Are you confused about what something means? This section of the website is designed to help. Simply select the first letter of the housing-related term, word or abbreviation you would like to find the meaning of below. If the word you are looking for is not here, please contact us and let us know so we can add it to our database.
Alternatively, if the word is finance-related, please visit our A to Z of financial terms section.
Acceptable Behaviour Contract. A customer or their children can be asked to sign an ABC, agreeing to behave in an acceptable way. If not, further tenancy action may be taken against the customer, and this could lead to eviction.
Affordable housing is housing built with subsidy from the government, housing association or other means, either for rent, outright sale, or shared ownership. The subsidy enables the cost of rent/purchase to be affordable for households who cannot otherwise afford the market rent/sale price in the area.
This is behaviour which goes against what is generally acceptable to society. This can include criminal acts as well as less serious behaviour such as general un-neighbourly behaviour. You can find out more about anti social behaviour in our anti social behaviour section.
This allows a council and/or a housing association to apply to the court to stop an individual behaving in a particular way and/or from going to particular places. ASBOs can be issued against any individual over ten-years-old. Breaching the order can carry a five year prison sentence.
Is the government's inspection and assessment organisation. It inspects the services of councils and housing associations.
When organisations compare their performance to other organisations.
Is a Housing Benefit payment that is made for a variety of reasons in error to someone who is not entitled to it. Housing Benefit overpayments are not rent arrears and cannot be included in possession proceedings via the court.
Is used by councils and housing associations to review the services they provide and improve service quality and cost effectiveness. This must be done in consultation with people who use the services and the wider community.
Black Minority Ethnic, a term used to describe minority groups recognised as falling under the Race Relations Act 1976.
The term covers investment in permanent assets such as land, buildings, roads and major investment in existing homes and providing new homes.
Choice-Based Lettings are a new way that local councils and housing associations let their properties. Although there are differences between areas, the common feature is that once you have registered that you are looking for housing, you have to bid for properties that become available - rather than waiting to be offered one, as in the past. Based on your circumstances you will be awarded a 'priority rating', and this will determine who gets a property if several people bid for it.
A mandatory means-tested grant payable by a local authority to meet or contribute to the cost of aids and/or adaptations to a disabled person's property, the adaptation which is intended to assist with independent living in the community.
Generally describes services for children under school age - such as toddler group, playgroup and nursery provision.
HomeBuy enables people who cannot afford to buy a home outright to purchase a share in a new home and rent the remainder (formerly known as shared ownership).
A means-tested welfare benefit administered by the local authority providing eligible customers assistance in meeting the cost of rent. Every customer, whether they are council, housing association or private, are eligible to apply. How much help anyone receives depends on their income and other circumstances.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the new regulator of social housing for England, and housing and regeneration.
The Housing Ombudsman can investigate complaints and other matters referred to them and make recommendations for action. They are independent of the people and organisations they investigate. They are impartial. Customers can refer matters to the Housing Ombudsman, for example, complaints not satisfactorily addressed by Flagship's complaints procedure.
Key line of enquiry (KLOE) forms the basis on which the Audit Commission makes inspection judgements. KLOEs detail what will be covered in housing association inspections and the standard expected of excellent and fair housing services.
Key Performance indicator - see performance indicator.
Improvements to housing stock that are substantial and usually planned in advance.
A customer's right, under certain conditions, to exchange his or her tenancy with a customer of the same landlord or another public sector landlord.
Is a notice served by a landlord on a rented customer telling them that the landlord intends to apply to court for possession.
This is a more flexible way of working with contractors to provide services on our behalf.
Reports on performance for specific elements of the service.
The process of buying land, building on it and delivering the completed project in accordance with a predetermined design and to an agreed cost. Procurement also relates to buying in other services which another organisation will then deliver on our behalf, such as cleaning services.
Maintenance scheduled in advance for works such as gas servicing, painting, replacement of heating systems, renewal of fabric of the building and modernisations.
Violence which may be verbal or physical and which includes attacks on property as well as on the person. The violence is suffered by individuals or groups because of their colour, race nationality or ethnic or national origins. It can also be seen as a hate crime.
A housing association.
Is the government's aim of council and housing association customers paying similar rents for properties of similar size and condition in a council area. The aim is to achieve this by 2011/12.
The term used to describe the amount of money - the total rent which is payable by all the rented customers of a housing association put together.
The term used when a shared owner sells back shares in their house to the housing association, for example when a shared owner who owns 75% sells back 25% to the association. The shared owner then receives a lump sum equivalent to the 25% value of their house. The shared owner then owns just 50%.
Day-to-day repairs to homes done in response to requests made by customers.
A scheme under the Housing Act 1985 as amended by the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that gives rented residents the right to claim compensation if certain small urgent repairs (costing less than £250) are not carried out within prescribed time limits.
A method of identifying, assessing and monitoring risks in a way that enables an organisation to minimise losses and maximise opportunities.
This is the energy efficiency rating of a home.
Sale of alternate vacancies. When a rented property becomes vacant we may consider selling that property rather than renting it again to ensure a balance of rented and owner occupied homes is maintained.
A section 106 agreement is an agreement drawn up by the local planning authority setting out conditions on new development which must be met by the developer, such as restrictions on allocations, requirements for childrens' play areas.
This is the consent required from the Homes and Communities Agency if a Housing Association wishes to dispose of or sell off any land it owns.
The money that is paid for services that the Community Rangers provide - cleaning communal areas, lighting and maintenance of common parts and gardening.
Shared ownership helps people who cannot afford the full cost of buying a home outright. With shared ownership you buy a share of your home and rent the rest.
A grant from the Homes and Communities Agency to subsidise the cost of developing affordable housing. It is given to housing associations to develop schemes in their area.
When purchasing a shared ownership property, the new owner may purchase, for example, 50% of the property value. If the owner's financial circumstances improve the owner may choose to purchase more shares and this is known as staircasing. Therefore, the new owner may staircase up from 50% ownership to 75% ownership, for example.
The Housing Act of 1996 allows housing associations to offer introductory tenancies to new rented customers. These last for a year and then would become assured tenancies. They are optional and are also known as probationary tenancies or introductory tenancies.
Stock condition surveys help to assess the need for planned maintenance. Some landlords carry out sample surveys every few years; others have a rolling programme of property inspections. An energy efficiency appraisal of each building type can be usefully included in the survey. Forecasts all works needed to all homes, over the next 30 years.
Housing which has additional support services with it for the residents.
These are the rent levels for council and housing association properties. They are set by using a government formula based on size, location and condition. They are also worked out on local incomes and the value of homes.
These are arrears arising as a result of delays in receiving housing benefit payments from local authorities. Some customers choose to have their Housing Benefit paid direct to us; however, these payments are made by the council 4 weeks in arrears, thus showing as "technical arrears" as we know the money will come through at the end of the 4 week cycle.
This is the organisation that oversees housing associations in England to make sure they deliver good quality services to customers.
The Tenant Services Authority assesses the performance of all housing associations nationally. Housing associations are monitored on the same indicators. They are then grouped according to how well they perform. The top quartile performing housing associations are those housing associations that fall in the top 25%.
These are the costs associated with an empty property and can include the cost of repairs to that property or the rent loss from that property whilst it is empty
This is a term used to describe a bedspace or property which is not let. For example a project with ten bedspaces, two of which are empty, might be described as 'currently having 20% voids'.
Empty rented properties or bedspaces generating no income.
Rents lost as a result of non-occupation of a property
Last updated: 26 April 2012