secure and assured tenancies
13/08/2010 12:39 pm
A: Abimbola Badejo. The Housing Act 1985 makes clear that for a tenancy to remain a secure tenancy, the landlord and tenant condition must be satisfied. The landlord condition is that the landlord must be one of the prescribed public sector bodies. Once the landlord ceases to be such a body, such as when the ownership of the property changes from a local authority to a housing association, the tenancy ceases to be a secure tenancy and becomes an assured tenancy.
I have experience of the housing transfer process which is known as a stock transfer. For a stock transfer to go ahead, the secretary of state must approve the transfer. The secretary of state will not approve the transfer unless they are satisfied that in effect the majority of secure tenants who vote are in favour of the transfer.
In order to get a positive ballot, normally the incoming landlord makes certain promises to the existing secure tenants. The most significant promise is that so far as possible, the existing council tenants are to retain most of their rights after the transfer to the new housing association landlord. For example, council tenancies have a right to buy their property. Assured tenants do not. But in the new tenancy agreement to the assured tenants following the transfer, the right to buy is preserved.
Council tenants also have a right to pass their tenancy on during their lifetime but assured tenants do not. This right is preserved in the new tenancy agreement given to former secure tenants. So you are in law an assured tenant and you need to check your tenancy agreement.
Abimbola Badejo is a barrister specialising in housing law and practising from Arden Chambers
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13/08/2010 2:17 pm
I would like to thank Mr Badejo for this view on the subject at hand, which I personally find very helpful.
From what Mr Badejo says I draw the following lesson. If you are a resident with a secure tenancy, as I am, I would NEVER agree to any stock transfer of any kind, as my secure tenacy would be in danger to become assured with or without my saying so and with or without my full knowledge this would be the case.
Residents are conned in all sorts of ways by theirt so called "social" landlords to accept stock transfer, without realising that any promise made to them by the new landlord, however better compared to their present conditions, might not be kept and if it is not kept there very little you can do (unless you are so rich you can start a legal challenge).
Remember some CEos and boards and directors of these social landlords have been found out being bullies and sakced for harassment and all other sort of crimes, And if you think your CEo and your board is honest and good now, people can either be revelaed to be somehting else or good personnel might change and worse one come in.
My advice is this, if you are a secure tenant the 'secure' bit in your tenancy is worth any promises of better decorations and services which you might not get anyway when the time comes and with you being able not to do much about it.
It would be interesting to hear from secure tenants or from those who were once secure tenancy who had the experience of a stock transfer and if their tenancies are still secure at all.
15/08/2010 6:08 pm
Abimbola Badejo very interesting post.
Kass you are spot on. I was a happy secure council tenant by choice and now am a very unhappy assured tenant by majority vote. It is surprising what people will give up for a new kitchen cabinet !
The tranfer document promised us rents would not change and be based on formulaic target rents now they are based on 105% of target rents and the over seeing council does not even know what you are talking about.
I thought I would try and influence policy and strategy by becoming a tenant board director. Of course I first had to get qualifed via a 6 day course. As a tenant I needed training to know how to behave despite my honours degree in economics and a career as a senior manager in a FTSE 500 company.
This week my wife learned that her complaint about disabled facilities has been accepted by the Housing Ombudsman. Two days later I am suspended as a Director because broadly I support my wifes complaint. Bl**dy right I do !
I could go on and will do as I hope to get my site at www.socialhousing.info up and running in the next couple of months.
Kass I admire your endurance and wish you well as I do you Mr Abimbola Badejo
15/08/2010 8:19 pm
Yep, stock transfer to RSL is a complete nightmare. The only thing worse than an incompetent retained stock LA housing department or ALMO is a stock transfer housing association. Totally unaccountable to anyone but themselves and they load their leaseholders bills with charges for upkeep of common land and grounds that were always funded from the general council tax fund. HA's are loathesome in general and stock transfer at the extreme end of loathsome. I'd like to see them abolished and the stock returned to LA control. Unlikely to happen although interestingly this was a BNP policy at the last election...
15/08/2010 9:51 pm
It's peculiar that the HA have managed to get the below the radar of coalition targets for reform on inefficiency and incompetence grounds even though operationally they are performing worse than direct housing operations.
If Pickles doesn't see the problem in the next six months then they might just survive reform.