We are proposing to make some amendments to your tenancy agreement and have written to all tenants to explain these proposed changes. Your tenancy rights are not affected by these changes.
Why are we varying your Tenancy Agreement?
We want to improve your tenancy agreement by making it easier to understand and to reflect current law and best practice. We want to make sure that the agreement is clearer so you can understand:
What causes a breach of tenancy conditions.
Issues such as pets, the use of laminate flooring, garden and tree management, fencing, hoarding, tenancy fraud and confirming the identity of tenants.
To make the agreement more accessible, we have also changed the format, got rid of some of the legal terminology, and simplified the language wherever we can.
Briefly, what is changing?
Introduction of monthly payments to make paying your rent easier with the commencement of Universal Credit and other changes to the benefits system.
Ensuring the agreement reflects up to date policy and practices.
Ability to request a pet if you live in a flat.
Changes to reflect the new powers introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
To introduce new powers around domestic abuse in particular around coercion and control.
We have consulted with bpha’s Service Improvement Panel, a group of tenants, who have agreed and endorsed the changes to the tenancy agreement.
If you are a protected assured tenant with preserved rights from when you transferred from the Council, those preserved rights are continued under the new Terms and Conditions.
Questions and Answers
What does a tenancy variation mean?
A tenancy variation is where one or more terms of your tenancy agreement are changed following a review. It could be very minor, for example; changing the order of the tenancy agreement, or it could be to include new terms. It is not a new tenancy agreement.
Why are you varying the tenancy?
All bpha’s tenancy agreements were reviewed in March 2016. We found that we had many different tenancy agreements in use. Some tenancy agreements were old council agreements before the stock was transferred to bpha in 1990. This means that many of the agreements were out of date and needed updating to reflect the legal changes over the last 26 years. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 was introduced earlier this year and that too has brought about changes that bpha wanted to include to benefit our tenants.
As part of the Welfare Reform Act the benefits system has been subject to a huge overhaul. Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country and as a result tenants will receive their benefits directly into their bank account once a month. By introducing the option to pay monthly you can set up a direct debit on a day that suits you to make your life a little easier.
Do I lose any of my existing tenancy rights?
No. Legally we are not allowed to remove your existing tenancy rights, for example; if you have the Right to Buy your home with your current tenancy agreement you will still have the Right to Buy your home if you sign to agree to vary your agreement. Whether you have a protected assured tenancy or an assured tenancy you will still have all the same rights you did at the point that you took your property. This tenancy variation adds to your current tenancy agreement giving you additional rights and improved services from bpha.
Do I have to sign the variation document?
It is entirely your decision as to whether you sign the variation or not. We are happy to give you more information or you can take the proposed document to the Citizens Advice Bureau or any independent legal advisor for discussion. If you do want to sign up, you can do this from 6 March 2017. The easiest way is by setting up an account with bpha. You can find out how to do this on the MyAccount page. We will write to you nearer the time to explain the various ways you can sign up.
The updated tenancy agreement does offer you additional benefits that you currently do not have such as requesting permission to have a pet, paying monthly, and new domestic abuse and anti-social behavior clauses.
The new agreement says I cannot have laminate flooring but I already have it.
Please do not worry, if you already have laminate or wooden flooring you just need to get retrospective permission from your Housing Officer. You will be given permission if we have not had any noise complaints. If you have we may ask you to remove it, but we will work with you around this. If at any point in the future your laminate flooring is a source of noise nuisance we will ask you to remove it, which is exactly the same process as we currently follow.
I do not want my neighbour to have a pet
For many people pets are like a companion and cause no nuisance to others. If people want to keep a pet we would like them to do so responsibly and knowing who has a pet makes it much easier than when we do not know. The updated tenancy agreement states people must ensure their pets are looked after and cause no nuisance.
The new agreement says I am responsible for my fencing?
This has always been the case but we wanted to make it clear to all our tenants. If you are having difficulties please let us know; we are here to help you.
The new tenancy is agreement is much longer or much shorter than the one I had?
Yes, this is one of the reasons why we wanted to review our tenancy agreement. We wanted to ensure everyone has the same rights and responsibilities.
Does my rent change?
No, your rent charge will be on your schedule and is subject to annual rent review. You will always be notified if there is a change to your rent. At the moment the tenancy agreement states that we will increase your rent but we may also decrease it. This year tenants saw a 1% reduction in their rent.
I would like someone to go through and explain the changes to me.
This is not a problem at all, please email or phone and speak with one of our Customer Service Advisors, or we can arrange for your Housing Officer to visit you to go through the variation in more detail.
View the varied tenancy agreement documents
1. Varied Terms and Conditions of Tenancy: these are the new terms and conditions of tenancy which will replace your existing terms and conditions.