if any social landlords exclude extra care lettings from the relets PI, and if they include them, what dates do they use?

    Many thanks

    Amanda Nicklin
    Housing Choices Manager

    (Amanda Nicklin, Stafford & Rural Homes,, 01785 216613)
    Amanda Nicklin Answers (4)

Energy usage in housing

  • 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 or have examples or experiences you would be able to contribute, please feel free to contact me.

    (Peter Smith, St Vincents Housing Association,, 0161 772 2162)
    Peter Smith Answers (1)

Support on the death of a tenant

  • At St Leger Homes we are currently investigating what other organisations do on the death of a tenant.

    What support is put in place, if any, for the next of kin, with regards to paying the rent and the removal of possessions?

    Any information would be gratefully received.

    (Ruth Leech, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 01302 736532)
    Ruth Leech Answers (5)

Facebook and Twitter

  • We are currently looking at opening Facebook and Twitter accounts for the association and was wondering if anyone else could share their experiences?

    I am most interested in the issues surrounding filtering inappropriate comments/posts, who manages the accounts, how much time they spend managing the accounts, how successful they have been.

    Many thanks

    (Sarah McMillan, Hightown Praetorian & Churches HA,, 01442 292399)
    Sarah McMillan 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)

Document management system

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Hounslow Homes are currently starting to embark on an electronic document and records management system. I would like to know if you currently use any form of document management system at your ALMO? If so, I would be grateful if you could share your experiences of your chosen system with me.

    (Jaspal Sidhu, Hounslow Homes,, 0208 5836413)
    Jaspal Sidhu Answers (6)

Enforcing four weeks' notice

  • When enforcing four weeks' notice, does anyone ask the tenant to sign a waiver, allowing void work to be carried out within the enforced period?

    Would appreciate any advice.


    (Joan Atkinson, Riverside Group,, 07980761553)
    Joan Atkinson Answers (2)

Service charges

  • We are currently reviewing our service charge setting policy and those items to be broken down into our service charges.

    Would anyone be able to share their policy and details of those items they charge out through service charges?

    Any information would be much appreciated.

    (Liz Dunlop, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533841)
    Liz Dunlop Answers (3)

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)

Craft agency staff usage

Asset Management
  • North Ayrshire Council Building Services currently employs 200 craft operatives, carrying out around 60,000 responsive and planned repairs. Would it be possible to get feedback from members about the following issues regarding agency workers:

    - Do you use craft agency staff to cover sickness, holidays, fluctuation in workload, special projects, etc?
    - What percentage of agency staff do you use against the numbers of FTE craft operatives over the year?
    - Do you use bank staff? If yes, how do you manage this process and is it successful?
    - Do you have any partnering arrangements with other sub-contractors/councils for supply of labour?

    I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.

    (Stephen Kean, North Ayrshire Council,, 01294 606918)
    Stephen Kean Answers (1)

Management charge

  • We would like to do some benchmarking on the management charge that we are making as part of our service charges.

    We are currently charging £100 plus VAT across the board to all our leasehold/shared ownership stock. We want to compare/benchmark/investigate what and how other HAs and ALMOs charge for a management service.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    (Ali Ahmed, Town & Country Housing Group,, 0845 8731314)
    Ali Ahmed Answers (7)

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)

Gas and electric certificates for voids

Asset Management
  • Can anyone please confirm/clarify whether both of the above are a legal requirement to be provided as part of the letting process?

    If they are a legal requirement, could anyone point me in the direction of the Act?


    (Dave Stock, Redditch Borough Council,, Tel 01527 64252 Ext 3896)
    Dave Stock Answers (8)

Concierge service - What do you charge?

  • We would like to do some benchmarking on the concierge service SLA that we currently provide.

    Currently, as with most SLAs, the charges are shared by all tenants across the borough. We want to compare/benchmark/investigate what and how other LAs and ALMOs charge for a concierge service - is it only charged to the tenants receiving the service, etc?

    We have worked out that if we charge the tenants who receive the service only, it would work out at around £7 per week per property and would like to know if this is value for money.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Many thanks

    (Ruth Leech, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 01302 736532)
    Ruth Leech Answers (6)

Updating assured tenancy agreement

  • We are currently in the process of updating our assured tenancy agreement: has anyone else reviewed theirs lately and if so would they be willing to share any good practice? Is there anything they have removed or added?

    (Pauline Marshall, Futures Housing Group,, 01773 573115)
    Pauline Marshall Answers (1)

Power supplies to void properties

  • We are currently reviewing our void process under the lean system. We would like to hear from others how they arrange the gas and electric supplies from main suppliers (E.ON, etc) in order to carry out the necessary works during the void process.

    (Alan Hobbs, Nuneaton and Bedworth BC,, 02476 376 040)
    Alan Hobbs Answers (11)

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)


  • 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)

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)

Incentivising tenants to move

  • We operate within a CHR in this area and currently have a quota system in place for statutorily homeless applicants.

    Whilst we are achieving our quotas in the main, we are experiencing problems in some areas with low turnover/stock numbers which in turn means that some statutorily homeless applicants are waiting well beyond six months for an offer of housing.

    The only way we think we can create movement, other than new build which is, of course, not a viable option at the moment because of funding cuts, is to resort to our transfer lists. We need to stimulate movement in some areas and are interested in perhaps adopting some sort of incentive scheme to encourage tenants to consider downsizing, etc.

    Any information, comments or advice would be very gratefully received.

    (Marie Bowie, Fyne Homes,, 01700 501621)
    Marie Bowie Answers (5)

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)

Abortive calls on repairs

  • Do any other organisations pay their repair contractors for an abortive call charge, where tenants fail to keep an appointment? If so, how much do they pay for the aborted call?

    (Chris Harris, Darlington Borough Council,, 01325 388312)
    Chris Harris Answers (4)

Temporary Social Housing Grant

  • Has anyone used the above to bring vacant private sector housing into social rented on a leasehold basis? Additionally has anyone used the grant to assist in a rent-to-buy scheme?

    Any info, thoughts or contacts gratefully received.


    (Maureen McMahon, Stockton on Tees Borough Council,, 01642 526991)
    Maureen McMahon 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)


Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Hi all

    I have been scouring several websites to obtain benchmarking information for recharges, with no luck. If anyone is able to assist in directing me in this, it would be really appreciated.

    (Simi Sharma, Aldwyck Housing Group,, 01582 869 117)
    Simi Sharma Answers (4)

Adaptation policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently reviewing our adaptation policy and would be grateful for assistance.

    Has anyone got an adaptation policy whereby they undertake means testing? If so, would you be able to share it with me (the thresholds that you have implemented and any difficulties that have been experienced)?

    (Angela J Smith, Rykneld Homes Limited,, 01246 217322)
    Angela J Smith Answers (1)

Match funding improvement works

Asset Management
  • I was wondering what match funding improvement works schemes there are at the moment?

