When you become a council tenant you must sign and agree a tenancy agreement which is a legal contract setting out your and our legal rights and responsibilities.
You should keep a copy of your tenancy agreement in a safe place.
If you have you have any questions or need help understanding your tenancy agreement, you should contact your housing management officer.
Tenancy regulations are the rules our tenants agree to follow when they live in one of our homes, these are set out in your Tenancy Agreement.
If a tenant breaks one or more of the regulations we can take action against them. This can be as straight forward as asking the tenant to stop acting in a certain way or, in more serious cases, we can ask the court for an order to evict the tenant.
If a tenant breaks the conditions of their tenancy our aim is to help the tenant take action to stop the problem. Eviction is our last resort.
- Once we are aware of a breach of the tenancy conditions we contact the tenant to discuss the issues with them and advise them that they have to follow the terms of their tenancy.
- We agree with the tenant a suitable time to stop breaking the terms of their tenancy and put right anything. This is usually 10 working days but can be sooner or longer depending upon the case.
- We then keep checking that the tenants are making an effort to put things right. At the end of the time we agreed, we will contact the tenant again.
- If we are happy that the tenant has put things right or stopped acting in a certain way, we take no further action and we thank the tenant for their help.
- If they have not put things right or are continuing to break the conditions of their tenancy we contact them again and discuss the problems. Again our aim is to help the tenant put things right and avoid legal action. But, if we have to we will advise the tenant that after a certain date if they have not put things right or stopped breaking the terms of their tenancy, then we will start legal action. We always take into account the nature of the problem, who else is being affected and of course the ability of the tenant to take action. If the tenant is vulnerable we will try to arrange some support for them from either their family or Social Services.
Eviction is always used as a last resort once other steps have been taken to resolve the breach and have failed. If we then decide to evict you we have to follow certain legal procedures.
If we ask the court to make a decision about the future of a tenancy, the tenant is responsible for the court costs and our legal fees. We will send a bill to a tenant if we charge them for the cost of:
- putting right poor improvements;
- clearing and cutting untidy gardens; or
- putting right any damage.
If we take a case to court, we add the legal and court fees to the tenants rent account.
If you are an introductory tenant you have much less security in your tenancy although we will always try and resolve any breaches of tenancy initially. If you do not stop breaking the terms of your tenancy after we have asked you to, we will give you a Notice of Possession Proceedings.
This notice will tell you exactly why we are taking action and will give you usually between 4 to 8 weeks notice (which tenants have a right of appeal) that we intend to ask the court for a possession order. As long as we have reasonable grounds, and have followed our procedures the court has to give us permission to evict you. You will be responsible for paying any court costs.
If you are a secure tenant the process is different.
If you do not stop breaking the terms of your tenancy after we have asked you to, we will give you a Notice of Seeking Proceedings. This notice will tell you exactly why we are taking action and will give you 28 days notice that we intend to ask the court for a possession order. At the end of the 28 days, if you are still breaking the terms of your tenancy, we will ask the court to arrange a date to hear your case. If we are taking action against you for serious anti-social behaviour, we do not have to wait 28 days. In this type of case we can ask the court to make a decision straight away.
A notice of seeking possession lasts for 12 months, even if we decide not to ask the court to hear your case. We cannot act upon a notice if:
- we served it more than 12 months since and we have not asked the court to hear the case before the end of the 12 months; or
- you comply with the terms of your tenancy. For example, if the notice was for rent arrears and you pay all your rent arrears off before we ask the court to hear your case.
But, if we served the notice less than 12 months since and you are still breaking the same terms of your tenancy, we do not have to give you another Notice of Possession Proceedings but we can just ask the court to hear your case. You will be responsible for paying any court costs.