From April 2012, a proportion of housing association properties will be advertised at the government's new Affordable Rent tenure, instead of at social rents which is the tenure of all Hackney Council properties. We have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand the difference between social and affordable rent properties.
Q: What is an affordable rent property?
A: Affordable rents are normally higher than social rent but lower than market rents in the local area (properties in the private rented sector). Rent levels of affordable rent properties could be set at up to 80% of local market rents, but in many cases will be lower than this.
Q: What is a social rent property?
A: Social rented properties have rent levels that are significantly lower than market rent (properties in the private rented sector) and rent levels are set with reference to government rules. Hackney Council tenancies are at social rents.
Q: Will affordable rent properties be advertised in the same way as social rent properties?
A: These housing association properties will be advertised in the same way on the Choice Based Lettings system.
Q: Who is eligible for these properties?
A: Anyone who has an active application on the housing waiting list can bid for these properties.
Q: Why are affordable rents so high?
A: Rents are charged at a higher rate because the central government reduced the subsidy helping housing associations build new homes. As a result, housing associations have to use a larger proportion of their resources (for example income from rents) and get higher interest loans from banks to continue working with the Council building more homes to meet the borough's housing needs.
Q: Are affordable rents permanent housing?
A: Affordable rents are permanent housing, but some housing associations may only grant tenancies for an initial fixed period, whilst others may grant lifetime tenancies from the outset.
Q: What is a fixed tenancy?
A: A fixed term tenancy is awarded for a fixed period of time and is subject to review to determine if it will be renewed. In Hackney, housing associations will usually be granting fixed term tenancies for a period of five years. A decision about whether to renew the tenancy towards the end of this period will be based on individual circumstances. Hackney Council properties are let as lifetime, secure tenancies.
Q: Who are the landlords?
A: The landlords are registered providers that are commonly known as housing associations.
Q: Are these new properties?
A: They could be either newly built or older properties.