Your starter tenancy
Your tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement is a very important document as it sets out, in legal terms, the rights and responsibilities that we have as your landlord and you have as our tenant.
For the first year of your tenancy, beginning with the tenancy start date, you will be a Starter Tenant. This means that you do not have the same rights or security of tenure as an assured tenant. During this year you will receive three review visits to your home. This is to make sure you are keeping to the terms of your tenancy by paying rent, looking after your home and not causing a nuisance to others. If you meet the required standards by not breaking any terms of the tenancy agreement, we will grant you a full Assured Tenancy after a final review has taken place.
Whilst your tenancy is a Starter Tenancy, you do not have the following rights:
- the right to acquire
- the right to sublet part of your home or take in lodgers
- the right to make improvements Equality Act exemptions apply, eg ramps and handrails can be fitted)
- the right to transfer to another property, mutually exchange or assign your tenancy.
Your tenancy agreement places a number of responsibilities on us, and some of them are summarised as follows.
Living in your home
We will not interfere with your right to live in your home as long as you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement.
We will keep your home and its fixtures and fittings in a good state of repair.
Ending your tenancy
We can end your tenancy in one of two ways:
- if you want to leave by giving four weeks written notice; or
- by court order, which we will get from a county court if we want to end your tenancy because you have not kept to one or more of the terms of your tenancy agreement.
You must give us 28 days’notice in writing if you want to end your tenancy. You are still responsible for rent payments until we have let your home to someone else or until the notice period you should have given us has passed; whichever is the shortest period. You must allow us access to inspect your property before you leave.
You must ensure the following to avoid any charges being charged to you:
- you must leave your home in a good condition and remove all your furniture and belongings
- you must let us know your forwarding address and contact phone number when you leave
- you will be asked to leave the keys to the property in the special key safe that will be fitted to the property before your leaving date.
Condition of your home
It is your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy and you must not block or obstruct any parts of the building that are used by other residents, as this could cause a fire hazard.
You must not store personal belongings in any shared areas near to the property, for example the garden, or leave any rubbish there or on the estate.
It is essential that you report any repairs to us quickly so that we can deal with them before they become any worse or cause other problems, either for you or other residents. You can report a repair by calling our Technical Services Advisors on 0300 500 6262.
What happens if you don’t keep to the conditions of your tenancy?
Breaking any conditions of your tenancy could result in us taking action to remove you from the property.
In most situations, we will work with you to find ways to resolve the issues; if this does not work we will do one of the following:
- serve you with a two months‘Notice requiring Possession’
- serve a Notice to Extend the Starter Tenancy
- seek immediate eviction (in very serious cases).
Can I appeal the decision?
Yes you can. You will have 14 days in which to appeal from the date the Notice was issued. For more information, please contact Customer Services on 0300 500 6262. You can also get information from a solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau or law centre.
Passing on your tenancy
You cannot pass on (assign or transfer) your tenancy to anyone else without our permission in writing and this will not be given within the first year of your starter tenancy.
After the first year, a tenancy can be passed on with our permission to someone else:
- by arranging a mutual exchange with another tenant
- if the tenant dies; or
- if there is a marriage or relationship breakdown (Joint tenants only).
Your tenancy agreement will say how many people are allowed to live in your home. You must let us know the name, age and sex of any lodger before they move in. Please note you are not allowed to take in a lodger within the first year of your starter tenancy.
You are responsible for your lodger, and should they cause any problems we may take action against you as the legal tenant.
Subletting your home
Subletting is when you give someone a legal tenancy or allow them to have control over a particular part of your home.
We will not allow you to sublet the whole of your property under any circumstances and you will need our permission in writing before you can sublet part of your home and this will not be given within the first year of your starter tenancy.
Running a business from your home
You need our permission in writing to run any kind of business from your home. We will not give our permission if we think that your business is likely to:
- cause a nuisance to neighbours
- lead to traffic problems; or
- involve using and storing dangerous materials.
If you need advice about this, you should contact Customer Services on 0300 500 6262.
A joint tenant is equally responsible for keeping to the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as paying rent and not causing a nuisance.
If there is a disagreement or relationship breakdown between joint tenants, one of you cannot stop the other one from entering the home unless you get a court order. In cases where domestic abuse is involved, one partner can ask the county court to order the other tenant not to enter the home for a temporary period until a more permanent arrangement can be made. You should contact us and a solicitor for advice about this sort of problem.
Our access to your home
If you need repairs to be done or we need to undertake repairs, improvements or inspect your home, you must let our employees or our representatives and contractors into your home. We must give you reasonable notice of this. In an emergency, such as a water or gas leak, we may have to get into your home immediately, without giving you notice.
If you fail to give us access we may apply to court to compel you to keep to this tenancy term. Over time you may require information about a number of things, on the following pages is a list of other information available to you which can be accessed via our website or by calling Customer Services on 0300 500 6262.