Cirencester Housing has now transferred all of its homes to Cottsway. If you live in one of their properties you should have received a pack with more information. Read about the transfer

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Cirencester Housing transfer

Cirencester Housing has taken the decision to transfer all 176 of its homes to Cottsway. We will take ownership of these homes on 1 December 2023 and will become responsible on that date for their maintenance and services for the customers living in them.

Cirencester Housing decided to merge with Cottsway at a meeting held on 19 October 2023. This transfer decision comes at a time when housing associations are facing increasing regulatory requirements and a challenging economic climate.

Cirencester Housing took the decision as it felt that Cottsway was better equipped to take on the regulatory challenges, while being able to provide the best for their customers. 

For more information see the press release: Cirencester Housing to transfer stock to Cottsway

What this means for current Cirencester Housing customers

You should have received a letter from Cirencester Housing explaining about the decision to go ahead with the transfer and details of what to expect next. If you have not received this letter, please call them on 01285 658377.

Cirencester Housing will remain responsible for your property and all the services you receive until 1 December. This means that you simply need to continue to contact them in the same way that you have always done, until the merger officially happens.

We will take over responsibility for your home on Friday 1 December 2023 and you should then contact us with any issues about your home.

Before the transfer officially happens in December, we will:

  • send you a Cottsway rent card by post - this has your unique 19-digit Allpay reference number and your Cottsway customer account number on it.
  • carry out home visits to deliver a welcome pack with information about becoming a Cottsway customer. We will try to speak to as many of you as possible during these visits in late November. 

Please be assured that Cirencester Housing will keep us informed of customer requests that remain outstanding by 1 December and we will contact you as soon as possible about this after the transfer has happened.

We understand that this may be a worrying time so we will be keeping in touch with you throughout the process and in the meantime have tried to address some of the queries you may have below.

More about the transfer

Cirencester Housing has decided that transferring to Cottsway will:

  • Ensure its social purpose will continue.
  • Ensure capacity to comply with regulations and respond to the external operating environment
  • Bring greater benefits to Cirencester Housing customers through more robust and additional or enhanced services, along with the capability to invest in new affordable homes.

As part of this transfer, Cottsway has committed to delivering merger promises. from 1 December 2023, transferring customers will have access to:

  • All Cottsway services - including a central customer services team to help with all repair requests and support with your queries and complaints.
  • Access to a Community Fund to support individuals, groups and projects.
  • Priority access to independent welfare and debt advice.
  • Tenancy support and pre-tenancy support.
  • Access to support from a dedicated team of Tenancy Support and Sustainment officers to assist with any tenancy matters.
  • Referrals to local food banks and other support agencies.
  • Free coaching and mentoring for customers in need of employment support or further education advice.
  • Digital inclusion through training, free loan of tech and wifi dongles.
  • Community events and clean-up days.
  • Furniture reuse scheme.
  • The opportunity to join or assist Cottsway’s customer Scrutiny Group, along with other ways to give feedback via surveys and be kept informed, including access to a closed Facebook for customers and regular customer updates.
  • Access to training and resources to support tenant involvement and engagement.
  • Support for vulnerable customers with any welfare needs, including out of hours as required.

In addition, we will also:

  • Establish a Legacy Fund with the use of this to be determined by Cirencester customers – we will reach out to ask your views on this in early 2024.
  • Deliver planned home improvement works set out by Cirencester Housing.
  • Deliver an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least a C by 2030 and achieve NetZero requirements as set-out by the government.
  • Continue to develop in the Cirencester area.
  • June 2023: Cirencester Housing Board contact customers and stakeholders to let them know about merger proposal.
  • 3 July-15 August: 6-week stakeholder engagement and tenant consultation for feedback from customers and others.
  • End August: Cirencester Board received feedback from engagement and considered the impact on its proposal to merge into Cottsway.
  • Late September: Consultation feedback collated and customers updated. 
  • October: Cirencester Housing’s Shareholders voted to proceed with a transfer and customers notified of decision and informed about next steps.
  • November: Cirencester Housing customers to be sent a new Cottsway rent card and further information about what the transfer means for them and how to contact Cottsway.
  • 1 December 2023: Transfer to Cottsway and Cirencester Housing dissolved.


Your housing officers will be Tom Coggins, who has transferred across to Cottsway from Cirencester Housing, and Matt Harper. Many of you will already know Tom and we are pleased to welcome him and some of the other Cirencester Housing staff who have decided to join us at Cottsway.

Matt is an experienced housing officer and has already been covering our existing homes in the Cirencester area.

Tom and Matt will be doing estate visits on 5 and 6 December and hopes to get to see you then. We will keep you updated if there is any change to your housing officer/s in the future.

If you need to get in touch about anything, our customer services team are your first point of contact, so please contact us

There will be no changes to your tenancy agreement. Cottsway will simply take over the contract and we will continue to honour your agreement.  All your current terms and conditions remain unchanged.

