Tuesday, 03 March 2015

Household’s progress to influence tenancy renewal decision

Tenants asked to sign ‘ambition plans’

A south west housing association is requiring new tenants to sign up to a plan to improve their lifestyle, which will be linked to their future access to housing.

Yarlington Housing Group is asking new tenants to commit to a ‘household ambition plan’ when they are issued with its standard seven-year, fixed term tenancy. Progress against the plan will be considered when the tenancy is reviewed.

The plans will be created individually for each household based on the ‘ambitions and aspirations’ of the family. Yarlington executive director Phyllida Culpin said criteria could include ‘gaining employment, adopting a healthy lifestyle, getting a qualification or contributing to their local community’.

‘It’s at their own level, but we are looking for them to commit to it, and see it through,’ she said.

The 9,000-home landlord’s initiative is being launched today at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s south west conference.

In a statement Yarlington said it ‘understands that some people may feel uncomfortable about committing to a plan’.

‘If they decide that they do not want to take advantage of this opportunity, they will be advised to bid for homes offered by other housing providers who do not have a similar scheme,’ it states.

Ms Culpin said: ‘Our approach to getting a positive involvement from new tenants is crucial to the success of our company aim to build communities. These communities consist of people from all walks of life across all abilities. We expect everyone entering this with us to do the very best that they are able.’

A spokesperson for the group said they believe this is the first such agreement to be put in place by a housing association, but expects other providers to follow the example. She added that pilot versions of the initiative have been well received by tenants, and the full scheme will be active from today.

Bromford Group said it has been running a similar scheme - The deal - for around a year, and has seen positive results with around 2,200 tenants signed up.

A spokesperson said: ‘The deal sets out in a clear and simple way the rights and responsibilities we each agree to have a two-way relationship that works. We call this “something for something”. We promise to provide customers with great services and great places to live in. In return customers promise to keep to all of their tenancy responsibilities.’

Readers' comments (69)

  • Is it really landlords' business to start telling tenants who to be?

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  • Joe Halewood

    Why not simply brand the foreheads of tenants instead? Those aspirant tenants who give us this subsidy could then receive an 'affordable' laser removal treatment service when they do and receive a free bucket of rotten tomatoes to throw at their replacements in the stocks on the high street

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  • michael barratt


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  • This is outrageous. How, I wonder, would the rest of us feel about having our housing linked to something such as this? Housing associations exist to meet housing need not to instruct people how to live their lives. We are clearly returning to older styles of housing management where housing inspectors judged people on how they lived before allocating them any housing.

    This mob should be ashamed.

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  • In my dictionary, the word 'responsibility' appears before the word 'rights'. I don't consider it unreasonable to ask those who live off the back of others efforts to think about becoming self-supporting.

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  • Is this just another case of those who HAVE holding those who HAVE NOT to ransom by deciding what and when they can have, only if they jump up and down on demand. Ummmm I think this is called an AUTOCRACY, thankfully we have robust human rights legislation.

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  • Hang on a bit with the outrage. We have argued for years that social housing has a key role to play in regeneration, and in improving health and well-being. Is there something wrong in making that explicit? Is there something wrong in making that part of the deal?
    If tenants have a real choice in their options for social housing, some may well choose to live among other tenants who are "aspirational". That option is currently only available further up the housing ladder, in privately owned properties. Should such choices never be available to the lower rungs"?
    The key isue here is whether potential tenants have a real choice, or whether the supply is so limited that, if this is really the only choice, thet terms then becaome intrusive and draconian.

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  • this is just holding people to account, choosing who they the housing association want as tenants. its a form of descrimination.

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  • My home is linked to my ability to obtain and maintain employment, if i am not employed i can not pay my mortgage and will loose my home. I understand why this has got some peoples knickers in a twist but it is a way of encouraging people to gain employment (if they do not already have it) and for those who can become less dependant on the tax payer to become so. As long as the availablity of jobs is taken into account (at a reasonable wage) and this is customised to each tenant i do not see a problem

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  • Barry Marlow

    I actually think that Yarlington's initiative is to be commended. Firstly because it's an initiative and social housing is painfully short of cutting-edge stuff at the moment.
    But more than this, the HA is only doing what most others provide any way - usually under the radar of other services.
    ASB is about lifestyle and behaviour and often nothing to do with the tenancy itself. Rent arrears is about debt, money advice and skint customers - a lot is invested in this despite the landlord just being another creditor. Lots of personal financially included help offered here as something extra.
    Remember the HA the other day that published its 'bingo and fags' piece in the newsletter? HAs are always linked to lifestyle and ambition. One thing as a provision, however. Yarlington will have to be pretty darned good at this and not just play lip-service. Remember, get the landlord bit sorted first, then press-on with your initiatives.
    So why not go further and make attempts to work with people to develop something positive?
    Goodness knows enough resource is spent on chasing and enforcing those who 'get it wrong'.

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