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Fairfield Housing Association
Fairfield Housing Muirton

Transfer FAQ

What is a Transfer of Engagements?

A Transfer of Engagements is the legal process that allows one housing association to transfer all of their interest into another housing association. If this Transfer of Engagements takes place, all of Fairfield’s operations transfer to Kingdom Housing Association. That means tenants become Kingdom tenants and retain ALL of their existing tenancy rights, and staff become Kingdom employees on the same terms and conditions. Following the transfer and related activity, Fairfield then effectively ceases to operate. 

Can you tell me more about Kingdom Housing Association?

Kingdom Housing Association is a Registered Social Landlord and Scottish charity, just like Fairfield. They are based in Fife and provide affordable housing to meet a wide range of needs across East Central Scotland, including Perth and Kinross. 

Kingdom has developed more than 5,000 affordable homes over the last 40 years, the majority being for social rent. They also provide houses for Mid-Market Rent, affordable housing for sale and factoring services.  They employ just under 200 staff and have an annual turnover of around £25m per annum.

Kingdom provides a full range of enhanced advice and assistance services to tenants covering areas such as welfare assistance, money advice, energy advice, and tenant participation along with a range of sustainable tenancy services.

They also directly employ their own staff covering all areas of the business including Housing and Customer Services, Asset Management, Capital Investment, Finance, HR, Digital, and Corporate Services.

They have their own in-house repairs and maintenance team who carry out a full range of reactive and emergency repairs services, as well as teams who do kitchen replacements, voids repairs and adaptations in tenants homes. 

Kingdom has 2 subsidiary organisations - Kingdom Initiatives Ltd (KI), a non-charitable subsidiary, that can progress activities that KHA can't due to its charitable status and Kingdom Support and Care (KSC) which is a Community Interest Company providing a full range of care and support services to help people live independently in the community.  

In addition, Kingdom is involved in a number of community benefit initiatives which go beyond the mainstream housing provision, in support of its mission to provide ‘More than a Home’, this includes:

  • Kingdom Works – an employability service which provides employment and training initiatives to tenants and people living in the community.

  • Care & Repair - providing procurement and adaptations services to older and disabled people living in their own homes.

  • The Community Initiatives Fund - providing financial support to community projects, local clubs and tenant initiatives in their community.

More information is available on Kingdom’s website www.kingdomhousing.org.uk

Why Kingdom Housing Association?

Choosing Kingdom Housing Association as the preferred transfer partner reflected:

  • The long track record of collaborative working between Fairfield and Kingdom, which dates back over 15 years.

  • The successful shared services arrangement that has really paid dividends, especially through this past year.

  • Kingdom’s strength in terms of finances and good governance, and its ability to deliver property improvements and enhanced landlord services to Fairfield tenants whilst keeping rents affordable.

There is a clear fit with Kingdom in terms of our shared commitment to really making a difference for the tenants and communities we each serve. Coming together means cost savings and those savings could then be re-invested in the things that matter to you.

Would my rent be increased as a result of the transfer?

One of the 9 Transfer Priorities identified by tenants is to ensure that rents remain affordable. Kingdom will be expected to make specific commitments on rents when we begin formal consultation on the transfer.  It is anticipated that any increases in your rent after transfer would be less than if Fairfield remained independent.

Would the local Fairfield office stay open?  

Yes, Kingdom has already committed to keep the local Fairfield office open and to increase the services that tenants can access from it. 

What will happen to the Fairfield staff team? 

Kingdom has also committed to keep the existing Fairfield staff and to protect their terms and conditions.  That means you’ll be able to get in touch with your local team as you always have. In addition, you will have access to other expert teams e.g tenants support, welfare advice, energy efficiency and other advice and assistance services.

How would I report repairs and would there be any changes to this service?

You’ll still be able to report repairs in the same way you do now and Kingdom is looking to improve the service by introducing appointments for some repairs.  

