Birmingham City Council

FAQ Clearance and Redevelopment

This page answers frequently asked questions if you are being affected by a clearance and redevelopment scheme. For more general information about our service or the process please visit our 'Regeneration and Clearance' web page.

What do you mean by ‘clearance and redevelopment’?

In order to undertake regeneration, some areas need to be vacated, or even demolished, and the current residents will need to be re-housed.

We recognise that if you live in an area that is being redeveloped and you have to move home, it can be a very worrying and stressful time. We are committed to ensuring that you are kept fully informed and supported throughout the process and that there is always someone to answer your questions.

These Frequently Asked Questions reflect those concerns most frequently voiced by customers affected by clearance and redevelopment schemes. If you have any additional questions, or need assistance, one of our clearance officers will be happy to help.

COUNCIL TENANTS

What help, support and assistance will I get?
Will all of my family be rehoused under clearance?
What if I need an adapted property because I have a physical disability?
What if I need a particular type of property because of a medical condition?
What type of property will I be offered?
How will I be made offers of accommodation?
Can you tell me more about choice based lettings?
Where will I be rehoused?
How quickly will I be made an offer?
How many offers will I receive?
I have accepted an offer of accommodation. How much time do I have to move out?
Will my new home have double-glazing and central heating?
What condition should I leave my current property in?
What should I do with the keys to my current property?
Will I be entitled to any compensation?
What help will I get to move?
I currently receive Housing and Council Tax Benefits. How do these transfer to my new address?

HOME OWNERS

What support and assistance can I get?
What are my rehousing options?
As an owner, what compensation am I entitled to?
What help will I get to move?
What financial support can I get to help me buy a new home?

OTHER

Can I become more involved in helping to monitor the clearance service?
How else can I share my views on the clearance service?
Who do I contact if I have any questions about clearance?


COUNCIL TENANTS

What help, support and assistance will I get?

Before you are made any offers of alternative housing, you will be visited by a clearance housing officer who will explain the whole rehousing process to you. This dedicated officer will deal with any concerns or questions you have and will work with you throughout the process. If they are not available at any time, another member of the Clearance Team can help.

Will all of my family be rehoused under clearance?

The council will rehouse everybody in your household who was living with you when clearance was declared; this may be some months before the rehousing starts. We will expect you to provide proofs of residency and identification of each member of the household. It is vital that you provide us with accurate details.

What if I need an adapted property because I have a physical disability?

If you feel that you need an adapted property we will arrange for an assessment to be undertaken. This will determine what adaptations you need, and whether these need to be in place at the time you move. If you are currently in a property that hasn’t got these adaptations we will arrange to have them fitted at the earliest opportunity after you move into your new home.

If you currently have adaptations and need them straight away, we can arrange to either identify a suitable property that has them or have them fitted before you move.

What if I need a particular type of property because of a medical condition?

If you have a medical condition that you feel means you need a specific type of property, such as a ground floor flat, you need to provide supporting information so the council’s medical advisor can make a recommendation.

It is very important that you tell us about any needs you have at your first interview. The clearance officer can help you complete the necessary forms, but you must provide a letter of support from your consultant if you have one, or other evidence of your situation. We cannot accept letters from your GP unless your doctor can provide a detailed summary of your situation and in his/her opinion the type of housing you need to move to. Please note that we are unable to reimburse any expenses involved in obtaining supporting medical evidence.

What type of property will I be offered?

During your first interview we will go through a range of available housing options and tell you how we can help you access them.

Options include:

  • local authority (council) housing
  • housing associations (registered social landlords)
  • privately rented homes
  • affordable ownership options, including shared ownership.

If you need Birmingham City Council to find you a new home, you will be allocated a home that is suitable for the size of your household.

Here are some examples of the type of accommodation you may be offered in accordance with our current Allocations Policy (last updated in early 2009):

  • single person or couple with no children: one-bedroom flat.
  • single person or couple aged 60 or over: one bedroom flat or bungalow.
  • single person or couple with one child: two-bedroom flat, maisonette or house.
  • single person or couple with two children: two or three bedroom flat, maisonette or house, depending on the ages and genders of the children.
  • single person or couple with three or more children: three- or four-bedroom flat, maisonette or house, depending on the ages and genders of the children.
  • two adults who live together as ‘sharers’: two-bedroom flat.

You could be offered a flat, maisonette or house depending on the size of your family. You cannot state that you only want to be considered for a house or that you will only consider housing association properties.

For bigger families needing large three-bedroom or four-bedroom properties, all areas of the city will need to be included in searches for suitable accommodation – unless there is a good reason for you being unable to relocate to some of them. This is due to the shortage of this property size.

Please note that if any your children are over 18, they will be considered as adults needing their own bedroom. If all of your children are over 18, you will not qualify for a house (only a flat or maisonette).

There is a limited supply of ground floor properties. These are usually allocated to households who have a proven need for this type of accommodation, such as physical disability.

