Your TenancyUnderstanding Your Tenancy

Understanding Your Tenancy

Before you moved into your home you will have signed a tenancy agreement with Birmingham Civic Housing Association.

This is an important legal agreement which sets out exactly what your rights and responsibilities are and what you can expect from us as your landlord.   

You should keep the agreement in a safe place.

 

You are at risk of losing your home if you break the conditions of your tenancy agreement.

Most of our tenants are Assured Tenants, however if you moved into your home before 15 Jan 1989 you will have a Secure Tenancy.  

Secure Tenancy

 

This gives you the right to live in your home as long as you do not break the terms of the agreement. Your tenancy can only come to an end by order of the courts unless you choose to give it up. 

A secure tenant has the following rights unless any tenancy conditions have been broken, to:

  • Buy your home
  • Stay in your home
  • Pass on your home to a spouse or in some circumstances a family member 
  • Take in lodgers
  • Make improvements
  • Do a mutual exchange
  • Receive information from the association
  • Be consulted about any proposed changes to the service provided
  • Complain if you are unhappy with our service

You may need to get our permission  for some of these things, so  please contact us for further advice.

 

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  Assured Tenancy

As an Assured tenant you have the following rights unless any tenancy conditions have been broken to:

  • Stay in your home
  • Pass on your home to a spouse or partner 
  • Take in lodgers
  • Make improvements
  • Do a mutual exchange
  • Receive information from the association
  • Be consulted on any proposed changes to the service provided.
  • Complain if you are unhappy with our service

We will only end your tenancy in certain circumstances and with the courts approval. This could be if you do not pay your rent, break a tenancy condition by causing damage or nuisance problems or by moving out without telling us. You can only be evicted from your home if a court decides that it is reasonable for us to take back the property and issues a court order.

 

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  Our Responsibility to you

As your landlord we will:

  • carry out the repairs we are responsible for
  • allow you to carry out your own improvements and alterations - but you need our permission first
  • allow you to take in lodgers - you do need our permission first and it must not cause overcrowding
  • allow you to exchange with another social landlord or council tenant - providing you have our permission first and that each landlord is in agreement
  • give you information about the services we provide
  • consult you about any changes to your service

 

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  Your Responsibility to us

You must:

  • pay your rent in full and on time
  • be a considerate neighbour, ensuring that everyone who lives with or visits you does not cause a nuisance or annoy others
  • not use your home for any illegal or immoral purpose
  • Keep you home and garden clean and tidy and in good decorative order
  • ask permission to run a business from your home
  • Allow access for  staff and our contractors when necessary
  • Report any repairs to us
  • live in your home - you cannot move out and allow someone else to move in
  • give us four weeks notice when you intend to move out

 

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  1 - Changes to your tenancy

A joint tenancy is where two or more people are named in the tenancy agreement. We usually give a joint tenancy to couples, including couples of the same gender.

With a joint tenancy, all tenants have equal rights and responsibilities, such as paying the rent. If one tenant breaks a tenancy condition, the other tenant can also be held responsible.

You can ask us to add a partner to an existing tenancy. The new joint tenant must have been living with you for the last 12 months and you must be up to date with your rent. You will be granted a new tenancy agreement.

If one joint tenant dies, the tenancy may be passed on to the other joint tenant (succession). However, if your relationship breaks down, the joint tenancy can only be changed if:

  • the association and all named tenants agree to the change
  • or a court orders the change

 

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  Succession and Assignment

What is succession?

  • Succession is the transfer of a tenancy following the death of a tenant. 

    In the event of a tenant's death, the tenancy will pass to the sposue or civil partner of the tenant, providing they were living with at the proprty as their only or principle home at the time of the tenants death.

There can only be one succession to a tenancy. If a tenant changes a tenancy from sole to joint this will automatically generate a new tenancy which will mean succession rights are reinstated. If However, a joint tenancy has been changed by assigment to sole status this will mean the succession right has been used up.     

