North Prospect Redevelopment. Moving Home Policy Tenants

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1 North Prospect Redevelopment Moving Home Policy Tenants 1

2 Purpose Plymouth Community Homes, Plymouth City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and other statutory and voluntary agencies are responding to the social and economic needs of North Prospect through an exciting 10-year programme that will transform the area into a sustainable neighbourhood. We are committed to providing a range of suitable housing choices for all residents directly affected by the redevelopment programme. This policy sets out what you, as a tenant, can expect from Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) if we have to ask you to move from your home. Policy Contents 1. Housing choices 2. Size and type of property offered 3. Support 4. Home loss payments and disturbance allowance 5. Home improvements 6. Allocation of housing 7. Possession orders and unauthorized occupiers 8. Equality and diversity 9. Monitoring and review 1. Housing choices 1.1 If we ask you to move from your current home because it is going to be demolished, as a tenant of Plymouth Community Homes, PCH will help you to find a new home. 1.2 We will help you to find a suitable home in an area of your choice, subject to availability. Most tenants will bid for their new home through Devon Home Choice (DHC). Additional priority will be given to North Prospect residents affected by regeneration. Some of the properties will be advertised specifically for these residents. 1.3 In some circumstances we may make you a direct let of a PCH property, for example, If you need a property that has been adapted. 1.4 To help us find a rehousing option for you, we need to identify your preferences, housing need and assess if you meet PCH s affordability and eligibility criteria. We will do this when we visit you by: Verifying who lives at home, both permanently and temporarily Establishing the size and type of property you live in Establishing the size and type of property you need Asking if anyone in the household has any health or mobility issues Asking where you want to move to and what type of housing you want to consider Asking whether you have any support networks or strong family connections that you wish to maintain Asking where you work and where children go to school 2

3 Asking what support you need. Inspecting your property Asking your employment status and household income details 2. Size and type of property offered 2.1 You will be assessed under the Devon Home Choice policy to see what size and type of property you need. 2.2 If your current home is assessed to be too small for your household s needs (over occupation) you will be able to seek a larger home. However there are very few four bedroom or larger properties available for rent in the city, so we may be unable to offer a property of this size. 2.3 If your current home is assessed to be too big for your household s needs (under occupation), the following housing options are available: Housing need only: Devon Home Choice allows you to bid on properties that match your assessed housing need according to DHC and PCH s allocation policy. Housing need + one additional bedroom (existing PCH stock only). In recognition of your established living arrangements. You may be permitted to seek a property with one more bedroom than your assessed housing need. This can be for any type of property in PCH s existing stock except new builds and four bedroom houses or greater. Important: If you are affected by the bedroom tax you will not be offered the opportunity to seek a larger property than your assessed need unless you have passed an affordability check and demonstrated this by paying the shortfall. PCH s new build properties in North Prospect will be allocated based on housing need only and subject to the local lettings plan. 2.4 Special adaptations If your current home has been adapted to meet your assessed needs, we aim to help you find a property that is suitably adapted. If you cannot find one, we may offer you a property that can be adapted. 2.5 PCH will consider requests to split larger households including a non-dependant adult and offer additional units of accommodation subject to agreement with Plymouth City Council. Split households will be offered properties of their assessed housing need only. 3. Support 3.1 We will provide the appropriate assistance to help you through the process of choosing and moving to your new home. We will work with other agencies or individuals that support you. Your named Neighbourhood Officer will provide advice and practical assistance at all stages of the relocation process. We will give intensive support to vulnerable tenants if needed. 3

4 3.2 Financial advice If you would like to buy a home, either on a shared ownership basis or outright purchase, we can refer you to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The role of the IFA is to look at your financial position and provide you with professional advice about mortgages and other financial products to help you make informed decisions about your future housing options. This can include finding the right mortgage for you. 4. Home loss payments and disturbance allowance 4.1 Payments are made in accordance with legislation. The relevant acts are: Land Compensation Act 1973 (as amended) Planning & Compensation Act PCH will only pay home loss and disturbance if we have asked you to move because your home is due to be demolished. PCH will not pay you if you choose to move before PCH has confirmed the process of moving you from your home has started. 4.3 Home loss is a compensation payment in recognition of the loss of your home. PCH tenants who lose their homes due to demolition will receive a home loss compensation payment. The home loss payment is set by the government and is currently 4,700 (2014). In order to qualify, you must have lived in your home as your only or main residence for 12 months by the time you move. 4.4 Deductions Home loss will be used to clear any debt owed to PCH, including current and former rent arrears, court costs, and rechargeable works. 4.5 Clearance of unwanted items When you move, PCH expects that you clear your property (including carpets, loft, garden, sheds and outbuildings). The cost to clear and dispose of anything that you leave behind will be deducted from your home loss payment. 4.6 Disturbance allowance is a payment to cover your reasonable costs of moving home. 4.7 The disturbance allowance should cover the cost of: Removals. Disconnection and reconnection of existing appliances, including cooker, washing machine, dishwasher. Disconnection and reconnection of existing services, including telephone, intruder alarm, cable TV, broadband. Redirection of mail (up to three months). School uniforms, if your children have to change school. Alterations required to soft furnishings such as carpets and curtains and movable fixtures and fittings to fit in your new home. 4

