About your tenancy
As your landlord, we deal with all aspects of your tenancy. Below is a summary guide of important information regarding your tenancy.
The Tenants' Handbook covers all aspects of your tenancy including, paying your rent, repairs, problems with your tenancy or neighbours, our services and much more.
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.
Please talk to a Housing Services Officer if you are unsure about anything.
Access a copy of the current Tenancy Agreement.
Changes to your tenancy
At some point you may need to make a change to your tenancy.
All requests need to be made in writing to:
Housing Services, either using our contact us form
or to SCDC, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6EA.
Examples of changes can include:
- 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
- Permission to have a lodger
- Permission to have pets at the property
- Ending of tenancy
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. We will do what we can to help.
There are always more people who want to live in our properties than vacancies and we have to balance the needs of tenants who want to move with those who are waiting for a home.
Homes are allocated under the choice based lettings system called Home-Link.
Leaving your home
Please give your housing services officer at least four weeks’ notice of your intention to move out of your home.
You can do this by filing in our notice form.
Before you leave you must make sure that:
- gas and electrical supplies are safe and turned off
- 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 benefits, 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 two keys 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 will be liable for charges.
All rubbish must be removed as we will recharge for the disposal of it and any other items left in the property, garden or sheds.
Home Contents Insurance
We have joined forces with Thistle Insurance Services Ltd, who administer the scheme, to offer all tenants and residents the chance to insure the contents of their homes in an easy, affordable way.
The Crystal Insurance Scheme has been designed to help tenants and residents insure most of their belongings as easily as possible.
The insurance also covers them against theft, vandalism and fire.
The minimum values of possessions that can be insured are only £9,000 ( if aged under 60) or £6,000 (if aged over 60).
Premiums start from £1.50 a fortnight or £1.15 a fortnight respectively.
Tenants and residents can also increase cover for an additional premium to include extended accidental damage cover, cover for wheelchairs/scooters and hearing aids, as well as personal possessions (for items outside their home).
Premiums can be paid fortnightly or monthly by cash at any Post Office or Payzone Outlet, monthly by direct debit, debit card or credit card or annually by cheque.
So, if you have no insurance cover for this winter, you can apply for cover today.
Contact Crystal Insurance on 0845 601 7007 (it may be cheaper to call 01628 586187 from a mobile) or email:Crystal@jltgroup.com
Or contact South Cambridgeshire District Council to request a free information pack on 03450 450 051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exclusions and limits apply to all covers, further details are available within the free information pack.
As part of our ongoing commitment to our tenants and leaseholders, we will be carrying out tenancy visits on all of our properties.
This will involve visiting you in your home to discuss aspects of your household, tenancy and to carry out an inspection of where you live.
Why do we carry out these visits?
By doing this, it will mean that we will have a much better understanding of your needs and this will help us to shape your service in future, ensuring that we continue to work in your best interests.
The ways in which we are hoping to do this include:
- To identify the needs of our residents in order to develop and deliver services
- to ensure communication methods and messages maximise response, service take up and awareness
We have over 5,000 properties and, as you can imagine, it is going to take some time to get round to everyone.
For this reason, we are developing a programme that will organise these visits into a village by village schedule.
Whilst we won't be able to contact everyone to book a specific appointment, we will write to you prior to the time our staff are due to visit your village.
However, we appreciate that you may not be at home when we visit and we will put a card through your door so you can contact us to make a suitable appointment.
Please note, we would like to see 2 forms of identification:
- One of which should have a photograph such as a drivers licence or passport
- the other should be proof of residence such as a utility bill
- if you do not have any photographic identification, we will with your permission take a photograph of you at the visit.
- we will require your National Insurance number which would assist us in our duty to help prevent housing fraud this ensures our homes are being used for those in need of social housing.
The data will not be shared with 3rd parties for commercial purposes, but may be shared with other public sector partners or suppliers for the effective delivery of Council services, and in certain other circumstances (such as to prevent or detect crime including fraud) as permitted by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Please be assured this is not something to be worried or concerned about. We are doing this to improve things for you and the best way we can do this is to come and speak to you face to face. We are passionate about the service we provide and your needs and views are very important to us.
Council Officers from the Neighbourhood Services Team and the Sheltered Housing Team will carry out the visits and we estimate that the visit should last no more than half an hour at most. All of our Officers will carry identification and will show it to you before entering your home.
