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Decant & Repurchase Policy

September 2023

The maintenance of our housing stock and the implementation of our asset management strategy occasionally requires customers to move out of their homes. 

This can be on a temporary basis where maintenance or improvement is concerned or permanently where estate regeneration is taking place or major repairs are necessary. The Decant & Repurchase Policy aims to provide an efficient, fair, and clear approach to balancing the tenant’s move to temporary or permanent homes while facilitating vacation of the properties to enable works to proceed.

Scope and objectives

This policy relates to any tenant or homeowner required to vacate their current home to facilitate redevelopment, repair or improvement works.

  • Definitions

    A Permanent Decant: is when a tenant is moved out of their property and there is no intention to return.

    A Temporary Decant: is when a tenant is moved out of their property, to enable work on the property to be carried out with the intention of returning them to the property.
    There are occasions when a temporary decant becomes a permanent move, for example, where envisaged repairs prove to be uneconomic, or a permanent move is agreed by Thrive and the customer.

    Emergency Decant: Where an unexpected event has caused a property to become uninhabitable for example by fire or flood.

    Disturbance Allowance: This is a payment to reimburse a tenant for the actual costs of moving. It is payable for any person who is decanted, no matter how short a period. It is not fixed; the payments are based on the actual costs incurred during the move and therefore require original receipts and invoices. A customer is entitled to a statutory disturbance payment if they have to be moved permanently but Thrive operate a discretionary disturbance payment scheme for temporary moves as well.

    Home loss: This is a statutory compensation payment, paid if you have no choice but to move out permanently. To qualify the customer must have lived at the present address for at least one year as their only or main residence.

    Licence to Occupy: This is permission, making it lawful for a property to be used by a person who is not the legal owner. Therefore, existence of such permission makes lawful what would otherwise be a trespass. It does not create or grant any interest in the land to the licensee.

    Consultation: This means seeking customers views and considering them prior to a decision being made. Responsibility for the actual decision remains with the appropriate decision-making body within Thrive Homes. Consultation is the way Thrive finds out customers’ opinions.

  • The policy

    Decision to Decant

    In order to maintain our housing stock or to renew our estates it may be necessary to move customers out of their homes. The final decision on whether a move is required rests with Thrive Homes.  We will consult with customers prior to making that decision and listen to customers’ views to ensure that all options have been properly considered.  If the decant is to go ahead, we will work closely with customers to facilitate any move.  Moving home is stressful and we will help customers to ensure that any move is as smooth as it can be.

    Permanent or Temporary

    The decision on whether the move is permanent or temporary will be made by Thrive Homes following consultation with the customer.

    Estate regeneration schemes where demolition is being carried out to facilitate the building of new homes will normally result in a permanent move. There is no automatic right of return where an estate is undergoing redevelopment.

    In other cases, for example where properties are being repaired, we would expect that the occupant returns home as soon as their property is repaired. On occasion, the move could be permanent. In circumstances where it may not be possible for a tenant to return to the original property, we will explore this with tenants on an individual basis and explain the implications of the options for that customer. It may be appropriate to produce a leaflet where there are large group of customers being decanted (see appendix 1 as an example). The final decision on whether the move is permanent or temporary will be made by Thrive Homes.

    Alternative Accommodation

    Emergency Decants

    Tenants who need an emergency decant may be offered short-term accommodation for a period no longer than 6 weeks, to enable the situation to be assessed.  Once a plan has been developed for their property, they will either move to a temporary home or, if it is not possible to return, to a permanent home. This may be with Thrive or another landlord. 

    Emergency decants requiring temporary or permanent re-housing will be eligible for rehousing in a Thrive property. Offers of suitable accommodation will be made in accordance with Thrive’s Empty Homes and Lettings policy.

    To maximise their chance to secure a suitable home, tenants will need to register with the relevant choice-based lettings scheme and to bid for properties.

    Planned Decants

    Where temporary or permanent rehousing is needed for estate regeneration or major repairs Thrive Homes will offer accommodation based on housing need in accordance with our Empty Homes and Lettings policy and will not necessarily be a transfer to a ‘like for like’ property or size. Tenants who need to move are expected to register and bid for properties on a choice-based lettings scheme and Thrive will offer help and guidance if necessary.

    Thrive may also offer direct lets outside of the choice-based lettings system and will make offers of such accommodation to tenants who do not bid under the choice-based lettings scheme.  Thrive will not normally make more than two offers of suitable accommodation in this way. Offers will be based on housing need and will not necessarily be a transfer to a like for like property or size.

    Tenancy status on being rehoused

    When tenants move permanently to alternative accommodation, they will take on new tenancies. Tenants who are required to move permanently will be offered no less security of tenure than their previous tenancy. For example, if a customer holds an assured at transfer tenancy at the property they are being decanted from, they should be offered an assured at transfer tenancy at the alternative accommodation, even if the rent is an affordable rent rather than social rent.

