Housing guide

Housing guide

Our Housing guide sets out the range of housing services available in our area, with 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 by providing a link to a partner’s website.

Step 1: What kind of housing do you live in?

Some services and projects are only aimed at specific housing types. Some are available to all. In the Guide, each service listed is clearly labelled to highlight who it’s available to. The main housing types are

  • Social or affordable housing, usually provided by the council or a housing association.
  • Private rented.
  • Home ownership.
  • Support – which may be ‘attached’ to the housing, or it might be totally separate. It varies.
  • “For all”.

1. Social or affordable housing

Social and affordable homes are managed by councils or housing associations and are  usually either 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. Councils and housing associations own and manage general needs housing, supported housing for people who need specialist accommodation and some temporary housing for people who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence.

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 the Housing Guide, council housing has been transferred to housing associations. This is clearly set out on each district’s page. It’s possible, especially if a tenant has been renting for some time, they might think they are still council tenants when in fact their tenancy has been transferred to a housing association. 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 more of a share in time, known as “stair-casing”. 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. The housing association who holds the property deeds may have some responsibilities to the shared owner, this is always a good starting point if a “shared owner” needs help support or advice. Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Council both have some shared ownership homes.

2. Private renting

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. Housing and support

Some housing is specifically for people with certain needs, while other schemes which provide support to people wherever they live.

This icon represents support, whether attached to a particular property or not, which can make a lot of difference to the resident and may be useful to know about.

5. Available to all

If services are available to all, you will see this icon.

Some services are available to all. That’s not to say everyone will benefit from the service – it might be focussed on a certain group or issue – but access is not restricted to specific kinds housing. For example, benefits, citizens advice and the Home-Link housing register.

Step 2: Which district do you live in?

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…

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 remember to come back here to the Housing Guide, to find out about housing services and teams locally!

Step 3: Click on the page for your district…

Step 4: Ideas, suggestions, questions?

If you have feedback about the Guide, suggestions to improve it or questions about it, please contact Sue Beecroft, housing coordinator who you can email at sue.beecroft@cambridge.gov.uk

Thank you!