Looking to move home
Who can I swap my home with through mutual exchange?
You can swap your home with another council or housing association tenant in Wales or anywhere else in the UK.
Are there any restrictions when swapping my home?
If you are a ‘Starter Tenant’, you do not have the right to exchange and will have to wait until you are granted an Assured Tenancy (usually after 12 months).
You must have written consent from MHA BEFORE you move. The person you are exchanging with will also need written consent from their landlord. If you move without MHA’s consent the move is not legally binding and you will lose your rights as a tenant.
If you obtain our consent through fraud or either parties do not intend to live in their new homes after the exchange – you could end up losing your home.
Can MHA refuse to let me exchange my home?
MHA will usually only agree to the move if your rent account is up to date, in line with your tenancy agreement and there are no other breaches of your tenancy. You must also have an assured tenancy and not be subject to a court order for possession. The property you wish to exchange to must be appropriate for your household size and needs.
Can I change my mind?
You should only move if you are sure you want to do so. Once you sign to swap your home, it’s legally binding.
How do I find more information on mutual exchanges?
You can visit the HomeSwapper website at https://www.homeswapper.co.uk/ or call 0345 677 2277.
How do I contact Monmouthshire Homesearch?
You can contact the Homesearch team by;
Phone: 0345 900 2956
Why do I need to pay rent?
Your rent is important. Without it we cannot provide you with the services you need. Your rent pays for repairs, staff and services that look after your home and neighbourhood.
Not paying your rent can put you into arrears and may make you lose important rights to your tenancy or even lead to eviction.
I am struggling to pay my rent, what do I do?
We can help and support you if you are worried or finding it hard to keep up with your rent payments. Please contact us immediately on 0345 677 2277 and ask to speak to your Income Officer to discuss your options. Failure to pay your rent could result in legal action, but by working together we can make sure this is the last resort.
How is my rent calculated?
If you pay your rent weekly, the annual total of your rent is divided into 50 equal weekly payments.
If you pay your rent monthly by direct debit, the annual total of your rent is divided into 12 monthly payments. When setting up your direct debit, unless you make alternative arrangements with your Income Officer any outstanding arrears will be divided over the year and added to your overall monthly payments.
Can someone call on my behalf?
We are unable to discuss rent accounts or balances with anyone other than the account holder unless you have set up an agreed password or have given us permission to do so.
I pay by direct debit. Do I still receive my two weeks rent free?
Every tenant is entitled to a two week rent-free period. However if you pay by monthly direct debit your payments will continue as normal. This is because your payments are divided into 12 monthly payments and already accounts for the rent free weeks.
When is my rent free period?
Rent free periods are generally before Christmas for all tenants. However over this period you will still be expected to continue to pay off any arrears as agreed with your Income Officer.
When is my rent due?
Rent should be paid at least one week in advance on the Monday of each week. You can also pay in advance of every two or four weeks.
I am on Universal Credit do I still need to pay my rent?
Unlike Housing Benefit, the housing element of Universal Credit is no longer paid directly to us. Instead the housing element is paid to you and is included in your Universal Credit payment and you will be responsible for paying your rent to us. For more help please contact your Income Officer.
How to pay your rent
Pay by direct debit
The easiest and most convenient way of paying your rent. This is also our preferred method and we encourage as many tenants as possible to set up a direct debit.
A direct debit can be set up for any day of the month and for any frequency including weekly, fortnightly, monthly, four weekly and quarterly.
Once set up, your rent will automatically be taken from your bank account so you don’t need to worry about making a payment. To set up a direct debit call us on 0345 677 2277.
Pay by standing order
You can set up a standing order with your bank or building society to pay a set amount on the same date (of your choice) each month.
To set up a standing order use Account Number: 40601837 and Sort Code: 20-01-43. Be sure to give your tenancy reference or property address when making payments otherwise we will not be able to credit the payment to your account.
Make an online payment
Online payments can be made through the MHA website by visiting the pay your rent page. You will need your rent reference number which can be found on your payment card. After clicking the Pay Now button you will be asked for your name, address and contact details before being transferred to our secure payment processing service where your credit/debit card details will be collected.
Pay via internet banking
If you are using your bank or building societies internet banking you can set MHA up as a payee using Account Number: 40601837 and Sort Code: 20-01-43. Be sure to give your tenancy reference or property address when making payments otherwise we will not be able to credit the payment to your account.
Pay with AllPay
To pay your rent with AllPay you will need to have registered your AllPay reference number at www.allpayments.net This number can be found on your AllPay card and you will need an email address to register.