Your current agreement continues to stand. You remain as the leaseholder and Cottsway becomes the freeholder, rather than Cirencester Housing, assuming all our responsibilities under the lease agreement. Your rent payments and lease responsibilities will continue in line with your agreement.

Your rent, and any service charges you may pay, will remain the same under the transfer.  

Your final payment to Cirencester Housing will be in November 2023. From 1 December 2023, your rent payments will need to be made to Cottsway. 

There are various ways to pay your rent, but the easiest is via Direct Debit or by using our My Cottsway customer portal - you can sign up for this from 1 December using the unique customer account number we will send you by post (see more information below).

We will be working to ensure that the switchover for rent payments is as hassle-free as possible for you:

  • If you pay by Direct Debit – This will be transferred over by allpay (our payment provider). You will receive a letter from allpay confirming to you that the amount and date of the month you pay will stay the same. Your future bank statements will show payments taken by Cottsway.

  • If you pay by standing order – You will need to instruct your bank by 1 December to change your rent payments to Cottsway. Please contact us on 01993 890000 for details.

  • If you receive Universal Credit - We will instruct the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in landlord. This should not trigger any change in circumstances or stop you from receiving payments. Depending on the cycle of your payment, we will ensure direct payment arrangements are made to us from 1 December. You will still have access to your own DWP claim and will be able to make comments about your claim through the journal or by contacting them directly.

  • If you receive Housing Benefit (HB) - We have informed your local authority of the transfer to ensure payments are made directly to Cottsway. This will not trigger any change in circumstances or stop payments and you should continue to receive Housing Benefit as you do now.

  • Rent cards - Regardless of how you pay your rent, you will receive a Cottsway rent card in the post before 1 December. This card can be used at most outlets such as local supermarkets, post office or garages, to pay your rent. You can also pay by phone with a debit or credit card using our automated service (you will need the 19-digit allpay number on the front of your card to do this). Call 01993 890000 and select our 24-hour payment service. Please do not use this card until 1 December. After this date, your old card will need to be destroyed to avoid confusion with any future payments.

  • Payment plans - Any existing arrangements to pay rent including court orders will automatically be honoured and transferred over to us. Your account status will transfer to Cottsway on the 1 December as is, so for example, if your account is in credit or arrears at this point, this will be your opening balance with Cottsway.

Cottsway does not have facilities to receive cash payments for rent or other charges. 

However, we can support you in opening a bank account or talk to you about different ways to pay depending on your personal circumstances. Please call us if you need to discuss this.

My Cottsway customer portal
You can use this to view your rent balance, payment history and make payments online 24/7. You will need your new Cottsway customer account number to register. This is shown beneath your name on your new Cottsway rent card which you should receive in the post by 1 December 2023.

My Cottsway is also available to use as an app on smartphones via App Store and Google Play.

To find out more and register after 1 December, once you have received your customer account number, see: My Cottsway

Your rent payments will not change at this time. Like all housing associations, we review rents annually. This process begins in September and follows Government guidelines, based on the September Consumer Price Index (CPI). Cirencester Housing followed this same process and the percentage rent increase has been applied in the same way by both housing associations.

We will write to all customers in early 2024 to let you know the outcome of the current rent review for 2024-25. The financial year runs from the beginning of April to the end of March, so any increase in rent will be applied from the start of April 2024 and we will write to you again confirming your new payment amount before that date.

Any services charges that you pay will also stay the same at this time. These charges are also reviewed annually and we will consult with you when the next annual review takes place.

After 1 December, when we become responsible for your home and services, please get in touch as soon as possible if you find yourself struggling to pay your rent. We are here to help.

For more information, see: Money advice and help

From 1 December, Cottsway will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance at rented properties. We will be picking up on any outstanding repair requests that Cirencester Housing has been unable to complete and will be in touch with you as soon as possible if this applies to you.

To request a repair, please contact our customer services team via the Cottsway website using live chat, by completing an online form, by email or by phone. The team are very experienced at logging repairs, diagnosing what priority should be given to a repair, and allocating the repair to an appropriate contractor who will then contact you to schedule an appointment. 

The response times you can expect for more repairs are based on whether they are classified as an:

  •  Emergency: within 24 hours
  • Urgent: within 5 days
  • Routine: within 20 days
  • Non-routine: within 90 days

For more information, see: Repairs and maintenance

Yes, from 1 December 2023. This decision was mutually agreed with NKS. The new contractor will be A1 Maintenance – some of you may be familiar with them already as they have provided some services for Cirencester Housing in the past.

John Knowles & Son will continue to provide annual gas service checks.

Cirencester Grounds Maintenance and communal cleaning contractor A1 Maintenance will continue to provide these services - if you receive them - for the foreseeable future.