Rents and money matters
When to pay
Your rent is due every Monday; however you can pay this either weekly, fortnightly or monthly - providing that this is paid in advance.
If you have any questions about your rent, please call our rents team on 03450 450 064.
How to pay?
- Direct Debit - one of the easiest ways to pay your rent, as it is taken automatically from your bank account on either the 1st or the 15th of each month
- Pay it online - You can easily pay online using a Debit Card.
- Pay it over the phone - You can also pay by Debit Card over the phone. This is available 24/7.
- Just call 03450 455 218
- Pay by bank transfer or standing order - You can set this up with your bank to ensure the monthly payments
- Post Office and PayPoint Payment Card
For more information on how to pay your rent, visit our about your rent web page.
Difficulties paying your rent
Paying your rent is part of the legally binding contract that is your tenancy agreement.
If you don’t keep your rent account up to date you will be breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement.
We understand that from time to time people may experience difficulties that affect their finances.
If you are finding it difficult to pay your rent please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
We are on hand to provide help and advice, and contacting us early and working with us to resolve any issues may prevent any action being taken against you.
Please call our rents team on 03450 450 064.
Looking after your home - repairs and maintenance
Looking after your home is both your responsibility and ours.
It is up to you to tell us about any repairs that need doing as soon as possible.
See our repairs and maintenance web page for further details on our joint responsibilities or refer to your tenant handbook.
Report a repair, by calling the repairs hotline on 0800 085 1313, open 24/7.
We DO NOT insure the contents of your home.
You are responsible for having adequate contents insurance to cover your possessions against loss, criminal or accidental damage.
For more information, see the home contents insurance section above or visit our tenants home contents insurance web page.
If you're a tenant or leaseholder of ours, you can report any non-urgent grounds maintenance issues to us that are noticed within your communities.
You can report it online by completing our grounds maintenance reporting form.
Please include as much information as you can and there is the option to add photographs to help us identify the area.
Security and your safety
When you move in you will be provided with a home that has secure doors and windows. Please make sure that you keep all of them locked and closed when you go out.
Most burglaries take place unplanned and happen when a thief spots an opportunity; don’t provide one.
Your safety in your home is very important.
There are some Laws, processes and procedures that we, as your landlord, must adhere to and put in place for the safety of all our tenants.
There are also some actions you need to make in order to help maintain your safety in your home.
- Do not tamper with your smoke alarm
- test the alarm once a week
- vacuum the alarm twice a year using the soft-brush attachment
- change the battery once a year
- tell us if you think it's faulty
Communal areas - DO NOT store your personal possessions in the communal areas of your property. They can be a fire risk.
Solid fuel heating - we will carry out an annual safety check and sweep your chimney.
Gas safety - we will arrange for your gas heating appliance to be serviced annually.
Gas escapes/smell of fumes - if you suspect a gas leak, or smell of fumes open the windows turn off the supply at the meter
Call National Grid directly and immediately on 0800 111 999
Do not operate switches as a spark could ignite the gas.
Tenants own gas appliances - we are unable to service a tenant’s gas appliance, such as a cooker or gas fire. However, our gas contractor will carry out and document a visual inspection to check that the appliance is safe to use; any defects will be reported to you. Where necessary, the appliance will be disconnected from the gas supply as a safety precaution.
Oil, solid fuel and air-source heat pump - we will carry out annual inspections and safety checks to ensure all equipment is functioning correctly and efficiently.
Electricity must be treated with respect.
- Do not use appliances with worn or damaged flexes
- Keep portable mains-operated appliances out of the bathroom
- If an appliance appears faulty stop using it and have it checked at once
- Never overload sockets with adaptors
- Always unplug an appliance before working on it
- Look for the CE mark, the BEAB mark, BS safety mark or British Standard number when you buy electrical equipment.
Please refer to your Tenants' handbook for more information on security and safety.
Damp and mould
Condensation can occur anywhere in a house.
Depending upon the severity of the problem, it can lead to damp spots and mould developing in your home.
This can make a property very damp and unhealthy to live in.
However, it can easily be avoided.
Read our tips for keeping your house free of condensation, on our damp and mould page.
Alternatively please refer to our tenants handbook.
