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Baker Homes Blog

Key terms you need to know if you work in housing - part 2

Posted by Emma Jones on 05/08/15 07:30

Working in housing there are many terms and acronyms that get thrown around. A number of people have suggested to us that it would be useful to put up a list of some of those. Here is our second installment. This is the second part of our 37 terms blog we published earlier (with a few additions from our readers!).

NROSH (The National Register of Social Housing) – a property database containing a record of each unit of social housing in England with data supplied by RSLs and LAs on a monthly basis. It is run by The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

NROSH will provide neighbourhood level information for the whole country accessible by central, regional and local government and other interested parties such as the Housing Corporation, the Neighbourhood Statistic Service (NeSS), the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), Housing & Employment Mobility Scheme (HEMS) and RSL’s. It will reduce the burden of reporting on housing providers.

ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) – this government department used to look after all government policy related to social housing and development of new homes. Has now been replaced with the Department for Communities and Local Government (see DCLG).

Ombudsman – once people have exhausted a complaints procedure they can go to the housing ombudsman to arbitrate.

Pay to stay – all tenants living in social rented properties with household incomes of more than £30,000 (£40,000 in London) will be made to pay market rent. Social landlords are already able to voluntarily charge earners of £60,000 full market rent. Local authorities will have to pay the extra cash raised to the Treasury. Housing associations will be able to keep the money from the measure.

Planned maintenance – cyclical work such as roofing, kitchen and bathroom replacement, etc that needs doing to keep homes up to standard. Residents are consulted on this work.

Responsive repairs – day to day repairs ranging from urgent to routine.

Retrofit – this is when an existing home is adapted or something is added to improve it. Currently work is being done in the social housing sector to retrofit homes to help with the impact of climate change.

Revenue officer – people at councils or housing associations responsible for rent collection.

Right to Buy – a right for council housing residents to purchase their home, often at a discount on market prices. The 2015 Government aims to extend Right to Buy to over 1 million social housing residents.

RSL (Registered Social Landlord) – another name for housing associations. Means they are registered with the Housing Corporation.

SAP (The Standard Assessment Procedure) – the Government's principal methodology for assessing the energy performance and the compliance of new and existing dwellings. It ranges from 1 – 100+. 100 is zero energy cost and buildings above 100 are net exporters of energy.

Registered social landlords often measure the performance of their existing homes using an average SAP performance target. CROHM assessments can help analyse the most cost effective way to reach SAP targets.

Shared ownership – where a home is partly owned by a housing association with the balance owned by the people living in it who pay a mortgage on the part they own and rent on the part owned by the housing association.

There are strict eligibility requirements as it is a cheaper way to get on the property ladder. People can gradually own more of the property if their circumstances improve (known as “staircasing”). Tower Homes deal with shared ownership.

Sheltered housing – means homes for older people who maintain their independence. It is not a nursing home.

SHIFT (Baker Homes Index For Tomorrow) – the sustainability standard for the housing sector. It demonstrates delivery against key environmental targets, provides a route-map for improvement and allows organisations to compare performance against their peers. Over one million homes are managed by its accredited landlords. For more information click here.

Social housing – a term often referring to housing association homes, though the term can include council housing.

Supported housing – a catch-all term that can include specialist accommodation for those with particular needs, e.g. those with mental health problems, those who have other disabilities, those with learning difficulties, those with drug or substance abuse problems, women fleeing violence.

TSOs (Tenancy Service Officers) – formerly referred to as housing officers, these are staff who are the first point of contact for most residents. TSOs deal with tenancy related matters and check estates, monitor neighbourhoods, deal with complaints etc.

Void – an empty home. Housing associations aim to turn voids round fast, but often have to make repairs. Sometimes landlords will take the opportunity to upgrade a property (an enhanced void) when it is between lets.

For more useful terms, see part 1 of this blog.

Do you have terms you think everyone in housing should know? What are they? Let us know -  we will add them to the list.


Topics: SHIFT accreditation standard, Housing Associations, Regulations, Residents, Energy efficiency

'THE REVIEW' details the achievements and progress of the social housing sector on key environmental performance metrics. Download the report below 

Baker Homes, The Review, UK social landlords environmental performance, environmental benchmarking

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