This jargon buster gives explanations of frequently used terms. If you spot any jargon on our site that does not have an explanation, or would like to receive further information about anything mentioned on our website, please contact the Resident Involvement Team.
Please note that legislative and legal information applies to England only.
AGM - Annual general meeting
An annual general meeting is held by an organisation at the same time every year. At the meeting they report on the organisation’s work over the last year, present the accounts to their members and elect a new committee.
This is the term used by social landlords to describe the process of identifying properties and letting them to people, who then become their tenants.
ALMO - Arms Length Management Organisation
A company set up by a Local Authority or in which a Local Authority has a majority share, who manages council housing stock. The Council retains ownership so there is no change in tenancy status.
Annual lettings plan
This is a plan drawn up by a social landlord that covers the various groups in need of housing that the landlord intends to let properties to over the year. It also sets out targets and monitors procedures. Most large Housing Associations and Local Authorities will have an annual lettings plan.
The improvement of a distinct geographic area by tackling a wide range of factors, for example unemployment, empty properties, unfit housing, poverty and crime that are contributing to the decline of the area.
ASBO - Anti-social behaviour brder
An ASBO is an injunction taken out against individuals who have been causing persistent acts of anti-social behaviour. The ASBO might ban them from entering a particular area (such as an estate or district). Local Authorities and police can issue ASBOs against any individual over 10 years-old. Breaching the order carries a five-year prison sentence. The Government is currently considering changing the law to allow Housing Associations to issue ASBOs.
An agreement between a landlord and tenant that a friend or relative of the tenant can take over the tenancy.
Assured shorthold tenancy
Assured shorthold tenancies give the tenant the right to occupy a property for a fixed period of time, provided that they keep to the terms of their tenancy agreement. At the end of the fixed period of time (often 12 months), the landlord or the tenant has the right to terminate the tenancy. Assured shorthold tenancies can be renewed for another fixed period of time if both parties agree to it. In North Somerset this is know as a ‘starter tenancy’.
Since January 1989 all new tenants of Housing Associations have assured tenancies. They have fewer rights in law than secure tenants, although housing corporation guidelines require some of these rights be written into assured tenancy agreements.
"Independent public body responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively in the areas of local government, housing, health, criminal justice and fire and rescue services." (Audit Commission website) The Housing Inspectorate is part of the Audit Commission.
Assessing an organisation’s performance by comparing it to that of other organisations of a similar size and purpose.
Best value inspection
Best value reviews
Local Authorities and Housing Associations must show that they have applied the four Cs of Best Value (challenge, compare, compete, consult) by carrying out reviews of their various housing services. This is meant to show service users, inspectors etc., how they are achieving continuous improvement year on year.
Black and Minority Ethnic. Sometimes written as BEM (Black and Ethnic Minority).
Board of Management
A group of people who have volunteered or been elected to control the affairs of a housing association. They can come from all walks of life but must have some interest or experience which relates to the work that the Housing Association does and the community it serves. It may also be called a Management Committee, Management Board, Board, or Board of Trustees. The Alliance Homes Board is made up of 12 volunteers; four tenants, four Local Authority people and four independent local business people. There is also a leasehold co-optee who attends the Board.
The amount of money an organisation estimates it will spend in one year.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
A Citizens Advice Bureau can give free advice and information to local people in person or by telephone. They advise on problems like benefits, debt and consumer rights.
The money that landlords spend on buying land, or building and improving housing.
A plan, usually over at least one year, for building and improving housing.
Money received by councils when they sell homes or land either voluntarily or under the Right to Buy.
The majority of Housing Associations are charities. Charitable status gives Housing Associations certain privileges (e.g. tax advantages) but limits the objectives and activities the association can carry out. These have to be for charitable purposes. Housing Associations with charitable status can be charitable trusts or companies, or industrial and provident societies. They can also be registered charities (registered with the Charity Commission) or exempt charities.
Organisation responsible for the regulation and registration of charities in England and Wales.
A Government award scheme which “recognises and encourages excellence in public services” (Cabinet Office definition).
