When you move into your new home you will be asked to sign a Tenancy Agreement. This is a legally binding document that must be read carefully and understood.
The majority of our tenants have an assured tenancy. We also issue starter tenancies for new tenants. The details of your tenancy are written in your Tenancy Agreement.
With an assured tenancy, you can stay in your home for as long as you want, provided you do not break your tenancy agreement;
- You cannot be evicted from your home except by a court order
- Your rent is set by the housing association
- When you die your tenancy can normally be taken over by a member of the family who is living in the property at the time of your death
A member of our neighbourhood services team or your Independent Living Co-ordinator will also explain:
- The conditions of your tenancy
- The start date of your tenancy
- How to operate installations in your home, e.g.. the central heating
- The service provided by the association
- Arrangements for paying your rent
- Any decoration allowance which you may be entitled to
As part of your tenancy agreement we will consult on changes that affect you and your home
We will advise you of any plans that affect you and your home. We will also listen carefully to your views before making any final decisions.
We will consult you on changes to:
- The terms of your Tenancy Agreement
- Any modernisation or improvement to your home
- Any housing management policies that affect you, such as repair priorities or repair responsibilities
Types of Tenancy
Your Tenancy Agreement
Your tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and your housing association. It lists your rights and responsibilities and you must read it carefully. Ask us if there is anything you do not understand. Keep your copy of your tenancy agreement in a safe place.
You can stay in your home for as long as possible with an assured tenancy, as long as you do not breach your tenancy agreement. You cannot be evicted from your home except by a Court Order. Your rent is set by your housing association according to Government guidelines, and reviewed annually. When you die, a family member may be eligible to succeed your tenancy if they have been living in the property for at least 12 months immediately prior to your death. proof of residency will be required. However, if the property is under occupied they may be re-housed into suitable smaller accommodation. See your tenants handbook for more information on your rights.
Affordable Rents were introduced by the Government to help finance the building of new homes with little or no grant funding. Although affordable rents are more expensive than social rents, they are more affordable than renting at full market rent. The rent we will charge will be up to 80% of the current market rent, including service charges.
Most new build properties, and a proportion of our existing properties when they are re-let will be set at an affordable rent. We will carry out a financial assessment to ensure the rent is affordable to each applicant and signpost for specialist advice if necessary. When we advertise the properties on HomePoint, they will clearly be marked 'Affordable Rent'. It will also be clearly stated in your offer letter and in your tenancy agreement.
The rent will be reviewed annually by your housing association, and set in accordance with Government guidelines. Each time we set a new affordable rent we will always review the rent to make sure it does not exceed 80% of market rent.
A starter tenancy is offered to new tenants. After the successful completion of the starter period, which usually lasts for 12 months, the tenant will be offered an assured tenancy. If, during the starter period, a new tenant breaks any of their obligations, their tenancy will be ended and they will have to give up possession of their home. In certain circumstances the starter period may be extended for a further 6 months.
The rent will be reviewed annually by your housing association, and set in accordance with Government guidelines.
Starter tenancies are used to make sure new tenants understand the importance of keeping to the terms of their tenancy agreement. Just as tenants have a right to expect us to observe all of our responsibilities to them under the tenancy, we have a right to expect our tenants to observe all of their responsibilities. For example:
- by paying the rent on time
- by looking after their home
- by allowing us to visit and carry out repairs
When we offer you a home we will tell you if we are offering you a starter tenancy. If we do, it means that you will be 'on probation' for a period of one year. You should not worry that you are being offered a starter tenancy. Provided you do not break any of the terms of the tenancy agreement during your starter period, you will be offered an assured tenancy after 12 months. There are some other differences to a starter tenancy, these are:
- If a tenant who holds a starter tenancy breaks any of their obligations under the tenancy agreement it is easier for us to end their tenancy
- A tenant who holds a starter tenancy will not have the same rights to exchange or pass on their tenancy
- A tenant who holds a starter tenancy may not take in lodgers or otherwise sublet part of their home
- Where applicable, a tenant who holds a starter tenancy has no right to acquire their home
As long as we are happy that you have kept to the terms of your tenancy agreement and have not taken any steps to end your tenancy, you will automatically be offered an assured tenancy after 12 months.
Where breaches of the tenancy have been identified, we may decide to extend the starter tenancy for a further six months. This is intended to encourage the tenant to comply with the terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement. At the same time, we aim to deliver a strong message that their behaviour is unacceptable, and could lead to them losing their home.
If we decide to end your tenancy we will tell you in writing. At this stage we will also inform you of your right to appeal against our decision and we will provide you with details of how you can appeal, the appeals process and how you can expect your appeal to be dealt with.
Why do I need it?
If you are a tenant who rents, then your landlord may not cover your contents as part of the tenancy agreement. It’s a good idea to consider what a home contents insurance policy would cover you for in order to help you make an informed decision on whether you need one.
Contents insurance is designed to help protect your possessions. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a risk that your belongings could be broken, damaged or stolen so home contents insurance can help provide peace of mind.
