On this page:
Your Tenancy Agreement
Rights and Responsibilities
What you need to know
Your Tenancy Agreement
The Tenancy Agreement sets out the Council's rights and responsibilities as a Landlord as well as the tenant’s rights and responsibilities.
Your Tenancy Agreement is an important legal document, please keep this in a safe place.
There are two different types of tenancy:
- Introductory tenancy
- Secure tenancy
If you have not been a Council tenant before, you will be given an Introductory Tenancy. This is a temporary or probationary tenancy that lasts for 12 months and means that you have fewer rights than a secure tenant, and it is easier for us to evict you if we need to.
Your tenancy will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that you are conducting your tenancy in a satisfactory manner. If you breach your tenancy, we may extend this by another 6 months.
All introductory tenants will automatically become secure tenants on the first anniversary of the date their tenancies commenced if they have conducted their tenancy in a satisfactory manner.
A secure tenancy gives you more rights.
Rights and Responsibilities
If you are an Ashfield District Council tenant or you have been offered a Council tenancy it is important that you know your rights and responsibilities. You also need to be aware of the Council's obligations in respect of your tenancy and your home.
The table below sets out rights and responsibilities:-
- To be consulted about the way we manage your property and any changes that may be made.
- To make alterations or improvements with our written permission.
- To live in the property as your principle home.
- To exercise your legal rights as a tenant.
- To have any repairs that are our responsibility carried out.
- To take on a lodger as long as we have granted permission. We will take into consideration the house make-up and the capacity of your home.
- To pay your rent and other charges on time.
- To keep the inside of your home and your garden in a satisfactory condition.
- To ensure your household/visitors/pets do not cause nuisance to your neighbours.
- To give us access to complete any repairs, annual service works or to allow employees and contractors to go about their duties.
- To raise awareness of repairs needed. Not to alter the property without written consent. Inform us of any struggles you face with your tenancy, so we can signpost you to the relevant support agenices.
- To adhere to your tenancy conditions to prevent court action being taken against you.
- To request access to the property to carry out inspection or repairs. We will give you reasonable notice of our intention, unless it is an emergency situation.
- Ask the courts to end your tenancy if you break the conditions of your tenancy agreement.
- Consult with you about important changes to the management of your tenancy.
- To deal with your complaints.
- To maintain service standards.
- To ensure the tenancy agreement is being adhered to at all times.
- To act on any repairs that are our responsibility.
The documents listed below also explain roles and responsibilities.
If you have any further questions about your tenancy please contact our Tenancy Services Team on Tel - 01623 608999 or email:- firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you need to know
- How to look after your property
- How to look after your garden
- How to swap your home with someone else
- How to take in a lodger
- Tenancy Fraud
How to look after your property
Applying for permission to carry out alternations
As a secure tenant, you have the right to improve your home as long as you get written permission from us first. However, if you are an introductory tenant your rights are restricted.
A written request may either be in a letter format or by email. You must address your request to your Housing Management Advisor. Once the request has been received, we will write to you with 28 days with our decision.
A home visit may be necessary to discuss your request in detail. If permission is not granted, the reasons for this will be documented in the decision letter. It is important to note that if you do have rent arrears, permission may be refused.
You must not start work until we have given written permission and all work must be carried out by a competent person. Gas fittings must be carried out by an installer who is 'Gas Safe Registered' (formerly CORGI). Electrical work must be carried out by registered NICEIC installers.
You must report any repairs or damage to our Technical Services Section HERE.
It is your responsibility to clean your property and to ensure this is kept to a good standard. This includes decorating your property and not causing damage.
Work affecting the outside of your home may also need planning permission or Building Regulation Approval from Ashfield District Council (this includes satellite dishes on flats). You are responsible for applying to for such approval. Where possible we will advise you approval is required.
Please note we would not allow externally insulated and rendered properties to have any item fitted to them.
