Renting through L&Q s Intermediate Rent Scheme (IMR)

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1 Renting through L&Q s Intermediate Rent Scheme (IMR) 1

2 Who is L&Q? We are a housing association, a not-for profit organisation with charitable status. We are one of the leading providers of affordable home ownership and intermediate market rent in the country. We are one of the largest housing associations in the country. In total we manage over 70,000 homes in London and the South East. We work with local councils, the Homes & Communities Agency (the government agency that funds and regulates housing associations), the GLA, the Department for Communities and Local Government. What is Intermediate Rent (IMR)? This scheme offers you the chance to rent a brand new or refurbished apartment at a subsidised rent. The rent charged is normally 20-30% lower than what you would expect to pay for a similar apartment in the same area. Academy Central, Barking 2 1

3 Why choose to rent with us? We are the leading housing association in our field with a unique reputation for delivering what our customers want. Our customers tell us we provide excellent services before, during and after they move in. In our most recent survey over 90% of our customers said they would recommend us to their friends. We were the first in our field to be awarded the Government s Charter Mark for excellent customer service and have been awarded the Charter Mark for the third time running. We ensure all our staff are well trained and customer focussed. Because of the investment we have made in staff training and development we have secured the Gold Investors in People award. We build homes to a very high standard. We have won numerous awards including Best Regeneration scheme at both the Evening Standard and National Housing Awards as well as Best New Place to Live at the London Planning Awards to name a few. A happy resident at The City Mills, Haggerston Why choose an L&Q home? All finished to a high standard and let at rents substantially below the local market rent. Let on initial six-month tenancies making it easy for you to move if your circumstances change. Available to you for as long as you wish beyond the six months providing you keep to the terms of the tenancy and aim and save towards home ownership in the future. Substantially more affordable than any other homes of comparable quality giving you the freedom to save towards buying a home. You will benefit from the wide range of services we provide from a comprehensive and responsive repairs service to maintaining communal areas. How do I qualify? IMR was traditionally an option only available to key workers, this choice is now available to other home seekers who do not qualify for social rent homes. We believe it s important not to encourage our customers to take on financial commitments that may be too much. So we won t normally offer you a home if it will cost more than 45% of your household income (after tax is deducted). The actual amount will vary from scheme to scheme depending on its location and other features. For all IMR homes, applicants must be eligible through the L&Q Application Process. Part of this eligibility is that your total household income must be less than 66,000 a year ( 80,000 for applicants requiring a 3 bedroom home and above). The aim of IMR is for you to make a commitment to enter home ownership through low cost home ownership products in the short to medium term. This is normally within five years. When we are assessing your affordability we will be looking for you to demonstrate that the discounted rent will enable you to save a deposit to buy a home. 2 3

4 Academy Central, Barking What would prevent me from qualifying? We won t be able to help if: Your total household income exceeds 66,000 (1 or 2 bedroom home) and 80,000 (3 bedroom homes and above). You have had rent arrears during the previous 12 months or you are in breach of your current tenancy agreement. You are on a temporary work contract with less than 6 months remaining. You have an adverse credit history. You have your name on a mortgage. You must have more than 6 months leave to remain in the country. We will carry out a detailed reference before we offer you a home. If you have ever had a County Court Judgment registered against you, or if you have failed to meet the repayments on a loan, it will show up on the referencing and we may not be able to help you. We ll ask you to certify that the information you provide is complete and accurate and that you will not rent or purchase more than one property through a government funded scheme. We ll also ask you to confirm that you ll use the property as your only home. How do I apply with L&Q? You must be registered with L&Q to apply for an L&Q IMR home, further information on how to apply can be found at 4 5

5 Viewing When a suitable home is available we ll invite you to view it. If you like what you see, you can place a reservation for a home by completing a reservation and reference form. You will be required to pay a reservation fee of 500 together with a referencing fee of 50 per applicant by debit card. We will need to know when you could start your tenancy with us. Below is our Selection and Allocations policy with more information on how IMR homes are offered. Selection & Allocation L&Q provide affordable housing for people who would not otherwise be able to afford a privately rented home. We give high priority to applicants who, by renting a property through us, will free up a public sector home for re-letting to a homeless household or applicants on Local Authority housing waiting lists. We also give priority to MOD personnel to assist with recruitment and retention issues. In selecting applicants and allocating homes, we will treat everyone fairly and in accordance with our equal opportunities policy. Kilburn Wells, Kilburn Park Criteria for selection IMR is aimed at applicants able to afford the cost of Intermediate Market Rent but unable to rent a suitable home in any other way. Applications may be considered from people who have previously owned their own shared ownership home. However, they must meet the general criteria for IMR, be able to demonstrate a priority need for housing, and have sold their shared ownership property. Applications from current or existing home owners will be assessed on a case by case basis and approval to proceed must be granted by the relevant local authority. The Intermediate Rent will be set taking into consideration current market rents within the area in which the property is located. Subject to a satisfactory reference, all applicants who appear to meet the basic criteria and are considered a priority are required to attend a financial interview. Here we undertake a detailed financial assessment to ensure that the applicant will be able to sustain the rent on the property in the long term, and make a commitment to enter low cost home ownership in the future. We also check other application information such as identity and residence, for our obligations under the anti-money laundering legislation. Successful applicants will be required to sign up to the tenancy within 28 days of being offered the property, subject to the development being ready for occupancy. Priority may be given to those applicants who can move in the earliest. Tenants need to be at least 18 years old. 7