    So which housing associations are agreeing to a 50:50 split (or something similar), with residents who wish to (at their own cost) improve their property or communal areas within a scheme?

    I was interested in how the schemes work and their benefits?

    (Jeya Greenfield, Sanctuary Group,, 01905334501)
    Jeya Greenfield Answers (1)

Service reviews

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I am interested to know whether any organisation has developed a service review mechanism that is structured for desktop research, or one that can contain further layers for a more in-depth review.

    Initially, I planned to identify the gaps between policy and performance, but would now like to widen this out to consider KPI/LPI performance and continuous improvement direction of travel.

    I would like a process I can sell to managers as being effective and with tangible outcomes that they are involved in, rather than seeing service reviews as something that is 'done to them'.

    Any examples or signposting towards good practice would be helpful.

    (Fiona Bebbington, Roddons Housing Association,, 01354 607203)
    Fiona Bebbington Answers (1)

Tree surveys

  • Sedgefield Borough Homes are currently looking into performing a tree survey on all the trees on our land.

    Can any other housing associations, who have had tree surveys completed recently, recommend a consultancy that they used?

    If possible, would anyone be willing to share with us a tender document sent out to tree survey consultants?

    Thank you

    (Sarah Graham, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Sarah Graham Answers (12)

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)

Furniture packages - cross tenure

Strategy and Policy
  • We are looking at developing/setting up a furniture package service across all tenures in order to address poverty issues with people who might otherwise purchase their new furniture through companies with high APR charges.

    We are a non-stock holding authority and are seeking to find out if other local authorities have any experience in operating a similar scheme for social and private sector housing tenants in their area.

    We are very early on in discussing the various options and the only schemes I have obtained any information on are where the landlord operates the scheme and the charge is covered by Housing Benefit.

    Any information, advice, etc, would be gratefully received.

    Thank you

    (Karen Kelly, Hartlepool Borough Council,, 01429 284117)
    Karen Kelly Answers (8)

European tender law

  • If procuring new office accommodation (for our own use and occupation), would we have to advertise/invite tenders in accordance with European tendering law?

    We are an ALMO. Seeing as we are not procuring a direct product or service I would assume we are exempt; however, if anyone can advise it would be highly appreciated.

    (James Yurky, Barnet Homes,, 020 8359 4582)
    James Yurky Answers (2)

Voids/repairs standard

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • Does anyone have a flexible voids repairs standard which they operate?

    If so, is anyone willing to share this information?

    We are looking to review our voids process with costs and turnaround times a key priority and, as such would welcome all and any information offered.

    (James Yurky, Barnet Homes,, 020 8359 4582)
    James Yurky Answers (5)

Amending tenancy agreements

  • We are currently in the process of amending our tenancy agreement and the consultation period has recently ended with existing tenants. All existing tenants will receive a notice to vary the tenancy agreement in November and the new tenancy agreement will be live a month after this.

    I am interested to know what other housing providers have done with tenants that they sign up during the month's period between notice to vary and the new tenancy agreement sign-up?

    Would we have to provide them with a copy of the old tenancy agreement, then immediately serve notice to vary and give them the new tenancy agreement? This seems like such a waste of paper and would probably be confusing to the tenant.

    Any thoughts/ideas welcome.

    Many thanks

    (Angela Doherty, Ashfield Homes,, 01623 608927)
    Angela Doherty 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)

Former tenant arrears recovery

  • We are looking to introduce targets on FTA collection for our housing officer(s).

    Does anyone do this and would they be willing to share their information please?

    We are particularly interested in how you arrive at your percentage figure.

    Many thanks

    (Sharon Batchelor, Wiltshire Council,, 01722 434619)
    Sharon Batchelor Answers (2)

Estate sustainability

Asset Management
  • We are urgently reviewing our estate sustainability measures and how we rationalise investment. Can other organisations share any best practice in this area?

    (Robert Dawson, Green Vale Homes,, 01706836350)
    Robert Dawson Answers (2)

Managing insurance claims

  • Our organisations are currently undertaking value for money reviews of all services. As such I was wondering how other organisations dealt with insurance claims. Do you have a dedicated insurance team in-house? If not, how are insurance claims handled?

    (Tess Warburton, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 01302 862983)
    Tess Warburton Answers (18)

Pre-tenancy workshops

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I am wondering if anyone currently uses, or has experience of, using pre-tenancy workshops. I am looking for information on how they have worked for you, what your experience has been of them (whether good or bad) and what outcomes may have been achieved.

    (Sharon Doyle, Waverley Borough Council,, 01483 523 491)
    Sharon Doyle Answers (4)

Ways of bringing long cycle voids back into use

Strategy and Policy
  • I am currently working on a paper looking at ways in which the London Borough of Lambeth could work with various partners on bringing its long cycle void properties (which currently stand at over 600) back into use and the range of rents it could levy (market, intermediate or social rent.)

    Are there any local authorities out there doing something similar, or organisations working in partnership with local authorities or housing associations?

    (James Jennings, Lambeth London Borough,, 0207 9261421)
    James Jennings Answers (1)

Value for money - former tenant arrears

  • As part of our VfM review we are going to look next at former tenant arrears. Could anyone please give me advice on the following?

    What process do you have in place for:

    - Collection - within housing, corporate or external body? If external, can you supply details of the sort of company you use?
    - Collection rates percentage - and if external, what percentage charged?
    - Does collection rate include or exclude write-offs; if not, can you give percentage details on write-offs?
    - What is your write-off process, ie, under a certain amount?
    - What do you do when you have no forwarding address?

    Are home visits carried out?

    Do you use tracing software?

    Do you take further court action, etc?

    (Donna Rosser, Corby Borough Council,, 01536 464601)
    Donna Rosser Answers (6)

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)

Shared housing for people with learning disabilities

Strategy and Policy
  • I would be interested to know if any other organisations with shared houses for people with learning disabilities have experienced long void periods?

    I would also like to hear about your experiences with shared housing for this client group.

    (Oliver Samways, Ashford Borough Council,, 01233 330451)
    Oliver Samways Answers (2)

Starter tenancy policy and agreement

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently reviewing our starter tenancy policy and agreement. We are looking to extend the probationary period, to provide extra support.

    We would be grateful to hear from anybody else who is doing this, and who would be willing to share their agreement and/or policy with us.

    (Caroline Westgarth, Gentoo Group Ltd,, )
    Caroline Westgarth Answers (3)

Estate grading

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • We're currently developing an estate grading system, and hope to create a system that can be used across the whole of our stock. One thing that could prevent this being applicable everywhere are the blocks of leaseholders that have opted to pay a lesser service charge. As a result, these blocks will not be able to receive the top grading. However, this will appear unfair on caretakers. I would be very interested if anyone has come across this issue before and how your grading system dealt with it?