Choice-based lettings are based on the Dutch style of advertising and letting homes, and aims to give a more customer-focused approach to the letting of social housing.
CIH - Chartered Institute of Housing
Organisation that awards professional qualifications to people who work in housing. It is also the representative body for housing professionals.
Code of conduct
A code of conduct is a list of guidelines that describe how members of a committee or group are expected to carry out their duties and conduct themselves when at meetings, or when acting on behalf of their organisation.
A Committee is a group of people elected by an organisation’s members to carry out the work of the organisation. The committee organises group meetings, and the group’s annual general meeting and is responsible for carrying forward any decisions made at these meetings. Committees should always have a chair, a secretary and a treasurer.
Community-based HA (housing assoication)
“A Housing Association set up to acquire and rehabilitate dwellings. Such associations are community run, have strong connections to the locality in which they operate and often have tenant majorities on the board of management”. (CIH definition)
Generic term covering the process of building active and sustainable communities by giving residents access to information and training to enable them to take control of their communal life.
The New name for the National Lottery Charities Board. Community Fund gives out grants from money raised through sale of National Lottery tickets.
Community plan / community strategy
Under the Local Government Act 2000, all Local Authorities are required to work in partnership with the community, businesses, the voluntary sector and other partners to develop a long-term strategy to promote the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their local communities.
Compact / compacts
Something given as a redress to loss, injury etc. When their tenancy ends, secure tenants have a right to monetary compensation if they have made certain improvements.
The process of inviting offers from outside organisations to run a specific service, e.g. grounds maintenance, catering etc. The tendering process is competitive and decisions on who wins the tender are usually made against a set of pre-determined criteria that covers quality of service issues as well as value for money.
A French word meaning caretaker/porter and is used to describe someone who looks after a block of flats.
A constitution is a document, produced by a group, that states its aims, objectives, membership, rules etc. It is essential that a group has a good constitution, as it is the document that should be referred to if any questions arise about the way the group is run, how and when meetings occur, who looks after the money and what to do if a dispute occurs. Some landlords may ask a group to adopt a standard constitution in order to receive funding.
Council housing transfer / large scale voluntary transfer / stock transfer
The process by which a Local Authority (Council) transfers the ownership and management of its housing stock to a not-for-profit Registered Social Landlord. Before the transfer can take place, a vote is usually conducted to see if tenants are in favour of it. If they are not, the local authority cannot go ahead with the transfer. The new landlord takes over responsibility for managing properties, rents, repairs, maintenance etc. The Local Authority continues to manage all non-housing related services (such as refuse collection, street lighting etc).
Credit unions are locally-based savings schemes that provide low cost loans to people on a low income.
www.abcul.org (Association of British Credit Unions Limited)
Crime and Disorder Act 1998
This Act gives Local Authorities extra powers to deal with people who commit acts of anti-social behaviour.
Criteria of Recognition
Social landlords often have a set of guidelines called ‘Criteria of Recognition’ that set out what a tenants association must do in order to be recognised by the landlord as the official group for their area. Being recognised means that a group can receive funding, resources and support from the landlord.
Data Protection / Data Protection Act
Under the Data Protection Act (1998), individuals have certain rights to access information that is being held about them by organisations and companies. These organisations and companies also have a responsibility under the Act to store and use the data that they hold in a responsible way.
Tenants can be temporarily moved out of their homes (decanted) to another dwelling if their landlord needs to carry out work that is disruptive or that would be difficult to do with the tenant in situ.
Decent Homes Standard
The Decent Homes Standard is a target set by Government for all social housing providers to meet set standards of design for their homes by 2010. In brief, a decent home will have to pass four tests: It has to meet the current statutory minimum standards for housing; it needs to be in a reasonable state of repair; it needs to have reasonably modern facilities and services, and it needs to provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.
A process by which Local Authority departments make their services more local, for example by having a number of smaller estate offices instead of one central office in the town hall.
A form of Choice-Based Letting first adopted in the Netherlands in 1990.
