The Charity of Mrs Mabel Luke provides one and two-bedroom flats for households in need of decent rented housing, who are residents of Newbury or the parish of Greenham, or who have other strong connections, such as working here. However, we keep our own waiting list, so if you apply to us we will let you know if a suitable vacancy occurs.
Applicants can be nominated through the West Berkshire Housing Register or can apply directly to the Charity
What does it mean to be an almshouse resident?
Being an almshouse resident is similar to being a housing association tenant in practical terms. But there are three important legal differences.
You are issued a licence, not a tenancy. Because of their long history and charitable status, almshouses are allowed to issue licences, which instead give residents less security of tenure than, say, an assured short-hold tenancy. The Charity will permit you to continue living at Mabel Luke place so long as you keep to the terms of the licence agreement you enter into, which essentially means:
Not having arrears on the charges you have agreed to pay
Keeping your property in good order
Your family size does not become larger than the property was intended for
You or your visitors do not create a nuisance or antisocial behaviour towards others
Should the Charity decide that you no longer comply with the licence terms, it can issue you with a Notice to Quit, but it would not be able to enforce this without a court order
You pay a ‘weekly maintenance charge’ (‘WMC’) instead of rent. This covers all the costs of managing and maintaining the property, providing any services (such as cleaning communal areas or keeping the gardens smart) and a rental element; so not that much different from rent. Your WMC can rise only once each year and at Mabel Luke Place, your WMC is converted to a monthly charge.
Unlike tenants of other social landlords, almshouse residents cannot swap homes with people renting from other organisations (known as 'mutual exchanges'). However, if 2 households already living at Mabel Luke Place wish to swap flats the Charity would normally agree provided both remain eligible for housing there, the flats are appropriate for the familes and neither are in arrears or have been warned about nuisance behaviour.
If you want to apply for housing at Mabel Luke Place you will be given much more information about these matters and encouraged to seek professional legal advice so that you understand your rights and responsibilities.
Who can apply?
If you are in need of housing and you live or work in Newbury or Greenham, you may be eligible. You are advised to register with West Berkshire Council on their housing waiting list (http://www.homechoicewestberks.org.uk/) as the council has the right to nominate households from their waiting list to several of the flats at Mabel Luke Place. But we do also accept direct applications.
What accommodation is available?
There are four one-bedroomed flats and twelve two-bedroomed flats at Mabel Luke Place. Since we re-opened in 2018 after a complete re-development, our flats have been very popular and few households have left, so it may be some time before any vacancies arise. However, we keep our own waiting list, so if you are accepted onto our waiting list we will let you know if any opportunities come up.
How much will you pay?
The weekly maintenance charges from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 are set at:
2 Bed Flats
1 Bed Flats
The service charge part covers the costs of providing services such as cleaning communal areas, gardening, window cleaning and electricity used in the halls and stairways. If your household receives Universal Credit or other benefits, your benefits officer may need to know what part of the WMC is meant to cover such costs.
Residents must pay their own council tax, water, gas and electric bills and their TV licence (there is a communal TV aerial for the main terrestrial channels).
What about parking?
If you have a vehicle, you will be given one resident's parking permit, entitling you to an exclusive numbered parking space
Each household is issued with one visitor's permit for the use of occasional visitors.
Spaces are limited and available first-come, first-served. There is short-term parking in the road outside.
The Permits are issued free of charge but if you lose one you will be asked to pay the administrative charge for replacing it.
The car park is regularly patrolled by parking wardens to prevent unauthorised parking.
How do we ensure a good environment?
The Charity supports residents by:
dealing with all routine repairs and maintenance
cleaning of communal areas
external window cleaning
upkeep of communal garden areas
What about pets?
Pets are not permitted in the development.
Am I eligible to be a resident with the Charity of Mrs Mabel Luke?
The full allocation policy can be found here.
Policies relating to day-to-day living in the development are to be found here.