The customer handbook will let you know all about the services we provide and your rights and responsibilities.

You’ll find sections about the way we work, the way your tenancy works and anything that’s expected of you while you’re living in your home - from moving in, to enjoying your home, to what happens if you’d like to move out. 

 

We aim to provide the best service possible for all of our customers. By working together we can help make sure you love your home and the neighbourhood you live in.

 

 

Your tenancy agreement

 

 

Your tenancy agreement is the legal document that sets out the details of the agreement between you (the tenant) and us (the landlord). It includes:

 

  • the services you can expect from us.
  • your rights as a tenant.
  • your responsibilities.

It is a very important document, so make sure you keep it safe. If we ever need to change any of the details in your agreement we will ask you what you think of the changes before we make them, (excluding changes to rent and service charges).

Different types of tenancy

Joint tenancies

 

 

If more than one person has signed the tenancy agreement, this is called a joint tenancy. Joint tenants have equal rights over the tenancy and equal responsibilities. For example, joint tenants are both responsible for paying the rent and any arrears. If one tenant fails to pay the rent and then moves out, the other tenant is still responsible for the arrears. Any debt recovery action, such as a County Court order, can still be taken against both tenants.

 

 

Assured and secure tenancies

 

 

Assured and secure tenancies are considered to be permanent as long as you live in your property as your main home, keep to the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement, and pay your rent. Secure tenancies will not be offered to new tenants unless they have succeeded to this tenancy.

 

 

Starter tenancies

 

 

A starter tenancy is like a ‘trial’ or ‘probationary’ tenancy. You have most of the rights of an assured tenant, but we can end the tenancy without having to attend a court hearing. We would only do this if you break the terms of your tenancy agreement. Provided you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement, it will be converted to a full assured tenancy after 12 months.

 

 

Fixed term tenancies

 

 

We offer fixed term tenancies in some areas. These will be for new customers only and will last for a minimum of five years, provided that you keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement.

 

 

We aim to renew a majority of fixed term tenancies after the five years, but in some cases we may ask you to leave if your circumstances have changed and a smaller home would be more appropriate for your household.

 

 

Equitable tenancies

 

 

If you are aged 16 or 17 when you move into your new home, we will give you an agreement especially for people under 18. Your tenancy is held ‘in trust’ until you reach 18, when you will then be given whichever tenancy agreement is in use in your area (e.g. assured, five year fixed term or starter leading on to assured).

 

 

Lodgers and subletting

 

 

You may not sublet the whole of your property. This means that you cannot move out and let someone else live there in your place. You must get Home Group’s consent before subletting a part of your home or taking in a lodger.

 

Please speak to our Customer Service Centre. We will not refuse consent unless we have a good reason.

Assignment or transfer of tenancy

 

 

You can only transfer or assign your tenancy if:

 

  • there is an order from the court following divorce or separation proceedings, or
  • we approve a mutual exchange or swap.
You must never accept or pay any money in connection with a transfer or assignment of a tenancy.

 

 

What happens to your tenancy if you die?

 

 

If there is a joint tenancy then the surviving tenant will retain their existing rights, by taking on the whole tenancy. In a sole tenancy there is a right for a spouse or civil partner to succeed to your tenancy. In some circumstances it may also be possible for another family member to succeed to your tenancy. Only one succession of a tenancy is allowed.

 

 

A joint tenant taking on the whole tenancy when the other tenant dies is called ‘survivorship’ and counts as one succession.

 

 

We may need to consider whether the size of property still meets the needs of your family. If you take on a tenancy after the tenant has died and the property is too big for your household, we may ask you to move to a smaller property.

 

 

Contact our Customer Service Centre for more details or take a look at your customer handbook.

 

 

Right to Buy

 

 

Many Home Group customers are not able to buy their homes. However, there are two schemes which may apply to those who can, the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.

 

 

Contact our Customer Service Centre to find out if either applies to your home.

 

 

The Right to Buy is part of some tenancy agreements. It means you can buy your home from us at a discounted price compared to the market value. You might have the Right to Buy if you have a secure tenancy. This will usually be the case if your home was owned and managed by a local council when your tenancy started, but is now owned and managed by us. Also, if your tenancy with us started before 15 January 1989, you may have the Right to Buy.

 

 

If your home was built or substantially improved after April 1997, you may have the Right to Acquire.

 

 

This depends on:

 

  • the type of property
  • where it is
  • the type of funding used to pay for it when it was built.

The scheme offers a grant to help with buying your home.

Learn more about right to buy and right to acquire.

 

Your responsibilities

Living in your home

 

 

You will only keep your tenancy if you live in the property as your only or main home. If we find that you have abandoned by moving out of the property without letting us know, we will take steps to end your tenancy and let the property to someone else. You must not get your tenancy by making a false statement.

 

 

Sometimes you may need to leave your home for a while, for example to go into hospital.

 

 

You should always let us know:

 

  • where you will be.
  • how long you will be away.
  • who will be looking after your home.
  • how the rent will be paid.
You must pay your rent, any water rates and service charges on time.

 

 

For more details see your tenancy agreement or contact our Customer Service Centre.

 

 

Paying your rent

 

 

You are responsible for paying your rent in full and on time. If you have any queries about your rent or think you may have difficulty paying on time, please contact our Customer Service Centre.

 

 

Harassment

 

 

Home Group does not tolerate harassment, threats or acts of violence towards customers, clients, colleagues, contractors or any other person acting on our behalf and we will take the strongest possible action against anyone causing it.

 

We define harassment as the deliberate interference with the peace, comfort or safety of any persons on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, nationality, ethnic origin, gender identity or any other identified factor.

Actions that might be defined as harassment include:

 

  • verbal abuse.
  • bullying.
  • hate crimes.
  • threatening or intimidating behaviour.
  • arson or attempted arson.
  • graffiti.
  • damage to property.
  • physical abuse or assault.
Your tenancy agreement forbids harassment in any form. We will take action where necessary.

 

 

If you feel you are being harassed, please contact our Customer Service Centre.

 

 

Nuisance

 

Nuisance covers many types of behaviour that can disturb your enjoyment of your home. This can include excessive noise, problems with pets, and accumulating rubbish.

Your tenancy agreement states that you, members of your household and visitors must not do anything likely to cause nuisance to other people in the area. You are responsible for the behaviour of your pets, family, and visitors to your home. If you are experiencing nuisance; please contact our Customer Service Centre.

Domestic abuse

 

 

Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of gender identity, sexuality, social group, class, age, race, disability, religion or geographic location. It can include:

  • threat of or physical violence.
  • emotional abuse.
  • sexual abuse.
  • excessive financial controls.
  • social isolation.
  • any behaviour that feels like bullying.

Our priority is to address the safety of people affected by domestic abuse. The law allows us to apply to court to end the tenancy of a person who has used or threatened violence that has made their partner leave home.

Other responsibilities

 

 

You must also:

 

  • pay your rent on time.
  • use your home for residential purposes only.
  • keep your home in good condition.
  • not use your home for any illegal or immoral purpose.
  • not engage in any criminal activities.
  • allow us to access your home when required, for example to complete gas servicing.
Support services

 

 

If you are in need of support to help you sustain your home, please contact contact our Customer Service Centre who will be able to advise you and can help make referrals to local independent support services.