Understanding your tenancy agreement
If you were a tenant before 1st April 2012 you will have been granted an Assured tenancy or an Assured Shorthold tenancy. If you became a Yarlington tenant after 1st April 2012 you may have been granted a Fixed Term tenancy. Assured Shorthold Tenancies and Starter Tenancies will not have the same rights as an assured or fixed term tenant.
What are Assured tenancies?
All housing association tenancies created between 15th January 1989 and 1st April 2012 are called ‘Assured tenancies’. As an Assured tenant a limit has not been set on how long you may rent your home from us. This means that you have security and cannot be evicted from your home unless we have a court order.
There are clauses in your tenancy agreement which set out your rights and exactly what you can and cannot do, as well as what we can and cannot do. These clauses are important.
If you need any further help you can contact your Community Co-ordinator, a solicitor, the Citizens Advice Bureau or any other advice service.
What are Fixed Term tenancies?
All tenants who are not a social housing tenants with another landlord and who are offered a tenancy after 1st April 2012 will be given a 7 year Fixed Term tenancy with a 1 year starter tenancy preceeding this. You will have the same rights and responsibilities of an assured tenancy once the tenancy has converted from a starter to the fixed term tenancy. Your tenancy will convert after 12 months as long as you have not caused any anti-social behaviour during this period. Some starter tenancies may be extended for a further period if the anti-social behaviour continues and in serious cases we may take legal action to evict you.
Your right to a written tenancy agreement
Before you move into your property you will sign a tenancy agreement. This is the contract between you and us, telling you:
• Our full name and address
• What type of tenancy you hold
• That you have the right to live in your home from a set date providing it is your only or main home
• Your rights and responsibilities
• Our rights and responsibilities
• Your rent and any other charges you must pay and how these will be reviewed
Once you have signed your tenancy agreement, any changes can only be made with your agreement with your agreement. This does not apply to changes to your rent and service charges, which can be made following an agreed period of notice from us.
Your right to stay in your home
You have the right to stay in your home as long as you keep to the conditions set out in your tenancy agreement. If you stop using your home as your only or main home, your tenancy will no longer be Assured or Fixed Term and we have the right to apply to a County Court to evict you.
As long as your tenancy remains Assured or Fixed Term, we can only take possession of your home under certain circumstances. The reasons are defined in the Housing Acts of 1988, 1996 and 2004 and the Localism Act of 2012. These are circumstances in which we might seek possession of your home:
We intend to demolish, rebuild or improve your home or part of your home and we cannot do this unless you move out. In this case, we would offer you suitable alternative accommodation
You have not paid your rent or service charges or you have persistently delayed payment of your rent or service charges
You have broken or failed to fulfil any of the conditions of your tenancy
You, or a person living with you or visiting you, has behaved in a way causing or likely to cause serious or persistent nuisance or annoyance to other people.
You, or a person living with you or visiting you, have been convicted of using the property or allowing it to be used for immoral or illegal purposes, or of an arrestable offence committed in or in the locality of your home
You, or anyone living with you, have caused damage to, or failed to look after, your home or the communal parts of the building in which you live
A tenant has died leaving other members of the family in occupation and the property is then under-occupied. In this case, we would offer you suitable alternative accommodation.
We need your home for someone who requires its special amenities or services and you do not. In this case, we would offer you suitable alternative accommodation.
The tenant has died and the person claiming to succeed to the tenancy is not entitled to succession and there is no other qualifying successor
When you applied for the tenancy you knowingly made a false statement
Where there are joint tenants living as a married couple or a couple living together as husband and wife, and one partner leaves because of violence or threats of violence by the other towards them or a member of the family, and the court is satisfied that the partner who has left is not likely to return
We will make every effort to help you stay in your home, and will only apply for an eviction order as a last resort when there is no reasonable alternative.
Your right to live peacefully in your home
You have the right to live peacefully and quietly in your home. We have policies and procedures for dealing with neighbour nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
Your right to be treated fairly
We recognise that certain groups and individuals are discriminated against within society. We believe such discrimination is wrong. We aim to ensure that no person or group of people receiving our services will be treated less favourably than any other person or group of people because of their gender (including gender reassignment), sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief, political beliefs, disability, age, class, unrelated criminal offenses or any other condition not justified in law or relevant to our work. We have an Equality and Diversity policy.