    Many thanks

    (Tom Conlon, Affinity Sutton Group,, 0207 3785597)
    Tom Conlon Answers (1)

Gas repairs/servicing

Asset Management
  • We are planning to go to market next year to let a long-term partnering contract for the installation of new gas central heating works.

    We have a housing stock of approximately 10,500 homes.

    We carry out our gas servicing/repairs through our existing housing term contract and spend a high proportion of our budget on gas repairs. We are currently considering the option to package the servicing, repairs and new gas central heating works through a three-star service contract with the aim to reduce the costs for gas repairs.

    We would like to know what benefits you may have experienced or achieved with a three-star service for gas-related works.

    We would like to know what has worked well and what has also not worked quite so well.

    Any advice or comments would be very much welcomed.

    (Gerry O'Connor, Swindon Borough Council, go', 01793 463452)
    Gerry O'Connor Answers (2)

Removal of managing agent

  • Metropolitan Housing Trust is currently dissatisfied with one of our managing agents on a third party site.

    We would be interested to hear from anyone who has successfully removed a managing agent through an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

    Many thanks

    (Saroj Bains, Metropolitan Housing Trust,, 020 7501 2325)
    Saroj Bains Answers (1)

Online surveys

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I would be very grateful if anyone could answer a few questions:

    .Are any of you effectively getting your customers to engage with you via online surveys?

    .Do you offer a reward scheme for their time?

    .Would you be willing to share your performance information and cost implications?
    (Gemma Andrew, Willow Park Housing Trust,, 0161 946 7563)
    Gemma Andrew Answers (1)

Choice-based lettings and penalties for non-bidders

Strategy and Policy
  • At the London Borough of Hackney we are looking at introducing penalties for those who are registered to bid within our CBL scheme but who:

    * Do not bid

    * Bid successfully but do not turn up to viewings

    * Bid successfully but repeatedly refuse the accommodation.

    Do any other local authorities impose sanctions in these cases? If so, how are they applied and what penalties are used?

    I would also be interested in hearing from local authorities who have considered going down this route but have decided against it. What are the reasons why, and what alternatives are there for encouraging take-up of properties via CBL?


    (Gerardine Murphy, Hackney London Borough,, 020 8356 5178)
    Gerardine Murphy Answers (6)

Moving in vouchers

  • Rochdale Boroughwide Housing currently offer a decoration allowance to new tenants as part of our void relet standard.

    As part of our work to promote sustainable tenancies, our 'Money Matters' team is looking at whether it would be feasible to convert the allowance into a 'moving-in allowance'. This is likely to involve us developing our own voucher scheme and negotiating with a range of approved suppliers who would be willing to accept our vouchers from new tenants, to be exchanged for a range of goods such as decoration materials, white goods, furniture or gardening equipment. Has any other organisation developed or considered developing such an approach and if so would they be willing to share their experiences?

    (Nigel Allan, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing,, 01706 273 832)
    Nigel Allan Answers (1)

Tenant alteration policy

Strategy and Policy
  • Does anyone have a current policy that they would be willing to share that covers tenants wishing to have an extension or conservatory?

    (Jeanette Smith, Colchester Borough Council,, 01206 282538)
    Jeanette Smith Answers (1)

Workplace assessments for mobile working

  • We have a regularly increasing number of employees working with PDAs away from site and are looking at the health and safety/workplace assessment aspects for staff.

    Does anyone have existing practices in place for carrying out some form of workplace/health and safety assessment for PDA users?

    (Steve Taylor, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 03102 862 852)
    Steve Taylor Answers (1)

Voids review (standards)

Asset Management
  • Solihull Community Housing is planning to review its void standard during 2010/11. As part of this review we intend to look at the following issues:

    1 Tenant/customers:
    - Involvement
    - Empowerment
    - Expectations
    - Satisfaction.

    2 Value for money - cost of repairs

    3 Equality and diversity issues.

    If you have recently conducted a similar review of your voids process, I would be grateful if you could share your experiences.

    (Malcolm Castanheira, Solihull Community Housing,, 0121 717 1607)
    Malcolm Castanheira Answers (1)

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)

Risk register policy

Asset Management
  • MMHA uses both internal DLO and external contractors for contracts subject to CDM. Does anybody have advice on best practice for collecting, storing and sharing information on vulnerable residents and also those households where the contractor may be at risk when entering the property?



    (Bernard Quinn, Meres and Mosses Housing Association,, 01939 238840)
    Bernard Quinn Answers (2)

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)

Guest rooms in sheltered housing schemes

Development and Regeneration
  • I have been advised by Council Tax that housing services is responsible for the annual Council Tax charge, minus 10% discount, on its guest rooms in sheltered accommodation.

    The argument that they are not residential premises is, apparently, not a defence.

    I would appreciate it if members can advise me if they have had the same issue and if they were able to successfully argue that they weren't liable for the charge?


    (Tony Martin, Darlington Borough Council,, )
    Tony Martin Answers (1)

Items left in communal areas of blocks

Development and Regeneration
  • I would be interested to know how other local authorities/HAs are dealing with items left in communal areas of blocks; is there a general zero tolerance approach or good practice guidelines? We have a situation where people have doormats, potted plants, etc, in communal areas, especially in the smaller one-bed blocks where communal areas have become an extension of people's homes. RBFRS in Reading have said we have to clear everything out, although preferable, it may be impractical and difficult to monitor!

    Also, in other blocks where people leave prams and bicycles, etc, in communal areas we do get them cleared but would be interesting to know how others approach this and what is a reasonable timescale for them to clear the belongings.

    (Collette Baker, Reading Borough Council,, )
    Collette Baker Answers (1)

Leaseholder surveys

  • I am exploring ways to try and improve the number of leaseholders who return our annual survey, and I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has been successful in this area, and what methods or incentives have been used.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    (Simon Putt, South Essex Homes,, 01702 214 236)
    Simon Putt Answers (2)

Stay put policies

  • Ashfield Homes Limited recently introduced changes to sheltered scheme evacuation procedures after concerns raised by Notts Fire and Rescue Service regarding the company's stay put policy at sheltered schemes under AHL's management. After a lengthy consultation process, the stay put policy was abandoned and we have now moved to full evacuation of tenants/residents upon fire alarm activations.

    Have any other ALMOs/housing organisations been in liaison with their local fire authority regarding the suitability of stay put policies at sheltered schemes?

    (Scott Tilley, Ashfield Homes,, 01623 608861)
    Scott Tilley Answers (3)

Work at height

  • Work at height - what are other ALMOs/housing organisations' policies on access onto/egress from flatbed vehicles. Has this task/issue been risk assessed, and if so, what was the outcome of the assessment?

