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The decision to decant or work around existing tenants will depend what work is to be done, especially to common facilities. It may be possible to work around the residents but major structural works, soil stack replacement etc. will generally require some form of decanting.

Decanting itself is a hugely disruptive process for residents, especially elderly people who have lived in a block for many years. It needs to be very carefully planned and managed. It is obviously best if residents are temporarily rehoused as near as possible to the block.

For some refurbishment it may be possible to decant from floor to floor. If a few floors can be vacated, residents from other floors can be temporarily rehoused in flats on these floors while their own floors are dealt with and then moved back and the process repeated with people from the next set of floors.

However if major structural work is to be done this may not be an option. People will then need to be moved (with possessions etc.) into other homes. This is likely to be the single most complex operation within the refurbishment process! Every household will have slightly different needs and the fail and elderly will need close attention.

What needs to be done

Start the planning as early as possible. If the whole block is to be decanted decide this and let people know this is planned. There will be a lot of questions and negotiation to be done. A ‘Decant Agreement’ with each household will be essential and will need to be agreed with whatever organisation represents the interests of the residents. The decant agreement is a legal document that advises residents of the decant package that they will receive when they move.

  • A ‘decant package’ might include:
  • A Homeloss Payment (to comply with the Land Compensation Act 1973)
  • Redirection of post paid for
  • Telephone reconnection paid for
  • Disconnection and Reconnection of appliances paid for
  • Money for carpets, curtains and in some cases furnishings

Social services and housing officers from the local council or RSL will need to be heavily involved and a formal liaison body should be set up to monitor progress and ensure that all the problems are dealt with.

The Edmonton project reviewed as part of this work ran a successful decanting operation. More information can be found on their website:


Project partners:           | Price Myers: Sustainability |Battle McCarthy | Architype | STBI | Franklin Andrews |            


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