- How do I qualify to be a resident?
- How does the charity appoint a resident?
- What type of occupancy will I have and how secure is it?
- Do I pay rent?
- What does the weekly maintenance contribution cover?
- Can I claim housing benefit?
- Is my privacy maintained?
- Are the flats unfurnished?
How do I qualify to be a resident?
- You must be a person of good character and limited means currently living in the London Borough of Hammersmith and have been resident there for at least five years or a previous resident of the area for at least 10 years.
- You must be in a reasonable state of health and capable of looking after yourself in a self-contained flat.
- You must, where applicable, meet the other site-specific criteria, as outlined in the sections on our accommodation page.
How does the Charity appoint a resident?
- The appointment of residents is made without prejudice to the interests of existing residents.
- We keep a register of all applications.
- We ask applicants to complete the Charity’s Application Form; we also ask for details of income and evidence of applicants’ entitlement to appointment.
- We shortlist a maximum of 12 applicants although in practice it will be far fewer. We invite applicants for an interview with a small group of our Trustees and the housing manager.
- Trustees must select applicants on the basis of who is in greatest need.
What type of occupancy will I have and how secure is it?
Hammersmith United Charities cannot grant tenancies for the occupation of its flats because the property is protected by a trust, like all almshouses. The trust is there to make sure the properties cannot be used for anything other than providing housing. Our resident have a license to occupy their homes; that makes them legal beneficiaries of the Charity and therefore entitled to live in our trust protected flats. After residents receive their license, trustees cannot ask them to leave unless they
- have been appointed without having the necessary qualifications or have provided incorrect information on the application form;
- no longer have the required qualifications
- suffer from an infirmity that means they are unsuited to remain a resident, for example they cannot any longer live independently and need to move to residential care;
- are in persistent arrears with their weekly maintenance contributions;
- persistently or without reasonable excuse disregard the residents regulations or disturb the quiet occupation of the flats or behave in an aggravating or offensive manner;
- in exceptional circumstances (as determined by the Trustees and including but not limited to violent or threatening behaviour or racial or sexual harassment towards other beneficiaries, Charity staff or lawful visitors to the Almshouse Accommodation) a single breach may result in the Trustees terminating an appointment.
Do I pay rent?
Instead of paying rent, residents are asked to make a weekly contribution to the maintenance and running costs of the almshouse and the communal areas. Contributions are paid monthly in advance.
What does the weekly maintenance contribution charge cover?
- Contribution towards central staff and administration costs
- Heating and hot water in communal areas
- Maintenance and redecoration of buildings
- Cleaning in communal areas
- Lighting in communal areas
In addition, residents pay their own domestic electricity (lighting, cooking and other appliances),a charge for heating and hot water, the cost of their telephone, their council tax and other living expenses. Hammersmith United Charities makes a grant from its own resources to cover some of residents’ costs for heating and hot water in individual flats. The Charity also pays all the costs of residents water rates and residents’ support systems.
Can I claim housing benefit?
Residents living in the almshouses can claim Housing Benefit, subject to status. It can either be paid to the residents or directly to Hammersmith United Charities. Housing Benefit excludes the cost of heating and hot water.
Is my privacy maintained?
Once you become an almshouse resident you have your own set of keys. Hammersmith United Charities’ have a second set, but our staff will only enter an almshouse without invitation if the resident is believed to be in need of help or if the resident is not in their flat and there is a problem with services e.g. a water leak. At all other times residents have total privacy.
Are the flats unfurnished?
The almshouses are provided unfurnished. However some do have carpets, curtains and other items of furniture left by the previous occupant and these are made available to the incoming resident as a gift.