    (Scott Tilley, Ashfield Homes,, 01623 608861)
    Scott Tilley Answers (1)

Satisfaction surveys

Asset Management
  • I was wondering if anyone had any resident satisfaction surveys, especially for gas safety checks, that they might be willing to share?

    Many thanks

    Hazel Howard
    Service Improvement Officer

    (Hazel Howard, Sanctuary Group,, 01905 338 716)
    Hazel Howard Answers (2)

MOTs for gas servicing

Asset Management
  • One of my responsibilities is ensuring gas appliances are inspected each year. A great deal of effort and money goes into ensuring that over 99% of our properties have a CP12 that is no more than 12 months old. This is fine, but in order to do this, it is necessary to bring forward the date we begin the process by six weeks. Obviously if we are successful in gaining access in the early stages of the process, the service has to be brought forward by a similar period next year and so on.

    The net result will eventually be that most of our dwellings will have an extra service in a period of around nine years (a cost of up to £2m, or £220,000 per annum, to us). The cost of this across the country must be many millions of pounds. Clearly no one wants to compromise on gas safety, but I do not believe the legislation ever intended this literal interpretation, nor do I believe that it is an imperative to ensure safety.

    When we renew the annual MOT on our cars (which is another important safety check), we are able to preserve the anniversary date of the certificate even if the inspection is carried out a month early.

    My question is, could the same methodology, as now applied to vehicle MOTs, be applied to gas servicing? In my view this would not compromise safety, but would save millions of pounds across the country.

    (Martin Weaver, Hackney Homes,, )
    Martin Weaver Answers (3)

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)

Incentives for mystery shopping

  • Does anyone offer incentives to tenants for taking part in scrutiny or mystery shopping?

    If so, what have you found to be the most successful?

    Many thanks

    (Margaret Swift, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209211)
    Margaret Swift Answers (5)

Exploding oven glass doors

Asset Management
  • We have had a number of glass oven doors fail. The event is kinetic and very distressing for our tenants. We have had a high number of doors fail in relation to the number installed.

    I would very much like to know if other members have experienced the same type of failure?

    (Mark Allum, Housing 21,, 03701924257)
    Mark Allum Answers (2)

Tenant profiling

Asset Management
  • How are other housing providers tackling tenant profiling?

    I would love to hear from providers that have looked at this.

    How have you collated information on your tenants, the response rate, how you have/are going to get information on all of your tenants and how you are going to ensure that the information is kept up to date?

    (Nicola Levett, Wealden District Council,, 01323 743643)
    Nicola Levett Answers (2)

Cost savings on fleet, mileage and pool car use

  • Has anyone looked at cost savings specifically relating to mileage claims, use of pool cars, bus passes for staff or recharging staff for mileage who take work vehicles home for mileage?

    Can anyone send me details of their quality control measures in place for staff claiming mileage?

    Has anyone looked at, or successfully reduced, their mileage claim rate by implementing the HMRC rate?

    (Samantha Dickson, Corby Borough Council,, 01536 464617)
    Samantha Dickson 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)

Monitoring contractor compliance with equality and diversity

Asset Management
  • Has anybody out there got a template that they use to monitor the performance of their contractors in terms of equality and diversity issues? I am looking in particular at areas like training, contractor staff profiling, disciplinary issues, how the contractor embeds E&D throughout their organisation, etc.

    I would appreciate it if anybody is further down the line than me and doesn't mind sharing whatever documents they use.

    Thank you.

    (Lyn Bowker, Liverpool Mutual Homes,, 0151 23 52550)
    Lyn Bowker Answers (2)

Differential void lettable standards

Asset Management
  • Does any organisation have differential void lettable standards? Is there a consistent national void minimum standard with an enhanced standard in some areas with some property types that best fits any issues around design, low demand, client group, etc?

    Is anyone willing to share how they do this and the benefits gained?

    (Sharon Ford, Affinity Sutton Group,, 01442 283103)
    Sharon Ford Answers (1)

Document retention

  • In 1990 we gave a large number of reinstatement grants for prefabricated reinforced concrete houses and the original completion certificates were given to all the home owners. We have held the files including copies of the certificates in storage for 20 years as we are very occasionally asked for copies of certificates where they have been mislaid.

    Can anyone advise whether we still need to hold these or whether they can now be destroyed?

    (Kathryn Jones, Worcester City Council,, 01905 722257)
    Kathryn Jones Answers (3)

National standards and local offers

  • From April 2010 the Tenant Services Authority will be regulating local authorities. A new regulatory framework has now been introduced and Woking Borough Council has begun the consultation process with tenants regarding the national standards and local offers.

    Our tenants would like to see some examples of both the national standards and the local offers that have been adopted by other housing providers. If you are able to assist us and provide some examples of local offers it would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    Helen Hilderley

    (Helen Hilderley, Woking Borough Council,, 01483 743620)
    Helen Hilderley Answers (1)

TSA governance standard - probity policy?

  • I know it's early days but does anyone have a 'probity' policy covering all, or indeed any, of the elements previously covered by Housing Corp regulations (Schedule 1, etc)?

    Anyone with documents in place could suddenly find themselves very popular! Any ideas/outlines/drafts would be gratefully received.

    Many thanks

    (Margaret Swift, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209211)
    Margaret Swift Answers (5)

Rechargeable repairs

Asset Management
  • Do you insure your housing stock against fires, floods, structural damage, etc?

    Do you recharge tenants for damage caused by negligence or accidents, ie, chip pan fire, overflowing baths, blocked drains?

    Thank you

    (Paul Bishop, Hull City Council,, (01482) 614470)
    Paul Bishop Answers (3)

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)

Forced entry in an emergency

Asset Management
  • I've been working on a procedure for forced entry to properties in an emergency, of the sort that needs instant entry (water pouring through floors, etc).

    On the face of it, it looks as if the Public Health Act 1936, s287 comes the closest to permitting unfettered access, but I'm still not sure. Can anybody give some definitive pointers as to what a local authority is permitted to do in such circumstances, and which legislation covers it?

    (Rebecca Clements, Southwark London Borough,, 020 7525 602)
    Rebecca Clements Answers (1)

Neighbourhood performance indicators

Strategy and Policy
  • My organisation restructured last year and launched a neighbourhood officer role which combined previous tenancy and estate management, lettings and anti-social behaviour functions - with an increased emphasis on more of a neighbourhood working model and the development of a whole neighbourhood ownership ethos.

    To develop this role further we are looking to create some effective PIs that will allow us to monitor, review and improve this role.

    Can anyone who is already working to this type of model, offer advice on some suitable PIs that they are using which would assist with the above - preferably ones that have been agreed in consultation with customers and stakeholders?