Birmingham City Council’s housing service no longer operates a ‘like-for-like’ policy for people affected by clearance schemes. This means that you may not be offered the same type or size of property as the one you currently live in.

You can apply to other local authorities for housing in their area and your dedicated housing officer will assist you. However you will not be given the same level of priority by other local authorities as you will have with Birmingham City Council, as you are affected by a clearance programme within Birmingham.

How will I be made offers of accommodation?

Birmingham City Council no longer allocates homes to customers on the waiting list. Instead, customers who need or want to be rehoused bid for available properties under a system called ‘choice based lettings’. The council’s scheme is called Birmingham Home Choice. Your clearance housing officer will fully explain choice based lettings to you. Further information can be found in the Clearance Information Pack. A copy of the pack is given to all customers affected by clearance at the first rehousing interview. You can also download it from our 'Regeneration and Clearance' web page.



Can you tell me more about choice based lettings?

Birmingham City Council and some of its housing association partners will advertise available properties every week in a newsletter that will be available in print at neighbourhood offices and libraries, and on the Internet. The advertisements will give you brief details about the property including the family size that it is suitable for, and the date on which viewings will be undertaken for those invited applicants.

If you are interested in moving to one of the homes, you or your clearance housing officer can make a bid for it. Please note that no money is involved; your 'bid' is an expression of interest. When bidding closes after a few days, the bid applications are assessed. If your household is too large or too small for the property your bid will fail.

Of those customers who are eligible for the property, their applications are placed in priority order based on the housing need points that each has been awarded. Customers affected by clearance are given a high priority. The top three customers are invited to view the property and decide if they want to move there.

You will be told if you are in first, second or third position. If you are third, you may only be offered the property if the first and second place customers refuse it. If you do not attend the viewing, an offer might be made in your absence and may be counted as one of your three offers (see ‘How many offers will I receive?’ below).

If you accept the property, the officer undertaking the viewing will explain the process of how, where and when you formally accept the tenancy; and the date on which the repairs are scheduled to be completed. This will give you some time to start packing and make your arrangements. It is important that you advise your housing officer of your decision to accept your new home.

This might seem like a complicated process, but your clearance housing officer will give you as much assistance as you need to bid for your new home. If you decide not to participate in Birmingham Home Choice, bids will have to be made on your behalf. This may lead to offers being made of properties that would not be your first choice.


Where will I be rehoused?

We will work with you to find you a home in, or near to, the areas you have requested. Through Birmingham Home Choice, you can search for properties in selected areas. If there are no available homes of the type and size you are eligible for, we will talk to you about where suitable properties are.

If there are special reasons why you need to stay close to a particular area of the city, such as having to care for a relative, please tell your clearance housing officer at your first interview. We will ask for proof of your need to remain in the area. You must also let us know if you have a good reason why you can’t live in a certain area.

If your circumstances change while you are waiting for an offer of accommodation, please let your housing officer know. If they are not available another member of the Clearance Team can assist. Generally, the more areas you are able to consider, the more chance you have of finding a suitable home quicker.


How quickly will I be made an offer?

This depends on how flexible you are able to be in terms of where you can, or are willing to, move to. We aim to find everyone alternative accommodation within twelve months of rehousing beginning.

Under Birmingham Home Choice, available properties will be advertised every week which will show you where and what size/type of homes are available. You may find that there are several suitable properties in an area you want to move to, in which case it is more likely that your bid will be successful and you will be invited to view; an offer may then follow. If your choices are too limited it will take longer for you to be able to make bids, and then you may not be invited to a viewing.

If you are not being practical about your choices your housing officer will have to make bids for you. If you are invited to view a suitable property and fail to attend, this could count as one of your three offers.


How many offers will I receive?

In most cases you will be made up to three offers of alternative accommodation, following successful bids through Birmingham Home Choice. These could be council homes or housing association properties, if you have asked to be considered for homes managed by a registered social landlord.

In you insist on relocating to an area where the council has no properties or to a property you are not eligible for, we will make one offer of accommodation that meets your needs before we take legal action to gain possession of your home.

It is normal policy for us to issue a Notice Seeking Possession (NSP) after you refuse your second offer. This Notice is NOT an eviction notice, and does not mean that we have instructed our solicitors to begin proceedings. However, it gives you notice that we may do so within the next twelve months.

I have accepted an offer of accommodation. How much time do I have to move out?

Customers affected by clearance are given a maximum of two weeks to move from the time the tenancy is accepted. We can only extend this period if there are exceptional circumstances (these have to be agreed by management).

If you pay all or some of your rent in your current home, rent will be payable at your new address from the tenancy start date. We would not expect you to pay rent at both your current and new homes unless you delay moving without a good reason.

Will my new home have double-glazing and central heating?

Birmingham City Council has been bringing all its homes up to the Decent Homes Standard and this work is almost complete. If the property you view doesn’t already have these facilities, it will be on a planned programme of work to be carried out in the near future.

As housing association properties tend to have been built more recently than council homes, it is more likely that homes managed by an association will have double-glazing and central heating.

