South Cambridgeshire Logo
My South Cambs:
Sign in or register
Front Door

Tenant Handbook


Your tenancy

Tenancy Agreement

Before you move into your new home, you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement, this is your contract with us and it explains what our responsibilities are and what yours are. 
We have tried to make the agreement easy to follow, but like many legal documents, some parts may be harder to understand. 
If you are unsure about anything you can talk to a Housing Services Officer.

Changes to your tenancy

At some point you may need to make a change to your tenancy such as removing a joint tenant or changing your name.  The first step would be to contact us to let us know about these changes so we can discuss your options and next steps.

You can do this by completing our contact us form or by email at or you can send a letter addressed to: Housing services, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6EA.

You may also want to add a tenant due to marriage or living with a partner for more than 12 months.  You can apply to do this online.

Apply to add a joint tenant

Ending your tenancy

If you are ending your tenancy we ask that you give your housing services officer at least four weeks’ notice of your intention to move out of your home.

Notification to terminate my tenancy

More about leaving your home and how to avoid recharges can be found below.

Access to records

We keep files on each property and tenant. You have the right to see your file, although we do have to get permission from your doctor to disclose medical details. There is, however, a small administration fee involved which you will need to pay in advance. Your dealings with us will be confidential. Information may have to be given to other agencies if we have a duty to supply it for the prevention or detection of crime. We will also supply information to our housing benefit team should the need arise.


Looking after your home

Contents insurance 

South Cambridgeshire District Council does not insure the contents of your home.  We are only responsible for insuring the structure and exterior of your home.

We strongly advise you to arrange enough insurance cover for the contents of your home such as furniture, carpets, clothing, cooker, fridge, TV, decorations, and include any outbuilding. The Council cannot be held responsible for any uninsured loss where we are not shown to have been negligent. You should also ensure that, as occupier of the premises, you have adequate insurance to meet claims against you by other people.

We would recommend comparing quotation prices from a few different providers to make sure that you are getting the best value for money; we would also advise on getting cover for things such as accidental damage.

Safety and Security front door

Your homes safety and security is very important. There are some laws, processes and procedures that we follow and put in place for the safety of all our tenants.  

Damp and Mould

When water condenses on surfaces in your home, it can lead to damp spots and mould there and make your home an unhealthy place to live. Follow the advice and tips on our damp and mould page to keep your home a nice and safe place to live.


Please do not store goods in your loft as it is not intended as a storage area. We may need access to replace insulation or carry out repairs to water or electrical services etc. that are present. 

Garages women in a car

Apply to rent a council garage. We have garages to rent in a number of our villages.  Find out where and apply online.


Having a pet can hold a huge value and we feel that it is important to promote responsible pet ownership.  Before introducing a pet to your home, consider:

  • are you prepared for the time and money investment having a pet brings?
  • will you be able to care for them during their whole life?
  • is your home suitable for them?  (Please note: If additional fencing is required to keep your pet secure, you will be responsible for this. You will need to factor the cost of this in to your decision)
  • will you be able to properly train your pet and prevent any anti-social behaviour? (for example, noise)
  • dogs legally must wear a collar that displays their owner’s name and address when in public, and walked on a lead whilst in built-up areas
  • pet cats should be microchipped as this improves chances of them being returned to you if lost
  • any damage to your home caused by pets will be rectified and paid for by the pets owner

Anyone living in a house or bungalow may have one domestic pet without needing to ask for permission from us, though we do ask that you inform us so we can make sure your households records are up-to-date.  If you live in a flat, upper-maisonette, or would like more than one pet, fill out the form below to request permission. We will not withhold permission without reason, but some conditions must be considered, such as the size, location and type of home you live in.

Permission for a pet

Bins and recycling

You can find your household bin collection day online. You can also find information on what goes in which bin.  If you have large items to dispose of we provide a bulky household waste collection service for many common household items. We collect a maximum of 9 items per collection for a charge. Before you ask us to collect an unwanted large or bulky item, please check if you can pass it on to someone else who can use it - this will also save you money!

