Simpler structure, same focus on improving lives - your questions answered

A. Overview

1. What changes are happening?

We have agreed to align City West Housing Trust (CWHT), Villages Housing Association (VHA) and Villages Community Housing Association (VCHA) under a single landlord called ForHousing.

2. Why are we doing this?

We already work closely with staff teams in other parts of the ForViva Group so it makes sense to simplify our structure and bring our housing services under a single landlord with one name. The move will help to improve services and reduce confusion. It will also mean people can access a wider pool of resources and skills more easily.

3. What changes?

Only the name of the registered providers will change. We will retain our charitable status and both tenants and staff will not be affected. Staff will remain working in the same locations doing the same work they do now.

4. When will it happen?

The new single landlord will be in place from 1 April 2019.

5. Will anyone’s role change?

The plans are about simplifying our structure and making things easier for all of us. There are no current plans to change people’s roles and responsibilities as a result of this project.

6. Did you seek views on the plans before agreeing them?

We sought views over an eight week period between 16 July and 7 September 2018. We used our websites and Facebook pages as well as putting messages on posters and electronic boards in offices. Staff spoke to tenants and we discussed the plans with stakeholders including local authorities, estate management committees, local MPs and union representatives.

7. What kind of views and questions did people share during the consultation period?

People were supportive of the plans and felt that they made sense. Most of the questions we received were about making sure people had a better understanding about the practical arrangements for the future operation of ForHousing. We also received a few questions around future governance and constitutional arrangements. We added a new governance section to these questions and answers so you can see the kind of queries we received and how we responded.

B. Tenancy arrangements

1. Will anything change for me?

No. You’ll receive the same efficient services delivered by the same friendly faces. Things may just look a bit different, for example, the website will be branded ForHousing.

2. Will my tenancy or lease change?

You won’t need to do anything differently and you won’t need a new tenancy or lease agreement.

3. Will I pay the same rent?

You will continue to pay the same rent you do now. You won’t pay any more or less as a result of these changes.

4. How will I pay my rent and other charges?

Please continue to make payments the way you do now, even if you pay online or via an app, the name will just change to ForHousing. The easiest way to pay for rent and other regular payments is by setting up a Direct Debit. If you already pay by Direct Debit we’ll make any necessary changes. You don’t need to do anything differently.

If you pay using an allpay card please continue to use your current card. We may send you a new ForHousing branded card. However, please continue to use your current card, even after the 1 April, if you haven’t received a new one.

If you pay by cheque, you’ll just need to make this payable to ForHousing from 1 April.

If you pay by Standing Order or any other method, we will contact you separately and let you know what you need to do.

If you currently claim help with housing costs through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, we will let you know if you need to take any action. If you claim after the 1 April you will need to select ForHousing as your landlord to avoid any delays with your payment.

It remains your responsibility to make the payments for rent and other charges.

The easiest way to manage your tenancy is through the MyAccount+ mobile app. It’s the fastest way to contact us, report and track repairs - and much more too. Search 'MyAccount+' on the Apple App Store or Play Store on your mobile device to download.

5. How do I log a repair?

You will log repairs in the same way you do now. See question 4 above for more details about the MyAccount+ app.

6. Will the website change?

You’ll still be able to use our online services in the same way you do now although the format and content may look a little different in the future.

7. Are you putting up and new signs?

You might see work going on to remove signs that are branded City West Housing Trust, Villages Housing Association or Villages Community Housing Association. We will replace these with unbranded ones where we can and only put new signs up where they are needed. We will leave unbranded signs which are in good repair.

8. Will I retain my Right to Buy, my preserved Right to Buy or Right to Acquire?

Yes, you will retain the right if you are currently eligible. There are some exceptions which will continue to apply.

9. What email address will I use from the 1 April 2019?

We are for keeping things simple. All ForHousing tenants can use: hello@forhousing.co.uk.

C. Governance

1. Will shareholders for City West Housing Trust become shareholders for ForHousing?

Yes - this will happen automatically.

2. Will tenants who are not currently shareholders have the opportunity to become shareholders of ForHousing? If so, how?

We remain as committed as ever to involving you in reviewing and shaping the services we provide. We will continue to promote shareholding opportunities.

3. How many Board members will there be?

We will have a maximum of 12 Board members. This includes the four current Board members who represent Villages.

4. Will there be any changes to the Board Terms of Reference?

The Board Terms of Reference will be reviewed to reflect the new structures and included in the revised Group Scheme of Delegation.

5. Can we see a copy of the Terms of Reference?

Yes - when it has been approved by the Board.

6. Who will own the properties?

The new single landlord, ForHousing, will own the properties across Salford, Knowsley, Oldham and Fylde. In Cheshire West and Chester, ForHousing will continue to manage the properties on behalf of the council.

7. Where will you hold your Board meetings?

We will hold our Board meetings in the different locations we cover.

We will hold our board meetings in the different locations we cover.

D. More information

1. Will I get a letter letting me know about the changes?

We wrote to tenants at the end of January 2019 to let you know that from 1 April your landlord will be called ForHousing. We will write to you again once we’ve made the changes. We will also remind you that the changes are happening in communications between now and the end of March 2019.

2. What do I do if I have a question that isn’t answered on these pages?

You can email company.secretary@forhousing.co.uk with any comments or questions.

Email to a friend