Agenda item

Housing Tenancy Agreement - Consultation Results


The Committee received a briefing paper concerning the results of consultation with council housing tenants on the new tenancy management policy and tenancy agreement. It was highlighted that as part of the consultation, which ended at the start of December 2023, 10 Tenant Roadshows were organised over the summer months, giving tenants the opportunity to discuss the Tenancy Management Policy and new tenancy terms directly with officers. Feedback was also received from tenants via a dedicated resident consultation email inbox, and via post. It was ensured that feedback sent to the resident consultation inbox was directly responded to by officers. A sample of responses provided by tenants was included at Appendix A to the briefing note.


It was noted that a key theme in tenants’ feedback were concerns expressed by many tenants with security of tenure. Officers underlined that this was not affected in any way by the new tenancy terms as secure rights were a provision set out in law. To alleviate concerns expressed as part of the consultation, officers answered all queries relating to tenants’ rights and ensured that in the final letter that went out with the new terms, it was stated as clearly as possible that secure rights were not affected in any way.


Additionally, officers reported that as a result of consultation responses from, changes were made to Tenancy Agreement around provisions relating to pets and storage of mobility scooters.


After the officer presentation, Members discussed the following points in detail:


·       Total response rate to the consultation – Over 200 tenants had responded to the consultation in total. There were over 140 direct, face-to-face conversations with the tenants, and around 50-60 tenants responded via email or through a phone call. There were also a couple of cases in which home visits were arranged to enable tenants to provide a response.

·       Choice of locations for the Tenant Roadshows – Officers noted that this was the first year of doing the road shows and there were some locations which were more successful than others in terms of numbers of tenants attending. Woodrow Shopping Centre was cited as a location where there was a lot of engagement, while in Headless Cross and Stanley Park, for example, there was a lot less engagement.

·       Total number of council tenants in Redditch and engagement on tenancy changes – It was noted there were 5,724 council tenants in Redditch and all received a formal letter advising about the proposed tenancy management policy and tenancy agreement and the consultation on these. There was also a second notice letter which also included reassurance that any changes to tenancy policy would have no effect on the tenancy status (e.g. secure tenancy rights).

·       Engaging with tenants who had difficulty understanding and/or responding to tenancy agreement – It was noted that the Council currently did not hold a lot of tenants’ protected characteristic data such as disability or literacy requirement/support needs. However, housing officers cover all patches and were available for informal conversation with tenants throughout the consultation and were on hand to provide support with understanding the tenancy agreement if asked. It was stated that a new housing system was in the process of implementation which would provide a facility for recording this type of data.

·       Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) – Members requested that they be provided with copies of the EIA carried out for the consultation.

·       The Portfolio Holder for Housing and Procurement addressed the Committee and noted that the tenancy management policy and tenancy agreement are complex documents and with this in mind a summary of the changes proposed was included in the letter sent to tenants. The Portfolio Holder also highlighted that in response to feedback from tenants, areas of tenancy agreement relating to pets and mobility scooters were amended in the final agreement version.

·       It was noted that a sample of tenants’ consultation comments and officer responses were included in the papers for the meeting, relating to main concerns of residents – assurance about secure tenants’ rights, provisions relating to pets, and those relating to mobility scooters.

·       Law on tenancy succession and removal of joint tenant from social housing tenancy agreement – It was noted that these legal provisions had been set out more clearly in the new tenancy agreement, giving clarification to tenants. It was noted that Councillors were provided with information on these provisions as part of the Member presentation on Housing in November. Members could also approach officers directly with queries on social housing legislation.

·       Social Housing Repairs and adjudication of costs for repairs between the tenant and the Council – It was noted that there was an obligation on the social landlord to undertake a yearly cycle of repairs. Tenants had been provided with an online booklet which set out what repairs the landlord (the Council) was responsible for and what were the responsibilities of the tenant. In terms of terminology used in the tenancy agreement, terms were used which were recognised in courts and social services in cases of proceedings. In terms of a repair request, an assessment by a housing officer would take place before a repair was undertaken. If the tenant was not satisfied with the assessment, they could escalate the issue through the complaints process.

·       Reasonable costs for major repairs to be borne by tenant – It was noted that what repairs were deemed ‘reasonable costs’ was defined in the fees and charges of the Council’s Social Housing Re-chargeable Repairs Policy. In the case of major works that needed to be undertaken and cost was rechargeable, the tenant might approach the Council to agree suitable repayment terms.


RESOLVED that the paper be noted.

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