Friars Close: Revitalising the estate and providing better homes

Friars Close redevelopment FAQs


To help explain the redevelopment project in more detail, we’ve created a list of frequently asked questions from residents together with our responses. These will be updated regularly. You can ask questions by emailing: [email protected]

I have been checking Kalmars website regularly and there are not many 3-bedroom homes for rent available. Why is that?

We appreciate it can be difficult to locate the larger size homes due to the shortage and demand of rental properties in central London. In addition to this, some of the lease requirements we have put in place to protect you during your temporary stay are not desirable to all landlords. Kalmars and Riverside are working hard to increase the options of homes for rent; we encourage residents to continue to visit their web portal and contact the team on 020 7940 7980 or [email protected] to arrange viewings or enquire about properties.

I need parking and there are not many homes for rent available that come with parking.

We appreciate the challenges in trying to secure homes across London (not just in Southwark) that come with a parking space. Kalmars have listed some properties that come with parking, however they are hard to come by and we would urge you to consider looking at and offering on these properties, if parking is a top priority for you.

As you know, parking can come at a considerable cost and Riverside has a limited budget, we therefore urge you to look at those properties that come with free parking. If you find listings of suitable properties with parking on alternative search sites (such as Rightmove or Zoopla), please send those to Kalmars so that they can negotiate directly with the agents managing those properties.

Have you contacted large developers about temporary home search?

Yes, Kalmars is exploring this option and they have been in conversation with developers who have homes for rent in the local area (including Elephant & Castle), conversations remain ongoing to negotiate the lease and we will update residents once we have more information to share.

How do I amend the search area on websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla?

In efforts to seek more options for temporary homes, Riverside are asking residents to broaden their search radius outside of the one mile radius. Kalmars advised at the meeting this can be done by adjusting the area on the map, so that you can include desirable locations outside of the one-mile radius. The team at Kalmars can help you with this if you are not sure how this is done; you can contact them on 020 7940 7980 or [email protected].

How do I arrange an appointment with the independent legal advisor?

We have recirculated the details on how to book your appointment with the independent legal advisor. Riverside has agreed to cover the cost of legal fees for up to one hour’s work in relation to your temporary move. Any conversations that you have with the legal advisor will be treated confidentially and will not be shared with us.

Will the Council Tax increase when we move back to the new development?

The Council tax for the new development will be set by Southwark Council and we will provide further information on this as soon as this is confirmed. We want to reassure you that Riverside will cover any increase in Council Tax for your temporary home.

Can Riverside help provide additional help with the temporary home search?

Riverside appointed Kalmars to assist with securing your temporary homes as they are a specialist in this area. Riverside have noted your feedback from the resident meeting regarding the challenges you are facing when securing your temporary homes. We will review this to look at what other options we can explore to assist you. In the meantime, we ask residents to explore the following:

  • Broadening your search outside of the one mile radius
  • Downsizing
  • Viewing as many properties as you can.

Please note that your resident liaison officer and/or your independent legal advisors, Open Communities, can come along to your viewings if you require additional support and they will continue to support you throughout this process.

Who is Blackfriars Settlement?

Blackfriars Settlement are a local charitable organisation in London’s North Southwark that are looking to occupy the ground floor community spaces.

Do I need to register with Blackfriars Settlement to access their services?

You do not need to sign up to access their services; please visit their website to find out more about the great work they do in Southwark.

Will Riverside cover any increase in rent and service charges for my temporary home?

Yes, we will cover any increase in rent and service charge for your temporary home. We will remain your landlord throughout the temporary move process, and you will continue to pay your rent and service charge to us as normal.

What should I do if I am unable to find suitable properties on Kalmars’ web portal?

Kalmars have been sending regular property bulletins and are on-hand to support you with your search; however, we do appreciate that there is a shortage of homes for rent in central London and it can be sometimes difficult to locate properties of a certain size within the search area. We encourage residents who have identified properties on alternative websites that meet their housing need to let Kalmars know as they can negotiate leases with private landlords on Riverside’s behalf.