Once registered you can pay via;
- AllPay Payment App – The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store (Apple IOS) or Google Play (Android). Log in using the details used when registering and follow the on-screen instructions to make a payment.
- AllPay website – Pay online at www.allpayments.net.
- By text – Register your mobile number at www.allpayments.net/textpay. You will be allocated a unique code and password, you will need to include this in the message along with the amount being paid.
Text pay instructions:
- Pay – Text message must always start with the word “Pay” which can be in upper or lower case.
- Text Code – After the word “Pay”, the text message must include the unique code you have been given e.g. rent.
- Amount – The text message must include the amount of money that you wish to pay e.g. 5.00 or 5 to signify “five pounds”. Do not use the pound (£) symbol as this will result in an incomplete payment. 1.50 would signify one pound and fifty pence, while 1.5 would be rejected as an incomplete amount.
- Text Password – The text message must include your text password which is automatically allocated and comprises the last 4 digits of the card itself e.g. 1234.
- Send the complete message to 81025 to make the payment. You will receive a text message in reply (can take up to 3 minutes) to tell you whether the payment was made successfully.
Example Text Message: Pay rent 5.00 1234
You can check your text code and password at any time by logging on to www.allpayments.net/textpay and viewing the card you have registered.
Please keep receipts as proof of payment.
Lost your payment card?
If you would like us to send you a AllPay Payment Card, please complete the Payment Card Request form below,
Pay by phone
You can make rent payments over the phone using a debit or credit card.
Call 0800 085 3557 and select option 1 for the 24 hour automated payment line. Alternatively press option 2 if you wish to speak to an advisor between 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am – 4:30pm Friday.
When using option 1, the automated service, you will need to have already registered your AllPay reference number.
Pay by cash or cheque
Cash can be paid into any branch of Barclays Bank using Account Number: 40601837 and Sort Code: 20-01-43. Please keep your receipt as proof of payment.
All cheques should be made payable to Monmouthshire Housing Association Ltd and posted to Monmouthshire Housing Association, Nant-Y-Pia House, Mamhilad Technology Park, Mamhilad, Monmouthshire, NP4 0JJ.
Universal Credit (UC)
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit or UC is the new benefits system introduced by the Government. Instead of having multiple payments and claiming for numerous benefits. You now only have to claim for one – Universal Credit – and receive one monthly payment.
If you previously claimed any of the below benefits you will be moved onto UC. Universal Credit Replaces;
- Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
When will I be moved onto UC?
- Change in employment status e.g.) go from working over 16 hours to under 16 hours.
- The birth of a child
- A change of address that requires a new claim for Housing Benefit
- Relationship changes in a household e.g.)a partner leaving or joining the household
- Child of lone parent, who is out of work, reaches the age of 5
- Stopped full time education
- Take on or stop full time caring responsibilities
- Attend court/jury service
- Remanded in custody.
- Move from out of work to sick or sick to out of work
- Move from sick to working more than 16 hours
If any of your circumstances change call us!
How do I claim?
Set up an online Universal Credit account and make claim online. Claims can only be made online at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit. Once your claim has been set up you will need to verify your identity, attend a job centre interview and sign claimant commitment.
What do I need to claim?
- Internet access – All UC claims have to be made and managed online.
- Email address
- A bank account – monthly payments will go into a nominated bank account.
- Key information eg. Email address, National Insurance Number, proof of nationality, housing details, employer details, details of benefits currently being received, details about income or earnings, bank details and valid ID.
What happens if you make a late claim?
Universal Credit will only be backdated for a maximum of one month in exceptional circumstances. If someone loses their job (and they think they’re entitled to claim universal credit), they need to claim straight-away.
When will I be paid?
Payments are monthly. However you will have to wait for up to 5 weeks to receive your first payment. If you live with someone as a couple, and are both entitled to claim UC, you will get one monthly joint payment paid into a single bank account.
Will UC affect how my rent is paid?
Yes! Instead of Housing benefit getting paid directly to your landlord, it will now be part of your monthly UC allowance. You will be responsible for ensuring your rent is paid. To pay your rent click here.
Is Council Tax Benefit included with Universal Credit?
No, this needs to be requested separately, as Council Tax Reduction please contact Monmouthshire County Council on 0800 282569 (free phone).
What is a claimant commitment?
The Claimant Commitment is your record of the responsibilities that you have accepted in return for receiving Universal Credit. It sets out what you have agreed to do to, prepare for and look for work or, increase your earnings if you are already working. You will need to log into your account to update you commitment called the “journal”, showing how you have prepared for getting a job or finding work. This may be linked to your Universal Job-match account.
