Contract with a Housing Association – Just where is the info?

by Readers Question

16:48 PM, 1st December 2020
About 2 months ago

Contract with a Housing Association – Just where is the info?

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Contract with a Housing Association – Just where is the info?

I am in the process of leasing my property with a Housing Association (HA) who will be using it as a 6 x single person HMO. I have lots of questions!

Do they themselves have a regulatory body that oversee them?

Would the contract with them be also subject to the 5 week only deposit rule or is it different where it’s not an individual but a company paying the deposit?

Is a three year term better than a 5 year term initially?

Just where do you look for recommendations about this HA? How can I find out any negative info? (The Council won’t give me any info at all)

What are the biggest pitfalls with this type of arrangement?

What should I be looking out for in the contract they send me?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord


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Comments

Gunga Din

10:48 AM, 2nd December 2020
About 2 months ago

This has come up a few times. I myself wondered about an arrangement with the LA, but lost interest when it was pointed out that as owner, I would still carry many if not all the responsibilities that I would if I ran the place. In other words I don't think its as simple as signing a deal with the HA and sitting back and watching the £ roll in while they take care of the inevitable problems which their installed tenants cause.

Freda Blogs

11:54 AM, 2nd December 2020
About 2 months ago

I agree with Gunga Din.

If you can't find/are not being provided with the info from the Council or the HA before you sign up, this does not bode well for what might happen after you've signed and there is a problem at the property.

What is the relationship between the Council and the HA? It’s possible that the Council has 'nomination rights' to house people in the property - who may (but are not necessarily) people who are on the Council list who cannot be housed elsewhere, and would not be your first choice of tenant in terms of their lifestyle.

Who is managing the property and what are your responsibilities? Do they have management KPIs? What’s the policy on anti-social behaviour? What assurances and safeguards are they offering you?

Why and how could this arrangement be advantageous to you as well as the HA/Council? If you can't answer these Qs, perhaps its time to look elsewhere.

If you do decide to proceed, please get proper professional advice before signing anything - you can be sure the contract they provide will be very one-sided.

Carol

11:56 AM, 2nd December 2020
About 2 months ago

I have also looked into this. Not sure if you can control the tenant profile that the LA would house. Even if they are responsible for the tenants, what would be the impact of your relationship with neighbours around ASB ? This could severely reduce the value of your property

Cathie Hawkins

20:24 PM, 2nd December 2020
About 2 months ago

Looked into it locally and would have to pay all maintenance for 20% below market rent and wouldn’t have any say in the tenant - could be someone wanting a long term home they would treat as their own or problem people shoved in with absolutely no skin in the game. Decided it wasn’t worth the risk after having an HMO tenant who liked to smash the fire alarm system every week - nearly bankrupted us before we managed to evict him.

Paul Shears

20:48 PM, 2nd December 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cathie Hawkins at 02/12/2020 - 20:24
I have never done this myself but I have a friend who rents out a flat through a council.
He decided to accept the risk and so far the tenant's have been OK.
However the council do not pull their weight.
Any problems have to be sorted by the owner irrespective of what the contract says.
He's hoping that the flat will eventually be handed back to him in the same state that it was initially in as per the contract.
Rather worryingly, when he enquired about EICR certificates, it was obvious that the council contract manager had never heard of them but he was told that the council take responsibility for the electrics being up to scratch. Yes he does know that the buck stops with him........

RL

12:39 PM, 3rd December 2020
About 2 months ago

The HA does their own vetting - does not take anyone that doesn't fit their criteria. This is what they state...

Clients are referred to us by completing a referral form or by contacting the office directly.
They are referred from various agencies, such as Social Services, Probation Service, Youth Offending Team, Benefits Agency, Homeless Department and other voluntary & statutory organisations.
All referrals must be accompanied by a completed external risk assessment and supporting documents (where possible).
We conduct interviews to assess all referrals for their eligibility for supported
accommodation. All applicants have a right to be interviewed to determine their needs and whether their needs can be met by the service.
After the applicant’s interview and needs and risk assessment has been carried out, a decision will be made as to whether we can offer the applicant supported accommodation.
We will inform the applicant and referring agency of our decision. If the applicant is offered supported accommodation, he or she will accept a support package which will be client centred and part of the Licence Agreement. Failure to engage with this support package may result in a review of the clients needs and a decision made as to whether or not the service meets those needs. Our staff are trained and committed in assisting applicants through the assessment process.
The clients live together as a community, cooperating with one another and working together for the common good.
It is the discretion of the Housing Needs Manager to refuse the applicant at assessment stage if the individual does not meet the organisations allocation criteria.
Police checks are carried out before an individual is allowed to access our services (only some sites).
--------------------------
I am awaiting the specifics of their contract to read through thoroughly, but in the interim I can't understand how any other agency or referral organisation can have any 'claim/legal interest' if any contract is purely between myself and the HA and that is the basis of the agreement. Just as I cannot have any 'claim/say' in how the HA take on clients, surely any organisation referring to the HA cannot have any legal stranglehold on me. The HA is the linch pin in between - (this is the bit that takes the risk, but gets the financial reward as a result ) Or I am I completely naive here????

David

16:58 PM, 3rd December 2020
About 2 months ago

You should read plenty of threads on the various landlord forums about renting your property to social housing providers, (Council and HA's) as all the ones I've read say that the promises of support and vetting and payments for damage and .... just don't materialise.

Badger

12:04 PM, 5th December 2020
About 2 months ago

+1 to that.

We looked into this a few years ago.

It didn't work out for timing reasons and ever since then we have felt strongly that we managed to dodge a bullet by not being in a position to proceed at the time.

I have never heard of any landlord enjoying a satisfactory experience as a part of one of these council arrangements.

Manu Patel

17:51 PM, 5th December 2020
About 2 months ago

I had in the past rented 3 properties to Genesis where they put in their Tenants, but all the maintenances were on me and they decided to end the Contracts earlier than the 3 year fixed contracts and refused to pay full cost of redecorating and cleaning costs.
No , I would not go down that path again!


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