Handy Person Service

If you need help to carry out small jobs in your home, the handyperson service may be able to help you for an hourly charge.  All materials must be provided by the resident so please make sure you have the materials needed before the operative arrives for your appointment.  This includes any fixtures or fittings needed to fit your items.  Find out more about our Handy Person Service.


Your Rights

Right to Buy

You could have the right to buy your home if you've been a tenant of a council home for at least three years.  Your tenancy doesn't have to have been with this council, or in your present home, to qualify.

Your right to a succession

Most tenants are able to pass on their home to someone else when they die, or following a divorce. If you want to find out more about this, please talk to your housing services officer. man online at home

Your right to take in a lodger

Tenants that hold a secure or fixed term tenancy have the right to take in a lodger; however you will need to inform us if you plan to do this by filling in the ‘Notification of taking in a lodger’ form. Introductory tenants do not normally have the right to take in a lodger. By taking in a lodger, a tenant’s home must not become overcrowded.  Tenants must also notify the relevant departments of their change in circumstances where applicable; for example Council Tax and taking in a lodger may affect your housing benefit entitlement.
There are some statutory checks that must be carried out before a tenant is able to take in a lodger.

Request to have a lodger

The Immigration Act (2014) requires that immigration checks have to be carried out on all new lettings in England from February 2016. By law tenants must check that their prospective lodger is legally able to rent in England; this is called the ‘Right to Rent’.  All private landlords must check their tenant’s eligibility to rent and this also applies to those that are taking in a lodger. This must be done for every lodger; it is against the law to only carry out the checks on people that you do not believe are British citizens.

Your right to run a business from home

If you are thinking of running a small business from your home you will need to apply for permission. We will not normally refuse permission but will need to consider if the business could damage the property or cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
We can withdraw our permission if we believe your business causes a nuisance.

You can find more advice about running a business from home on the government website as there are other things to consider such as insurance, business rates and health and safety.


Apply for permission to run a business from home

Your right to be consulted

If we want to make any major changes to the housing service, we must tell you and give you a chance to tell us what you think of the proposed changes. We will consult you in as many ways as possible.
Your full rights are detailed in your tenancy agreement; please read it and talk to a housing services officer if there is anything you don’t understand.


Being a good neighbour

As a tenant of South Cambridgeshire District Council, you must keep to the rules set out in your tenancy agreement. You must also do your best to make sure that everyone living with you, or visiting you, keeps to these rules. This means treating your home, your neighbours and the environment with respect. It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you do not cause a nuisance or disturbance to your neighbours.

We take anti-social behaviour very seriously and will take action if it is necessary. A widely used definition of anti-social behaviour is the definition contained in the Crime and Disorder Act (1998): ‘Acting in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as (the defendant).’ South Cambridgeshire District Council will not tolerate any form of abuse, physical or verbal towards any of its employees or contractors working on behalf of the Council.

How to avoid neighbour disputes

Get to know your neighbours. If you are being disturbed by someone else’s behaviour, politely ask them to stop or request that they put a
time limit on it.  Be considerate, tolerant and polite yourself.

Remember, it is normal for babies to cry and children to play; this is normal life and the same for anyone, whether they are in social housing or private homes.
Encourage all members of your family and your visitors to be polite and considerate of others.

Make sure that your pets are well trained and that you clear up after them if they make a mess.

If you have to make a noise – for example, if you are putting up shelves – do it at a reasonable time of day. If you can, tell your neighbour what you are doing and explain how long the noise may last.

If you have a car, park it considerately and do not obstruct others. Keep your garden maintained and do not let rubbish accumulate.

If a problem persists you should contact your housing services officer. They will give you clear information on how to report harassment, nuisance and anti-social behaviour. All reports will be treated in confidence. Any report will be quickly and formally acknowledged. Investigations will start at the earliest possible date and all possible remedies will be explored including the use of mediation.

Contact the police if criminal activity is happening.

In certain cases, we will take action leading to eviction and, where criminal activity has taken place, will press charges against the perpetrator.