What is an assignment?

An assignment is where a tenancy has been legally transferred.

Tenants who have not succeeded to the tenancy themselves, have the right to assign (pass) their tenancy to their spouse, partner, provided that they would have qualified to succeed to the tenancy if the tenant had died immediately before the assignment.

An assignment is done by a legal document this means the right of succession is used up and the successor cannot then pass on the tenancy.

The courts can also order an assignment between married partners and civil partners as a result of divorce proceedings, or dissolution of a civil partnership. This is called a ‘tenancy transfer’.

 

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  Joint to sole tenancy

Click this button to download the sole tennancy application form

Click the button above to download the sole tenancy application form

A tenant may ask to remove a joiint tenant from the tenancy following a relationship breakdown or if one party chooses to move out. A sole tenancy is created when a joint tenant assigns their part of the tenancy to the remaining tenant.

When the tenancy has been changed  into one person’s name, that person is solely responsible for paying the rent and ensuring that the tenancy is managed correctly.

You won’t be able to change your tenancy from joint to sole if:

  • Both tenants and Birmingham Civic don’t agree to the change
  • There are rent arrears or other costs owed to us
  • We are taking any legal action.

For an assignment both tenants will need to meet with us  to complete the legal documents. Once an assignment takes place the ‘Succession rights’ have been used up.

 

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  Sole to joint tenancy

Click this button to download the joint tennancy application form

Click the button above to download the joint tenancy application form

A joint tenancy is created when a sole tenant wants their tenancy to include a partner. Where there is a joint tenancy, both tenants are then responsible for ensuring that the rent is paid and that the tenancy is managed correctly.

We will not unreasonably withhold consent but we are unlikely to give permission when:

  • There are rent arrears or other monies owed to us
  • We’re taking legal action or

The proposed tenant:

  • owns a property or has  a tenancy somewhere else
  • owes money to us
  • has been involved in serious anti-social behaviour or criminal activity

The person wishing to become a joint tenant must be a spouse or partner who has lived at the property with the sole tenant for the last 12 months. You will need to provide proof of this such as:

  • bank statements and any income paperwork such as benefit letters or P60
  • Council Tax or utility bills
  • a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate

Both parties will need to meet with us to sign a new tenancy agreement. 

 

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  Sub-letting and Lodgers

As a tenant you have the right to invite anyone to come and live with you provided the property does not become overcrowded and they agree to the tenancy conditions. You need our permission to take in a lodger but we wont refuse without good reason. But remember someone else living in your home may affect your housing benefit entitlement so you will need to notify the benefits team. We may at times also require Proof of Identification, residency and other information for the lodger.

The property must be the sole residency of the tenant. This means you cannot sub-let all of your property to another person. In circumstances where we suspect someone is sub-letting all their home we will investigate the claim and where necessary take legal action to end the tenancy.  

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  2 - Fraud and deception

We will investigate any issues relating to fraud and deception conducted by our tenants. Where a case of suspected tenancy fraud is investigated, the evidence collated will be reviewed to assess whether an allegation of tenancy fraud can be substantiated. The types of fraud and deception we may investigate include:

  • Benefit Fraud – This is where a tenant may continue to claim benefits to which they are not entitled to, such as not declaring a partner or not declaring work.
  • Unlawful subletting – this is where a tenant lets out their entire home without the knowledge or permission of their landlord.
  • Obtaining housing by deception – this is where a person(s) obtains a tenancy via the local authority or housing association by giving false information in their application for housing, for example not declaring that they are renting another council or housing association property.
  • Tenancy succession by deception – this is where a tenant dies and someone who is not eligible tries to succeed the tenancy.

We are also required to pass on details of any potential fraud or deception to our partners including the Police and Local Authority.

 

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  3 - Anti-Social Behaviour

We believe that everyone has the right to live peacefully in their home and community.

What is anti-social behaviour ?

