Voids Policy

 

  • Ending the Tenancy

      1. Members seeking to leave the co-op are required to give at least 28 days notice, in writing to the office, of their intention to end their tenancy. The notice period will always end on a Sunday.
      2. Members wishing to transfer within the co-op must give 2 weeks notice, in writing to the office, of their intention to transfer to another house within the Co-op. Again, the notice period must end on a Sunday.

    Note: Members can only apply to transfer if they do not have rent arrears. Members in receipt of Housing Benefit can apply to transfer if their services are paid up to date.

    1. Where a member has given notice of their intention to leave, their house will receive a letter confirming who is moving out, the date their tenancy ends and the date by which the vacancy should be filled (see below). They will also get a copy of the current shortlist, which contains details of applicants seeking housing within the co-op, who have previously attended an Open Evening and passed a shortlist interview.
    2. Before the tenancy ends the co-op worker or a member of the maintenance group will arrange a time with the member to inspect the room, using a room survey form. This is to:
      • Check any repairs to the room that may be required.
      • Assess whether any damage to the room found has been caused by the member and to arrange for him/her to be recharged the cost of any repair works in line with co-op policy
      • Inspect the condition of the futon (members can apply to purchase the futon before they leave)
      • Confirm with the member that they possess all the keys issued at the start of the tenancy. The member will be reminded to bring his/her keys to the office when s/he goes. The cost of replacing any missing keys will be recharged to the member.
    3. The member will be asked to visit the office in the last week of their notice period to ensure that any outstanding rent is paid and to provide the co-op with a forwarding address.
    4. On the Monday after the tenancy ends, a worker or member of the allocations/maintenance group will lock the room and check to see if anything has been left in the room which could be used or needs to be thrown away.
    5. Members in the house who wish to show the room to any people looking to move in will need to collect the key from the office, sign for it and return it the next day. They will be asked to leave the room locked after it has been viewed.

 

TOP

 

  • Filling a Void

    1. The filling of voids is technically the responsibility of the co-op as a landlord. However, we have delegated this task to each household to allow members to take an active role in choosing who they live with.
    2. Members should aim to fill any vacancy within their house as soon as possible, as significant financial losses caused by long-term voids can have a serious effect on the co-op’s ability to function and continue to meet its’ responsibilities as a landlord.
    3. Members in a house will have a total of eight weeks to fill a room, once a person has handed in their notice (i.e. the 4 weeks of the notice period and a further 4 weeks once the person has left and the room become vacant). Where a member is transferring to another house the members will have six weeks (i.e. 2 weeks notice, plus 4 weeks after the person has left).
    4. Using the contact details provided on the shortlist households should seek to arrange interviews with applicants as soon as possible. Ideally, candidates should be interviewed separately and members should seek to take notes of any answers given by the applicant(s) in response to any questions asked.
    5. Once the household has chosen someone (either from the shortlist or from another household if a member is seeking to transfer) they should ask the person to go to the office as soon as possible to arrange a time to sign a tenancy, membership agreement, obtain a share certificate and pick up a set of house keys. Members transferring within the co-op will not need to be issued with another share certificate. At least half the members of the house must sign the person’s application form to confirm that they have been offered the room.

 

TOP

 

  • Long-term Voids

    1. It is expected that households will fill their voids within the time-scale(s) as detailed above. However, in the event that a room still remains unfilled after the 8-week or 6-week period then the following process will be followed:
      1. A letter will be sent to the house advising them that the Allocations Group, on behalf of the co-op, will be selecting 3 suitable candidates from the shortlist for the house to interview.
      2. The house will agree interview times with the Allocations Group – these interviews must be held no later than 7 days after the date of the letter detailed above. The household will be expected to select one person from the 3 candidates provided and inform the Allocations Group of their choice.
      3. Should the household fail to select a candidate then the Allocations Group will offer the tenancy to the candidate who has been on the shortlist for the longest. If they decline the offer then each subsequent candidate will be contacted until the offer has been accepted.

 

TOP

 

  • Tenancy Sign-up

    1. All tenancies start on a Monday and new members will be asked to visit the office on or before their tenancy start date to sign their tenancy agreement, membership agreement and obtain and share certificate.
    2. The tenancy sign-up will be completed by a designated tenancy signatory in, in their absence, the co-op worker, who will follow the procedure as outlined in Appendix 1.
    3. Following the tenancy sign-up a tenant file should be created and filed accordingly.
    4. Finally, a message should be passed to the co-op member responsible for liaison with new members, to arrange an induction visit.

 

TOP

 

  • Appendix 1 – Tenancy sign-up procedure

    All members and/or co-op workers completing a tenancy sign-up must follow the procedures as detailed below.

    1. Read through the tenancy with the new member, so they understand and accept what they are signing.
    2. Ensure that the member is aware of their responsibilities within their household and the co-op in general, with particular emphasis on health and safety issues.
    3. Explain the importance of fire safety precautions within their house and confirm when the gas appliances were last serviced.
    4. Read through the membership agreement with the new member, so they understand and accept what they are signing.
    5. Ask them which working groups they are interested in and tell them about any meetings coming up.
    6. Advise the member of the date of the next General Meeting and New Member’s Meeting.
    7. Collect a £1 for the share certificate and issue a copy of the share certificate.
    8. Provide the new member with a rent book, member’s handbook, Annual Report and Tenant’s Charter.
    9. Provide the new member with a copy of the Rent Policy and agree a method of payment (i.e. standing order, cash/cheque, Housing Benefit).
    10. Give the member a set of keys and have him/her to sign the key record form on the back of the tenancy agreement to confirm the keys were issued.
    11. Advise about paint and futons where necessary.
    12. Complete the register of members and update the computer records.
    13. Collect one week’s rent and issue a receipt (or one week’s services, if the member is seeking to claim Housing Benefit).