Transfer policy

This Policy details our approach to transfers in line with existing nomination agreements and within service level agreements to reduce re-let times and minimise rental loss through voids/empty homes across a range of tenures.

Transfer policy

Policy information

Policy reference PO-D–048–H
Approved 14 April 2020
Published 14 April 2020
Effective 14 April 2020

Download

  Download this policy and appendices as a PDF document

Summary

This Policy details our approach to transfers in line with existing nomination agreements and within service level agreements to reduce re-let times and minimise rental loss through voids/empty homes across a range of tenures.

Purpose
  • To ensure there is consistency across the Group when assessing transfer applications, whilst recognising local variations (Appendix C)
  • To reflect the communities we work in and ensure that these communities and our lettings are sustainable.
  • To minimise the time that properties are left unoccupied and keep rent loss to a minimum;
  • To ensure that no individual or group is discriminated against or treated differently as a direct or indirect result of our transfer policy.
Intent

This Policy sets out how we will manage internal transfers across the Group.

Principles

The Group will provide an effective allocations service that meets the requirements of the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) Tenancy Standard.

We will:

  • use HomeSwapper and highlight this service as an option for existing tenants wishing to move from their existing home;
  • transfer tenants in a fair, transparent and efficient way;
  • ensure there is consistency across the Group when assessing transfer applications, whilst recognising local variations;
  • reflect the communities we work in and ensure that these communities and our lettings aresustainable;
  • minimise the time that properties are left unoccupied and keep rent loss to a minimum; and
  • ensure that no individual or group is discriminated against or treated differently as a direct or indirect result of our transfer
Scope

This Policy applies to all parts of Longhurst Group.

This Policy applies to all tenants who apply for a transfer with us.

Policy details

Managing transfers

Eligibility

We may not accept direct transfer applicants where common housing registers/choice based lettings schemes operate. This will depend upon locally agreed arrangements (Appendix B).

We will normally only accept transfer applications, and subsequently make an offer of re- housing, where all accounts are free of debt; all terms and conditions of the tenancy have been met; and a satisfactory tenancy inspection has been completed.

We will not accept applicants for transfer from tenants with Starter Tenancies until their tenancy has converted to an Assured Tenancy or unless authorised by the Director of Housing Services.

Affordability

If we are able to transfer within our housing stock, we will use our Sustainability Matrix to assess whether an applicant can afford to live in one of our homes. The financial metrics used are in line with theConsumer Price Index and are updated yearly. Regional variances will be taken into account within agreedframeworks.

We will not transfer a tenant who clearly cannot afford to sustain a tenancy, identified by pre-tenancy checks.

Transfer criteria

There are two pathways to transfer with us.

Management Priority transfer 
Authorised by the Head of Housing Services or Director of Housing Services.

Direct transfer 
We will normally only accept a transfer application if a tenant is subject to one or more of the following:

  • overcrowding;
  • under-occupancy;
  • race and hate crime;
  • domestic abuse; and/or
  • critical medical need – we will require relevant and up to date medical evidence to support a transfer move. Where relevant we will ask the applicant to provide a report from an Occupational Therapist.
Transferring employees

Transfer applications can be accepted from employees, elected members, board members and their close relatives, provided they are eligible to apply. Applications will be reviewed and accepted/refused by the Executive Director of Housing Services.

Best use of stock

We will work with applicants using our Sustainability Matrix to ensure they are applying for housing that is affordable.

Accessible properties 

For people with a disability – in the first instance we will work with the local authorityto allocate the property. If no suitable applicants can be found, we will contact social services and other relevant agencies before making an allocation to someone who does not need an adapted property.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) Level 3 Offender 

Where we know we are housing a MAPPA Level 3 offender, we will seek appropriate advice and information from the Police, Social Services and Probation. A MAPPA Level 3 offender is as defined in the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and subsequent relevant legislation.

Children in flats 

We will not let flats above the ground floor to families with children aged under seven years. We will let ground floor flats to families with children of any age.

Fast Track Lettings

Our preferred method of letting our homes is to work with Local Authorities in accordance with local arrangements. Where a Local Authority is unable to nominate or a shortlist is exhausted we will implement our Fast Track Lettings Process.