Density (housing density)
This describes the number of dwellings (houses, flats, maisonettes etc.) that exist within a particular area (e.g. acre or hectare). An area with many dwellings per acre would be described as having high density housing.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
The Government department dealing with employment, pensions, child welfare and disability. They have recently also taken responsibility for Health and Safety.
A way of monitoring the performance of an organisation without actually visiting it. The organisation submits statistics and reports to its monitoring body who then use them to assess its performance.
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 ”aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face. This Act gives disabled people rights in the areas of employment, access to goods, facilities and services, and buying or renting land or property. The final rights of access will come into force in October 2004. In addition, this Act allows the Government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport easily.” (DWP definition)
Describes some types of income, i.e. attendance allowance, which can be ignored when working out how much Housing Benefit someone is entitled to.
Councils covering areas outside large towns and cities.
Social housing tenants who are forced to move home on a temporary or a permanent basis due to their landlord carrying out major repairs or demolition are entitled to claim disturbance payments to help them cover the cost of moving.
Diversity is made up of visible and non-visible differences which include sex, age, race, disability, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. Understanding these differences will create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and where their talents are used fully. By managing diversity effectively a group can be better equipped to meet its goals.
Any version of a document, such as a report, in which the ideas or wording have not yet been finally agreed.
DSO - Direct Service Organisation / DLO - Direct Labour Organisation
The people directly employed by a Local Authority under Compulsory Competitive Tendering to provide services (such as street cleaning, refuse collection etc).
E-Government / Electronic Government
The Government has said that, where possible, all Local Authorities and publicly funded bodies must aim to make their services available in an electronic format by 2005. This Electronic Service Delivery is known as E-Government. ‘Electronic format’ can mean via the internet, digital TV, public access terminals and kiosks, and even mobile phones.
EMB - Estate Management Board
Tenants and landlords can agree to share the responsibility of running their estate by setting up an Estate Management Board, with the majority of members being tenants. An agreement is drawn up saying which issues are the Board`s responsibility and which are the landlord`s.
Equal Opportunities Policy
A written agreement by an organisation which sets out how it will go about treating all people equally and fairly. For landlords this should include how they choose and treat their tenants and workers. For tenants this should include how they organise their association or federation.
Estate and Area / District Committees
Joint tenant/resident and landlord committees. Estate Committees deal with local issues, not all of which may be the direct responsibility of the landlord. Area Committees concentrate mainly on the landlord’s policies and how these affect residents.
An estate agreement is a yearly agreement negotiated between the landlord and all tenants on an estate. The agreement sets out issues such as priorities for action, standards of service for the estate, how tenants will be kept informed and consulted, how service standards will be monitored etc. The agreement is not legally binding and does not guarantee extra resources will be given to the estate to tackle any problems.
(Not to be confused with Estate Management Boards). Housing management services delivered from local estate offices instead of from the town hall or Housing Association head office. These services may also include repairs, re-housing and recreational services and in some cases social services, welfare rights and environmental health services.
Being removed from your property by a bailiff following the serving of a Possession Order.
A sub-group of an organisation's management committee, which meets to deal with decisions which cannot wait until the next management committee meeting, as well as carrying out detailed work as directed by the main committee.
Charitable organisations that do not have to register with the Charities Commission are referred to as exempt charities. Charities do not have to register if they are considered to be adequately supervised by or accountable to some other body or authority (e.g. the Friendly Society or the Housing Corporation). However, exempt charities are still subject to the same legal rules that apply to all charities.
A study undertaken to establish if a particular course of action will be viable and successful.
Federation / Tenants Federation
A tenants federation is a group of tenants associations who have decided to work together in the interests of all tenants in an area. Most federations can give help and advice to existing and new tenants associations, and can put associations in touch with each other so that they can share ideas and experiences.
Draws together people for a discussion on a specific topic and aims to find out what people think, feel, believe and their reasons for doing so, but not to reach any agreement. Mainly used as a research technique.
The Foyer Federation
The Foyer Federation provides accommodation for young homeless people. Unlike hostels, they take an active role in helping their residents gain access to training, education, and employment, and to gain independent living skills.
