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Tenancy Policy

The policy details the types of tenancy we will use when allocating the council's housing stock.

Contents

- Background

- Context

- Aims of the policy

- Sustaining tenancies

- Taking account of the needs of vulnerable residents

- Type of tenancy to be granted

- Rents

- Succession rights

- Policy review

- Associated policies

 

This policy was approved by Cabinet on 20 February 2024.
 

1. Background

1.1 This tenancy policy fulfils the requirements of the Tenancy Standard 2012, as set out by the Regulator of Social Housing, to adopt and publish a tenancy policy. It has been subject to consultation with tenants and members of Uttlesford District Council.
 

2. Context

2.1 This policy outlines Uttlesford District Council's approach to tenancy management, including interventions to sustain tenancies and prevent unnecessary evictions. The policy also sets out the type of tenancies we will grant and the circumstances in which we will grant tenancies of a particular type.
 

3. Aims of the policy

3.1 The aims of this policy are to:

  • act to support and sustain tenancies
  • support the development of new homes and sustainable communities across Uttlesford
  • make the best use of the available social housing stock
     

4. Sustaining tenancies

4.1 We will ensure that all new tenants are provided with clear information concerning the terms of their tenancy agreement and of the consequences of failing to keep to those terms.

4.2 We will intervene at an early stage when we become aware of breaches of tenancy agreements. Following investigations, we will seek to ensure that tenants receive appropriate support to help them keep their home.

4.3 Tenants in supported and sheltered housing will have a support plan identifying the type of support needed and these will be reviewed regularly. We will refer vulnerable residents in general needs housing to floating support services or other support services where applicable.

4.4 Where tenants have rent arrears, we will seek possession only where all preventative methods such as financial inclusion advice have been reviewed and exhausted.
 

5. Taking account of the needs of vulnerable residents

5.1 An equality impact assessment (EIA) has been undertaken on this policy, taking account the different strands of diversity. The EIA will be reviewed whenever this policy is reviewed. The EIA will be available on the Uttlesford District Council website
 

6. Type of tenancy to be granted

6.1 We will provide new tenants with a written agreement (a Tenancy Agreement (PDF) [548KB] ) that sets out their rights and responsibilities and our rights and obligations. This will be fully explained at the sign-up interview.

6.2 We will grant secure tenancies to new tenants in all types of Uttlesford District Council permanent accommodation, including properties let at Affordable Rents These could be applicants who are transferring from within Uttlesford District Council or from a registered provider or who have completed a mutual exchange.

6.3 Where Uttlesford District Council properties are let as emergency temporary housing, such as in cases of homelessness, tenants will be granted non-secure temporary tenancies.
 

7. Rents

7.1 Tenancies will be let at rents in accordance with the council's Rent Policy.
 

8. Succession rights

8.1 Succession rights are detailed in our Tenancy Agreement (PDF) [548KB] .

8.2 Succession rights for tenants whose tenancy started before 1 April 2012 are as follows:

i. If you are a sole tenant and are married, then your spouse will automatically succeed to the tenancy provided he or she is living in the property at the date of your death. If you are not married or are separated and your spouse does not live in the property, then if a close relative (as defined by the Housing Act 1985) is living with you at your death and has been living with you for the whole of the twelve (12) months immediately before your death then that person will automatically succeed to the tenancy. These provisions do not apply if you acquired the tenancy yourself upon the death of another person (survivorship or a previous succession). In such a case no-one can succeed, and the tenancy will come to an end. If the successor is a close relative (not your surviving spouse) we may require the successor to move to a smaller property if the existing property would be under-occupied.

ii. If you are joint tenants, on the death of either of you, the tenancy will automatically pass to the survivor.

iii. Wherever there is a change in the identity of the tenant on death (either because of a succession referred to in sub-paragraph 8.2.i above or because the property passes to a surviving tenant as referred to in sub-paragraph 8.2.ii) there can be no further succession to the tenancy.

iv. Subject to very few exceptions a secure tenancy may not be assigned. Some of the permitted exceptions give rise to a situation where the person taking the tenancy will be deemed to have succeeded to it to prevent the possibility of a further succession occurring.

8.3 Succession rights for tenants whose tenancy started after 1 April 2012 are as follows:

i. If you are joint tenants, on the death of either tenant, the tenancy will automatically pass to the survivor.

ii. Wherever there is a change in the identity of the tenant on death, either because of a succession as referred to below or because the property has passed to a surviving joint tenant there can be no further successions to the tenancy.

iii. The following provisions do not apply if you acquired the tenancy yourself upon the death of another person. In such a case no-one can succeed to the tenancy and the tenancy will therefore come to an end.

iv. If you are a sole tenant and are married, in a civil partnership, or living with a partner as if you were married or in a civil partnership, then your partner will automatically succeed to the tenancy provided he or she is living in the property as their only or principal home at the date of your death.

v. If at the time of death your spouse or partner is not living with you then an immediate family member who is living with you will be allowed to succeed to the tenancy. This is providing they meet all the succession rights set out under the Housing Act 1985 Part IV, have been living in your household as their only or principal home for at least the 3 years preceding your death and are judged to be in housing need as defined by the council's allocations policy.

vi. If an immediate family member is eligible to succeed but the property is under-occupied they will be made one offer of suitable alternative accommodation. If the successor tenant refuses to move, then the council would take court action to seek possession under Ground 15A of Schedule 2 of the Act.

vii.  If there is more than one family member who is eligible to succeed, in the absence of agreement between the parties who should succeed, the council will decide who should succeed to the tenancy. There can be no joint succession.

viii. Subject to a very few exceptions a secure tenancy may not be assigned. Some of the permitted exceptions give rise to a situation where the person taking the tenancy will be deemed to have succeeded to it to prevent the possibility of a further succession occurring.
 

9. Policy review

9. 1 This tenancy policy will be reviewed every 3 years or earlier to address legislative, regulatory, best practice or operational issues.
 

10. Associated policies

10.1 The following policies have relevance to this tenancy policy:

 

Date of adoption: 20 February 2024