A property will be classified as suitable for Fast Track if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • the Local Authority (LA) has been unable to supply a nomination/shortlist in accordance with the nomination agreement. This is referred to as a failure to nominate;
  • where nominations have been supplied, the permitted number of refusals under the nominations agreement has been reached;
  • where we are exercising our own nomination rights, particularly where we are concerned about the continued sustainability of a scheme; and/or
  • if we have a Local Lettings Plan in place.

Where a property has been classified as suitable for Fast Track letting, we may choose to advertise using one or more of the following methods. This list is not exhaustive and we may advertise through other media.

  • National lettings websites such as Rightmove.
  • Local press;
  • Our websites
  • Facebook and other social and digital media
  • Local agencies such as Age Concern.

We do not all allow current tenants who hold a tenancy with Longhurst Group to apply for a home with us through Rightmove or any other home letting service.

Transferring minors

Applicants aged 16 and 17 will be given a tenancy in trust until they are 18. A starter tenancy will be issued at 18 provided there are no tenancy breaches.

Excluding applicants

There are occasions when we will have to exclude an applicant. Applicants can appeal exclusion.

  • Applicants have supplied significantly false or misleading information on their application for housing.
  • Applicants or members of their household have had legal action taken against them for unacceptable behaviour or breaches of tenancy; and/or were subject to legal proceedings against their tenancy beforethey left; or have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour which, if our tenants, would have entitled us to take legal action against their tenancy.
  • Applicants have a history of violence, harassment, racial harassment, threatening behaviour or any other forms of antisocial behaviour.
  • Previous physical or verbal abuse towards staff or contractors working for Longhurst Group or anotherlandlord.
  • Deterioration of the current or former home due to waste, neglect or default by the person or any member of the household or other breaches of tenancy.
  • Using the premises for the sale or supply of illegal drugs.
  • These exclusions will not apply where the unacceptable behaviour took place two or more years before the date of the application and the applicant or relevant household member has sustained a tenancy satisfactorily in the meantime.
  • Debt
  • If an applicant owes rent or debt for rechargeable repairs with their current or former landlord, we will only progress their application if they have made continuous payments to clear the debt for a minimum of 16 weeks before shortlisting/nomination. There must be no missed payments in breach of their agreement to pay.
  • For Longhurst Group tenants that are seeking to transfer and have only accrued arrears on their rent account from 01 March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic we will review each case individuallytaking into account each circumstance. We will not reasonable refuse a transfer for any tenant that has been adversely impacted by Covid-19 and demonstrated that they have been unable to meet their rentcommitment in full but have made contributions towards payment of rent.
  • Where applicants are excluded they will be informed in writing of the reasons for our decision.
  • The reasons for exclusion above is not exhaustive and we will consider each case individually.

Appendices

  Please note that Appendices A and D are documents for internal use only.

Appendix B – Definitions

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

These schemes are often established by partnerships of local authorities and/or housing associations. CBLs are designed to introduce an element of choice for people who apply for council and housing association homes that are advertised for rent, rather than waiting to be offered housing through a waiting list system.The allocation of the home is based upon a points based or other priority based assessment of need of those who have made a bid for a home.

Nominations Agreement

A service level agreement where a housing association and a local authority will work in partnership to addresshousing need within the local area. The housing association will accept an agreed percentage of applicants from thelocal authority rehousing list when properties become vacant.

Direct Let (Fast Track)

Properties that are advertised and re-let directly by the association on the principle of first come first served, whilst demonstrating a need for housing set out in the eligibility criteria. See our Lettings policy.

Transfers

An allocation by where we allow an existing tenant to transfer to another one of our homes. Refer to our Transfer policy.

Tenancy Agreements

The associations properties will be let on either, assured tenancies, starter tenancies or Assured Shorthold tenancies.

New tenants will initially be signed up for a 12-month trial period, known as a starter tenancy. The tenancy will convert to an assured tenancy upon satisfactory completion of the trial period.

Assured Shorthold tenancies are offered to those being accommodated in specific supported housing schemes and for properties that we manage. Exceptions include the provision of temporary accommodation in partnership with the local authority where a licence/use and occupation agreement will be used.

