Proposed Transfer to Watford Community Housing
West Herts Homes is consulting its tenants over a proposal to transfer its 28 homes to Watford Community Housing. Following the transfer, Watford Community Housing would be responsible for maintaining these homes and providing services to the customers living in them.
With housing associations operating in a challenging economic environment and with increased regulatory requirements, the transfer would help to ensure that West Herts Homes customers continue to have well-maintained homes and good-quality services.
For more information, see the press release: Press Release
What this means for West Herts Homes customers
We have written to all our customers to inform them of the proposed transfer and invite questions and feedback. The consultation period lasts until 10 January 2024.
We are also arranging meetings and home visits to discuss the proposal with customers individually and make sure customers have all the information they need.
West Herts Homes remains responsible for maintaining your home and providing your services while the consultation is ongoing. You should continue to contact them as usual with any issues about your home.
If the transfer goes ahead, we will contact you to let you know when your tenancy and services will transfer over to Watford Community Housing.
If you have any queries or concerns at any time during this process, please contact us as normal or if you have not received a letter, please call 01442 244484.
Frequently asked questions
For more information on the proposed transfer, check out our FAQs below.
Why is this transfer being proposed?
West Herts Homes has decided that merging with a larger landlord is the best way to make sure that tenants continue to receive excellent services.
The transfer would ensure that additional resources are available to maintain homes to the highest standards of repair and safety. It would also bring wider benefits to West Herts Homes customers through more robust and additional services.
Transferring will also allow West Herts Homes’ social purpose to continue and ensure there is the capacity to comply with regulations and meet the demands of the external operating environment.
Watford Community Housing has been chosen as the preferred partner for this transfer, as they have similar values to West Herts Homes, and are a registered provider of social housing with charitable objectives.
What will Watford Community Housing offer for West Herts Homes customers?
West Herts Homes customers who transfer to Watford Community Housing will have access to Watford Community Housing’s full range of services, which include:
A dedicated Customer Service team to help with repair requests and any other queries
A 24/7 out-of hours service for emergencies
The ability to request repairs, raise queries and more through your online account at www.wcht.org.uk
A wide-ranging repairs, maintenance and home improvement service, including energy efficiency improvements for poorly performing homes below EPC C level
Access to support from their dedicated Tenancy Sustainment team, who can offer guidance on money management, benefits and Universal Credit, and make referrals to other support agencies and local food banks
Access to community funding for locals projects and groups – find out more here: www.wcht.org.uk/community/
Community events and clean-up days
Watford Community Housing are a community gateway housing association, which means that tenants can become members of Watford Community Housing and have more of a say over what Watford Community Housing does and operates. All West Herts Homes customers will have the right to become a full member following the transfer. You can find out more here: www.wcht.org.uk/gateway/
You can find out more about their services by reading Watford Community Housing service standards.
What will happen to my tenancy agreement?
There will be no changes to your tenancy agreement. If the proposal goes ahead, Watford Community Housing will simply take over the contract and will continue to honour your agreement. All your current terms and conditions would remain unchanged.
Will my rent and service charges go up?
If the transfer goes ahead, your rent (and any service charges you pay) will be calculated in the same way that it always has been.
Like all housing associations, Watford Community Housing review rents annually, in line with guidance from the government. Rent increases for housing associations are based on the September Consumer Price Index (CPI). The financial year runs from the beginning of April to the end of March, so your next rent increase is due to take effect from April 2024.
Watford Community Housing follows the same process that we do, so any changes to your rent in April 2024 will be the same, whether or not the transfer goes ahead. If the transfer does go ahead, any changes in future years will also be the same as they would have been with West Herts Homes.
You will receive a letter in early 2024 to let you know the outcome of the rent review for 2024-25. This will confirm your new payment amount, as well as any changes to your service charges that will be applied from April 2024.
Will I need to change how I make my rent payments?
If the transfer goes ahead, we will contact you to let you know when you will need to start making payments to Watford Community Housing instead of West Herts Homes.
Your new housing officer will be able to work with you to make sure you know how to make payments to Watford Community Housing, and help you get set up.
There are lots of different ways to pay rent to Watford Community Housing, including direct debit, standing order, and through our website. Watford Community Housing would also send you a new rent card, which you can use to make payments over the phone, at the Post Office or other PayPoint locations, by text message and through the allpay website or phone app.
What will happen if I struggle to make rent payments?
We are here to help. If the transfer goes ahead, Watford Community Housing will be able to work with you to provide support and guidance if you are struggling to pay your rent.
For more information, see: Money advice and help
What will I have to do if I need a repair?
For now, you should continue to contact West Herts Homes to request repairs.
If the transfer goes ahead, Watford Community Housing will pick up any outstanding repairs that West Herts Homes has been unable to complete, and Watford Community Housing will provide more information on how to request new repairs from them.
For more information on Watford Community Housing repairs service, see here: www.wcht.org.uk/repairs
What do I do if I need to report anti-social behaviour?
For now, you should report any problems to West Herts Homes, as usual.
If the transfer goes ahead, Watford Community Housing will provide support with any concerns around anti-social or unreasonable behaviour. Watford Community Housing expect their customers to behave respectfully and are committed to resolving issues quickly and fairly.
You can find out more about their services here: Anti-social behaviour
Will the transfer affect my place on the housing list?
No. The local housing registers are managed by the relevant local authority, so this will not impact your position on the housing waiting list.
Will I be able to do a mutual exchange with other Watford Community Housing and West Herts Homes customers?
Yes. Mutual exchanges can happen with any social landlord or local authority across the country, so the transfer will not affect your options.
Will I still be able to speak to someone in person?
For now, you should still contact West Herts Homes with any queries. West Herts Homes is arranging meetings and home visits to discuss the proposal with customers individually and make sure you have all the information you need.
If the transfer goes ahead, Watford Community Housing Customer Service team will be your first point of contact and they will always try to deal with your enquiry as quickly as possible.
You will also have a dedicated housing officer, who can visit you at home and provide support with more complicated enquiries.