GGFD - General Government Financial Deficit
An internationally accepted measure of the balance between general government expenditure and revenue
GO - Government Offices
Responsible for delivering government policy in the regions, they were established in response to the European agenda but have evolved to be the voice of Whitehall in the regions.
Consultation paper issued by the Government prior to making something law.
HOMES - Housing Organisations Mobility and Exchange Services
The national agency working with Local Authorities and Housing Associations throughout England which helps social housing tenants to move from one area to another.
HMO - Houses in Multiple Occupation
Property shared by people who are not from the same family, e.g. student houses, bedsits, flats etc.
HNI - Housing Needs Indicator / Housing Needs Index
Data compiled from various sources that is used to measure how much new housing is needed in each Local Authority area. The Housing Corporation uses this data to decide how many new homes an RSL must build in that area. It then allocates grants to these RSLs to enable them to build the new properties.
Home loss payment
Social housing tenants who are forced to permanently move to another house / flat due to their landlord carrying out redevelopments or demolition are entitled to claim home loss payments. They may also be entitled to claim Disturbance Payments.
Started in the Netherlands in the 1970s, Home Zones work by changing the layout of roads to make them safer for the community to use. By positioning ‘street furniture’ (such as bollards, speed bumps, trees etc) and reducing speed limits, Home Zones hope to increase safety levels for children at play, and improve the ‘look’ of the community.
Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)
The HCA is a national housing and regeneration agency for England. They provide investment for new affordable housing and to improve existing social housing, as well as for regenerating land.
The HCA are also a regulator for social housing providers in England, in replace of the Tenant Services Authority which is no longer in operation.
Scheme run by selected RSLs to help people to buy a home on the open market. Homebuy is funded by the Housing Corporation.
Scheme set up by HOMES to help social housing tenants find someone to swap homes with.
Hostels provide temporary accommodation for homeless individuals and families.
HA - Housing Association
A non-profit making organisation which provides homes either for people who cannot afford to buy their own or who need special types of housing, for example elderly people. Associations usually have paid workers and are managed by a voluntary management committee.
Extra money paid to the landlord for people on income support or low incomes to cover housing costs.
1. PRIMARY CO-OP: A group of seven or more people who agree to work together in a co-operative to provide decent housing for their members.
2. TENANT MANAGEMENT CO-OP (TMC): Where Local Authority or Housing Association tenants take on the management (but not ownership) of their own homes and estates.
This is a system of money and credit that operates to enable all types of residential property to be built, managed, repaired, and exchanged. Housing finance’s three broad categories are capital expenditure i.e. construction, conversion, improvements; revenue expenditure i.e. repairs, maintenance; and administration of properties and income i.e. rent collection.
Under the best value regime, all Local Authority and Housing Association`s housing services will be inspected to check they are showing continuous improvement and providing value for money. This external inspection is carried out by the Audit Commission`s Housing Inspectorate team.
Person employed by a Local Authority or Housing Association to carry out a range of Housing Management duties, which may include tenant participation if there is no dedicated Tenant Participation Officer.
Housing Ombudsman Service
In charge of investigating complaints made about Housing Associations. Before the HOS can be called in to investigate, the person making the complaint must have been through the Association’s own complaints procedure. The HOS only investigate complaints made against landlords who are members of the HOS scheme.
A concept which promotes a wider social and economic perspective when providing social housing i.e. employment, crime prevention, education, health etc. Housing plus aims to enable local people to improve their opportunities in life and add value to their communities.
Housing Renovation Grants
Private tenants, landlords and owner-occupiers can apply for a Housing Renovations Grant to help with the cost of repairs to a property.
An organisation which is required by its constitution to use all of its funds, including any surpluses, to provide housing accommodation, or one whose constitution states that it must use all, or nearly all, of its funds for charitable purposes and in fact uses all, or nearly all, of the money to provide housing.
Human Rights Act 1998
The Human Rights Act was introduced by the Government to turn recommendations made by the European Union on an individual’s rights and freedoms into UK law.
Grants paid by the Local Authority to owner-occupiers and private landlords to help them to improve their property to meet standards set by the Government.