Kingdom knows that Fairfield tenants want to see wider improvement in the local repairs service and details of this will be communicated when consultation on the transfer begins. Kingdom has their own In-house Maintenance Team who carry out various parts of the repairs and maintenance programmes.  An in house service means that staff take ownership for delivering a good service. Kingdom’s arrangements also saves money on VAT making this cheaper than putting the work to provide contractors which improves financial viability in the future. 

Would properties be allocated the same way?

Kingdom is also a member of the Perth and Kinross Common Housing Register therefore this process will not change

Would the houses be improved if the transfer happened?

Yes. Investment and regular maintenance is essential to ensure the housing stock continues to meet needs and remains sustainable in the future.  Kingdom achieves this by having Major Investment, Repairs & Cyclical Maintenance Programmes in place for their properties. Kingdom will make firm commitments for Fairfield’s homes and this will be part of the formal consultation on the transfer. 

Would the landscaped areas be improved?

Yes. Kingdom Housing Association has an Estate Management Policy that ensures Kingdom will manage the environment in and around their developments so that they are safe and well maintained. Kingdom carry out regular inspections in developments and encourage customers to report areas of concern.

Kingdom will also set out its plans to improve estate management and the environment around Fairfield’s homes as part of the formal consultation on the transfer. 

Do I have a say in what happens with the transfer?

Yes. We will follow the Scottish Housing Regulator’s statutory guidance on Tenant Consultation and Approval (2019). This sets out the legal and regulatory requirements for any landlord proposing a transfer. This can be found on the SHR website at: https://www.housingregulator.gov.scot/for-landlords/statutory-guidance/tenant-consultation-and-approval

We are at the stage of informal consultation as we build the Business Case.  Once this is approved, we then move into formal tenant consultation which culminates in a tenant ballot. The transfer can only happen if a majority of tenants voting support it. 

There will be lots of opportunities to get involved and give your views. 

Why can only tenants vote in the transfer ballot?

The formal consultation and ballot are on the matter of the change of the landlord. Legislation sets out that both formal consultation and the ballot are only a matter for tenants (including joint tenants) with a secure tenancy. The Scottish Housing Regulator’s guidance on consultation involving a change of landlord can be accessed at https://www.housingregulator.gov.scot/for-landlords/statutory-guidance/tenant-consultation-and-approval

Do I need to sign a new tenancy agreement if the transfer goes ahead?

No. You will not have to sign a new tenancy agreement as this would transfer automatically to Kingdom Housing Association. Fairfield tenants would retain all their existing rights. 

Will the ‘Fairfield Housing Association’ name stay if a transfer takes place?

If the transfer to Kingdom Housing Association goes ahead, your landlord would become Kingdom Housing Association. Fairfield would eventually be deregistered as a housing association and would cease to operate. 

What happens if the transfer does not proceed? Can Fairfield stay independent?

If the transfer to Kingdom did not take place, Kingdom confirmed that they would not continue with the current shared services arrangements meaning Fairfield would be without Chief Executive, governance, financial and asset management support and would have to make new arrangements. Fairfield would also stop managing Kingdom's own houses in the Perth and Kinross area, meaning a loss of management fee income to Fairfield.

If tenants did not support the voluntary transfer to Kingdom, Fairfield would continue to face serious and urgent challenges as it does not comply with the Scottish Housing Regulator's (SHR) Regulatory Standards. Since December 2018, it has been in statutory engagement with the SHR and is still reliant on their appointees for support. In order to protect the interests of Fairfield’s tenants, Fairfield would need to consider all its options and re-visit its strategic options appraisal before deciding a way forward. Any future plans would likely not secure the range of benefits being offered by Kingdom at this time. The SHR could also consider its future regulatory engagement with Fairfield in order to protect the interests of Fairfield tenants in these circumstances.

Fairfield’s lenders are supportive of the transfer to Kingdom. If the transfer did not proceed and a permanent and timely solution to Fairfield's issues and non compliance with SHR standards was not secured, they could ultimately call in their loans.

 

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