Guide to housing services

Not sure who to turn to with a housing question?
Got a customer who's looking for advice about housing, benefits or homelessness?
Want to find out more about housing functions and partnerships operating across our area?

 

This Guide aims to help by setting out the range of housing services and partners "out there".

It provides links to help you find out more and get in touch with the right team.

The Guide does NOT provide any kind of advice, it simply gives a picture of housing activities and how you can find out more - usually via partners' websites.

The links on each page should open a new 'window' so you can find your way back to the Guide should you need to.

This first page covers three steps:

Step 1: a quick guide to how housing is organised

Step 2: links to help you find the district you need to look up

Step 3: links to each district's page in the Guide (also found in the left hand menu on every page)


Step 1: How is housing organised?

Housing services are often organised according to the type of tenancy the resident holds. Owners and renters have different rights and responsibilities; funding streams can differ too.These pages are organised into these "categories" to help you find the team you need. The categories are:

1. Social & affordable housing

  • Social and affordable homes are managed by councils or housing associations and can be rented or shared ownership. Councils and housing associations manage these homes, making sure the rent is paid and doing repairs and maintenance. They support communities and neighbourhoods through, for example, community development workers, community facilities and events - supporting residents' well-being. For more about the wider role housing providers play, please see our report, Delivering Localism.
  • Councils and housing associations own and manage general needs housing including flats, maisonettes, houses and bungalows - also some supported housing for people who need specialist accommodation, and temporary housing for people who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence. For more about the types of housing managed by 'private registered providers' including housing associations, please visit Cambridgeshire Insight Open Data. You can find an introduction to the data here.
  • In Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, the two local councils still own and manage a large number of rented homes. In the other districts covered by this guide, council housing has been transferred to housing associations, sometime known as 'stock transfer' landlords. This is clearly set out on each district's page. However, it is possible, especially if a tenant has been renting for some time, that they might think they are still council tenants when in fact their tenancy has been transferred to the stock transfer housing association. There may be exceptions, but usually if a person says they are a council tenant but are living in any district other than Cambridge or South Cambridgeshire, they are PROBABLY a housing association tenant.
  • 'Shared ownership' is housing where the purchaser buys an equity share of the property and pays rent to the housing provider on the remaining share. He or she may also have to pay service charges. The idea is that the owner may buy an increasing share over time, which is known as "staircasing". Sometimes there is a restriction so the owner can't staircase up to 100% ownership. Shared ownership is an affordable tenure and is aimed at being more affordable than regular owner-occupation and can act as a stepping stone to home ownership if that is affordable for the occupier. The housing association who holds the shared ownership deeds may have some responsibilities to the shared owner, this is always a good starting point if a housing association "shared owner" needs help support or advice. Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Council both have some shared ownership homes.

2. Private renters

  • Homes are managed by a private landlord or agent.
  • The occupier should have a tenancy agreement and a rent book which gives the landlord's contact details.
  • Councils have a role enforcing basic standards in private rented housing, to make sure they are not a health and safety risk. This may be the role of a private sector housing team, or environmental services. Team names vary from one council to another.
  • Some councils run an accreditation scheme for private landlords and many offer energy efficiency advice to private landlords and tenants, and may offer support to older and vulnerable people who need a handyperson or home improvements, should they qualify. The teams and services are outlined on the individual district pages, with links to help you get in touch.

3. Home owners

  • Homes are owned and managed by the individual owner.
  • Owner occupied homes may be owned under a mortgage agreement, or may be owned outright - for example if the mortgage has been paid off.
  • Again, councils have a role enforcing basic standards in privately owned housing, making sure they are not a health and safety risk for the occupants.
  • Many councils offer energy efficiency advice to home owners and may offer support to older and vulnerable people who need a handyperson or home improvements, should they qualify. The teams and services are all outlined on the individual district pages, with links to help you get in touch.

4. Other

Some services don't fall into the categories above, for example...

  • Homelessness and housing advice teams which are open to all, as needed by the individual customer.
  • Benefits teams, which offer benefit services to all residents though there are various qualifying criteria and some local variations in approach.
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux which are open to all, and offer a wide range of advice and support on a vast range of subjects.
  • Help to Buy - covers a number of ways people can get help to take a first step on the housing ladder. We recommend customers visit the Help to Buy website to find out more as there are a number of schemes - and the qualifying criteria can be prone to change.

5. Contacting the council

At the bottom of each page are some "general" links and contacts - just in case they help or in case the housing teams listed don't cover your question or issue.


Step 2: Which district do you need to look up? Colour outline of housing sub region

This link takes you to a government website where you can click on a map to find out the name of your county council and your local council...

Link to county-level map which leads you to a City / borough / district level map.

OR

Link to a tool where you can type in either postcode or street and town

Once you've used to tool to find which district you need, please close that window and come back to these pages to explore the Guide. If you click on the district name over in the direct.gov website you'll reach the general webpage for the local council. So please come back here to find out about housing services and teams locally.


Step 3: Found your district?

Now follow these links... you can pick from the list in blue type below, or use the links in left hand menu.


Ideas? Suggestions? Questions?

If you have feedback about the Guide, suggestions to improve it or questions about it, please contact Sue Beecroft, housing co-ordinator for CRHB, who you can email at sue.beecroft@cambridge.gov.uk or call on 07715 200 730. If your call goes to voicemail, please leave a message and Sue will call you back as soon as possible.

Thank you!