If you have a health condition or disability which stops you from working your commitment will be tailored to your needs.
What is a sanction?
If you don’t meet your responsibilities or do what you’ve agreed in your Claimant Commitment, your Universal Credit payments could be stopped or reduced – this is called a sanction and depending on the circumstances can last up to three years.
If you think you have been sanctioned unfairly you can appeal the decision with the DWP. You can get support from the Money Wise team at MHA to help you if you have been sanctioned.
I need help with UC. Who can I contact?
There is lots of support available to help you through your claim. Here are a new of the different places you can go if you need help or advice about Universal Credit.
- Monmouthshire Housing Association – Speak to the Money Wise Team or your Income Officer on 0345 677 2277.
- Free Universal Credit Helpline – If you need help with your claim, call the Universal Credit helpline free on 0800 328 5644. Calls to the helpline are free and support is available Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm (closed on bank and public holidays).
- Online support – Online support can be found at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit or https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/
What happens when i reach pension age?
Recently there have been changes for those approaching pension age. If you are reaching pension age over the next 12 months and are unsure of what this means for you and your benefits please call 0345 677 2277 to speak to one of our Money and Benefits Advisers.
What is anti-social behaviour?
We define anti-social behaviour as: “Any type of aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life”. This behaviour may or may not constitute criminal activity.
Types of behaviour which can be classed as ASB include;
- Graffiti on walls
- Noise nuisance such as playing loud music late at night
- Vandalism or damage to property in the area where you live
- Verbal abuse
- Hate related incidents
- Nuisance from pets and animals
- Vehicle nuisance
- Drug and substance misuse or dealing
- Alcohol related nuisance
- Domestic abuse
- Physical violence
- Criminal behaviour
- Prostitution / sexual acts
- Harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour
- Garden nuisance
- Misuse of communal areas
What is not considered anti-social behaviour?
We do not include everyday activities – unless this breaches a tenancy as ASB.
- Flushing toilets
- Cooking smells
- People smoking in their own home
- People talking at normal volume in their home
- Washing machines or other household appliances
- Babies crying or playing or children playing or arguing
- Riding skateboards or bikes
- Playing football in the street
- People being inconsiderate or thoughtless
- People looking or staring
- Cats straying into other gardens
Your responsibilities are set out in your tenancy agreement. MHA can enforce the tenancy agreement and court action may be taken; dependent on the nature of the ASB and evidence.
Our Neighbourhood Team and Community Safety Team work towards preventing ASB and domestic abuse by informing tenants and residents of what they can do to avoid causing ASB and what to do if they encounter ASB or domestic abuse. We also support victims of domestic abuse and ASB and work with perpetrators to help them change their behaviour.
When you tell us about anti-social behaviour we will ask you what happened and will help you as quickly as we can.
• Talk to you about the problem and who was there
• Talk about what we can do next
• Talk about what you can do next If the person responsible for anti-social behaviour lives in one of our homes
• Do what we can to find out what happened
• Talk to you and anybody else who saw what happened
• If the problem carries on, we will ask you to keep a diary about when the anti-social behaviour happens
If we check your complaint and find there was anti-social behaviour we can:
• Talk to you and the other person
• Work with them to change their behaviour
• Go to court to get an order to make them stop
• If the person doing anti-social behaviour does not live in one of our homes we will take direct action ourselves if we can
How quickly will you respond to my ASB complaint?
We categorise anti-social behaviour as either ‘Urgent’ or ‘Nuisance’.
In line with our service standards, if you make a complaint that we categorise as ‘Urgent’ anti-social behaviour such as: physical assaults, serious criminal behaviour, and domestic violence or hate crimes. We will contact you within ONE working day.
If you make a complaint that we categorise as ‘Nuisance’ anti-social behaviour such as: non-physical abuse, noise nuisance, youth nuisance, selling or using drugs illegally, loud music, offensive drunkenness, dog barking and fouling, bonfires, burning of rubbish, fly tipping or littering we will contact you within FIVE working days.
Can I make an anonymous complaint?
MHA takes the confidentiality of anyone reporting anti-social behaviour very seriously. This means that any information, written or verbal, will be held in confidence and treated with the utmost care. We will investigate anonymous complaints where possible. However, we will not be able to provide feedback to the complainant nor will we be able to gain further information and this is likely to limit what action we can take.
Whilst we will do everything possible to protect your identity you need to consider that if you are making a complaint about a neighbour regarding an incident that only you could have witnessed, then they may know that it is you who has made the complaint.
