LAMBETH’S KEY GUARANTEES: DECIDE FOR YOURSELF – ONE
At last week’s Lambeth council cabinet meeting Cressingham Gardens estate resident Gerlinde Gniewosz accused Lambeth council of reducing some key guarantees previously given to people whose homes are set to be demolished by Lambeth council to ‘mechanisms’ – and dropping one altogether.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing, said “Nothing in the key guarantees has been watered down, nothing taken away, nothing reduced.”
News From Crystal Palace invites readers to decide for themselves. Firstly:
TPAS REPORT (Key Guarantees in Estate Regeneration: Review of Policy and Good Practice London Borough of Lambeth January 2016 Abigail Davies – TPAS Policy Adviser Kate Newbolt – TPAS Consultancy Manager)
Section 1: Key guarantees for existing secure tenants
Guarantee 1 Any secure tenant who wishes to continue to live at their current estate will have the opportunity to do so
Guarantee 2 Any secure tenant who wishes to remain a council tenant will be able to do so
Guarantee 3 Secure tenants who have to move will have the choice: EITHER to take an assured lifetime tenancy as a tenant in a new home on the· estate OR, if available, to take a secured tenancy in an existing refurbished home on the· estate OR, will be given high priority (Band A) to bid for a new home elsewhere in the· Borough through the Choice Based Lettings scheme.
Guarantee 4 Where a tenant choses to remain and move to a newly built home on the estate, the new tenancy will be an assured lifetime tenancy. Where a tenant is able to move into a refurbished home on the estate, then it is likely that the tenancy will remain a secure tenancy. When a tenant choses to move away from the estate they will have the opportunity to bid for a secure tenancy or an assured lifetime tenancy elsewhere in the borough.
Guarantee 5 The council assures that tenants will not be worse off in terms of the size of their accommodation than their current circumstances.
Guarantee 6 The new home will meet your housing needs, according to the Lambeth Housing Allocation Scheme 2013 (noting an exception in relation to adult children, so that Key Guarantee 5 can be met).
Guarantee 7 Tenants who are overcrowded will be offered a larger home that addresses the overcrowding, according to the Lambeth Housing Allocation Scheme 2013.
Guarantee 8 Tenants who are under-occupying by one bedroom or more will be offered a new home with one bedroom above their need (for example a couple living in a 3 bed home would be offered a 2 bed home when their need is a 1 bed).
Guarantee 9 Rents for the new homes will be at council rent levels and set in accordance with government guidelines.
Guarantee 10 The council will pay the statutory home loss payment, this was £4,900 in December 2014, plus reasonable costs of removal and disturbance. An element of home loss payment can be made before the final move to help facilitate the move. The amount will be agreed on a case by case basis; advance payments will be a maximum of £1000.
Guarantee 11 The council will provide help with rehousing to all affected households during the process. Additional support will be offered to residents with special needs or disabilities. This additional help could include: Packing and unpacking services at the time of the move· Help in claiming benefits at the new address· Liaising with other agencies such as social services·
Guarantee 12 The council will make every effort to ensure that people only have to move once by phasing development so some new homes are built before existing homes are demolished.
Guarantee 13 Those tenants who require adaptations to their property due to their disability or to the disability of a family member will have this carried out before they are required to move into a new property. Any necessary adaptations will be carried out in consultation with the user and with relevant professionals e.g. Occupational Therapists or Social Workers
Guarantee 14 Vulnerable tenants will be offered a handyperson service to assist with small jobs required for the removal.
Guarantee 15 The council will provide all possible advice information and support to tenants who choose to seek rehousing either elsewhere in Lambeth or outside of the borough.
Section 2: Key guarantees for existing resident homeowners
Guarantee 1 Any resident homeowner who wishes to continue to live at their current estate will have the opportunity to do so
Guarantee 2 Homeowners will receive home loss payments plus disturbance costs reimbursement (10% for resident homeowners or 7.5% for non-resident homeowners).
Guarantee 3 The Council will pay relevant and reasonable legal and valuation costs, which enable homeowners to obtain their own independent advice.
Guarantee 4 New Leasehold: Homeowners will be able to acquire the leasehold of a new home on their existing estate (100% equity share).
Guarantee 5 Shared Equity: If resident homeowners are unable to afford the full value of a new home, then they will be able to acquire a lower equity share of a new home, where the value of the equity share would be the same as the value of their existing property plus home loss payment. The equity share that a resident homeowner owns should normally not be less than 60% of the value of the new property. There would be no rent payable on the Council owned equity share.
Guarantee 6 Shared Ownership: Resident homeowners will alternatively have access to shared ownership of a new home on the estate, according to the following criteria: a. Minimum equity share to be 25% b. Rent payable on the Council retained equity of 2.75% per annum
Guarantee 7 Retained Properties: Resident homeowners may be able to swap to a retained home on their estate subject to availability and a similar offer to tenants: a. Retained property to be owned 100% by homeowner (subject to any mortgage or other charge) b. Retained home to meet the Lambeth Housing Standard with any major works funded by the difference in value between old and new home and investment of the home loss payment to pay for improvements (details to be worked out on a case by case basis, where residents may wish to carry out internal works themselves).
Guarantee 8 Leases: The terms of the lease for all leasehold properties on the estate would include the following criteria: a. All leaseholders will be required to notify the Council when they put their home on the market for an intended sale, assignment, sublet or underlet. b. For Shared Equity and Shared Ownership properties only, the Council will permit the first tenant to transfer their leasehold interest to a spouse, civil partner or family member nominated by the homeowner. c. Property not to be let without the Council’s permission, not to be unreasonably refused.
Guarantee 9 Rental options: For resident homeowners unable to fund any of the options above, they can choose a new home on their estate for intermediate rent (subject to financial assessment) or market rent
Guarantee 10 Right-to-Buy (RTB) Discounts: Where the homeowner is still within the RTB discount period, they will not have to pay back the discount if they sell their new home within the three year period.
Guarantee 11 Assistance will be given with the property transaction and moving home. A Homeowners’ Advisor will provide assistance
Guarantee 14 The Council will develop a strategy for additional assistance to be provided to homeowners in financial difficulties and for homeowners assessed as vulnerable