    (Bernadette Morrison, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7778)
    Bernadette Morrison Answers (4)

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)

Customer access strategy - customer consultation

Strategy and Policy
  • We are just in the midst of developing a customer access strategy and wondered if anybody had good examples around customer consultation on accessing their services? In particular, any examples of survey questions used would be really helpful.

    Any thoughts or examples would be very welcome.

    (Phil Citrone, Paradigm HG,, 01494 588225)
    Phil Citrone Answers (1)

Safeguarding children and adults policy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently in the process of developing a joint safeguarding children and adults policy.

    I would like to hear from any members who have clearly defined policies and procedures that cover both client groups and who would be willing to share their good practice documentation, policies and procedures.


    (Tunde Hinton, Lambeth London Borough,, 0207 926 3109)
    Tunde Hinton Answers (1)

Older persons' floating support job descriptions and person specs

  • We are coming towards the end of a review of our sheltered housing service, which, subject to committee approval in June, will create a new staffing structure that includes an element of floating support alongside the sheltered 'warden' service.

    I know that there is another thread about sheltered job descriptions and person specs, but can I make a specific request in relation to any older persons' floating support staff that you may have in your organisations, including staffing structure and salaries?

    Thank you

    (Jason Thomas, Tandridge District Council,, 01883 732973)
    Jason Thomas Answers (2)

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)

Social networking

Strategy and Policy
  • We are looking at using social networking to communicate and consult with our tenants. I would be very interested to hear other housing providers' experiences.

    - What has worked well, Facebook or Twitter?

    - Any implementation or ongoing issues?

    - Has this proved successful to engage with younger people?

    Any feedback would be very useful.

    Thank you

    (Michelle Wright, Fabrick Housing Group,, 01642 773632)
    Michelle Wright Answers (6)

Contact centre/call centre/repairs service centre

Strategy and Policy
  • When establishing the number of staff required to work in a call centre/contact centre/repairs service centre, what calculation do you apply, ie, number of properties, number of calls, length of time per call, etc?

    Many thanks

    (Sharon Baldwin, Irwell Valley Housing Association,, 0161 6104708 or 07770 605503)
    Sharon Baldwin Answers (1)

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)

Feed-in tariff funding for landlords

Asset Management
  • MMHA has recently installed five ground source heat pumps. We are led to believe that the new feed-in tariff will apply to GSHP at a rate of 7p/kWh for 23 years, and that the landlord will receive the grant.

    If this is true it could revolutionise our provision of affordable heating to off-gas rural properties.

    Do any other members have similar schemes in place/are contemplating the FiT issue for alternative energy sources, such as GSHP, air source, photovoltaic, etc?

    I would be grateful for your views/experience.

    (Bernard Quinn, Meres and Mosses Housing Association,, 01939 238840)
    Bernard Quinn Answers (7)

Recording and analysing customer satisfaction information

Strategy and Policy
  • I currently gather various types of information to record and analyse customer satisfaction. This information is captured via various methods, eg, spreadsheets, Access database and I would like to know if anyone has a holistic system which could capture varied information and have the ability to produce reports?


    (Stephen Kean, North Ayrshire Council,, )
    Stephen Kean Answers (1)

Void repair policy/standards

Asset Management
  • I am the void operations manager for Calico.

    I'm reviewing our policies around void property repairs and management and wondered if anyone would be prepared to share their organisation's void repair policy or re-let standards.

    Many thanks

    (Simon Flaherty, Calico Homes Limited,, 07976 079608/01282 686455)
    Simon Flaherty Answers (8)

ISO 9001

Strategy and Policy
  • Our housing department is considering gaining ISO 9001, the international organisation for standardisation (for quality management systems).

    Have any other members claimed conformity to this standard? If so, I'd be grateful for any suggestions or advice in how to go about it.

    (Cheri Falkner, Corby Borough Council,, 01536 464680)
    Cheri Falkner Answers (4)

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)

Right to Buy satisfaction survey

Strategy and Policy
  • I wondered if anyone could supply me with a copy of their Right to Buy satisfaction survey which they supply to their tenants once they have completed their Right to Buy?

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    (Caroline Lewin, Greenfields,, 01376 535400 ext. 4109)
    Caroline Lewin Answers (1)

Learning from complaints

Strategy and Policy
  • I am looking for examples of how organisations learn from complaints, how is it recorded and acted upon, do you have a particular format other than recording the complaint? How do you involve residents in the analysis of complaints?

    Any info would be much appreciated.

    (Mandi Pullen, Sanctuary Group,, 01215253131)
    Mandi Pullen Answers (6)

Customer profiling

Strategy and Policy
  • I'm currently working on analysing our customer profile by age; gender; ethnicity; faith; sexuality and disability.

    Is there a definition which I can use, ie, how do we base analyses for the household if there are joint tenants or if there are other family members?


    (Amarjit Takhar, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7606)
    Amarjit Takhar Answers (1)

Collection of tenant profile information

Strategy and Policy
  • Can you share any special initiatives you have taken to improve the rate of collection of tenant profile information for your organisation?

    Would you also be able to share a copy of the tenant profile form used by your organisation?

    (Liz Dunlop, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533841)
    Liz Dunlop Answers (6)

Non-thermostatic showers

Asset Management
  • RBC are asking the question as to whether other local authorities and housing associations have replaced as a matter of course, existing non-thermostatic showers retrospectively, or only replaced them when they become faulty or through a modernisation programme for Decent Homes, etc?

    (Liz Dunlop, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533841)
    Liz Dunlop Answers (3)

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)

Policy development/critical friend

Asset Management
  • Hi everyone

    I am in the process of creating and reviewing a number of policies within asset management. For example, emergency procedure, defects, and defective lifts.

    It would be great if anyone can let me know any lessons learned or best practice that they have used to review or develop their policy.

    Your assistance is much appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    Neil Topping

    (Neil Topping, Family Mosaic Housing,, 0207 0891000)
    Neil Topping 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)

Constant central heating repair request

Asset Management
  • Does anyone have elderly residents who have issues with their gas central heating system, and subsequently report faults that after inspection prove unfounded.

    How do you resolve issues of this nature?

    (Jeanne Bessey, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533842)
    Jeanne Bessey Answers (2)

Setting up a customer panel

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently in the process of developing a joint housing strategy incorporating Mansfield, Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood; and as part of this development we are intending to set up a customer panel, to provide a customer perspective on the progress of the joint strategy. I am therefore seeking any good practice around governance and panel arrangements, ie, membership and terms of reference; and was wondering if any other SEN members can provide any useful information, practice approaches or a terms of reference template for a panel of this nature?

    (Melanie Taylor, Mansfield District Council,, )
    Melanie Taylor 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)

Service level agreements/service contracts

Strategy and Policy
  • I would be grateful if you could let me know how your organisation monitors and reports on service level agreements/service contracts.

