The Government has given registered providers of social housing (normally housing associations) the option to use flexible tenancies, to enable them to better manage the use of their housing stock. The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new duty on local authorities to publish a tenancy strategy, setting out how they would like registered providers to make use of these new flexibilities, and in particular:
- The kind of tenancies they grant
- The circumstances in which they will grant different kinds of tenancies
- The length of tenancy, where they choose to use fixed term tenancies, and
- The circumstances in which they will grant a new tenancy when a fixed term tenancy comes to an end
The Council welcomes these new flexibilities, and the ability to respond to local circumstances. Demand for social housing in the Borough continues to outstrip supply, and the development of new affordable housing cannot compensate for this. The new flexibilities will enable registered providers to make better use of their properties to meet housing need, whilst protecting the most vulnerable.
Traditionally, registered providers have let properties on assured tenancies, effectively granting tenants a home for life as long as they comply with the terms of their tenancy agreement. However, household circumstances change over time, and the immediate need that led to the original allocation of a property may no longer be relevant. This can result in properties being under-occupied, or, occupied by households who could afford to buy a home, or rent privately.
The Tenancy Strategy sets out the Councils’ view on how these new flexibilities should be used, and registered providers in the Borough will need to take it into account in setting their own tenancy policies.
Existing tenants will not be affected by these changes and will retain their current security of tenure.
The Council has carried out an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) to ensure that the Tenancy Strategy will not have any adverse impact on particular groups, and to ensure that equality of opportunity is supported.