Local Variations

There may be specific lettings criteria for some housing schemes e.g. where Section 106 planning agreements are inplace or for other schemes such as allocations under the Seaside & Country Homes scheme.

Restrictions can include requirement to have a defined local connection with the scheme concerned.

Appendix C – Local arrangements

Local Authority

Local Authority Registration Point

Choice Based? (CBL)

Common

Allocation Policy?

% Noms to LA

L&H Direct Applicants accepted?

L&H Direct Transfers accepted?

List Closed?

Comments

Amber Valley

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  Home-Options - part of sub regional CBL with Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak.

Bassetlaw

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Name of scheme:  HomeFinder.

Birmingham

Yes

Part

No

50%

75% 4 beds

No

Yes

Yes

Birmingham Home Choice

Blaby

Yes

Yes

No

95%

No

Yes

No

Part of wider Leicestershire CBL scheme

Boston Borough

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

N/A

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Name of scheme:  Homechoice.

Broxtowe

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  Homesearch - part of sub-regional CBL with Broxtowe and Rushcliffe.

Local Authority

Local Authority Registration Point

Choice Based? (CBL)

Common

Allocation Policy?

% Noms to LA

L&H Direct Applicants accepted?

L&H Direct Transfers accepted?

List Closed?

Comments

Charnwood

Yes

Yes

No

95%

No

Yes

Yes

Part of wider Leicestershire CBL scheme

Corby

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

Yes

Yes

No

Keyways

Derby

Yes

Yes

No

90%

No

Yes

Yes

Derby Homefinder

East Lindsey

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Direct housing register for sheltered applicants only.

East Northants

Yes

Yes

No

75%

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

East Northants are not part of the Northamptonshire sub regional group

Erewash

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  Home-Options - part of sub regional CBL with Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak.

Gedling

Yes

Yes

No

100%

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  Homesearch - part of sub-regional CBL with Broxtowe and Rushcliffe.  Low demand properties are advertised.

Harborough

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

Yes

Yes

No

Harborough Home Search (Part of Leicestershire sub-regional scheme)

Kings Lynn

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  West Norfolk Homechoice.

Leicester City

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Yes

No

 

Lincoln City

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Yes

No

Name of scheme:  Lincs Homefinder - part of a sub-regional CBL with West Lindsey and North Kesteven.

Direct housing register for sheltered applicants only.

Mansfield

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Name of scheme:  Mansfield & Ashfield Homefinder - joint CBL scheme with Ashfield Homes.

Melton

Yes

Yes

No

95%

No

Yes

No

Part of wider Leicestershire CBL scheme

Newark & Sherwood

Yes

No

No

100%

No

No

No

Easylet

North East Lincolnshire

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Joint CBL scheme with North Lincolnshire. Homechoicelincs

North Kesteven

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Yes

No

Name of scheme:  Lincs Homefinder - part of a sub- regional CBL with West Lindsey and Lincoln City Council.

Direct housing register for sheltered applicants only.

North Lincolnshire

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

No

No

Joint CBL with North East Lincolnshire.  Homechoicelincs

North West Leicestershire

Yes

Yes

No

95%

No

Yes

No

Part of wider Leicestershire CBL scheme

Northants

North & South

Yes

Yes

Yes

100%

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Sub regional scheme for Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough called “Keyways”

Nottingham City

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Name of scheme:  Homelink.

We only use our transfer rights for stock disposal.

Nuneaton & Bedworth

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Yes

No

Homehunt CBL

No formal Nominations Agreement or SLA in place.

Peterborough

Yes

Yes

Yes

N/A

No

No

No

 

Rushcliffe

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Yes

No

 

Rutland

Yes

No

Yes

75%

Yes

Yes

No

 

South Holland

Yes

No

No

100%

No

No

No

 

South Cambridgeshire

Yes

Yes

No

100%

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Home Link

South Kesteven

Yes

No

No

100%

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

 

Walsall

Yes

Yes

No

50%

No

Yes 10% Agreed

No

 

Warwick

Yes

Yes

No

100%

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Home Choice

West Lindsey

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

No

Management priority only - less than 5% per year

No

Name of scheme:  Lincs Homefinder – part of a sub- regional CBL with West Lindsey and Lincoln City.  Low demand properties are advertised.

Updated 29/07/2016


    
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