Anti-social behaviour is acting in a manner that causes or is likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress.

Anti-social behaviour may include but is not limited to:

  • Hate related incidents such as racist, homophobic and other discriminatory acts
  • Illegal drug taking, cultivation/production of drugs, dealing drugs and buying drugs
  • Verbal abuse
  • Harassment
  • Intimidation and bullying
  • Violence or threats of violence
  • Loud noise
  • Criminal damage
  • Grafitti
  • Fly – tipping
  • Pets and animal nuisance

What can I do ?

We ask that:

  • All occupants of your household and visitors to your home behave responsibly towards staff, contractors and neighbours
  • You are aware of what your children are doing
  • You do not make excessive noise – no continuous loud music, do not swear or shout in a way that may disturb your neighbour
  • You treat your neighbours with respect and consider how your actions may affect them
  • Control your pets and clean up after them
  • Not to allow your home to be used for  illegal or immoral purposes

How can we help?

We will:

  • help and support our tenants who are victims of anti-social behaviour
  • provide mediation so any issues can be resolved
  • work with partner agencies to find solutions
  • take any legal action where necessary
  • provide any additional security to your home if you feel unsafe

Reporting anti-social behaviour

It is important that we all work together to sort out problems. You may be able to resolve every day nuisance problems by talking to your neighbour. Your neighbour may not be aware that they are causing a problem and by speaking to them directly you may be able to settle the matter straight away without involving anyone else.

If you feel that you are unable to sort out the difficulty by talking to your neighbour then call us and we may need to work together with our partners such as the Police and local council. We will talk to you and let you know how we can help.

Your safety and security is important to us. If you witness any anti-social behaviour that involves criminal activity you must report it to the police. If it is an emergency and requires an immediate response dial 999, however, non-urgent crimes can be reported by dialling the police on 101. 

 

To view and download our Anti social behaviour policy

 Click this button to download the sole tennancy application form

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  4 - Gardens and Access Points

It is your responsibility to look after your garden which includes maintaining and clearing any rubbish or other items that may attract vermin. We do not have the funds to provide items such as block paving or garden slabs, but if you choose to do this at your own cost you will need to let us know.

There are a number of services offered by Birmingham City Council and can help with the removal of bulky waste items and garden waste. Please visit:

www.birmingham.gov.uk/wasteservices

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  5 - Tenant Liaison Visits

We like to meet with each of our tenants at least once a year. This is called your Tenant Liaison Visit. These visits are carried out by our Housing Managers.

Why are we visiting you ?

We like to meet you to:

  • Discuss the services offered by this association and help with any housing issues you may have
  • Confirm who is living at home with you
  • Note any repairs needed and check that you are looking after your home and garden
  • Make sure our records are updated with any changes

When will we visit you ?

We will write or contact you on the telephone to arrange a visit. If the appointment is not suitable for you get in touch and we will arrange a time that is more convenient for you.

During the visit which should last about half an hour we hope to be able to help you with any problems that you may have with your tenancy and work with you to provide useful solutions.

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  6 - Leaving your tenancy / moving on

Click this button to download the sole tennancy application form

Click the button above to download the Notice to Vacate form

We are committed to helping you end your tenancy correctly and easily.

 

How we will do it

When you tell us you’re leaving, we’ll:

  • Arrange to visit you as soon as possible
  • Let you know what you need to do before you leave, to end your tenancy correctly, including:
    • What notice you must give
    • What work you need to do before you leave, including removing all of your belongings
      We may charge you for any rubbish or damage at the property
    • When and how to return your keys
  • Ask you to complete an exit survey to find out what you thought about being a Birmingham Civic resident and learn from your feedback

 

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  7 - Tenancy support

If you are struggling to manage your tenancy get in touch with us straight away. We will work with you and our partner agencies to help you stay in your home.

There is lots of help available for people from the council. Please contact the council to see how they can help.

 

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