Our policies

Your 2020 Tenancy handbook download a copy of your Tenancy Agreement.

20/20 rarely has empty homes, but when we do, we allocate them to people in housing need who wish to live in co-operative housing.  Where applicants have similar needs for housing, we will give preference to those who actively wish to participate in the running of the co-op.

We use a joint waiting list used by other housing co-ops in Birmingham that is administered by BCHS.  This joint waiting list is usually only open for a two-week period (usually in February).  Contact BCHS for further information.

Our members may request a transfer to a different property in the co-op or in other co-ops, but to be included on the transfer list, members must ensure that their rent accounts are and remain in credit.

Our members may also arrange a mutual exchange with another person living in social housing anywhere in the country, but the incoming person with whom they are exchanging must be eligible for the home and they must be prepared to become a member of the co-op and comply with our policies.

It should be noted that because of the distinctive nature of the co-op, 20/20 cannot offer its members a Right to Buy their homes and will never be able to do so.

20/20 members can report repairs during working hours (Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm) to BCHS, who we pay to manage our repairs.  You can report repairs to them in person, by telephone, or by letter.

NB. BCHS is closed for lunch between 1.00pm and 2.00pm and for training on Wednesday afternoons. If you have an emergency repair during those times, please use the emergency numbers below.

Telephone: 0121 442 5001 (select option 1)
BCHS, 106 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8EF

Emergency repairs are done within 24 hours – an emergency and make safe repairs service is available 24 hours every day including public holiday periods, to remove danger and make your home and its occupants safe.  Emergency repairs put the health, safety or security of members or others at immediate risk or affect the structure of the building.  They include:

  • gas leaks
  • total loss of electricity – check if your meter is working or if there is a power cut before calling the emergency number
  • unsafe electrical sockets or fittings
  • severe roof leak
  • blockage of your only toilet
  • blocked overflowing drain
  • burst water pipe where you can’t stop the supply or turn off the water
  • minor water leak which cannot be contained and is likely to cause damage
  • boarding up a door or window – we may recharge you for this unless it is as a result of a crime and you have a crime reference number
  • securing a ground floor door or window
  • loss of keys – we will recharge you for this unless it is as a result of a crime and you have a crime reference number

Urgent repairs are done or made safe within 7 days – repairs which could affect the health, safety or security of residents; damage the property; or which could severely inconvenient residents if not addressed urgently.  They include:

  • hot water supply and central heating problems (dependent on the weather and the health and/or age of the people living in the house)
  • dangerous roof tiles
  • rotten flooring
  • leaking overflows or guttering

Standard repairs are done within 28 days – all other repairs are included in this category.   They include:

  • front door sticking
  • gate post loose
  • plasterwork repairs
  • easing or re-fitting doors or windows
  • minor plumbing leaks
  • repairs to floors and paths that are not hazardous

Repairs where estimates are needed, or where specialist work or scaffolding is required may take longer.  BCHS will let you know if this is the case.

If your repairs are not done as set out here, please either get in touch with BCHS, or with a committee member or by e-mail at info@2020.coop

You can pay your rent in one of the following ways:

  1. by standing order or by BACS payments to 20/20’s bank account. 20/20’s bank details are as follows: Sort code: 30 – 65 – 49 | Account number: 51360168
  2. by payments by cash or cheque using your Allpay card where Allpay cards are accepted. If you lose or do not have an Allpay card and wish to use this method of payment, please contact BCHS
  3. some 20/20 members continue to have their rent paid through Housing Benefit directly to 20/20, but this is being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

We need our members to regularly pay their rent and we hope that members will be able to keep their rent accounts in credit.  However, we recognise that on occasions members have difficulties to pay their rent.  If you are having such difficulties, please get in touch with BCHS as soon as possible.

If you wish to know the balance of your rent account, or if you want advice and support regarding claiming benefits that might help you with your rent, please get in touch with BCHS.  20/20 sends a quarter rent statement to all of our members to keep you in touch with your rent payments.  If you consider that a mistake has been made on your rent account, please get in touch with BCHS.

Our full rent arrears policy is available here.

20/20 increases its rents and service charges once a year at the beginning of October.  There are limits set by Government regarding the maximum amount we can increase the rent, but the committee usually recommends a rent increase lower than this maximum amount.  Service charges are set in accordance with costs for providing services.  All members have an opportunity to have their say about what rent and service charge increases should be at a General Meeting held in August.

We hope that our members will not feel the need to make a complaint, but if we get things wrong or if there is something we could improve, then we want to hear about it.

Members (or others) can make:

  • an informal complaint – which means we will try to address the problem you are raising as quickly as we can or
  • a formal complaint – which means we will also try to address the problem quickly, but we will also manage the complaint formally in accordance with our complaints procedure.

Complaints need to be in writing, but we will assist members to put complaints in writing if they want us to.  Complaints can be raised with BCHS or with a member of the committee.

There are various parts to our complaints procedure, but a formal complaint involves the following:

  • an investigation of the complaint, which will probably involve interviews with the complainant and anyone else involved
  • us formally stating our position on the complaint – ie. whether we think the complaint was justified or not and what we are going to do about it
  • if the complainant is not happy with our position – they can request a review of the complaint and someone different will hear the review.

 If a complainant is still not happy with the outcome of their complaint, they may be able raise the matter with the Housing Ombudsman Service.