6 Allocation criteria Except for homes funded on the basis that specific groups will be prioritised, we will make offers of homes according to the following priority order unless the local authority/sub regional policy differs: Council and Housing Association tenants who, by renting a property through an affordable housing scheme, would vacate a rented home. MOD personnel. Applicants registered on a council housing waiting list. Other local priorities agreed with the local authority. This is normally applicants who live in the borough or sub-region in which the scheme is located or have a local connection. Evidence of a residence order may be required if any dependents don t live with the applicant permanently. All allocation decisions are recorded on our database and must be authorised by either the Assistant Director of Sales, Manager or Team Leader. Should an applicant wish to appeal an allocation decision the appeal should be made in writing using the L&Q appeal form and addressed to the Customer Relations team. This should be considered first by the Assistant Director of Sales who will then report the appeal to the Group Director. If the matter cannot be resolved the appeal will be referred to the Ombudsman for final arbitration. We rely on accurate information being supplied by applicants when making allocation decisions. We will withdraw any offer made if information is found to be misleading or incorrect. The Assistant Director of Sales will be responsible for the final decision. In the event of a dispute the matter can be referred through L&Q s complaints procedure. Through the Data Protection Act 1988 applicants have the right to see any personal information we hold on our computer system. Reservation fee If we offer you a tenancy, your reservation fee will go towards your first month s rent. This is not an additional payment. We will retain your reservation fee if: A happy couple at Burgess Terrace, SE1 In deciding how homes will be offered, we will take the following factors into account: Affordability. Household size. Applicants will normally be offered a home with up to one bedroom over and above their current needs. The applicant s preference. We offer you a home that you ve reserved but you ve changed your mind. We discover that you have given us false or misleading information or have failed to tell us some important information. You are unable to keep to the moving in date you gave us at the time of reserving. The 50 referencing fee is non-refundable. 8 9

7 Making an offer If we offer you one of our homes, we will assign one of our Sales Negotiators to see you through the whole lettings process. Your Negotiator will contact you with full details of our offer and be there to help if you have any questions. Your Negotiator will invite you for a one-to-one interview. This will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about our homes, services and policies. We ll ask you to bring various documents with you, such as: Credit agreements Bank Statements Proof of Savings Payslips Passport or driving licence (for identification) Previous landlord reference (where applicable) We will ask for the first month s rent in advance and we will also ask you to complete a direct debit form so that your rent will be paid automatically on a monthly basis. We will also require 1 month s rent in advance as a deposit. What happens after my offer has been confirmed? Once you have paid your deposit, your Negotiator, or a Quality Inspector will meet you at your new home on a pre-arranged date where they will give you the keys to your new home and carry out a home induction. They will demonstrate the homes fixtures, fittings and equipment. You are required to pay a deposit equivalent to one month s rent (including service charge) before we can handover the keys to your new home. The deposit is held in a secure Deposit Protection Service provided by a third party. At this point, you will sign the tenancy agreement. From this point on you will be responsible for paying the rent and complying with all the terms and conditions of your tenancy. We will provide you with a Welcome Pack, a guide to your home and our services. Kingsland Wharves, Hackney Our Negotiator will calculate how much the rent will be compared to your income. If the rent is more than 45% of your income after tax is deducted we may not be able to offer you the home. This will be referred to a manager for a full assessment and final approval. If everything is satisfactory, we ll confirm the details of our offer and agree a date for you to take up the tenancy

8 Academy Central, Barking When can I move in? You can move in as soon as you have signed your tenancy agreement. Your tenancy agreement is a legally binding document. It is initially for 6 months but, as long as you keep to the terms and conditions of your tenancy, you will be able to stay for as long as you like. There is an expectancy that renting through IMR will enable you to save with the long term goal to purchase a home through low cost home ownership. How much rent will I have to pay? This will depend on the location and characteristics of the home but will usually be significantly less than local private market rents. Your rent will increase annually on the first of April. This increase will be equivalent to the rate of inflation plus 0.5%. The rate of inflation will be calculated using the retail price index (RPI) to the previous September. We may also review your rent to ensure it remains at 80% of market rates. You will also pay a service charge for services we provide, such as communal gardening, cleaning, ground rent and building insurance. This charge will be included in the total rent. The service charge will be reassessed annually to cover our costs. Rent and service charges are collected monthly by direct debit on the first day of every month. Will you do all my repairs? As your landlord, we will provide a comprehensive responsive repairs service although you are responsible for minor repairs such as replacing tap washers. We undertake to do repairs within clear timescales according to their urgency. We ll expect you to pay for any damage caused by you or your visitors

