Information for Tenants
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A tenancy doesn't just give you rights -
Most tenants can be evicted (providing the correct procedure is followed) if they don't follow certain basic rules. These include:
1. Not leaving your home
2. Keeping up to date with your rent
3. Paying the bills
4. Taking care of the place & EMERGENCY CONTRACTORS
5. Not causing a nuisance
6. Being responsible for your household and visitors
7. Fire Health and Safety
9. Asking permission where it's needed
10. Ending your tenancy properly
11. Giving your landlord access when necessary
12. Deposit Protection
Not leaving your home
It may sound obvious but in order to keep your tenancy, you must actually live in it and use the property as your main home.
This does not mean you can't go on holiday but it is worth letting your landlord know if you will be leaving your home for any length of time. This might be the case if you are going into hospital, serving a custodial sentence, or need to stay elsewhere temporarily in order to provide care for a loved one. If you don't keep your landlord informed, they they might think you've abandoned the property. It is also important to ensure that the rent will be paid while you are away.
If someone else is living in your home while you are away, bear in mind that it may be possible for your landlord to evict you for illegal subletting.
Keeping up to date with your rent
Rent is usually paid in advance, normally on a monthly or weekly basis. Check your agreement or ask your landlord to clarify how much rent you have to pay and the day of the week/month that it is due on.
If you fall behind with the rent your landlord may be able to evict you and claim back any money that you owe them.
If you're claiming housing benefit you must also keep your claim up to date. Otherwise, you could fall behind with the rent and face eviction. You have to inform the housing benefit department of anychanges in your circumstances, and they may ask you for information from time to time even if your situation stays the same. Ask them for receipts when you hand in an application form or any other documents. If you're having problems related to housing benefit, don't assume that the council will sort it out. As the tenant it is your responsibility to ensure that the rent is paid, so get advice as early as possible.
Paying the bills
Most tenants have to pay the bills for electricity, gas, water and telephone, as well as paying council tax and getting a TV licence. Your tenancy agreement will say whether you are responsible for paying the bills or not. If you don't pay them, the services could be cut off and you may have to pay to be reconnected.
Taking care of the place
Most tenants have some responsibilities regarding the upkeep of their homes. You should always look after the property as best you can and avoid causing damage to it or to your neighbours' property.
In general, landlords are responsible for repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating. They are also required to ensure that gas and electrical installations comply with safety standards. As a tenant, you are responsible for:
From time to time an emergency situation may occur, whether it is a water leak or a failure of the electricity supply.
To ensure that the effects of any disruption are minimised we will attempt to arrange suitable repairs as soon as possible so please contact us in the first instance.
However there will be times when you will not be able to contact us (such as evenings,
weekends and holidays) and at these times, or if you cannot contact us for any other
reason, please contact the appropriate contractor direct*, as follows:-
Gas Maintenance: 07725 696030 (Homeglow)
Gas Emergency: 0800 111 999 (National Gas Emergency Service)
Plumbing: 07725 696030 (Homeglow) or 07545 017888 (N E Day)
Electrics: 07864 932311 (Chris)
UPVC Windows & Doors: 01634 863528 (Window Fix Direct)
Appliance Repairs: 07736 741848 (Invicta Repairs)
Wooden Gates & Fencing: 01622 807616 (J Dowle)
Locksmith: 07855 361521 or 0208 300 2121 (Key to the Door)
ASHFORD/WHITSTABLE/EAST KENT AREA
Gas Maintenance: 07725 696030 (Homeglow)
Gas Emergency: 0800 111 999 (National Gas Emergency Service)
Plumber (ASHFORD): Scott 07737 358755
Plumber (WHITSTABLE): Control Plumbing & Heating 08000 323707 or 07900 884460
Plumber (WHITSTABLE): RJ Wyles Plumbing & Heating 01795 535921 or 07745948459
Plumber (WHITSTABLE): Whitstable Plumbing 01227 264157 or 07889 393768
Invoices will be sent direct to us for payment. However, we make a charge for lost keys or if you are locked out of £25.00 call out and the cost of a new key if applicable.