Do I have to take the first property I view?

No, you will not have to take the first property offered to you; Kalmars will work with you to identify a suitable property if you do not wish to take a property that you have viewed. However, we do ask that you are reasonable in the number of viewings you request and with have the intention to secure a property, the market is in high demand and properties are secured extremely quickly, therefore we urge residents to secure a suitable property as early as possible. Multiple viewings with no intention of securing a property is highly resourceful for the team and may be difficult to accommodate.

How do I arrange a viewing with Kalmars?

Please contact the team at Kalmars on 02079 407980 or via email at [email protected] to arrange viewings or enquire about any of the properties listed in their regular bulletins.

How do I secure a home I viewed?

If you like a property you viewed and are happy to proceed with it, we will ask you to sign a separate agreement with us for this temporary home. Riverside will remain your landlord throughout the process, and you will continue to pay your rent and service charge to us as normal. You will also have access to free independent legal advice about the changes to your tenancies before moving to your temporary home, and your Independent Tenant Advisor will continue to support you during this process.

When are we required to secure a property by?

Although you will not be required to move out of your existing home until Southwark council grant us planning permission, it is important that you secure your new home as soon as possible as homes for rent in central London are difficult to come by. We don’t want residents to be in a position whereby you have not found a property at the point of receiving planning permission as your choice of temporary home may be more limited that it is now.

What will happen to residents who haven’t found anywhere by the end of January?

Kalmars and Riverside will continue to support residents with their property search; we will also be working with you individually to resolve any issues that are preventing you from securing your temporary home.

Will I be able to take my furniture with me in my temporary home?

We would suggest that you look at homes that are either furnished or unfurnished depending on what is suitable for you. However, many of the homes for rent in the search area are partly or fully furnished, this means that you may wish to move your furniture into storage during your temporary stay, while we build the new block. Riverside will cover the cost of storing your items until such time that you are able to take them to your new permanent home. Please note that storage options will depend on an inventory of your items, the location may not be local and access to your items will be limited.

If I accept a furnished property, do I have to put down a deposit for potential damage to furniture during my stay?

The deposit for each property is covered by Riverside. This deposit covers the cost of any damages incurred to the property and/or its furniture as part of the lease with the private landlord. An inventory is conducted when you secure your temporary property which records the condition of the property and its furniture. Any damages will be addressed with you by Riverside, excessive damage may result in Riverside recovering the cost from you.

Are you covering the cost of storing furniture when this is needed?

Yes, Riverside will cover the cost of storing furniture; we will provide further details on this in due course.

Can landlords change their minds about letting the property to us between securing the property and moving in? What would happen to the resident in this instance?

Riverside will enter into a legal agreement with the private landlord that can only be ended in very limited circumstances; also, the duration of this agreement will be longer than the process of rebuilding the block. This will ensure better protection for you and your families once you move out of your existing home and, in the very unlikely event that this happened, we would support you to find suitable, alternative temporary accommodation.

Will my rent remain the same?

Rent levels will stay the same and will not change because of the redevelopment. Your rent may increase annually in line with normal inflation as it currently does.

Will we have a written guarantee of what we are entitled to in terms of keeping the same security of tenure and rights?

Yes, we will put this in writing for you, and make sure you have access to independent legal advice about the changes to your tenancy before you move out of your current home.

Will my Council Tax go up when I move out of my current home?

We will cover any increase in Council Tax, rent and service charge for the duration of your stay in your temporary home.

Once we have ended our tenancy agreement with you, how do we know that you will grant us a new home in the new development?

Riverside have made a clear commitment to ensure that we grant the right to return to a permanent home in the new development to any existing residents who wish to return to the new block. We will also follow this up in writing.

With the changes to different tenancy agreements (temporary move first, and permanent move to the new scheme), will my years with Riverside (including the temporary move) transfer over to my new tenancy and will I have the same rights as I do now?

All your rights and years of tenancy with Riverside will be protected and transferred over to the new tenancy agreement.