IGP - Innovation and Good Practice Grant
A programme of grants from the Housing Corporation to finance Housing Association projects which show innovation and/or good practice in housing management.
IIA - Innovation into Action Grant
A grant programme funded by the ODPM to develop radical or new ways of involving local authority tenants in managing their homes.
This is the process under best value in which the regulatory agency goes out in the field to examine what is actually happening in Local Authority housing departments and Housing Associations.
The Housing Act 1996 allows Councils to offer introductory tenancies to new tenants. These last one year and then change to a secure tenancy if the tenant has not broken the terms of the agreement. It is discretionary whether Local Authorities choose to do this or not, but if they do then it must apply to all new tenants.
ITA - Independent Tenant’s Advisor
An external agency, independent of the landlord, employed during a major project (such as an LSVT or Options Study) to work on behalf of the tenants. An ITA provides independent information and impartial advice, as well as support and assistance, enabling tenants to understand the processes involved in the project and to play an active role in any negotiations.
Joined-up thinking / joined-up Government
Proposal to make local and central government services quicker and easier for the public to use. The idea is that you can access a number of services from one source, e.g. one telephone number for all council services, one website for searching all government departments or combined benefit and housing offices.
Money from banks, building societies and sometimes from Local Authorities to help Housing Associations to provide special types of homes, for example hostel schemes.
Where two or more people share a property and the tenancy agreement for the property.
KLOE - Key lines of enquiry
Key lines of enquiry form the basis on which the Audit Commission makes inspection judgements for Local Authorities (including ALMOs) and registered social landlords in England. "Key lines of enquiry . . detail what will be covered in inspections and the standard expected of excellent and fair housing services." (Audit Commission website)
A term used by Government to define people who do jobs that are essential to the community, such as firefighters, nurses, teachers etc. Keyworkers often struggle to find housing in areas where house prices are very high, leading to shortages of essential workers in places such as London.
A person who does not own the land their home is built on, and pays a ground rent for a fixed number of years. Tenants who live in flats and buy them from their landlord are called leaseholders.
LGO - Local Government Ombudsman
In charge of investigating complaints made about Local Authorities. Before the LGO can be called in to investigate, the person making the complaint must have been through the Local Authority’s own complaints procedure.
The money a landlord pays back on what it has borrowed.
LA - Local Authority (also referred to as “The Council”)
A term used to define a body providing and managing local public services in a defined area, e.g. District Councils, County Councils and Metropolitan Boroughs. Social landlords are usually Local Authorities or Housing Associations.
LHC - Local Housing Company
A Local Housing Company is a specially created "not-for-profit" company set up to own and manage rented homes in an area. Existing Local Authority housing could be transferred to the company. The company board could consist of tenants, Local Authority representatives and representatives from the private sector and other organisations.
Local housing quasi-corporation
A proposed framework which creates a new organisation controlled by the Local Authority to take over its homes, but does not involve stock transfer.
Local lettings / local lettings policy
Practice of involving local tenants in the letting of Social Housing properties in order to give them an opportunity to become involved in the management of their estates and to develop stable, harmonious communities.
LSP - Local Strategic Partnership
A single body that brings together (at a local level) public, private, community and voluntary sector organisations so that different initiatives and services support each other and work together to tackle key issues for local people.
LSVT - large scale voluntary transfer
Improvements to housing stock that are too substantial to be covered by normal allowances for repairs and maintenance work.
MRA - major repairs allowance
The major repairs allowance (MRA) is a source of Central Government funding for Housing Revenue Account capital expenditure, introduced from 1st April 2001. The MRA is intended to reflect the cost of maintaining housing stock in its current condition and is an annual cash payment made to Local Authorities through the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy system.
The group of people responsible for managing an organisation and making sure that it obeys its own rules. It can either be elected by members, like a tenants' association, or be made up of a group of people who have volunteered to serve, like many Housing Associations.
A method of resolving disputes between two parties using a third, external party, known as a ‘mediator’. The Mediator, who must be neutral in the dispute, aims to bring the two opposing parties to an understanding of the issues, including each other`s point of view, thus reaching an agreed resolution to the dispute.
