Our Tenancy Management Officers have begun a programme of tenancy review visits. They will be visiting all our tenants to make sure that homes are being looked after, that everyone living at the property is entitled to be there and to signpost residents to support if any help is needed.
Throughout 2021 and the first few months of 2022, we will aim to visit all those properties where we have been unable to gain access to carry out an electrical safety check. We will then move on to all those who still have a flexible tenancy.
Our aim is to visit every tenant at least once every three years. These visits will usually be booked in advance, but - if a need arises - may be unannounced. Our staff will always carry ID that you can check.
What is a tenancy review?
A tenancy review is a survey, which involves a member of our Tenancy Management Team visiting you in your home to complete a short questionnaire, and take down some details about you and your household. The Officer will ask to look around the property to make sure that it is not wholly let or sublet, that you have told us about everyone living there (including any lodgers) and that it is being looked after in accordance with your Tenancy Agreement.
The tenancy reviews will:
- Identify any people who may need to be rehoused by showing up any overcrowding of properties
- Identify homes that are under-occupied so that we can offer tenants information on how to move to a property that better meets their current needs
- Uncover fraud
- Signpost people to other services they need
- Identify any issues with the condition of the property
- Identify where sub-letting is taking place
- Help with future service planning to best meet tenants' needs
- Ensure that future services are planned and delivered with a focus on equality, diversity and good relations.
What information is being collected?
We will use a survey form to collect and record the following information:
- ID verification
- Composition of your household, including any pets and lodgers
- Up-to-date contact details
- Condition of the property, including any significant improvements or alterations
- Fire safety risks.
What about proof of identity?
When we visit, we will ask you for proof of identity to guard against fraud. This allows us to make sure that the person who has the Tenancy Agreement is the person who is occupying the home. We will ask for two forms of identification, which must include one photographic form of ID. If we do not already have a photograph of you on file then we will take one.
Identification suitable for this purpose could be:
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Birth certificate (for children)
- Driving licence
- Official communication from Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) or another Government body (in the past year).
How will I know when you will visit?
We will usually give notice for these appointments and will send a pre-visit form for you to complete and sign. We will then compare this with the signature on your Tenancy Agreement. If we do make an unannounced visit and you are not in, we will attend at another time, which can include evenings or early mornings. Your Tenancy Agreement states that we have the right to enter your home to carry out inspections, so if we are not able to gain access following a number of visits, we would need to begin legal action, such as applying to County Court.
When will I receive my first visit?
Tenancy reviews are a new function for the Tenancy Management Team and our long-term plan is to have a rolling programme of visits. However, we need to ensure that all tenancies have an initial review, which should be complete by 2025. We are treating properties where the tenant has not so far given access for an electrical safety check as our top priority.
How long will the visit take?
Most tenancy reviews take about an hour. If the tenant lives alone, the visit usually takes a little less time, whilst larger households tend to take longer. It saves time if the tenant(s) fully completes the form we have sent them in advance of the appointment.
Are these visits good value for money?
The tenancy review is value for money because it helps to:
- Identify fraud - the Government estimates that there may be 50,000 social housing properties illegally occupied, costing up to £25 billion every year
- Remove people who are dishonestly occupying council housing
- Help shorten waiting times for people who are on the council housing waiting list
- Make sure tenants are living in homes that are suitable for their family size, so that we make best use of our limited council housing stock
- Ensure homes are being maintained to help avoid costly repairs at the end of a tenancy
- Improve our service, based on your feedback.
Can I report suspected tenancy fraud?
Yes. If you believe that someone may be occupying a council home illegally, please don't wait for a visit. Find out more about fraud and how to report it.