Frequently Asked Questions

Image of frequently asked questions logo Can I buy my Orwell Property?

Some tenants may be eligible for the Right to acquire scheme. This gives tenants the legal right to buy the home they currently rent.
To qualify, the property you live in must have been built or purchased by Orwell Housing on or after 1st April 1997 and must have been funded using Social Housing Grant provided by the Homes and Communities Agency or a local authority.
As well as occupying a qualifying property, you must also have been a public sector tenant for a certain time. This is depending on when your first tenancy commenced. You will not be eligible if you are bankrupt or have a bankrupt petition pending against you. This is subject of a possession order served by the court or subject to a formal creditors agreement made under the Insolvency Act.
The discounts you would receive are fixed by the Government and the amount you receive will depend on where you live. The discounts currently range from £9,000 to £16,000.
For more information regarding the Right to Acquire, contact your Housing Officer, or call the Homes and Communities Agency on 0300 1234 500

What support is there to help me buy my home?

Ipswich Building Society has teamed up with Orwell Housing Association and to offer an exclusive new shared ownership mortgage. The aim is to help more people take up the shared ownership option and get a foot on the housing ladder.
For further information about the new shared ownership mortgage, contact:-

Ipswich Building Society 0845 230 8686 or www.ibs.co.uk

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared ownership is a low cost home ownership scheme which aims to help people who want to become homeowners. These people cannot afford the cost of buying a property outright. By giving priority to tenants of Housing Associations and Local Councils, the scheme also aims to free up much needed rental accommodation.
Once you have been accepted as eligible for the scheme, you can purchase a share in a new property being built by or for the Association. This is also applicable for another Association in the area. The purchase of the share is funded by using any savings you may have. It is also funded by obtaining a mortgage in the normal way. Then you pay a rent on the remaining share which you do not own. Our agents for shared ownership are Orbit First Step. For more information, see section A10 of the Tenants Handbook

Why consider Shared Ownership?

If someone has a regular income, but cannot afford to buy a property on the open market outright, shared ownership may be the best answer. Shared ownership enables that person to gain a foothold on the home ownership 'ladder' at a cost usually less than an outright purchase.
This is possible for two reasons:
a) The deposit required is less because the shared ownership only charges on a portion of the full amount.
b) You will probably pay less each month in comparison with buying outright because the rent is calculated on a non-profit making basis.

How and when can I buy Shares? Minimum Share?

As personal circumstances or finances change, you can buy further shares in your home at any time after the first year of your initial purchase. You may buy any size of the share remaining until you gain 100% ownership as long as it is in 25%, 50% or 75% portions. The price you pay depends on the value of your home at the time you wish to buy further shares. Remember that house prices can go up and down. This means that sometimes you may pay more for buying additional shares, or have to sell at a price less than you originally paid. 

In some areas, especially rural locations, the maximum share you can purchase is restricted to 80%. This is to ensure that the homes remain available to local people. If this is the case, you will be advised before you purchase a share in your home. 

The minimum share you can buy is 25% 

How much do I pay?

This depends on the share that you are wishing to buy and the interest rate you could borrow on a mortgage. The value of the property in question is also a factor. See a worked example of how much it may cost. Check our links page for some sites that may help.

Will the Rent ever increase?

The rent will increase on an annual basis on the 1st January, as it would if you were renting any other Orwell property. The rent that is charged covers the cost to the Association of borrowing the money to build the property and our management costs. 

Who is responsible for repairs?

For full details on tenants' responsibilities along with landlord responsibilities and other general repair information, please refer to section B1 of your tenants' handbook. If you do not have a copy of the tenants' handbook, please contact your Housing Officer or our Customer Service Team to request a copy.

Who is responsible for insurance?

Contents insurance is your responsibility. It is worth shopping around to ensure that you are getting the best deal. The Association takes out building insurance for the structure of the property and may request a contribution towards this cost or any excess in the event of a claim.

Can I make alterations or improvements to my home?

You may not make any alterations or additions to the interior or exterior of your home without previous written consent of the Association. If you wish to make any changes, please speak to your housing officer.

May I buy my house?

Some tenants may be eligible for the Right to acquire scheme. This gives tenants the legal right to buy the home they currently rent.

