Lichfield District Council no longer own any property . The Council’s entire housing stock was sold to HomeZone Housing (now Bromford Living) in 1997 under the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer arrangements. Consequently, the social housing available in the district is provided by Registered Social Landlords, formerly known as Housing Associations.
A Registered Social Landlord is a non-profit making organisation which owns, lets and manages rental housing (social housing). As they are non-profit-making the money they get from the rents goes back into the services they offer.
Registered Social Landlords or RSLs are similar to the local authorities or council rented housing. They are registered with the Tenant Services Authority – a government body that regulates and monitors them.
The main aim of registered social landlords is to provide affordable general needs accommodation for everyone. They provide rented properties, which are offered at lower than the ‘Open Market Rent’, a more affordable housing option. Applicants may still have to meet certain criteria to obtain a registered social landlord property.
Registered Social Landlords are not new organisation and have been around since the 19th century. They really began to take off in the 1960s and 1970s and grew into what we know as registered social landlords today. In the 1980s along with a culture change of social inclusion for everyone, rise in house prices and as a result of limitations imposed on council housing services, registered social landlords grew rapidly. This enabled the team to take over a huge share of the rented housing market for the general public. They increased in size and importance.
Some registered social landlords provide accommodation for specialist groups, who have a shared need. This could include, but is not exclusive to, supported accommodation for: teenage parents, elderly and people with mental health issues.
Local registered social landlords have come together to advertise their available properties on one scheme, Homes Direct. This means you only have to register once and not with several providers. You can complete an application form to join the waiting list online. Once registered you will be able to access all available property within the district. Applicants can express interest in properties online. This advises the provider you are interested in living in the property. The property will be allocated to the applicant in the highest need band who has been waiting the longest. Please note an ‘expression of interest’ is just this and no money is exchanged. A full explanation of the scheme is available on the website.
Housing association also offer other types of accommodation than rented. This is called affordable housing and there are many different types to suit people's circumstances. Look at the Home Ownership section of this website for more information.
Who is typically eligible?
Single people, couples and families. Generally people aged over 18 however there are some exceptions to this rule.
Will I be able to have pets?
This will depend on the suitability of the property. It is always advisable to speak to the landlord before moving in with or acquiring a pet.
What type of tenancy agreement will I be given?
You will be offered an Assured Tenancy. You may however be offered a Starter or Introductory Tenancy at the beginning for a set period of time. If you conduct your tenancy satisfactorily it will automatically be converted to an Assured Tenancy.
Will the housing association rent be covered by housing benefit?
Yes, if you are eligible for example in receipt of benefits or on a low income.
Would I be able to decorate and improve my home?
The landlord will expect the property to be kept in good order and that includes decoration. If however you wish to carry out improvements i.e. add a shower, then you would need to put your proposed improvements in a letter asking for permission before you start the work.
Will I be able to do a mutual exchange?
Once the Started or Introductory Tenancy period has been completed, you will be able to apply for a mutual exchange. Mutual exchanges are subject to rules and criteria.