*If you are unable to contact any of the above, and an URGENT repair is required, please contact a suitable contractor from Google or the Yellow Pages.
Not causing a nuisance
You should take care not to behave in an antisocial way that could upset or annoy your neighbours, or to allow anyone in your household (including children) to do so. Antisocial behaviour is a legal reason for eviction, regardless of what kind of tenancy you have. It could also lead to your tenancy being demoted, your housing benefit being reduced, an antisocial behaviour order being made against you and/or criminal convictions.
Antisocial behaviour can include things like:
As well as respecting your neighbours, you should not behave in an antisocial or aggressive way towards your landlord, or anyone employed by your landlord.
Being responsible for your household and visitors
As well as not breaking any of the terms of your tenancy agreement yourself, you are also responsible for the behaviour of everyone in your household and of anyone staying with or visiting you. You could be held responsible (and possibly evicted) if they cause damage or are antisocial, so don't be afraid to take control.
Fire Health and Safety
You may be aware that the law has changed with reference to fire health and safety in communal areas of blocks of flats. The new law requires us to make all residents aware of the following points:
1. Please do not overload electrical sockets in your flat.
2 Consider the risk of fire if you or your visitors smoke inside your flat and ensure that an adequate extinguishing receptacle is provided. Do not smoke in the communal staircases.
3. Dispose of your rubbish regularly and place refuse sacks inside the bins in the bin store.
4. Consider fitting smoke detectors in your flat and check them regularly to ensure that they function correctly.
5. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher for use on small fires in your flat and ensure that you are familiar with how to use it.
6. When purchasing soft furnishings consider the flammability rating of the product.
7. Ensure that you are aware of the location of the exit and that you would still be able to find it in the event of a smoke filled staircase. Inform guests of the means of escape when they arrive.
8. If you discover a fire call the emergency services as soon as possible. Raise the alarm with neighbours, only if it is safe to do so and leave the building helping any disabled neighbours if safe to do so.
9. In the event of a fire exit quickly and move as far away from the building as possible. Do not stop to collect personal belongings.
10. Never wedge open fire doors for any reason.
11. Never leave the communal entrance door open.
12. Never leave personal items in communal areas. Any items found in communal staircases or obstructing exits will have to be removed and disposed of.
Unless the tenancy agreement says that your property permits smoking, then you are NOT allowed to smoke and allow visitors to smoke in your accommodation. In addition smoking is not allowed in any parts of the building that are shared with other tenants.
Asking permission when it's needed
Most tenants have to ask permission from the landlord if they want to:
Check to see what your tenancy agreement says about these. Depending on the type of tenancy you have the landlord may have the right to refuse. It may also say that you need to ask permission for other things, such as keeping a pet, smoking or parking a caravan on the property. Always put your request in writing and make sure you get your landlord's written permission before you go ahead.
Ending your tenancy properly
If you want to move out, it is very important to end your tenancy properly first. You can't just post the keys through the letterbox and walk away. Otherwise you could end up still being liable for the rent, even though you're no longer living there. It may be possible to end your tenancy immediately if the landlord accepts this (best to get their acceptance in writing) but you normally have to give your landlord the necessary notice.
Giving your landlord access when necessary
Most tenancy agreements contain information about how and when your landlord can get access to the property, for example, if repairs are needed. You are entitled to be given reasonable notice of this.
However, you also have the right to live in your home without unnecessary interference from the landlord. Most tenants have the right to stop the landlord from coming in, unless they want her/him to. If your landlord or someone acting on her/his behalf harasses you or tries to make life difficult for you in your home, they may be committing a criminal offence.
Tenancy deposit law was introduced on 6th April 2007 and provides protection for tenants by preventing landlords and letting agents from unfairly withholding a deposit. The scheme protects all Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales (covering most tenancies since 1997).
Tenancy Deposit Protection is designed to ensure:
Edward Ellis & Co currently registers all tenants’ deposits with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) www.depositprotection.com.
A Tenant’s Guide to the DPS Custodial Scheme is here. The Terms and Conditions of the Scheme are here.
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