    More specifically I would like to know the following:

    1 How often a report is drafted, eg, quarterly, monthly

    2 Does each contract have a set of measurable performance indicators?

    3 Does the report include every contract the organisation has with an outside party?

    Thank you for assistance


    (Michael Steward, Stockport Homes,, 0161 474 2810)
    Michael Steward Answers (6)

Responsive and cyclical repairs

Asset Management
  • We are undertaking a review of our responsive and cyclical repairs policy and procedure and welcome any examples of good practice, leaflets and customer facing publications.

    Many thanks

    (Matthew Rothwell, Sanctuary Group,, 01905 725272)
    Matthew Rothwell Answers (2)

CRB policy

  • We are looking to review our corporate CRB policy and I was wondering if anyone would share their current policy with me? I am particularly interested in the specific roles (outside of care staff) that you carry out CRB checks on and the reasons why.

    Thank you in advance

    (Ashleigh Evans, Bournville Village Trust,, 0121 415 6515)
    Ashleigh Evans Answers (3)

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)


Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently looking at reviewing our DPA policy. I was wondering if there was some legislation or even guidance that suggests some types of DPA may carry a higher priority than others, such as 'bathing may be less of a priority issue than an access ramp'?

    If anyone has any information on this, I would be grateful.

    (Sarah Graham, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Sarah Graham Answers (2)

Sheltered Housing Stock - Support services

Strategy and Policy
  • Sedgefield Borough Homes is a newly established HA and we are currently reviewing a number of our key service areas. One of the main areas we are about to review is our sheltered housing and associated support services.

    I would be grateful if any housing organisation has undertaken a consultant-led review of similar services, with a view to producing a strategy for both physical interventions for its sheltered housing stock and its support services, and if they would share the brief used to procure the work, with us?

    (Gary Mountford, Livin,, 0845 505 5500)
    Gary Mountford Answers (2)

Job descriptions and person specs

  • I would like to ask if anyone is willing to share a copy of their job description and person specifications for their scheme managers/support workers for older people/those supporting people in sheltered along with any supervisory posts and some indication as to how recent these are.

    I would also like to ask if members could advise of current salary/grades these posts are paid.

    I am currently working on a new model of service delivery for WALH and would be grateful for any information relating to job descriptions for staff.

    (Karen McHugh, Wigan & Leigh Housing Company,, 01942 486605)
    Karen McHugh Answers (14)

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)

Disturbance payments

  • I would be very grateful if you or one of your colleagues could provide me with information in response to the following - I am trying to ascertain whether claims are allowed and disturbance payments made in respect of the following matters when a resident is relocated by the authority:

    1 Cost of decorating the replacement property - labour and/or wallpaper/paint, regardless of whether the claimant is an owner occupier or a tenant. Or if DIY vouchers are supplied to a set cost?

    2 Replacement cost of the provision of new carpets and if so whether a cost limit is set or on a basis of like for like. Or is it just the reimbursement of the cost of adapting/fitting existing carpets/laminate flooring to fit in the new property and/or the fitting only of new replacement carpets/laminate flooring?

    3 Similarly the cost of replacement curtains and blinds and fitting or just the adapting and fitting costs only of the old to fit new properties.

    Alternatively rather than disturbance claims, do other local authorities simply pay a one off lump sum in lieu of disturbance claims in addition to the Home Loss payment, and if so, what is the amount?

    Thank you in advance of taking the time to respond to this request.


    Kind regards
    Sue Roberts
    Private Housing Manager
    Hull City Council
    (Sue Roberts, Hull City Council,, 01482 614326)
    Sue Roberts Answers (12)

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)

Tenant board member recruitment

  • We have six tenant board members who are elected rotationally by patch, two per year (although they do not represent the patch). Currently I use three methods of recruitment:

    1 Advertisements in the local weekly press and in our in-house magazine.

    2 A direct mailshot to the tenants involved.

    3 Out and about at markets and supermarkets etc.

    Methods two and three are the most successful, nonetheless we could do with getting more tenants to stand. Does anyone have suggestions on how I might improve the recruitment process?

    (Robert Dawson, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836350)
    Robert Dawson Answers (9)

Emergency packs

  • We are trying to establish if any other housing associations have developed a pack of information to be handed out to staff and residents on a major incident, ie, fire or flood.

    The pack would include details of re-housing arrangements, grants available, main contact details for housing associations and insurance companies, etc. It would also include what to do in the event of a death, counselling and groups in the area.

    We are currently developing a procedure for attendance at a major incident and who should be there and who should contact who.

    Any advice on the above would be appreciated.

    (David Sewell, Derwentside Homes,, 01207 524209)
    David Sewell Answers (5)

Means testing aids and adaptations

  • Has any local authority decided to means test aids and adaptations?

    Have you considered it?

    Any information will be gratefully received.

    (Annalisa Howson, Waverley Borough Council,, 01483 523453)
    Annalisa Howson Answers (8)

Policy and service reviews

Strategy and Policy
  • Is anyone aware of any toolkits or checklists for carrying out policy and/or service reviews?

    Is there any guidance to help managers ensure a cross-directorate approach and ensure that VfM, E&D, cost benefit analysis, consultation and sustainability, etc, are properly addressed?

    All suggestions gratefully received!

    (Margaret Swift, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209211)
    Margaret Swift Answers (1)

Resident impact assessment

  • Does anyone have recent examples of the formats used for resident impact assessments on specific services areas, either from the perspective of service improvement or preparing for inspection?

    Many thanks

    James Walsh
    Community Regeneration Manager

    (James Walsh, Mercian Housing Association,, 01213 227404)
    James Walsh Answers (8)

Legal services review

  • Hi

    We are just about to undertake a review of our in-house legal services section and I would love to hear from other organisations that have reviewed their in-house legal team or how you have determined whether your external provider is delivering value for money and quality?



    (Chris Shepherd, Wrekin Housing Trust,, 01952 217495)
    Chris Shepherd Answers (3)

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)

Best practice for a self build scheme

Development and Regeneration
  • We are planning a self build scheme involving a self build charity, HA development partner, and local college.

    We are hoping to use the project as a chance for young people to gain construction skills. The development is likely to include 10-12 one bedroom apartments.

    If anyone can share their experience of the development process or subsequent management of self build properties I would be very grateful.


    (Craig Knight, Cherwell District Council,, 01295 227078)
    Craig Knight Answers (1)

Safeguarding children and adults

  • Requirements under the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) are being phased in from October 2009. This will include a vetting and barring scheme that employers must follow in relation to those staff who work intensively with children and adults.

    Has anyone, or their HR support teams looked at the implications of this for the work of social landlords and, more specifically, what type of work would fall within the definitions of controlled and regulated activity, eg, wardens in sheltered houisng schemes, tenancy support services for young people.