There are different types of complaints:

Management complaints – where a complainant wishes to complain about one of our housing services.  These complaints will be dealt with in accordance with our complaints procedure (available here).

Anti-social behaviour or harassment complaints – where one or more complainants want to complain about the behaviour of one of our members, their families or their visitors, or about someone else who they consider is causing them problems.  These complaints will be dealt with in accordance with our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy (available here).

Neighbour disputes – where two or more neighbours have disputes with each other.  These will also be dealt with in accordance with our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy.

Governance complaints – where a complainant wishes to complain about how one or more of our committee members is behaving in relation to their role on the committee.  This will be dealt with in accordance with our Code of Conduct (available here).

Fire and gas safety are key issues for 20/20.

We urge all our members to:

  1. regularly check that their smoke alarms are operating as they should
  2. consider carefully what they would do in the event of a fire
  3. ensure that they know what their escape routes are in the event of fire and that they are not blocked
  4. consider how they can prevent fires

 We employ a Fire Safety Officer – who is trained to identify potential fire risks – to regularly inspect the communal areas in our flats – and we act on any recommendations they make to us.  Those living in flats should not:

  • put any items in the communal hallways of flats
  • let people into the communal areas unless they know who they are
  • make alterations to the structure of their homes without asking 20/20’s permission

20/20 is required by law to have all our gas appliances inspected and maintained on an annual basis and to do gas safety checks when a new tenant moves in.  This means we require our members to give access to gas safety engineers when gas appliances are to be serviced.  Changing safety standards have meant that 20/20 has now replaced nearly all our back boilers.  This is also hopefully resulting in members having low fuel costs.

Equality, diversity and fairness – 20/20 has an Equality, Diversity and Fairness Policy (available here) where we:

  • recognise that groups and individuals have suffered, and continue to suffer from discrimination
  • recognise the need for equality of opportunity and the management of diversity in all aspects of our operations. It is our intention to ensure that nobody receives less favourable treatment from us or agents acting on our behalf on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, marital status, responsibility for dependants, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender reassignment, social status, political, cultural or religious beliefs.
  • aim to take practical actions to eliminate discrimination, unfairness, inequality and disadvantage, developing initiatives and interventions to promote and value diversity in the co-op. The co-op expects agents and contractors working for it to actively recognise and manage diversity in the workplace.
  • ensure that all committee members and others working on behalf of the co-op are fully aware of their responsibilities towards the promotion of equal opportunities and valuing diversity, that they are properly equipped to take account of the different and special needs of particular groups and make provision for those groups.

Racial harassment – 20/20 will aim to ensure that no member, resident, staff member or other person lives in fear of racial harassment or violence.  20/20 will not tolerate racial harassment or violence and will take steps to eradicate it.  The report on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999) defines a racist incident as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.  Racial harassment and abuse can occur in a variety of forms. Whilst this list is not exhaustive it indicates the range of unacceptable behaviour:

  • racial abuse – verbal and written
  • racially abusive behaviour such as spitting, threats, theft, offensive items left on doors and posted through letterbox
  • physical assaults on victims, their dependants and relatives
  • incitement – stirring up racial hatred by a variety of means such as petitions, leaflets and stickers
  • damage to property – such as racist graffiti and slogans, bricks through windows and doors, damage to cars, other possessions and arson
  • threats to wellbeing or life – such as lighted matches or rags being put through a letterbox
  • behaviour such as wearing racist badges or insignia. Circulating racist material or material from groups known to be racist via social media.
  • racist graffiti.

If a member or anyone connected to 20/20 considers that they are the victim of racial harassment, they may raise the issue with a 20/20 committee member or BCHS, and we will discuss appropriate action to address the problem with them.

Domestic violence – statistics drawn from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that some 7.5% of women and 4.4% of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in 2016/17, equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female and 713,000 male victims.  Overall, 26% of women and 15% of men aged 16 to 59 had experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.  These figures were equivalent to an estimated 4.3 million female and 2.4 million male victims.

Our members, residents and staff working with us should not live in fear of domestic violence or abuse.  We are committed to providing a sensitive response, working with organisations with expertise in managing domestic violence and abuse cases, to anyone asking for assistance in cases of domestic violence and abuse.  Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone regardless of gender or transgender status, social group, class, economic status, age, race, disability, religion or geographic location.

Making alterations to your home – members need to ask the co-op’s permission if they wish to make alterations or improvements to their homes.

As a fully mutual housing co-operative, 20/20 issues a contractual tenancy agreement (available here).  This means that member rights and responsibilities are contained within the tenancy agreement, as opposed to some tenancy rights for the assured tenants of housing associations which are set out in law.

In practice, a fully mutual housing co-operative tenancy operates in similar ways to how assured tenancies work, but there are some specific issues:

  1. There is no Right to Buy, Voluntary Right to Buy, or Right to Acquire attached to co-op contractual tenancies
  2. Co-op members have a legal right to participate in general meetings of the co-op where key policy decisions are taken
  3. If a Notice to Quit is issued to a member in accordance with our agreed policies (eg. a member had not paid their rent or had committed major anti-social behaviour), the tenancy terminates after four weeks. The co-op would still have to apply to the courts for possession of the home, but if the co-op had correctly followed its policies, the courts would have to grant possession.
  4. Membership of the co-op and being a tenant are permanently linked. Tenants must remain members of the co-op for the duration of their tenancy.