You should also be aware that if you go to court and you have provided a witness statement, a copy of this will be provided to the alleged perpetrator.
I am a victim of anti-social behaviour will you move me?
To resolve anti-social behaviour we will not move either the complainant or the perpetrator unless there are exceptional circumstances. We will work with all parties to resolve the nuisance behaviour. Tenants can still apply for a move in the usual way by registering with the Monmouthshire Homesearch team.
My neighbours are causing anti-social behaviour. Will you move them?
Our aim is to act to put a stop to anti-social behaviour. All MHA tenants have rights as well as responsibilities under their tenancy agreement and in order to move a person out against their will we would have to apply to the court for possession of the property followed by eviction proceedings. A judge will make the decision whether to award a Possession Order based on the evidence given at court. Taking someone’s home from them by eviction is the strongest possible action that a landlord can take and is a very last resort as a means of stopping anti-social behaviour once all others have been unsuccessful.
I am suffering from domestic abuse. Is there support available?
We will advise, support and assist anyone who is associated with one of our tenancies or leaseholders and who is in fear of, or actually suffering from domestic abuse. We work with partner agencies to offer help and support for anyone, regardless of gender, suffering from domestic abuse. All complainants and witnesses will be offered support throughout the investigation and will be dealt with in a confidential and sensitive manner. Read our Domestic Abuse Policy for more information.
You have contacted me about anti-social behaviour, what should I do?
If we have contacted you to discuss anti-social behaviour following a complaint that has been made about you, please do not ignore it. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss the matter; it is important that we understand both sides of the story. If you are causing anti-social behaviour and you do not engage with us to deal with this, MHA may have to consider taking enforcement action against you.
Ending my tenancy
How do I end my tenancy?
You can end your tenancy by giving us a full four weeks’ written notice. This must run from a Monday to a Sunday.
When we receive your notice we will arrange for an officer to visit and check your property before you leave. This is to make sure that you have maintained your home and are leaving it in an acceptable condition, in accordance with your tenancy agreement.
What condition must I leave my property in?
You must make good and reinstate your home and garden to its original condition. For more information about moving out and what’s expected please see our Ending Your Tenancy Booklet
Failure to leave your home in an acceptable condition will result in you being charged.
Garages and carports
Are there any garages/car ports available?
MHA rent out garages and car ports to its tenants and private residents in various areas across Monmouthshire. We are unable to let you know what is available at this time but please ensure you are registered so that we can let you know when they become available.
How much does it cost to rent a garage/car port?
MHA Tenant – £6.15 = 2 weeks upfront and monthly direct debit
Private Residents- £7.68 = 3 months upfront and quarterly direct Debit
MHA – £2.05 = 2 weeks upfront and monthly direct debit
Private home owners – £2.46 = 3 months upfront and quarterly direct debit
I want to apply for a garage/ Carport how do I do this?
How do I know if you have received my application?
We will contact you within 3 working days of receiving your application.
How does the waiting list work?
Tenants have first priority for MHA garages and they are let on first come first served basis. If there are no tenants waiting for a garage in your area you will then be offered one depending on your position on the waiting list.
You do not need to contact us once you are registered as we will monitor the availability of garages in your area.
What if I miss a call about my application?
If you miss our call, we will try and phone you on two further occasions, if there is no response we will allocate the garage to the next person on the waiting list. It’s important that you give us an up to date number when you register.
Can I rent more than one garage?
Yes, you can rent more than one garage at a time, depending on the availability and demand of garages within your area
How do I end my garage tenancy?
If you would like to end your tenancy please write to us with your reasons why. You will be required to give 1 weeks’ notice in writing and to clear contents of the garage before the notice expires, you will also be requires to pay any outstanding charges before the tenancy ends.
Homebuy – Low cost home ownership
How do I buy a home through Homebuy?
Click here to read through a step by step guide to the Homebuy purchasing process.
Do I qualify for low cost home ownership?
Existing tenants qualify if you are:
- Up to date with their rent and are not in breach of their tenancy.
- Have received no housing benefit or universal credit housing element in the last 12 months
- Living in a property that was built after 21 January 2008
General applicants qualify if you are:
- 18 and over and are a British or EU citizen or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- Not in serious debt (including gambling debt).
- Unable to buy a home in Monmouthshire on the open market
- Able to get a mortgage and cover the costs of buying your home (including solicitors fees, land registry fees and mortgage arrangement fees – see a full list of what you might be expected to pay below)
- Don’t already own or part own a property
- Not going to live anywhere else – the property must be your sole place of residence
Going to buy with no more than three other people
What’s the difference between shared ownership and shared equity?