Councils which cover large towns and cities are called Metropolitan Authorities.
The checking of a system or process to make sure it is working properly and achieving its goals.
A form of market research which uses customers to assess service standards. This involves training individuals to pose as customers and undertake a series of agreed tasks, which are aimed monitoring service delivery. Mystery shopping can be carried out in person, by telephone, by letter, by e-mail, over the internet or in any way that customers interact with an organisation.
National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal
In 1997 the Social Exclusion Unit was set up to report on the problems faced by people living in deprived neighbourhoods. In 2001 the Government produced the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal which is an action plan setting out how to stop the decline in the country’s poorest neighbourhoods.
NCVO - National Council for Voluntary Organisations
“The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) works with and for the voluntary sector in England by providing information, advice and support and by representing the views of the sector to government and policy-makers.” (NCVO Definition)
The sum set by the Government to be used in benefit calculations to cover the basic amount that a person needs to live on each week.
Neighbourhood management has emerged from the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal as a solution to the problems of deprived neighbourhoods. It is about joining up services at a local level and making them more relevant to users.
Neighbourhood renewal is a term used to describe how the Government proposes to improve deprived communities by providing decent housing, improving services and facilities, increasing economic prosperity and providing jobs. The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit was set up in 2001 to implement the above proposals.
Neighbourhood renewal action plan
Launched on 15 January 2001, the action plan sets out how the Government`s strategy will work to arrest neighbourhood decline in the poorest 10% of wards in England. It highlights the proposals for change at national, regional, local and neighbourhood levels, and new methods of testing for success.
Neighbourhood Warden / Street Warden
Employed to ‘patrol’ estates in an attempt to reduce incidents of crime, anti-social behaviour, vandalism and graffiti. They work closely with the local police, but do not themselves have any powers to arrest offenders.
NHF - National Housing Federation
Provides information and support for its members and develops common policies and guidelines for Housing Associations to follow.
NIMBY / NIMBYISM
Stands for “Not in my backyard”.
Although charities can charge for their goods or services and can make a profit, they must not be set up specifically for commercial or profit making purposes. These are referred to as “not-for-profit” or “non profit making” organisations.
The total amount a Local Authority still owes on money it borrowed to build or improve its housing.
Someone who has purchased their home.
The Government requires Local Authorities to publish performance indicators which is a report on how effectively it is managing and repairing its properties.
A system of repairs and maintenance carried out by a Local Authority or Housing Association that has been decided in advance, and accounted for in the yearly budget. Planned maintenance is often carried out on a cyclical basis (e.g. every 10 years).
A legal document obtained from a magistrates court by a landlord to gain possession of a property from a tenant.
PPP - public / private partnerships
Joint working arrangements between the public and the private sectors.
Money raised from non-government sources, e.g. banks.
PFI - Private Finance Initiative
Is a form of public/private partnership (PPP) using private sector finance for the provision of public services through joint working. A PFI arrangement for Local Government is that the private sector partner may own the capital assets (your home in the case of housing PFI) as well as delivering the service.
Someone who gives evidence in a court of law as part of their job. Examples of professional witnesses could be Police Officers, Private Investigators and Housing Staff. Professional witnesses can be used by Local Authorities and Housing Associations if tenants do not want to give evidence about their neighbours.
PSA - Public Service Agreement
Partnership agreements between a Local Authority and the Government which outline how best to deliver the neighbourhood management approach.
Public Liability Insurance
Also known as third party insurance. This insures an organisation against the possibility of claims from the public for injury, loss or damage etc., to a person or a property.
All secure, assured and assured shorthold tenants have a statutory right to quiet enjoyment. This does not refer to noise or anti-social behaviour, as the phrase might imply, but to the possession and enjoyment of the property without undue disturbance from the landlord (or a representative of the landlord) by acts that are likely to interfere with the peace and comfort of the tenant, for example harassment or illegal eviction.
The minimum number of members an organisation needs at any meeting to make any decision, as laid down in its constitution.
