Letting private property and social housing may seem similar, but it’s important to understand the difference between landlords and housing associations. Not only for the tenants, but the landlords themselves and their responsibilities for the property and the tenant.

What is a Housing Association?

People first developed associated housing in the middle ages as local shelters for the unwell. The modern associations we know today began in Victorian times when housing associations like the Peabody Trust were first founded. Charitable individuals set up housing associations to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the homeless.

A housing association is an organisation that offers social housing. It provides a similar role to the council in delivering stable, longer-term tenancies to individuals on lower incomes or who might need additional support. Housing associations are not-for-profits and about a third of them are registered as a charity. Unlike the council, they tend to be private entities but still work closely with governments to provide affordable housing solutions.

In housing association properties, the housing association is the landlord. Tenants will pay rent to them in a similar way to paying rent to a private landlord.

What is a Housing Association Tenant?

A housing association tenant usually fulfils one of three tenancy types:

  • A starter tenancy is usually twelve months and acts as a trial run the tenant and the housing association. The Housing Association may renew or extend this starter tenancy, but the tenant usually moves on to a fixed-term tenancy after this point.
  • A fixed-term tenancy – Becoming a fixed-term tenant usually occurs at the end of the starter tenancy, which means the tenant can live in the property for up to five years.
  • An assured tenancy means the tenant can reside in the property for the rest of their life. They can transfer to another residence if the property needs to be developed.

The tenancy will end if the starter or fixed-term tenancy is not renewed, the tenant is evicted, or the tenant gives the housing association four weeks’ notice.

What Are the Differences Between Private Landlords & Housing Associations?

Traditionally, housing associations provide longer-term tenancies and offer greater protections to their tenants. However, the Renter’s Reform Bill is a law that protects tenants in private properties. Until 2021, landlords could evict tenants from a property in a ‘no-fault eviction’. This meant that a property owner looking to sell their property could evict their tenants without a good reason. If the 2022 bill is passed, private renters will enjoy greater security in their rental property.

The 2022 bill also proposes capping price rises for rent to once a year and ensuring that properties meet a set quality and efficiency standard before a tenant can move in. Landlords must register for a landlord registry, and landlords and tenants will have access to a dedicated Ombudsman to resolve disputes outside of the courts.

Are Housing Associations Responsible for Property Cleaning?

As mentioned above, one of the main differences between housing associations and private landlords is that housing associations have been specifically designed to support the welfare of the less fortunate.

Social housing landlords’ responsibility for their tenant’s social welfare includes keeping their properties in repair and good quality condition. Any concerns raised by the tenant, the housing association must act accordingly and follow the National Safeguarding Guidelines.

This includes making sure the tenants are able to manage at home, in regard to general health and wellbeing. By guaranteeing the property is in the best quality condition from the start of the tenancy can have a massive impact on this. One way you can ensure this is by hiring a professional end of tenancy cleaning company like Pinpoint Homes.

An additional option to safeguard the cleanliness of the property, stay on top of the wear and tear, and maintain the condition could be to hire a professional cleaning company on a regular basis. 

If you’re looking for advice on your end-of-tenancy cleaning services, or more guidance on how we can help housing associations, contact us today.

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