Shared ownership means that you will own a percentage of the property while a landlord will own the remaining part. This means that you will rent the part owned by the landlord.
Shared equity or equity share means that we will provide you with a loan for a percentage of the property. You will own 100% of your home and you will only need to repay the loan when you sell the property.
Will you still accept me if I have debts?
As long as your debts are not more than 15% of your income after deductions we can accept you. We will also consider your debt circumstances on an individual basis if you can demonstrate that you can budget to manage your repayments. Remember that certain properties may also carry a maintenance charge to cover communal garden maintenance or cleaning and you will need to include these costs in your budgets.
I’m a tenant: Can I buy my existing home?
You may be able to buy your home if it was built after January 2008. Contact us to enquire if your home is eligible for Homebuy.
How do you calculate my ability to buy?
We take your household earnings into account, including the proceeds of any previous property sale if appropriate. This figure is multiplied by 3.8 for single applicants and 3.5 for joint applicants. The amount should be above the purchase price – with the equity amount included – and below the full market price for the property.
How will I know what equity share is available?
This is determined by the type of property and the need within the area. This is set by Monmouthshire County Council and we will advertise what equity share is available on each property listing.
What fees will I need to pay?
- Mortgage arrangement fees (dependent upon your lender)
- Solicitors’ fees (these may be a percentage of the value of the property)
- Land Registration fees
- Land Transaction Tax (Stamp Duty): (currently exempt on properties under £180,000; 3.5% of the property value for properties between £180,000 – £250,000 and 5% for properties from £250,000 to £400,000) Check how much you’d pay here: https://gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-calculator
- Removal costs
- Valuation fees (this may not apply to new build properties or if you are a tenant buying their existing home)
- Reservation fee: will be deducted from the price paid for the property
I’m separating from my partner – can I still apply?
Yes, if you are in the process of selling your existing home. Remember you will need to include the proceeds of the sale in your income.
What if I don’t qualify for Homebuy – is other help available?
Yes. The Welsh Government can also offer a low cost loan on new build properties. Help To Buy gives people the chance to buy a new home with only 5% deposit. This scheme applies to most new build properties and most developers will offer it on their home, including Capsel.
Remember that the scheme offers a repayment loan. This loan will attract interest and after five years you will be expected to repay the interest. If your circumstances change and you’re able to pay more, you can pay extra off the entire loan and own more of your property (known as staircasing). You can find out how the scheme works and check your eligibility here: https://gov.wales/help-buy-wales
What is the management fee for?
This charge is to cover any costs relating to managing the leasehold service. This charge would cover costs such as arranging insurance, calculating service charges, consultation over major works, administering payments, raising invoices, managing your block and office costs. All leaseholders pay the same management fee.
Can I replace my windows?
You will need to request permission to replace the windows in your flat, this is normally granted providing that the replacement windows are in keeping with the other windows in the block and that they are FENSA certified.
Can I extend my lease?
You can extend your lease, a full guide to this process is currently being written and will be available on the website soon.
How often are the communal areas of my block cleaned?
Communal cleaning is currently carried out fortnightly, to find out when you next clean is due, please follow the link to the cleaning schedule on the website. https://www.monmouthshirehousing.co.uk/communal-cleaning-schedule/
Can I make alterations to my flat?
You will have to request permission in writing to make any structural alterations to your flat, following which an inspection will be undertaken prior to a decision being made on the alterations.
Can I keep cats/dogs in my flat?
Our leases allow for leaseholders or their tenants to keep pets provided they do not cause a nuisance to other residents.
Do leaseholders have the right to manage the block in which they live?
Leaseholders do have the right to manage the block they live in. The right must be exercised through a specific company, set up by the leaseholders for that purpose. The company must comply as required by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. This is called ‘collective enfranchisement’. The landlord will make available information relating to the right to collective enfranchisement to any leaseholder requiring it.
Will MHA buy back my flat?
Possibly, MHA will consider buying back flats depending on the circumstances, location, price, etc. If you purchased your flat from another leaseholder (i.e. not MCC or MHA) you can sell your flat at any time. We would, however, request that your solicitor contacts us to advise us of the sale and that you settle any outstanding service charges before proceeding.
Where can I get independent free advice regarding my rights and responsibilities?
LEASE, the Leasehold Advisory Service, is funded by Government to provide free legal advice to leaseholders, landlords and others on the law affecting residential leasehold. LEASE advisers are solicitors or non-practising barristers who can provide advice by telephone, letter or e-mail.
The LEASE website can be found here: https://www.lease-advice.org/