    (Steve Wilkinson, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing,, 01484 416454)
    Steve Wilkinson Answers (1)

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)


  • We are developing a Key Performance Indicator framework for our organisation and would like to hear from any members that have already completed this project.

    We want to go further than the usual AIR PIs to improve the culture of the organisation.

    (Andrew Welton, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7589)
    Andrew Welton Answers (2)

Personal safety solutions

  • At St Leger Homes of Doncaster we are currently exploring options for introducing some form of personal safety device (and supporting alerting system) to be issued to all staff that will visit tenants in their property, or as part of carrying out the estate management role.

    If any organisations have undertaken a similar review, or have introduced facilities to support lone workers, within the last 12 months I would be interested to benefit from your experiences.

    We are specifically interested in the particular safety device you have introduced, the alerting processes you have introduced in the back office in responding to an alert being raised, the working practices you have for maintaining a list of potentially violent tenants/properties, and any data protection considerations you have addressed.

    (Steve Taylor, St Leger Homes of Doncaster,, 01302 862852)
    Steve Taylor Answers (10)

Equality and diversity

Strategy and Policy
  • I am researching best practice for transcription of materials/documents/letters/magazines for our customers who have sensory disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health disabilities, dexterity and mobility disabilities, etc. If anyone has any good ideas or best practices I would be very grateful.


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

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)

Benchmarking equality

Strategy and Policy
  • Could you advise what 'opportunities' there are for a medium sized HAs to benchmark in delivery of equality across all diversity strands?

    Thank you

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

Policy and strategy

Strategy and Policy
  • Can anyone provide me with a clear and simple (plain english) definition of a policy as opposed to a strategy?

    Thank you

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

Charges for gas meter reconnections

Asset Management
  • We currently have an issue in Hull whereby supply authorities (in particular gas) are charging in the region of £640 to have services reconnected for a new customer (due to the previous tenant having tampered with the meter). Unfortunately, as the landlord we foot the bill.

    Have any other authorities experienced this and if so what measures, if any, are they taking?

    (Ian Miller, Hull City Council,, )
    Ian Miller Answers (8)

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)

Marketing and communications set up

  • I am interested to know how housing associations set up their marketing and communications team.

    - How many staff members does it comprise of?

    - How are publications produced?

    - How many organistaions use an in-house designer and publisher? If so, since when and how is this funded?

    - What budget do you have allocated towards publications?

    I would be grateful for any replies via email.

    Many thanks

    (Shazia Mohammed, Aldwyck Housing Group,, 01582 869100)
    Shazia Mohammed Answers (10)

Benchmarking RTA/RTB

Strategy and Policy
  • Just wondered if anybody had any examples of benchmarking RTB/RTA services?

    (Phil Citrone, Paradigm HG,, 01494 588225)
    Phil Citrone Answers (1)

Fire safety risk assessments

  • Cambridge City Council are in the process of a bid for resources to carry out fire safety risk assessments and we would like a feel for the price range of these risk assessments, as we have a current provider who we will feels charges a very reasonable sum of money - but we need to ensure that we have sufficient fund in the bid.

    Would anyone be happy to share information on the costs they have incurred for FSRA, in relation to sheltered accommodation and communal areas?

    (Jenny Gibson, Cambridge City Council,, 01223 457839)
    Jenny Gibson Answers (2)

Policy and procedure manual

Strategy and Policy
  • This may be a very boring process question! However, has anyone been commended by the Audit Commission for their approach to writing, indexing, and monitoring of policies and procedures?

    I'm particularly interested in how to achieve simplicity, clarity, and user friendliness as well as being concise and consistent across the organisation. If anyone is willing to share useful templates or methodologies that work in practice, I'd be very grateful.

    (Margaret Swift, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209211)
    Margaret Swift Answers (3)

Leaseholders and gas safety certificates

Asset Management
  • The Trust are looking at asking its leaseholders to provide annual CP12 certificates. Does anybody else do this and if so how do you go about it, how succesful is it, do you enforce it and what problems do you encounter? Any help that you can give will be greatly appreciated.


    (Simon Maney, Watford Community Housing Trust,, 01923 209216)
    Simon Maney Answers (5)

National debtors list

Strategy and Policy
  • A tenant of ours was asking if there is such a thing as a national debtors list?

    For instance if a tenant leaves their property owing money for whatever reason, it should stay with them wherever they go, for example trying to get housed through another authority.

    Is there some sort of list these people could be added to?

    (Leona Keeble, Vale of Aylesbury Housing,, 01296 732685)
    Leona Keeble 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)

Resource scheduling

  • Can people please give us an indication of types of software used to make appointments for repairs within your organisation where you are sending orders to multiple contractors? We are looking for a dynamic system that can adjust to circumstances as they arrive.

    (Colin Devine, Wigan & Leigh Housing Company,, 01942 486808)
    Colin Devine Answers (2)

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)

Freephone number impact on performance

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • We are currently looking at introducing a freephone number to our contact centre for housing services.

    Can you provide any information or evidence in regards to the impact this has on the performance of the contact centre or your views on the impact this could have?

    (Anthony Dix, Rykneld Homes Limited,, 01246 217617)
    Anthony Dix Answers (3)

Telephone performance targets

  • At Aldwyck we are currently benchmarking telephone targets and performance within housing. Would really be grateful if you could reply by providing your performance targets and data. Happy to share responses with any one if interested.

    (Simi Sharma, Aldwyck Housing Group,, 01582 869 117)
    Simi Sharma Answers (1)

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)

Rechargeable repairs VAT charged

Asset Management
  • Our current rechargeable repairs procedure and policy are being reviewed, at present VAT is charged on a VOID property but existing tenants are not charged VAT, only the cost of the recharge plus an administration fee.

    I would appreciate feedback as to how other landlords charge VAT on void and tenanted properties.

    (Catherine Stewardson, Wolverhampton Homes,, 01902 550498)
    Catherine Stewardson Answers (1)

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)

Rent on damaged properties

Asset Management
  • I am currently researching best practice for dealing with properties which have become uninhabitable due to fire/flood/impact damage where that tenant would require emergency housing.

    Housing Benefit will not make any contribution to the rent as the property cannot be lived in, therefore if not made void, the property will accrue rent arrears.

    If the property is made void, no rent is charged but there will be a break in the tenancy which would have repercussions for any subsequent right to buy application made by the tenant.

    Any information relating to your organisations practice would be appreciated.

    Many thanks

    (Lisa Cummings, Livin,, 0.133 816166 ext 6005)
    Lisa Cummings Answers (1)

Transporting tenants in officers' cars

  • Can anyone share with us specific policies that their organisation has in place regarding officers giving tenants a lift in their cars to go to conferences/training sessions/estate walkabouts.

    We are specifically interested in the health and safety issues especially those around liability in the event of an accident.