How to look after your garden
Maintenance of gardens is the tenant's responsibility.
When you sign for your home, if your home has a garden, you will be advised which parts of your garden you are responsible for.
Gardens should be kept clear of rubbish and kept to an acceptable condition at all times, including keeping grass short and trees/hedges on your boundary at a reasonable height.
You must gain permission for any alterations to the garden before you carry out the work, including fish ponds, erections of garden sheds, external lighting, paving etc.
Please contact your Housing Management Advisor on Tel: 01623 608999 to discuss any alterations in more detail.
How to swap your home with someone else
A Mutual exchange is where two or more tenants of a housing association or a Council agree to 'exchange' their homes. Please note you can only apply for a mutual exchange if you are a secure tenant. Introductory tenants are not eligible to exchange their home.
You may find an exchange by talking to family, friends and your neighbours. Alternatively, you may search our property database. You can contact your local Property Shop for details of how to register here.
If you find someone to swap properties with you must contact them directly and arrange to view each other's home.
Once you find a suitable tenant to swap with you will both be required to complete a mutual exchange form which can be obtained from our Tenancy Services Team.
A decision will be made within 42 calendar days of us receiving the application form and the outcome of either a refusal, approval or conditional approval will be given in writing. Before making our decision, we will need to carry out a property inspection and will advise you of any conditions that must be met before the exchange can take place.
Once permission has been granted for a mutual exchange a Housing Management Advisor will be in contact to discuss the next steps and a date to move.
YOU MUST NOT EXCHANGE PROPERTIES UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED WRITTEN APPROVAL AND COMPLETED THE RELEVANT LEGAL DOCUMENTS.
How to take in a lodger
A lodger is a person who rents a room in someone's home and who shares living space with the tenant. Some lodgers receive services such as meals, cleaning or laundry as part of their agreement and may be described as 'boarders'.
If you want to take in a lodger in to your home you must apply for written permission using the:
request for a lodger form
Please be aware you will only have the right to take in a lodger as a secure tenant of Ashfield District Council. If you have an introductory tenancy then you will not have the right.
Guidance for tenants considering taking in a lodger
You must complete the request for a lodger form before taking in a lodger. Do not continue with any agreements with a potential lodger until we have approved the request. We need to check out that the request agrees with the relevant terms and conditions and any other legal issues.
You may get advice from your local housing benefit department and the Department of Work and Pensions – DWP on the impact that taking in a lodger will have on relevant housing benefit claims.
If you are the only tenant of the property and take in a lodger you will lose your council tax 25% single person discount.
Your income from lodgers will be taken into account for means tested benefits, however the first £20.00 is currently ignores (as at September 2013).
You should also contact your home contents insurance company as your policy may be affected.
You may wish to think about how much extra gas and electricity you may use if you take in a lodger and how much this may cost you.
Remember you are responsible for ensuring that your lodger complies with the standards of conduct ad behaviour set out in your tenancy agreement.
Be clear with your lodger about what they are paying for, the areas they have access to, whether they can have overnight guests or visitors and establish some basic ground rules.
Be clear with your lodger that they can only live at the property as long as you have the tenancy and has no right to be there if your circumstance change and you are no longer the tenant.
Links to useful websites: www.lodgers.com and www.dwp.gov.uk
We take tenancy fraud very seriously.
It is a criminal offence and can lead to eviction, fines and in some cases, imprisonment.
Tenancy fraud is usually one of the following:
- Sub-letting your home (or part of it) to someone we know nothing about
- Not living in the property as your main home
- Telling us lies about who you are or the circumstances you are in so that we let a property to you
- Key selling – passing on your key to someone else for a one off payment
We want to make sure that only genuine people, with real housing need live in our homes. We are determined to do, all we can, to stop the few people who take advantage of the system and get a home to which they are not entitled.
What can you do to help:-
If you suspect that someone is committing tenancy fraud, you can contact us in confidence HERE.