RA - Residents’ Association
Race Relations Act
“The Race Relations Act 1976, as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origin. The amended Act also imposes general duties on many public authorities to promote racial equality.” (CRE Definition)
Repairs carried out by a private landlord which the tenant must pay for because they caused the damage.
The renovation and improvement of a property.
An organisation registered with the Charity Commission and working within charitable aims and objectives.
RSL - Registered Social Landlord
A term describing a not-for-profit organisation that provides Social Housing and are registered with the Housing Corporation. Examples include Housing Associations, Housing Trusts, Housing Co-operatives etc. Only RSLs are eligible to receive Social Housing Grant.
RSR - Regulatory and Statistical Return
RSLs must enter statistical data into an “RSR Form” as part of their regulatory requirements with the Housing Corporation. Forms are submitted annually to the Housing Corporation.
Rent reform / social rent reform
The Government has introduced guidelines for social landlords that set out how social housing rents are to be changed so that they are all calculated to the same standard by 2012. This is known as Rent Reform. By doing this, the Government hope to keep rents affordable for social housing tenants and to bring Local Authority and Housing Association rents in line with each other.
Mending something that is broken, inside or outside of your home i.e. a blocked drainpipe or a dripping tap. A tenant should refer to their tenancy agreement to see whether it is their responsibility or their landlord's to carry out a particular repair. See also Response Repairs and Planned Maintenance.
The money for such things as paying off loans, employing workers and buying materials for repairs.
Right to Acquire
Scheme giving eligible tenants of Registered Social Landlords the right to buy the home they currently live in. The criteria for the Right to Acquire are very specific so please see the Government web pages for more information.
Right to Buy
Some Local Authority and Housing Association tenants have the legal right to buy their home at a price lower than the full market value, if they have been living there for more than two years.
Right to Repair
Local Authorities are obliged to carry out certain small, urgent repairs which are likely to affect a tenants’ health, safety or security, within a prescribed time limit. This is known as a tenant’s Right to Repair. If the repairs are not carried out in the time given, the tenant can ask the landlord to instruct another contractor to do the work.
A Local Authority or Housing Association may own a whole estate, in which case all the properties will be together. They may also own properties that are ‘scattered’ and therefore dotted around an area or county amongst privately owned property and property that belongs to other landlords. Tenants living in scattered stock can find it hard to form tenants' associations as they may not know where other tenants of their landlord live. Sometimes street / village voices are used to represent tenants in such areas.
The vast majority of Local Authority and Housing Association tenants whose tenancies began before 15 January 1989 are secure tenants and have a range of additional rights covered in the Housing Act 1985.
Security of tenure
A tenant’s right to remain in their home indefinitely provided that they keep to the conditions of their tenancy agreement.
The money tenants and leaseholders pay for services such as wardens, common rooms and cleaning, lighting and maintenance of common parts.
The way a service, such as repairs, is provided to the people who receive it.
SLA - service level agreement
A semi-formal arrangement covering the services that one department within an organisation will provide to another, or one organisation will provide to another.
Accommodation in which people live in separate, private rooms but share certain facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with other residents. Hostels, and some housing schemes for older people or people with special needs are shared.
Scheme which allows tenants to part buy / part rent a property. Tenants can increase their mortgage payments (and decrease rent) until they own the whole property.
Properties being used on a temporary basis until permanent accommodation is found.
A term used by the government to describe the situation of the millions of people living in the country’s worst housing estates who suffer from poor housing, poverty, high crime rates, unemployment etc.
"Housing of an adequate standard which is cheaper than that which is generally available in the local housing market. This can comprise a combination of subsidised rented housing, subsidised low cost home ownership including shared ownership, and in some market situations cheap housing for sale". (ODPM definition).
Social Housing Grant
The money that the Government gives Housing Associations or Co-operatives to help them to buy, build, repair or improve homes for rent or sale.
Provider of social housing such as a Local Authority or Registered Social Landlord.
Special general meeting
‘Emergency’ meeting of a group that occurs outside of usual group meeting times. A special general meeting might be called if new officers of the committee need to be elected, or if an urgent matter needs to be discussed. The group’s constitution should state how a special general meeting is called i.e. “A special general meeting open to all members will be held if 12 or more members submit in writing a request for such a meeting to the secretary. The secretary shall arrange for the meeting to take place within 14 days.”
