Housing

Following the transfer of the housing stock to Freebridge Community Housing, the Council still retains important housing functions.   These services are outlined below:
 

Homelessness Services

Stonham HomeStay

Domestic Violence

West Norfolk Homechoice

Housing Enabling

Care and Repair West Norfolk

Careline

Housing Standards

Strategic Housing Services - Consultations

 

Homelessness Services

 

Following the stock transfer, the Council retains responsibility to ensure that advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness are available to anyone in the borough.
 
When a household presents as homeless, the Council undertakes an investigation into their circumstances. The Council only has a legal duty to secure accommodation for certain groups of people who are in 'priority need'. The Homelessness Act 2002 states that certain people have a priority need for housing if they are threatened with homelessness. These include people with dependent children, pregnant women, people made homeless by an emergency, and people who are vulnerable – this may include people who are vulnerable because of their age; a physical disability; a mental illness; a learning disability; in fear of violence, or leaving institutional care or prison.
 
The phone number for Homelessness Services is 01553 616675
 

Stonham HomeStay

 

What does Stonham HomeStay provide?
 
The new service is free and confidential and provides low level housing-related support for up to 2 years to people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or need extra help to maintain their independence irrespective of whether you rent or own a home.  Some examples of why a person may want help from the service are listed below:
  • They have mortgage, rent arrears or debt problems
  • They are at risk of becoming homeless
  • They are setting up home for the first time
  • They are suffering from or are at risk of domestic violence
  • They have physical or mental health problems
  • They have drug or alcohol problems
  • They have recently had a relationship breakdown or bereavement.

Stonham HomeStay Service (pdf 77kb) provides vital assistance to people living in the community and help to set up a permanent home in the community together with associated support needs.  Please contact Stonham HomeStay on 0845 155 0390 for further information.

 

People can self refer for floating support as well as be referred by other agencies, for example a landlord.
 
This forms part of a contract with Norfolk Supporting People to provide services to vulnerable households.
 

West Norfolk Homechoice

 

West Norfolk Homechoice manages the housing register which is the route into social housing across the Borough. The scheme is administered on behalf of 13 partner Housing Association landlords including Freebridge Community Housing.

 

The Homechoice team is based at the council’s offices at King’s Court, Chapel Street, King’s Lynn PE30 1EX. Those on the housing register are able to bid (register an interest) for properties advertised weekly on the West Norfolk Homechoice area of this website.

 

Full details of the scheme including currently advertised vacancies can be found on West Norfolk Homechoice or by telephoning Homechoice on 01553 616678.

 

Housing Enabling

 

The Council works with partner Registered Social Landlords (housing associations) to support their efforts to develop new affordable housing (to rent or part buy) in the borough.  One of the key aspects of this role is to ensure that any new development matches the identified housing need in the borough.  The Council regularly undertakes housing needs surveys to ensure that we use up to date information to inform decisions about new developments. 
 
Please use the following link to view the Housing Needs Survey (pdf 2.59Mb).  The Council is in partnership with Breckland District Council and North Norfolk District Council in a sub-regional housing partnership to undertake housing market assessments and housing needs assessments during 2006. 
 
This partnership, known as REAP (Rural East Anglian Partnership) also takes responsibility for a sub-regional Housing Strategy.
 

Care and Repair West Norfolk

 

Care and Repair West Norfolk is a Home Improvement Agency (HIA) which helps older people, people with disabilities, and people on low income, to repair, adapt and improve their homes. It provides its services mainly for owner-occupiers and private tenants. The agency also operates a handyperson service for vulnerable people in the private sector. This covers the West Norfolk Primary Care Trust area and therefore includes the western parts of Breckland as well as West Norfolk.
 
Whilst the agency's staff are employed by the Borough Council the HIA operates across Fenland and Breckland as well as King's Lynn and West Norfolk.  It is funded by the three local authorities, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Supporting People and the East Cambs. & Fenland Primary Care Trust.
 
Please contact the Care & Repair West Norfolk Home Improvement Agency on 01553 616677.
 

Careline

 

The Care & Repair West Norfolk Home Improvement Agency will also be responsible for the Careline community alarm services being retained by the Borough Council.  These consist of the installation of dispersed alarms (private properties) and the management of the contract with Invicta Telecare, which is the company responsible for the actual alarm call monitoring / answering side for Careline clients.
 
To contact the Careline team, please telephone 01553 760671.
 

Housing Standards

 

Our Housing Standards team provides services, support and advice to owner occupiers, private landlords, private rental tenants, gypsies and travellers. The Housing Standards Team deal with the following:

 

Housing Grants and Loans

 
This is assistance for people in the private sector to live independently and in accommodation which is of an acceptable standard.  These standards include the Housing Health and Safety Rating and Decent Homes Standards. Independent living assistance can take the form of providing level access showers, stair lifts and other adaptations that enhance or enable independent living for people with disabilities.
 

Housing Conditions

 

If you rent your home, and it needs repairs, your landlord will normally be responsible for ensuring these are done. You should inform your landlord of the problem at an early stage, and give him/her a reasonable period of time to put it right.

 

Your landlord has the right to enter your home to carry out repairs as long as 24 hours written/reasonable notice has been given, and sometimes without notice, if there is an emergency.

 

If you are having problems getting the repairs done, you can contact the Housing Standards team for advice. We will investigate and may carry out an inspection. If the property is found to fall below an acceptable standard the Borough Council can take informal or formal action to ensure the property is brought up to an acceptable standard. The law allows us to require a landlord to make properties safe and healthy for people to live in.

 

You should not withhold rent because a repair has not been carried out as this can endanger your tenancy.

 

Houses in Multiple Occupation

 

HMOs are properties shared by 3 people or more who do not form a single household. They may include buildings divided into bedsits or flats where there are shared entrances and stairwells, shared houses, temporary accommodation for the homeless and sometimes hostels and hotels.

 

All local authorities must license properties that are at least three or more storeys high, with five or more persons, who form two or more households. This includes a 2 storey property over a commercial premises. The current charge for a 5 year licence in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, is £466.

 

Each habitable unit in an HMO will be subject to the same standards as an individual dwelling and there are additional standards relating to proper management. In HMOs the Council will ensure that there are satisfactory means of early warning and escape in case of fire and that there are sufficient facilities for the number of occupiers. It is the responsibility of the landlord to pay the council tax in an HMO.

 

Illegal Evictions

 

Your landlord cannot remove you from your home without giving you written Notice that complies with the Housing Act 1988. They cannot, under any circumstances, harass or threaten you to leave immediately. Only a Court Bailiff can remove you and your belongings. If you are threatened with eviction at short notice contact either the Housing Standards team or Housing Options who will contact your landlord and advise him that he is committing a criminal offence. If you are threatened outside of normal working hours or over the weekend you should contact the Police as they also enforce the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

 
For more information please contact the Housing Standards team on 01553 616461.
 

 

Last updated: 17 April 2014
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