Illegal or immoral use of your home

We take crime very seriously and will take the most appropriate action against any tenant who commits a serious offence in or near their property. This could result in eviction.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a crime. Always call 999 in an emergency.  If you are unable to talk, stay on the line and press 55 when prompted. Contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for help and support. 

Domestic abuse is not just physical violence. It is any type of abuse from someone you have (or have had) a relationship with, including: financial, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse.

You can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 if you’re experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and find out what your options are.

Cambridge Women’s Aid provides an outreach service for women living in any kind of tenure, who are experiencing domestic abuse in Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire. Telephone 01223 361 214 (Emergency out of hours 07730 322 098).

If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the Men’s Advice Line on 08088 010 327

If you are in a same-sex relationship you can call the National LGBT+ Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 999 5428

Call the police on 101 (if it is not an emergency) or 999 in an emergency, if your personal safety is threatened.

If you are concerned because you think you might be hurting someone or demonstrating abusive behaviour, help and advice is available by contacting 0808 802 4040 or visiting the Respect website


Moving Out

Mutual Exchange

Mutual Exchanges can be really helpful if you are looking to move to be closer to family, work, amenities, looking to downsize or if you are just looking for a home that better suits you and your family.


We would like tenants to have a home that best suits their needs. So, if your circumstances change (for example if your family becomes bigger or smaller), then you can ask to move into a different property.
There are always more people who want to live in our properties than there are vacancies, so we have to balance the needs of tenants who want to move with those who are waiting for a home. However, we will do all that we can to help.

Leaving your home

Notification to terminate my tenancy

Please give your housing services officer at least four weeks’ notice, of your intention to move out of your home. Before you leave you must make sure that:

  • gas and electrical supplies are safe and turned off woman on the phone
  • you have taken readings from all meters
  • you have informed all suppliers (gas, electricity, water, phone)
  • you have told the council tax office and, if you receive any benefit, the housing benefit office
  • your rent is paid up to date
  • all of your belongings have been removed
  • the property is in a good state of repair
  • the property is clean
  • you have locked all windows and external doors and have a key for each door lock
  • you must hand your keys into our main office at Cambourne. If you are unable to do this you must contact your housing services officer.

If you do not have the correct number of keys and/or if your home is not left in a reasonable condition then you may be liable for charges.
All rubbish must also be removed, as we will recharge for the disposal of it and any other items left in the property, garden or sheds.

Top tips to avoid recharges

Moving home can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. To try to remove some of the difficulties, we’ve put together a list of top tips to avoid any recharges when you leave one of our properties – as it is expected that it will be returned in a reasonable condition.

Once you have provided your housing services officer with notice that you will be leaving the property, they will arrange a ‘pre-termination’
inspection. This is basically an appointment in which both your housing services officer and a member of our surveying team will come out to see you and go through the process of moving out. During this meeting you will be given a form that will outline the works that you will need to complete before handing the keys back over to us. Anything that is requested, but isn’t done, may result in an invoice being sent to you for the costs incurred in South Cambridgeshire District Council having to complete the works.

Some of the more common requested tasks are listed below

  • Clear all rubbish from inside and outside the property (including the garden)
  • Leave no surface holes in the walls, from hanging pictures etc
  • All doors, radiators, bannisters etc. should be left in place
  • Clean and tidy the property thoroughly, including the garden and cutting grass/hedges
  • Any improvements to the property that you have made must have had written permission from South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Any sheds, greenhouses or outhouses that you have put up yourself should be removed (unless it is agreed that it can be left)
  • Don’t leave goods/items for the next incoming tenant. Even if you sell them, the workman may remove the items
  • The decoration should be in a good condition, with no damage/discolouration from smoking etc
  • Remove any dado rails, wood panelling, ceiling tiles etc. that you have installed since being in the property and make good decorations

Before you hand the keys back, try to take the time to make sure that all of the above items, and any other ones that are noted on your pre-term paperwork, are completed.

If you have received a recharge invoice and would like to dispute or query this please complete this form:

Raise a dispute against a recharge invoice

Contact Details