5 This list is not exhaustive and any reasonable additional costs incurred by you may be met by us. Your Neighbourhood Housing Officer can advise if an expense will be considered reasonable. We will offer an allowance based on the size and type of property which you are moving to (see table below). If you spend over this allowance you will need to provide receipts or invoices for all disturbance related expenditure for consideration. Size 1 bed Property Flat Type House or Maisonette Flat House or Maisonette Flat House or Maisonette Town House Cooker If your new home does not have the same fuel supply for your existing cooker and a supply cannot be installed, we will pay you 250 towards buying a replacement cooker. 4.9 You can choose how to receive your disturbance allowance. You can either: receive a direct allowance from us, arrange your own removals and make your own arrangements for utilities, telephone reconnection, etc, or, We will arrange (or help you to arrange) your removals, disconnection and reconnection of appliances and fitting of carpets and curtains. We use PCH approved contractors and pay them direct. Any balance remaining would be paid to you How we pay We will pay the disturbance allowance direct to your bank or savings account when you accept the offer of a new property and it is ready for letting. We will pay the home loss payment direct to your bank or savings account within three months after you have returned the keys of your former home to the Regeneration Team If you do not have a bank account, we can help you to open a basic bank or savings account. You can also nominate a friend or relative s bank or savings account. We will require your nominated account holder s permission. PCH will not be responsible if the account holder withholds your money. Any 5. Home improvements 5.1 All PCH tenants who terminate their tenancy have the right to claim compensation for certain improvements that they have made to their home. If you have made improvements to your home, with PCH consent, you may under certain circumstances be entitled to compensation, for example, if you fitted your own kitchen. 5

6 5.2 The compensation is based on how long the improvements have been in place and how much PCH would have paid if it had carried out the improvement to its own service standards. 5.3 You will need to provide VAT receipts and invoices showing the amount paid for materials and labour. 5.4 For a list of qualifying improvements and for further information, please see your tenancy handbook or contact your named Neighbourhood Housing Officer. 6. Allocation of housing 6.1 The rehousing programme is phased and you will be prioritised according to the needs of the redevelopment. 6.2 You will be allocated a property by successfully bidding through Devon Home Choice, unless we have confirmed in writing that you will receive a direct offer. Your Neighbourhood Housing Officer can assist you in bidding for a property. 6.3 PCH will determine and advise you how long you have to successfully bid for a property through Devon Home Choice. PCH will monitor how you are bidding. We may offer assistance where you are not bidding and we may make bids on your behalf. If you have not been allocated a property through bidding on Devon Home Choice by the determined deadline PCH may make you a direct offer of a suitable property. 6.4 If you refuse an offer of suitable accommodation without good reason, the offer of accommodation will remain open to you while we take action to gain possession of your home. If a possession order is granted and you do not take up the offer of accommodation, we will take action to evict you. 6.5 If you are evicted, PCH will have no further duty to re-house you. You will have to find your own accommodation You will lose all rights to home loss and disturbance payments 6.6 All moves will be permanent unless a suitable rehousing solution cannot be found by the time we need you to move. If we offer you a temporary move, it will be until a suitable property becomes available. We may pay your disturbance costs but you will not get a second home loss payment. 7. Possession orders and unauthorized occupiers 7.1 If a Possession Order has been obtained against you and you are keeping to the terms of the order we will rehouse you according to this policy. 7.2 If you have not kept to the terms of the order and you are evicted, or we are actively seeking to evict you, we will not rehouse you and we will not pay you any home loss or disturbance. 6

7 8. Equality and diversity PCH will apply this policy consistently and fairly, and will not discriminate against anyone based on any relevant characteristics, including those set out in the Equalities Act PCH will make this policy available in other languages and formats on request. We will carry out an equality impact assessment on this policy, in line with our corporate procedure. 9. Monitoring and review We will monitor this policy to ensure that it meets good practice and current legislation and will review it in accordance with our review timetables for all policies. 7

8 Web Plymouth Community Homes Plumer House Tailyour Road Plymouth PL6 5DH A charitable Industrial and Provident Society Registered Number 30637R 8

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