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
Email: homesearch@monmouthshirehousing.co.uk
Website: http://www.monmouthshirehomesearch.co.uk/choice/home.aspx

Rent

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.

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?

The changes are being introduced slowly. If you are already claiming one of the above ‘legacy benefits’ you will only move across to UC if you start a new claim or if you have a change in circumstances such as;

  • 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/

Anti-social behaviour

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
  • Litter/rubbish
  • 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.

This includes:

  • 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?

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 responsibilities?

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.

We will:

• 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.

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?

Garage

MHA Tenant – £6.15 = 2 weeks upfront and monthly direct debit
Private Residents- £7.68 = 3 months upfront and quarterly direct Debit

Carport

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?

You can either complete an application form on-line here

Or we can send you an application form in the post and return in the pre-paid envelope provided.
Please contact Alisa Price on 01495 761010 or email neighbourhoods@monmouthshirehousing.co.uk

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.