9 Your questions answered Who do I speak to if I need more information? For more information on L&Q IMR homes, please contact our Sales Enquiries team on (ext 1200 for new IMR homes or ext 5090 for existing IMR homes - Relets). Lines are open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday. A voic service operates out of hours and during extremely busy periods. How long will the lettings process take? If we offer you a home we will tell you when we expect it to be ready for you to move in. Occasionally delays may occur on site with newbuild properties. If this happens we will keep you fully informed. Can I have a joint tenancy? You can move in with your partner and/or children, but we will only issue a joint tenancy when two working adults apply. How many bedrooms will my home have? Our policy is to offer you a home with up to one bedroom more than you need. For example, if you are applying on your own we will usually offer you a one or two bedroom home. Are there any other costs once I move in? You will be responsible for the usual household bills such as water, electricity, gas and council tax. We are responsible for all communal utility charges, like communal lighting but the costs of these are passed on to residents through the service charge. What does the service charge cover? The service charge is incorporated within your rent. It covers the cost of providing you with any extra services. This usually means any communal services such as lighting, cleaning, landscaping, lifts or ground rent and our charges for managing these services. What if I want to move? You can move out when you want after the initial 6 month tenancy period. You must give us one month s notice in writing. Your rent payments must be up to date and the home must be left in the same condition as when your tenancy began. Subsequent renting of another IMR property can be considered on a case by case basis subject to our eligibility criteria. Can I buy my home? Some IMR homes are available to purchase and others must remain as IMR to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of applicants aspiring to home ownership. If you would like more information on whether you have the option to buy your home, please contact our Home Owners Options team on , ext 5220 or You may also wish to consider purchasing another home

10 L&Q offer homes available to purchase through low cost home ownership and outright sale. An overview of home ownership products are below: Shared Ownership is a part-buy/part-rent scheme offering you the opportunity to buy what you can afford now. Resales are part rent, part buy properties that were built and sold in the past that are now available for purchase on a part buy, part rent basis because the existing owners wish to sell. Outright Sale is purchasing a home 100% and becoming an owner/ occupier. All schemes are subject to availability of funding and eligibility criteria. Further information on all Low Cost Home Ownership schemes and Outright Sales can be found at or: if you live in any London borough. if you live in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey or Sussex. Our Equal opportunities policy We are committed to promoting equality and diversity. We think there is real value in having people in our workforce from a variety of backgrounds and with a diverse range of experiences and abilities. We are dedicated to providing services to all sections of the community and we expect everyone who works for us to support us in this. This is what we will do: Provide and promote equal opportunities, whatever a person s race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religion, beliefs, sex, age, sexuality, HIV status, physical or mental disability, state of health, appearance, marital status, family circumstances or offending behaviour. Give all staff equality and diversity training Encourage groups and individuals that are disadvantaged in housing and employment, to apply for jobs, homes and work contracts Keep a record of the ethnic origin, sex, disability and age of everyone who applies to us for a home or job Consider equal opportunities when we decide who serves on our management board Make sure everyone we work with or who works for us knows about our policy and keeps to it. If any of these people have their own policy, we will make sure it fits in with ours. Take into account good practice in equal opportunities when we update our housing and employment policies and procedures. Happy residents at Cowdrey Mews, Sydenham 16 17

11 Woolwich Central, Greenwich Our service promise Communicating with you We promise to: Answer the phone within 15 seconds Respond to voic messages within one working day Reply to s and letters within five working days See you within 10 minutes if you arrive at our office without an appointment We ask you to: Keep any appointments you have agreed with us. Buying your home We promise to: Explain the whole process to you clearly before you buy your new home Provide you with a free financial interview and access to mortgage advisors; and Guide you through every step of buying your home We ask you to: Go to all appointments we have invited you to Be honest about your financial circumstances; and Contact us regularly throughout the process Your home is at risk if you fail to keep up payments on any mortgage, rent or other loan secured on it. Please make sure you can afford the repayments before you take out a mortgage

12 Contact us We re here to help so please do contact us with any queries you may have along the way. We re available between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Most of our developments are open at weekends. For the opening hours, please see our website. Phone: Minicom: Visit: Happy resident at Burgess Terrace, SE

13 One Kings Hall Mews. Lewisham. London SE13 5JQ Tel: Fax: L&Q is an exempt charity 22 L&Q Design Studio LQ0287

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