You are responsible for pest control within your home.
We do not have an in-house pest control service, so you would need to arrange for a reputable company to help you with this.
It is recommended you obtain three quotes from professionally qualified and accredited firms who have suitable insurance cover in place.
However, we will organise for any pest control issues in communal areas (such as communal areas in flat blocks or communal rooms) to be dealt with.
We love animals and are happy for you to have one domestic pet without seeking our permission, if you live in a house or bungalow.
If you live in a flat or maisonette you will need to request permission from us to keep any animal, reptile or bird.
If you live in a bungalow or house and want to have more than one pet, you would need to seek permission from us.
Please download the ‘Pet Permission Request Form’ from our website or speak to your housing services officer and they will be happy to help you through the process.
Visit our Pets and Responsible Pet Ownership web page for more information.
If you have a pet, they must be well looked after, not be dangerous and not cause a nuisance or health hazard.
Don’t let them foul on other people’s gardens or any communal land or walkways. If they foul in a public place, please be responsible and clean it up.
For more information about keeping a pet, please refer to your Tenants' handbook.
Being a good neighbour
As a tenant of ours, 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.
We will NOT tolerate any form of abuse, physical or verbal towards any of its employees or contractors working on behalf of the Council.
Unfortunately there are sometimes problems between neighbours, but there are steps you can take to prevent things from getting out of hand.
Please refer to your Tenants' handbook for more information on being a good neighbour, avoiding and dealing with neighbour disputes.
We also have information on our neighbourhood issues and anti-social behaviour page.
Litter and rubbish
We collect the rubbish regularly from every home in the area.
Please put your rubbish out on collection day using the bins provided and make use of our recycling facilities.
To find out which day your rubbish is collected, please refer to our bins collection web page, refer to our Twitter or Facebook page, the South Cambs Magazine or contact our environmental services team.
If you have large items to dispose of, there are tips at:
Butt Lane, Milton, and
Gravel Pit Hill, Thriplow.
Alternatively you can call us on 03450 450 063 and our environmental services team can arrange collection at a charge for each item.
You must NOT dump rubbish in the street, in your garden or any other part of your estate or local environment.
We want everyone to be proud of their home and locality.
Fly-tipping is an offence and we will prosecute offenders.
It is your responsibility to make sure your garden is tidy and in a reasonable condition.
You must NOT use it to store rubbish or unwanted items of furniture.
Please park considerately.
DO NOT park on grass or open spaces, including your garden, unless there is a dropped kerb and you have written permission and a properly constructed driveway.
If you want to build a driveway or carport you must get permission from us.
Aerials and satellite dishes
You may install a television aerial to your home, provided that you request our permission in advance and do not damage the structure of the property.
You must not drill through window frames or doors.
If you want to erect a satellite dish you must also get permission from us in advance.
In certain circumstances you may also need planning permission.
The work must be carried out by an approved contractor and, if you leave the property, you must remove the dish and restore the property to its original condition.
Contact numbers for utility providers
To find out the current electricity supplier for this property, please telephone 0845 601 4516 and quote your postcode.
To find out the current gas supplier for this property, please telephone 0870 608 1524 and quote your postcode.
The telephone number for Cambridge Water Company is 0800 3167 676. The telephone number for Anglian Water is 0800 3167 676.
Other useful contacts
Please note that this is intended as a small helpful list of organisations that may provide useful information. We are not endorsing or recommending any organisation specifically.
Age UK 0800 169 2081 www.ageuk.org.uk
Alzheimers Society 0300 222 1122 www.alzheimers.org.uk
Cambridge Re-Use 01223 576 535
Care Network (Cambridgeshire) 01954 211 919
Carers Trust (Cambridgeshire) 0345 241 0954 or 01480 499 090
Citizens Advice 03454 04 05 06 www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Emmaus 0300 303 7555 www.emmaus.org.uk
Get Safe Online www.getsafeonline.org
Local Government Ombudsman 08456 021 983 or 0300 061 0614 email@example.com
MIND 0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk
National Debtline 0808 808 4000 www.nationaldebtline.org
Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union www.rainbowsaver.co.uk
Royal British Legion 0808 802 8080 www.britishlegion.org.uk
Samaritans 116 123 (free - 24 hrs, 365 days) www.samaritans.org
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