Where are you looking for temporary homes?

For those of you who wish to move temporarily, Kalmars have been instructed to look within a one-mile radius from Friars Close and Burrell Street, to ensure you and your families can stay in the local area. In the decant survey, some of you said that they have some flexibility in terms of location or wish to relocate outside London. Kalmars will work with you to identify properties that meet your needs, based on your survey responses.

For those that wish to move away permanently, our housing team will work with you on an individual basis to find you a suitable home that meets your needs.

When will I be asked to move out?

As indicated in the presentation we will not ask you to move until we receive planning permission for our proposals. We will of course keep you updated on the progress of our planning application, and we will provide you with plenty of notice.

Do Kalmars have a website where we can search for properties?

Kalmars have a website (, however they will provide you with a separate list of what will be available as the properties found will be reserved solely for Riverside residents and not listed on the open market.

Are home loss payments adjusted to the rate of inflation?

The amount of home loss payment you will be entitled to is set by the government and reviewed annually, based on the rate of inflation.

Will Riverside issue us with a disturbance payment to cover the costs involved as part of our moves?

Yes, we will issue you with a disturbance payment that will cover these costs. You will not be out of pocket as a result of moving.

Do I have the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire a new home in the new development?

Right to Buy allows residents on secure tenancies who meet the qualifying criteria to buy the homes they live in at a discount; those on assured tenancies have the Right to Acquire (again subject to meeting the qualifying criteria) which is a less generous discount. You will be able to discuss your individual circumstances on a one-to-one basis at drop-in surgeries with your Independent Tenant Advisors and Resident Liaison Officer.

What is the Right to Acquire?

The Right to Acquire is a scheme that allows qualifying Housing Association residents on secure and assured tenancies to buy the home they live in at a discounted price; the amount of the discount varies between £9,000 and £16,000 however for London properties, the maximum discount would usually apply. We will clarify whether you will have the Right to Acquire in the coming months; and you will be able to discuss your individual circumstances on a one-to-one basis at drop-in surgeries with your Independent Tenant Advisors and Resident Liaison Officer.

What’s the difference between Shared Ownership and Right to Buy?

Right to Buy is a scheme that allows qualifying secure tenants to buy the home they live in at a discount. Shared Ownership is a scheme designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, which enables people who meet certain criteria to buy a share of the property and pay rent for the remaining portion.

How certain are you that you will get planning permission?

We are confident our proposals for Friars Close and Burrell Street will deliver quality homes fit for the future, improve residents’ living conditions, whilst at the same time keeping the community together. To give us the best chance possible of Southwark planners approving our application we will need your continued help. After the scheme amendments have been submitted, we will be in touch again to let you know how you can help show Southwark planners your support for the scheme.

Overcrowding is an issue affecting my family. What happens if the redevelopment doesn’t go ahead?

In the unlikely event that the redevelopment does not go ahead, there are things Riverside can do to help households who are affected by overcrowding, such as transfers to other properties owned by Riverside (including One Housing’s stock in London as part of our recent merger) or property swaps with other registered social housing providers.

What about parking in the new block?

The only parking provided in the new scheme will be five disabled parking bays; general parking will not be provided. This is not a decision by Riverside and it is in line with the net zero policies, set by the Mayor of London and your local authority, for new developments in Central London.

How will you understand my housing need and preferences for my new home?

We will be visiting every tenant to complete a housing needs survey. This is a detailed survey that will provide us with information on your personal need, preferences and aspirations for your home and estate.

Can we move away permanently?

You will have the option to move away either temporarily or permanently.

Can we move back once the new development is complete?

Existing Riverside tenants of Friars Close & Burrell Street will be guaranteed the Right to Return, and a home in the new development.

Will we keep the same tenancy?

All tenants will keep their same tenancy type when they return to their home on the newly built estate.

Will elderly people get priority to ground floor flats?

All homes will be accessible on all floors of the development through the installation of lifts and level access to properties. The new development will have wide accessible communal areas in each block to accommodate all needs. We will ask for residents’ preferences when allocating new homes and will accommodate these preferences where possible.