Rents and service charges
In general, our rents are lower than those charged in the private sector in your local area. For more information about how we set our rents, see Money Matters.
We will not increase your rent more than once a year, unless by mutual agreement. You will receive at least four weeks’ notice before we make any changes to your rent.
Your right to know about service charges
You may pay a service charge in addition to your rent. These service charges are to cover the cost of services such as communal heating, cleaning, gardening and caretaking. We will give you at least four weeks’ notice before we increase your service charge.
As an Assured tenant you are entitled to have the following information from us:
A summary of our policies for setting rents and service charges
A summary of service charge costs for the last year
- The standard of service you can expect
Repairs and maintenance
We will maintain your home and ensure that it is safe and fit to live in. We will maintain the structure of the building and keep the plumbing, heating and electrical systems in proper working order. Please refer to your tenancy agreement for details on what repairs we are responsible for and those you must do.
For further information on repairs and related issues please see repairs and maintenance
Improvements to your home
As an assured or fixed term tenant ( not a Starter or Assured Shorthold) you can make certain improvements to your home yourself, such as installing a new kitchen or bathroom. You do have to ask permission first, but we will not refuse permission without a good reason.
If you leave your home, you may be able to claim compensation for improvements you have made. You must have had our permission to carry out work before compensation can be paid.
If we wish to carry out work on your home and you have to move out to allow us to do it, we will offer you alternative accommodation.
Your right to be consulted about maintenance and improvements
We have a programme for improving our properties. These improvements cover things such as new roofs, installation of double glazing and external re-decoration. If we intend to improve your home, we will ask for your views on the changes.
Your right to invite other people to live with you
You have the right to invite anyone to live with you so long as:
There is no payment involved
The property does not become overcrowded
- All members of your household keep to the tenancy conditions
If you want to charge someone for living with you, you can do so as long as you don’t give them total control of part of your home. You also need to ask our permission first. We will not refuse permission without good reason. Having someone live with you may affect your housing benefit entitlement, so you need to notify your local council’s housing benefit section so they can re-assess your benefit claim.
Your right to pass on your tenancy
After your death, your tenancy can pass to your husband, wife or civil partner, or a person who has been living with you as your wife or husband or civil partner, providing:
- They have been living in the property for a minimum of 12 months before your death
It is their only or main home
Your tenancy has not been passed on to you from someone else after their death
If there is no wife, husband or civil partner, we would normally offer a tenancy to a member of your immediate family or another member of your household, who:
Had been living with you for a year before your death
Had been looking after you
- Had accepted responsibility for your dependents
In such cases, when we are deciding whether to offer a tenancy, we will consider the person’s circumstances and the housing need in the area. If we do offer them a tenancy, it may be in another home better suited to their needs.
In the event of a relationship breakdown or divorce we cannot decide who should become the sole tenant. Only you or a court can do this.
Assured and Fixed Term - You may be able to swap your home and tenancy with another of our tenants, a tenant of another housing association or a local council. All the tenants and landlords involved must first agree to the exchange.
Your tenancy rights may transfer to the tenant moving into your home and your tenancy conditions may change. You should ask whether you will lose any of your rights.
Your right to be consulted
You will be consulted if we are considering any of the following:
Changes in the management and maintenance of your home, such as the contracting out of these services
Improvements or major repairs to your home or near to your home
Demolishing your home
We will also consult you, in reasonable ways, about the services that you receive and the standards of those services.
Your right to be given opportunities to get involved and influence services
You have the right to be involved in our work and have some influence over the services you receive. We will involve you by:
Consulting you and your representatives about major changes to policies, procedures and service delivery
Encouraging and helping the development of representative residents’ organisations and working with them
- Involving tenants in the design of new homes
Your right to complain to us
If you have a complaint about the way you have been treated or about the service you have received, you should let us know. We have a formal complaints procedure.
Your right to buy your home
If you transferred to us from South Somerset District Council you will be known as a Protected Assured Tenant. This means that your terms and conditions of tenancy with us remain the same as if you were still a council tenant. This means that you have the preserved right to buy your home.
For further details on the right to buy your home, please contact your Community Co-ordinator.