What condition should I leave my current property in?

It is important that you remove all your possessions and any rubbish from your property. A charge may be made for the removal and disposal of items you have left behind. You can arrange your own rubbish collection, including bulky items, by calling Contact Birmingham on 0121 303 1112.



What should I do with the keys to my current property?

The keys to your current home should be taken to your local neighbourhood office unless an alternative arrangement has been made with your clearance housing officer.

If you fail to return your keys on the date agreed, you will be charged an extra week’s rent. We will not process your ‘Home Loss’ payment (see below) until the keys to your property have been returned and we are satisfied that you have not left any rubbish at the property, including in the garden.

Will I be entitled to any compensation?

If you have lived in your property for 12 months or more, a statutory ‘Home Loss’ payment currently of £4,700 (reviewed annually by Central Government) is payable when you move out. If you have lived in your property for less than 12 months, you may be entitled to a pro-rata payment. For example, if you have lived there for six months you will receive half.

Your payment will be adjusted to take account of any current and late tenancy arrears, and rechargeable repairs to your existing or previous tenancies.

This payment can only be claimed after you have moved to your new home and handed in keys to your current property. We will arrange for a cheque to be sent to you as quickly as possible following receipt of your completed Home Loss form. Payments are usually made within four to six weeks.

You can also apply for a ‘Disturbance Allowance’ to claim back some of the money that you have spent because of moving home. For example, you can claim the costs of adapting carpets and curtains, although you cannot claim the costs of buying new ones. We will discuss how you can make your claim when your housing officer visits you. It is very important that you keep receipts for all payments you make so your claim can be properly assessed.

We will provide a free removal service within the City of Birmingham, and pay compensation regardless of what type of property or tenancy you move to.

What help will I get to move?

We are committed to ensuring that your move is as stress-free as possible.

To help you, we will arrange and pay to move your furniture and belongings to your new home. After your removal has been booked we can arrange for boxes to be delivered to you for you to pack your possessions. We will also arrange for qualified engineers to disconnect and reconnect your cooker and washing machine, free of charge.

To ensure your property is secured on the day you move out, and to protect other residents in the area, we encourage you to book a morning removal.

I am currently in receipt of Housing and Council Tax Benefits. How do these transfer to my new address?

If you accept another Birmingham City Council tenancy, the necessary forms will be completed when you sign to accept the property. Your benefits will then transfer to your new address. If you accept a Housing Association tenancy, you may need to make an appointment at your local neighbourhood office if you need help to complete the forms.

HOME OWNERS

What support and assistance can I get?

It is Birmingham City Council’s policy to make every effort to assist homeowners to re-purchase a new property. As with council tenants, a dedicated officer will visit you to discuss the range of support and assistance that can be provided. At your first rehousing meeting you will receive a copy of our Clearance Information Pack which contains detailed guidance. You can also download it from our 'Regeneration and Clearance' web page.

If you wish to access some of the more complex financial assistance packages, another officer may need to visit you and explain these options in greater detail.

What are my rehousing options?

You are entitled to the same level of support and assistance to access the range of options that are available for council tenants. This includes being eligible to receive offers of Birmingham City Council accommodation, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria contained in the Allocation Scheme.

As an owner, what compensation am I entitled to?

As with tenants you are entitled by law to receive compensation for ‘Home Loss’. This is subject to the same conditions as described for tenants and will be the equivalent of ten percent of the agreed market value of your property.

For example if a re-purchase valuation has been agreed of £70,000 you will be entitled to receive this plus another £7,000 after you have vacated. Your 'Home Loss' payment will be reduced if you do not live in the property, for example, if you are a landlord. Our clearance officers will be able to give you further advice.

You are also entitled to disturbance compensation as described for tenants, as long as you live in the property.

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What help will I get to move?

This is the same as with council tenants (see above), if you live in the property.

What financial support can I get to help me buy a new home?

In addition to general help and support throughout the process we will be able to:

  • help you to obtain free independent financial advice about mortgages
  • provide you with a list of suitable agents who you can appoint to act on your behalf
  • assist you with searching for suitable new properties
  • assist and advise you in dealings with insurance companies.

You may also be entitled to access some of our financial assistance packages, including Equity Loans and Relocation Grants. These are designed to bridge the gap between what you can afford following a valuation and the cost of purchasing a similar property.

OTHER

Can I become more involved in helping to monitor the clearance service?

Yes you can – we value feedback from customers as it helps us to improve and develop our services. If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved, please telephone the Clearance Team on 0121 303 1892.

How else can I share my views on the clearance service?

Please email your comments to clearance@birmingham.gov.uk, or send a letter to Clearance Team, Land and Property, PO Box 16579, Birmingham B2 2GQ.

Who do I contact if I have any questions about clearance?

If you have a general question, you can telephone the Clearance Team on 0121 303 1892 or email clearance@birmingham.gov.uk. If you are currently affected by clearance you should speak to your clearance housing officer, as they will be able to answer any of your questions.