How will we pay for the moving costs?

Riverside will cover your moving costs, this includes the cost of disconnecting and reconnecting a washing machine, redirecting mail and removals. Riverside will discuss with you in more detail what is and isn’t covered by a disturbance payment before you move.

If you have lived in your home for over 12 months, you will also be entitled to receive a home loss payment – the amount of this is set by Government and reviewed annually. If you are temporarily relocated during redevelopment and then moved back to a permanent new home in the new block, it is important to note you will only receive this payment once. But for each move we will assist you with the costs associated with your move.

Will there be segregation between the private sale blocks and the affordable blocks?

No, the site would be tenure blind, you would not be able to tell the difference between affordable and private sale blocks. External communal areas and green spaces will be shared.

Can we design our homes/estate?

We will consult with you throughout the redevelopment process. We will hold consultation events with you to work up design proposals to agree what your new estate looks like including the layout and how the inside of your home could look.

Will the blocks meet fire safety regulations?

All blocks will meet the required health and safety requirements at the time of planning submission. Following the Grenfell tragedy, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has been commissioned by the government which recommends new policy for new developments. We will talk you through these during the consultation process.

Will these homes be up for sale as well?

Yes the homes for sale, along with GLA grant funding will pay towards the cost of the affordable homes that we will build.

Friars Close is a great name. We don’t want to be called a building or an estate.

We will take into consideration your feelings on the name for the redevelopment and will consult with you on any name for Friars Close.

Will there be free parking for cyclists and/or motorcyclists?

We are required to provide ample storage for bikes within the new development, in addition to storage within properties. There is no requirement or plans currently to provide parking for motorcycles on site.

I am currently in a three bedroom. I want to know if the kitchen will be separate from the living room?

We understand that most tenants have a preference to have a closed plan kitchen, we are working to meet those preferences and will keep you updated with layouts of the new development.

Will the rent stay the same?

Yes your rent levels and tenancy rights will remain the same.

I have seen examples where affordable housing tenants have a different entrance to private tenants/ has a decision been made on where the main entrance to the site will go?

We have committed to ensuring the whole of the redevelopment is tenure blind throughout – this means you will not be able to tell the difference between market sale and affordable rented accommodation. We do not yet know where the entrance will be or how many but they will be completed to the same standard.

What are your sustainability goals for the new build?

We have ambitious sustainability targets which match those set out by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Southwark Council. The development will aim to reduce carbon emissions where possible.

If you want to move away from the site permanently, could that be an option?

Yes, you can contact you Resident Liaison Officer Jade Adnett on 07980 761482 who will talk to you about this option.

Will the size of homes remain the same as what you have already shown us?

The size of homes will remain the same and we remain committed to providing you with a home that meets your housing need. Overall changes will be related to the number of homes, heights of the building/s and scheme layout.

Will homes be built to accommodate climate change, ensuring they are warm during the winter, and ventilated (cool) during summer? Will you provide air conditioning?

We are thinking about climate change and will make the new homes as energy efficient as possible through both the design and the materials that we use. Riverside is very conscious of its responsibility to help the government meet its target of carbon net zero by 2050. It is unlikely that we will provide air conditioning, however, homes will be designed with good ventilation, insulation, and passive measures to prevent overheating.

Will homes remain on one level?

Yes all homes will be on a single level, with step free access to all rooms.

Do the residents voice count towards the planning decision?

We must meet specific planning requirements when developing proposals, however Southwark council and the Riverside board have made it clear that proposals must be supported by the residents, so demonstrating resident support also forms part of the planning submission. Having the community behind us will impact decisions made. The voice of tenants is powerful.

Will the affordable homes be built to the same spec as the private?

There may be some differences in the finishes within the homes, but the design, quality, and care taken will be the same for all homes whether for sale or for rent. Block/s will be tenure blind, so that that from outside, you would not be able to tell which is rented and which is privately owned.