    Many thanks

    (Michelle Dickson, Rugby Borough Council,, 01788 533843)
    Michelle Dickson Answers (1)

Repairs completed during evenings and weekends

Asset Management
  • Hyde is aiming to offer appointments for repairs during evenings and weekends by 2010. Have any other members implemented this and if so,what has the take-up been from residents, and any pitfalls experienced?

    (Ian Jenner, Hyde Housing Association,, 02032 072710)
    Ian Jenner Answers (1)

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)

IT procurement

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently considering our options in regard to our IT system.

    Obviously one option is to replace it. Is there any member organisation currently looking at a similar project and would they be willing to investigate the possibility of joining us?

    (Philip Leighton, Cannock Chase District Council,, 01543 0464413)
    Philip Leighton Answers (1)

Mobile home sites

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • I should be grateful to hear from any councils who own or manage non-gypsy mobile home sites where residents own their own mobile homes but rent the plots from the council. In particular I would like to know:

    - Do you have a site warden?
    - How much are the plot fees?
    - Do you charge the full 10% commission following the sale of a mobile home?


    (Maureen Farnell, Tandridge District Council,, 01883 732806)
    Maureen Farnell 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)

Gas/electric supplies to new let properties

Development and Regeneration
  • We are having a problem with connecting gas/electric supplies to new let properties. The utility companies will not connect supply until the tenant has moved in but there is often several days delay. Has anyone got any ideas how to get round this?


    (Liam Dawson, Luton Borough Council,, )
    Liam Dawson Answers (1)

Consulting on rent setting

  • At Islington we're in the process of reviewing the way we consult with tenants and residents on setting rents, fees and charges. We currently consult through reports sent to our ALMO's consultative area housing panels.

    However, we find that these reports are complex and difficult to understand for the layperson. If anybody has any best practice examples of written material, or specific forums used to consult on these issues it would be much appreciated if you could share them with me.

    In return we'd be happy to share examples of our current and future consultation arrangements.

    Please contact me to discuss.

    (Bryony Willett, Islington London Borough,, 0207 527 7713)
    Bryony Willett Answers (1)


Strategy and Policy
  • We are experiencing problems providing a power supply to our void properties for our operatives. This is particularly vital when they are working in the winter months.

    Does anyone have a solution other than the provision of generators?

    We are aware of 'power cards' but due to the number of suppliers and the fact there can be a debt remaining the suppliers are reluctant to help us.

    (Andrew Welton, City West Housing Trust,, 0161 605 7589)
    Andrew Welton Answers (1)

Pests and vermin

  • Does anybody have a policy on pests?

    If so, could I have sight of it please?

    Does anybody know the legal implications of not having a pest policy?

    (Tina Key, Shoreline Housing Partnership,, 01472 572010)
    Tina Key Answers (1)

Alternatives to Possession

Strategy and Policy
  • Following our recent Audit Commission inspection we are interested in looking at alternatves to possession for rent arrears. We only put people in court as a last resort and follow the pre-action protocol but we would be interested to find out what other organisations do in relation to this?

    (Paul Bayes, Green Vale Homes,, 01706 836309)
    Paul Bayes Answers (2)

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)

Translation/interpreting policy

Development and Regeneration
  • Does your organisation have a translation policy? If so, would you be happy to share that with me please? If your organisation doesn't have one, what kind of procedure do you have in place for dealing with requests for translation, eg, do you just translate on request?

    Many thanks

    (Jane Searle, Paragon Community Housing Group,, 01932 235722)
    Jane Searle Answers (3)

No access policy/strategy

Strategy and Policy
  • We are currently carrying out major investment programmes of work in our housing stock in order to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.

    We have a growing number of tenants either refusing the work or not providing access for the work to be carried out.

    We would like to develop a policy/strategy for dealing with this and would appreciate it if any other members could assist.

    (Jim Andrew, North Ayrshire Council,, 01294 225014)
    Jim Andrew Answers (2)

Asbestos surveys - effect on void turnaround time

  • Where there isn't an asbestos survey (type 2 or 3) to reference and one is required prior to working on a void property, how are members reporting/dealing with the delay in starting work?

    Surveys can take a minimum of three days to be produced, probably more in reality, with a 'key to key' target of 26 days the loss of three/five days is significant.

    Surveys can also result in 'notifiable' asbestos being identified which may need removing and the HSE being notified via the ASB5 form. How do members report/deal with this variation?

    Any information on procedures, legitimate reporting exclusions, etc, would be appreciated.

    (Pete Elmer, Solihull Community Housing,, 0121 7171645)
    Pete Elmer Answers (1)

Repair inspections

  • I was just wondering if anybody has any good practice examples of pre-repair and post-repair inspections?

    Many thanks

    (Phil Citrone, Paradigm HG,, 01494 588225)
    Phil Citrone Answers (1)

Resident census

Performance Improvement and Efficiency
  • BVT are currently working towards carrying out a full census of their residents, regardless of tenure, in mid 2009 following the Audit Commission's expressed requirement that all 'excellent' HAs should have a substantial customer profile.

    I would like to hear from anyone who has gone through this process and if their is any good practice/lessons learnt from the exercise and if there were any data protection problems encountered particularly with reference to the storing and up keep of demographic information?

    Thank you very much for your help, in anticipation.

    (Ashleigh Evans, Bournville Village Trust,, 0121 415 6515)
    Ashleigh Evans Answers (1)

Potentially violent tenants

Development and Regeneration
  • I am looking to write a policy, procedure and staff guidance for dealing with potentially violent tenants, looking around the following:

    - How do we define a potentially violent tenant
    - Who needs to be alerted?
    - How regularly do we review?

    Does anyone have any sort of policy in place?


    (Justine Carroll, Willow Park Housing Trust,, 0161 946 9526)
    Justine Carroll Answers (1)

Shared supported housing - benchmarking

Strategy and Policy
  • Calico Housing has a number of shared supported housing properties for individuals with learning disabilities.

    Calico is the landlord but not the support provider. The support is commissioned by our local social services.

    We are currently developing our service as a landlord and would like to hear from anyone who would be willing share good practice documentation, policies and procedures. We are particularly interested in the following areas:

    * Sevice level agreements with support commissioners and support providers

    * Tenancy agreements

    * Nomination and allocation procedure/protocols

    * Landlord and support provider responsibilities in relation to health and safety, eg, risk assessment, fire checks

    * Review visits.

    Many thanks

    (Sarah Harker, Calico Homes Limited,, 01282 686361)
    Sarah Harker Answers (1)

Housing needs surveys

Development and Regeneration
  • We are looking to carry out a housing needs survey of the whole of our district (which is both urban and rural). Has any other local authority carried out a recent housing needs survey? If so I would really like to hear from them to discuss who they used, methodology, questions, etc

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