Tenant Handbook

 

Your tenancy

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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.  

You can do this by completing our contact us form or;

You can send a letter addressed to: Housing services, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6EA.

Examples of some of the changes can include:woman at a computer

  • Removal of a joint tenant due to divorce, break up or death
  • Addition of a tenant due to marriage or living with a partner for more than 12 months
  • Change of name

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

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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.

Lofts

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 and parking 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.

If you are having issues with parking we have answers to some common questions.

Pets

Having a pet can hold a huge value and we feel that it is important to promote responsible pet ownership.  Our pet page has guidance and advice for adding a pet to your family, and an overview of our policy for pets. 

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.

 

Your Rights

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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.

Moving Out

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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.

Transfers

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 and 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

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