    When tenants move temporarily with the intention of returning to their original home after the works, they retain their tenancies and continue to pay the same rent. Customers will be responsible for paying all bills, including council tax, at the temporary home.

    Tenants moving for short periods will be issued with licences to occupy the premises and will receive clear written confirmation that they only have a licence to occupy the temporary accommodation. They will be expected to return to their home when it is ready for occupation. The Licence will be signed by both parties prior to occupation.

    Appeals

    Customers cannot appeal against Thrive’s decision to redevelop an estate although Thrive will always consult affected customers prior to any such decision being made. Tenants do have an appeals mechanism under the Thrive Tenure Policy regarding the type of tenancy offered on any permanent move and the length of any fixed term tenancy offered (see 6.10 above).

    Compensation

    Tenants moving out of their homes permanently will be eligible for statutory home loss and disturbance payments under the Land Compensation Act 1973 which also sets out rules on eligibility and the prescribed amount payable in relation to home loss. Thrive Homes will also make disturbance payments outside the statutory scheme for reasonable removal costs associated with temporary moves, but all cases will be considered on their individual merits. Receipts will be required before payments can be made under both the statutory and discretionary schemes.  Thrive will expect customers to use our nominated contractors, which Thrive may appoint, for specific services e.g. removals.

    Where tenants are in arrears with rent or other charges, a sum will be deducted sufficient to repay any money owed to Thrive Homes from the home loss payment.

    Tenants receiving home loss payments will not be eligible for any other incentive to move schemes provided by Thrive Homes.

    Court Action

    Thrive reserves the right to take appropriate action through the courts to obtain vacant possession, for example where tenants refuse an offer of suitable alternative accommodation or refuse to move temporarily to allow repair or other works to take place. 

    Owners Who Need to Move

    Permanent Moves

    Thrive Homes will operate a purchase scheme for owners who must move because of the regeneration of our estates.

    Owners will be offered;

    • Market Value for their property.
    • Statutory Home Loss Payments and Basic Loss Payments.

      Qualifying owners will receive a payment in addition to the market value to compensate them for the compulsory repurchase. The amount qualifying owners receive will be a percentage of the market value and will depend on whether the owner is an owner occupier, e.g., living at the property concerned, or whether the owner is a non-customer owner but may, for example, let it to tenants. Home loss payments are set each year by central government.
    • Disturbance payments. Thrive will pay any reasonable costs incurred by the owner as a direct result of the sale of the property to Thrive and the owner’s purchase of a new property in the United Kingdom. These are likely to include removal costs, conveyancing costs, survey costs and valuation fees.

    Owners should be advised to check what expenses will be covered by Thrive before committing to services. If owners fail to do this Thrive may not be able to reimburse the expenses incurred.

    If Thrive are not able to agree a voluntary purchase of private owners’ homes we will seek resolution of the dispute through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Thrive will also explore compulsory purchase options with the relevant local authority.

    Temporary Moves

    If owners or their tenants are required to move on a temporary basis, we would normally expect them to make their own arrangements for temporary accommodation for themselves or their tenants and claim on their insurance. Where applicable Thrive would expect owners or their tenants to apply to the relevant local authority for assistance under the homeless legislation.

    If liability for the move is established as being Thrive Homes’ responsibility, we will offer similar decanting arrangements to those available to our tenants.

  • Other related policies and guidance

    This policy links to other polices Thrive has in place, including but not limited to:

    • Asset Management Strategy
    • Empty Homes and Lettings Policy
    • Income Protection Policy
    • Downsizing policy
    • Tenure Policy
    • The Localism Act 2011
    • A Revised regulatory framework for housing in England from April 2012 – The Social Housing Regulator
    • Thrive Offer and Ask
    • Homelessness Act 2002
    • Housing Act 1985
    • Housing Act 1996
    • Housing Act 2004
    • Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
    • Land Compensation Act 1973
    • Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

    As a business we try hard to keep all these related policies aligned with each other. If you do spot any inconsistency, please do contact the Author at your earliest opportunity and make your concerns known. Your support to keep information clear and consistent will always be welcomed.

  • Policy approval

    As this policy is a core component of how Thrive manages its business the document will be evaluated by the Executive Management Team and /Committee/Board as part of any review.

  • Support and Further Guidance

    This policy has been drafted with input from staff across Thrive.  If you have any concerns on how to interpret or follow its requirements, it’s your responsibility to make your concerns known to your manager or a member of the Customer Team. 

    Each Thrive team member has a responsibility to work in a way that’s consistent with the expectations set out in the documents and its implied intent.  Should you witness or become aware of anyone consciously or unconsciously not following this policy you must alert your line manager or member of the leadership team as soon as is reasonably practical.

Next review: 01/09/2025

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