We will let you know in advance if we ever need to change any of the contractors that provide services to you on our behalf. 

We will honour the property investment plan announced by Cirencester Housing in April 2023.

We have an assets team to help us plan for other on-going maintenance work to our homes. They carry out stock condition surveys and will be in touch to get to know your home (and you).

Cottsway is committed to carry out additional works that we believe are in the best interest of you and your home. When it comes to key components, such as a kitchen or bathroom, these have an expected lifecycle and we schedule replacements using due dates held on record, and these due dates are checked and updated during surveys.

We will always keep you updated on any planned maintenance to your home.

For more information, see: Planned maintenance

We will be continuing to use the same contractor to provide these service.

We will let you know if there are going to be any major changes to your cleaning service at any time in the future.

For more information on the standards you can expect, please see: Communal areas and cleaning

We hope you are very happy in your home, but we realise that issues can sometimes be caused by unreasonable behaviour. We expect our customers to behave respectfully and we are committed to resolving issues quickly and fairly if it does become an issue.

We will become responsible for providing services to you from 1 December 2023. To find out more about our approach to ASB and the ways to report this, see: Anti-social behaviour

We want to deliver the most effective services for you and we are reviewing how estate inspections will run. We will contact you to let you know and, once the details are finalised, we will publish dates for inspections on our website: Estate inspections

No. The local housing registers are managed by the local authority, so this change will not impact on your position on the housing waiting list.

Yes, as a mutual exchange can happen with any social landlord or local authority across the country.

Cirencester Housing remains responsible for your home and services until 1 December 2023, so please continue to contact them in the usual way until this time.

After 1 December, our customer services team will be your first point of contact and they will always try to deal with your enquiry as quickly as possible.

There are a variety of ways that you can contact us and we will respond to anything that is urgent within 24 hours.

In-person meetings will still be available and wherever possible our team members will visit you in your home, or another agreed location.

We will be continuing an arrangement to keep the Cirencester Housing office for a short time after the transfer, but this won’t be open on a day-to-day basis as we are experienced at responding to enquiries online, by phone and in person via home visits. We are confident this is best for everyone.

For more information about the different ways to get in touch, see: Contact us

Further information about joining Cottsway

We value your views and want you to be able to tell us when we are doing something well, or where we need to improve.

There will be various ways for you to get involved and have your say - from taking part in quarterly customer satisfaction surveys to sharing your feedback after you’ve received a service such as a repair, or by being more hands on and joining or assisting Cottsway’s Customer Scrutiny Group or Procurement Group.

Alternatively, you could simply give your feedback by getting in touch with us - all customer feedback is reviewed by one of our managers and any compliments and complaints are reviewed by our service managers.

We publish the results of quarterly surveys to keep you informed about what our customers are telling us. To find these and for more information, see: Our customer feedback

To find out more about how we deal with complaints, see: Complain or give feedback

Once you become a Cottsway customer on 1 December 2023, would you like to:

  • Be part of a team of customers who monitor performance, identify improvements and bring about change?
  • Make new friends and develop your skills and experience across a wide range of areas?

If so, our Scrutiny Group is looking for new members to join them and would love to hear from you.

For more information, see: Join our Scrutiny Group

From 1 December, you will be able to sign up to our customer portal to view your rent balance and payment history, make payments, set up Direct Debits and update your contact details online 24/7.

You will need your customer account number to register - this can be found beneath your name on your new rent card which is being sent to you by post in late November.

My Cottsway is also available to download on your smartphone as an app from the App Store and Google Play.

We are currently working to make improvements to My Cottsway to introduce more services to help you manage your tenancy, so make sure you’re registered. 

Visit: Register for My Cottsway

During the first 3 months after the transfer happens on 1 December 2023, we will:

  • Carry out estate walkabouts on December 5 and 6. We hope to meet you in person then.
  • Start carrying out visits by a qualified surveyor to check the condition of everything and get to know your home – and you – better.
  • Plan in regular estate visits to check the condition of your estate, buildings and communal areas, and we will report any maintenance repairs required. Details of when these will happen will be added to: Estate inspections

During spring / summer 2024, we will:

  • Carry out 2 community clear-up events during the Easter school holiday and May half term break. We’ll be in touch if these are happening in a location near your home. The grounds maintenance contractor will be on-hand at this event.
  • Organise a summer event in the the local community for you to come along and meet us, with fun activities for families. 
  • Contact you to ask for your views on the Legacy Fund that we have promised to deliver as part of this merger and use your feedback to shape proposals – and we will keep you informed on the progress. 

We will also:

  • Send you an update every April and October for the next 3 years to keep you informed on how we are performing overall, satisfactions with repairs, what is happening about the Cirencester Legacy Fund, and planned maintenance and component replacement promises.
  • Work with Acuity, an independent market research company, to carry out surveys to find out how you are feeling about Cottsway and the services you have received

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