Revised Tenancy Strategy 2019

Closes 27 May 2019

Opened 15 Apr 2019

Overview

Richmond upon Thames Council is required by legislation to develop and publish clear and accessible policies including a Tenancy Strategy which sets out the expectation the Council has of registered providers with respect to:

  1. the kinds of tenancies they grant;
  2. the circumstances in which they will grant a tenancy of a particular kind (e.g. 'secure' or Flexible Fixed Term Tenancies);
  3. the lengths of the tenancies they grant; and
  4. whether they will grant a further tenancy when an existing tenancy is coming to an end.

The current Tenancy Strategy (published in 2013) is under review and the Council, through this consultation, is seeking the views of local residents and stakeholders, specifically local registered providers with rented stock in the borough who will need to take account of this revised draft strategy when developing their own individual policies once it has been adopted.

We are now inviting feedback on the revised 
Draft 2019 Tenancy Strategy.

The most significant points in the revised document are summarised as follows:

What has changed

The most significant changes proposed in the revised Tenancy Strategy are to:

  1. Extend the minimum length of ‘flexible tenancies’ the Council expects registered providers to grant in the Borough from five to ten years

The Council’s proposed stance will be to support the continued use of ‘flexible tenancies’ as they still represent a useful tool for social landlords to better manage their stock (for example where tenants are under occupying).

However, recognising the importance of security of tenure in social housing, the Council would now expect such tenancies to be offered for a minimum period of ten years (as opposed to five years as set out in its previous Tenancy Strategy).

  1. Set out the Council’s policy position on ‘Affordable Rent’, encouraging registered providers to move towards London Affordable Rent (LAR) (Evidence base in Appendix B)

By encouraging local registered providers to move to offering LAR, the Council is confident (as shown in the London Affordable Rent Evidence Base) that even the lowest earning social housing tenants in the Borough would be able to afford the LAR regardless of which ward they live in.

For more information on changes to the Tenancy Strategy please see the Cabinet Report attached at the bottom of the page.
 

Type and length of tenancies the Council supports

  • Other than in exceptional circumstances, the Council supports the use of ten-year ‘flexible tenancies’ to all applicants (other than those who were already social housing tenants as at 1st April 2012 and have remained social housing tenants since that date).
  • The Council supports registered providers using introductory tenancies.  
  • In exceptional circumstances, the Council supports registered providers offering a ‘flexible tenancy’ of less than ten years. Exceptional circumstances include when a tenant has not managed a previous tenancy well, has a history of anti-social behaviour or non-payment of rent or when the property is due to be decanted for regeneration purposes.

Fixed term tenancy renewal

In making the decision on whether to renew a ‘flexible tenancy’ and if so, what length and at which property, the revised Tenancy Strategy sets out what the Council expects registered providers to consider:

  • Household profile – given the shortage of affordable housing in the Borough, in cases of under occupation, the Council would support registered providers making an offer of accommodation appropriate to the household’s size.
  • Household income and financial circumstances – if the household’s income or savings would allow, the Council would support registered providers working with tenant(s) to either purchase a shared ownership property or buy on the open market. 
  • Behaviour of the tenants and their household members during the tenancy – if the tenant has a history of anti-social behaviour or non-payment of rent, the Council would support registered providers offering a shorter length of ‘flexible tenancy’ upon review or (depending on the severity of the case) not offering a new tenancy.

Equality Impact Needs Assessment

An Equality Impact Needs Assessment (EINA) was undertaken on 22nd February 2019 and the full document is attached at the bottom of the page. The EINA found there was no expected negative impact on people belonging to any of the protected characteristics. Instead, the EINA suggests that extending the minimum length of ‘flexible tenancies’ from five to ten years would (if implemented by registered providers) provide more security of tenure to all new social housing tenants, particularly single parents, people aged 18-34 and people with a disability.

The move to London Affordable Rent (if used by registered providers) would likely be beneficial to all new tenants to social housing, in particular single parents, pregnant clients and people with a disability.

Next steps

Following a review of all consultation responses and any amendments that may be necessary, the Council aims to finalise and publish the Tenancy Strategy in Summer 2019.

Have your say

We are keen to hear the views of everyone who would like to comment on the revised Tenancy Strategy, including those from groups and organisations working with residents and registered providers developing their own Tenancy Policies and Strategies who work with the Council.

Please read the supporting documents attached at the bottom of the page before giving us your views. You can complete the online survey by clicking on the link below.

If you would like a paper copy of any of the documents including the questionnaire, please contact us at consultation@richmond.gov.uk 

Give Us Your Views

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Open to all

Interests

  • Richmond Borough