To help you decide whether home contents insurance is right for you, South Shropshire Housing Association and Meres & Mosses Housing Association have teamed up with Thistle Tenant Risks, and Allianz Insurance plc who provide the My Home Contents Insurance Scheme, a specialist Tenants Contents Insurance policy.
My Home Contents Insurance Scheme can offer you insurance for the contents of your home including cover for items such as furniture, carpets, curtains, clothes, bedding, electrical items, jewellery, pictures and ornaments.
How do I get further information?
- Ask your local housing officer for an application pack.
- Call Thistle Tenant Risks on 0345 450 7288
Alternatively, please visit the www.thistlemyhome.co.uk for more information or to request a call back.
The National Housing Federation is an Appointed Representative of Thistle Insurance Services Ltd. Thistle Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 310419. Lloyd’s Broker. Registered in England under No. 00338645. Registered office: Rossington’s Business Park, West Carr Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 7SW. Thistle Insurance Services Ltd is part of the PIB Group.
Improving Your Home
Improving Your Home
You can carry out improvements to your home provided that you have our written permission before you start the work.
You will need to write to us providing the full details of what work you would like to carry out. We will provide you written confirmation of any permission we grant within 16 working days of receiving your request. You will be expected to sign and return this letter accepting the conditions associated with the permission before you can start the work.
If the work is electrical or involves gas then a registered qualified engineer must complete the work. Upon completion, you will need to send us the installation certificate they provide as evidence. (NICIEC or GAS SAFE certificate)
The work must not make the property unsafe, affect the value or the size or reduce the value of the property and neither South Shropshire Housing Association and Meres & Mosses Housing Association will not be involved in any expense.
You may also need to apply for planning permission and building regulations approval before we can grant you full permission. You will need to send this to us so we can make a decision and before you can begin any work.
You do not need permission to redecorate your home or lay carpets or lino. However, you do need permission to lay laminate flooring and permission is usually only granted to ground floors.
If you have removed any fittings without permission you must reinstate the property to its previous condition and replace any of the Association’s fixtures and fittings. We will charge you if we have to reinstate them or redecorate the property.
You are responsible for looking after your garden. You must:
- Keep it tidy, cultivated and free of rubbish
- Maintain garden paths (other than principal paths giving access to the front and back doors)
- Look after trees, shrubs and hedges and make sure that they do not become a nuisance to neighbours. Trees need to be kept at a reasonable height.
You may carry out planting if you wish, however you must get permission before doing any landscaping or erecting a fence or wall.
We are responsible for maintaining communal areas. This includes grass cutting, grass verges on highways and public footpaths.
A mutual exchange is an exchange of properties between two or more tenants.
Please note: you cannot exchange homes if you have a starter tenancy
The landlords involved must approve the exchange in writing before it can go ahead.
The exchange must be done by mutual agreement; each party must agree to the exchange and assign their tenancy to the other.
You can exchange with:
- Another South Shropshire Housing Association tenant
- Another Meres and Mosses Housing Association tenant
- A tenant of another housing association
- A council tenant
Approval can be withheld for the following reasons:
- A property is larger than necessary for either party
- A property is not big enough and would create overcrowding
- The landlord is a charitable trust or a housing association and the exchange conflicts with the purposes of the trust or housing association
- The dwelling has been adapted for a disabled person, and the new tenant has no need for specialist housing
- Legal action for the possession of either home is in progress.
There is a charge for the gas and electric checks that have to be carried out as part of the exchange. This will be discussed with you as part of the application process.
Shropshire HomePoint now hold the mutual exchange register.
How to Register
There are a number of ways to make an application.
- If you already have login details for the Shropshire HomePoint website you can add a mutual exchange application to your account. To do this go to "My Mutual Exchange" and select "Click here to complete a mutual exchange application".
- Apply online at www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk . Once your website registration is complete, select "To apply for mutual exchange click here". Answer all questions to submit your application.
- An application form can be printed from their website or requested on 0300 303 8595.
- What are the advantages of Mutual Exchange
- You can look at mutual exchanges whilst also continuing to place bids on the waiting list.
- It may be the quickest way to move to another property.
- Mutual exchange offers a higher number of potential properties with a greater choice of areas than on the housing register alone.
- You can swap your home as many times as you like.
- It does not need to be a like for like swap, just suitable for your needs.
We have recently agreed a new pets policy for all of our homes.
You do not need to ask permission for up to three caged birds or three caged small animals, e.g.. hamsters.
You do need to request permission for all pets and livestock including cats, dogs, fish tanks and aquariums.
We will grant permission if:
- You live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat
- You have a flat with its own entrance and access to an individual (not shared) garden
- You need a guide dog or hearing dog or you provide medical support confirming that your pet is required for your physical and mental wellbeing
We will not normally grant permission for keeping dogs, cats or similar animals in homes that have shared access, communal corridors and areas which do not have individual private gardens.
No tenant is allowed dangerous pets and anyone found to have a dangerous animal will be reported to the Police.
We will take action against tenants if their pets cause a nuisance to neighbours and if there is any damage to property caused by your pet.
If we receive any reports of neglect or abuse of pets or livestock we will immediately report them to the RSPCA.
To get permission for a pet before you buy it, please call customer services for a permission form, or click here to fill in our online form