Standing Order (for Tenants’ Groups)
Standing Orders are a set of `rules and regulations` which usually cover how meetings are run, how decisions are made, terms of reference for committees/sub-committees and other procedural matters. Standing Orders should be used alongside a group’s constitution.
The Housing Association term for introductory tenancies.
An order issued by the Secretary of State which changes the law without having to go through Parliament.
Stock (housing stock)
Property owned by a particular landlord is often referred to as their ‘housing stock’.
Street voices are usually used in urban areas where the setting up of a tenants’ association is unwanted (i.e. there is not enough interest). A street voice is an individual who represents the views of the tenants to the landlord.
Small specialised committees who make recommendations and report to a full committee.
Succession / right of succession
The right to automatically transfer the tenancy of a property on the death of a tenant. For example, if a husband and wife lived together in the property and the husband was the tenant, upon his death the wife would automatically take over the tenancy.
Accommodation for people with specific care needs (such as elderly people, and people with special needs). Residents are ‘supported’ in their accommodation by paid staff.
A Government programme that came into place in April 2003. ‘Supporting People’ changes the way that supported housing is managed and financed in the social housing sector.
TA - Tenants’ Association
A voluntary group made up of people who live in a particular area or scheme, who have got together to have their say on local issues, improve their area or organise social events. Can also be called a Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, Residents’ Association, Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Association etc.
A signed contract between a landlord and a tenant. A tenancy agreement sets out what is expected of each party, and what rights each has.
A person, or persons, who agree to occupy a property owned by someone else in exchange for payment (i.e. rent).
Tenant Inspection Advisers / Tenant Inspectors / Tenant Auditors
Tenants working voluntarily with Audit Commission inspection teams to provide a tenant’s viewpoint on the quality of housing services provided by Local Authorities and registered social landlords. If you would like to become a Tenant Inspection Adviser, please contact the Audit Commission.
Tenant Management refers to tenants taking over all or part of the running of housing management services (e.g. repairs and maintenance) by forming a Tenant Management Organisation.
Tenant participation compacts / TP compacts
“Locally-negotiated agreements between a Local Authority landlord and its tenants, setting out how tenants will be involved collectively in taking local decisions on housing issues which affect them.” (ODPM Definition December 1998).
Tenant satisfaction surveys
A form of consultation with tenants to find out how satisfied they are with housing services such as repairs.
The handbook given to new tenants by a Local Authority or Housing Association. It contains useful information about the tenancy and the landlord.
Tenants’ resource centre
Drop-in centre staffed by tenant volunteers to give information and advice on tenant issues.
TMC - tenant management co-operative
A TMC is a group of residents who enter into an agreement with their local authority or housing association to take over all or some of the running of the houses, flats or estate where they live. They form their co-op, which is legally registered, and the co-op then makes an agreement with the local authority or housing association.
TMO - tenant management organisation
The term used to describe organisations where tenants have taken over the running of some or all of the services on their estate such as tenant management co-operatives and estate management boards.
TPAS - Tenant Participation Advisory Service
The leading national tenant participation organisation working to promote tenant empowerment.
The term used to describe any Housing Association that takes over the ownership and management of Local Authorities’ housing stock after a successful large scale voluntary transfer.
A trickle transfer is what happens when a Local Authority sells its housing stock to a Housing Association slowly, one property at a time. As a property becomes vacant, the Local Authority sells it to the HA.
Occurs when the tenants in a property are not fully occupying it. An example might be a couple in a 3 bedroom house, whose children have left home. Tenants in under occupied properties are frequently offered incentives to move to a smaller property because larger houses for families are in short supply.
Empty homes usually waiting for some work to be done or someone to move in.
Voluntary board member
Voluntary Purchase Scheme
Scheme to help RSL tenants to buy the property they live in. Unlike the Right to Buy, the Voluntary Purchase Scheme does not apply to all tenants. It is up to the landlord to decide whether or not to take part in the scheme, and which properties to extend it to.