To qualify, the property you live in must have been built or purchased by Orwell Housing on or after 1st April 1997 and must have been funded using Social Housing Grant provided by the Homes and Communities Agency or a local authority.

As well as occupying a qualifying property, you must also have been a council or housing association tenant for a certain time depending on when your first tenancy commenced. You will not be eligible if you are bankrupt or have a bankrupt petition pending against you, are the subject of a possession order served by the court or subject to a formal creditors agreement made under the Insolvency Act.

The discounts you would receive are fixed by the Government and the amount you receive will depend on where you live. The discounts currently range from £9,000 to £16,000.

For more information regarding the Right to Acquire, contact your Housing Officer, or call the Homes and Communities Agency on 0300 1234 500.

Do I have any rights to my late relatives property?

When a tenant dies and leaves members of the family living in the property, it is possible for certain family members to succeed to the tenancy. Strict rules apply, however. These are laid out in Section C3 of the Tenants' Handbook and will be specified in your agreement.

Do I need permission to keep pets?Guidance for Pet Owners Leaflet

You are allowed to keep, without permission, a guide dog for the blind, or a small household pet for example hamster, budgerigar or goldfish.

Where the Premises have an individual private garden, which is securely fenced, you will be permitted to keep a cat or dog only if you have received prior written consent from the Association.

It is your responsibility to ensure that any permitted animal is kept under proper control and does not cause a nuisance, annoyance or disturbance.

For more information on keeping pets, please take a look at our "Guidance for Pet Owners" leaflet online, or you can download a PDF copy here (PDF 2.42Mb) 
You can also download and return a permission request form here:  Application to keep a pet in accommodation managed by Orwell Housing Association (PDF 0.50Mb)

Am I allowed a mobility scooter? Mobile Scooter Storage Guidance Leaflet

Yes, we appreciate that tenants and leaseholders are entitled to a quality of life that includes the provision of full mobility, which embraces the right to own a mobility scooter.

However, there are a few points that we would like to make you aware of which can all be found in our "Mobility Scooter Storage Guidance" leaflet online.

Alternatively you can download a PDF copy of it here - Mobility Scooter Storage Guidance (PDF 3.1Mb)

 

 

Do I need permission to put up a shed in my garden?

You will need to seek written permission from your Housing Officer in order to be allowed to put up a shed in your garden.

What should I do if my bins have not been emptied?

If your bins have not been emptied, please contact the Waste Management section of your Local Authority.

May I install a satellite dish or aerial?

You may only install a satellite dish or TV aerial if you have sought written permission from your Housing Officer. 

Baby on the way, am I able to have a new house?

If you are going to have additional members in your household, you will have to contact your Local Authority and inform them of your change in circumstance. They will advise you what will happen next. The Association would be grateful if you could also advise your housing officer of any such changes to your household. 

May I exchange houses with someone else?

Yes, you are permitted to exchange houses with either a Council or a Housing Association Tenant. Please note, that you MUST seek written permission from your Housing Officer before you may move into the new property. A Mutual Exchange form can be found in section C7 of the Tenants' Handbook. Upon receiving a Mutual Exchange request, we will respond within 42 days confirming whether or not it may go ahead. You can also fill out the online form provided and give your information.

If you wish to exchange your property and your property has a section 106 agreement in place, any family with whom you wish to exchange with, will have to meet the same allocation criteria as specified within the section 106 planning agreement.

If a section 106 planning agreement is in place on this property it is also likely that you will not have the right to acquire (purchase) the property in the future.

How much notice do I need to give to end my tenancy?

You must give one calendar months’ notice to end your tenancy. An appropriate form can be found in section C3 of your Tenants' Handbook.

What do I do if I want to move?

If you wish to move house, you need to give Orwell one-calendar months’ notice in writing. This will be effective from the day the notice is received in the office. To save you writing a letter, a form can be found in section C2 of the Tenants' Handbook.

May I rent a garage?

Yes, you may be able to rent a garage. Unfortunately, we only have a very limited number of garages to let, contact your Housing Officer for more details. Please note that we are only able to let you a garage if your rent account is up-to-date.