This handbook should be read alongside your tenancy agreement. It is an important document. It is a contract between SHA as your landlord and yourself as a tenant or joint tenant.
A joint tenancy means that all named tenants are equally responsible for the property and share the rights and responsibilities.
With a few limited exceptions your tenancy with SHA will be an Assured Tenancy. It gives you the right to live in your home for as long as you require it and as long as you keep to the terms and conditions of your agreement.
The tenancy can only be ended if one or more of the conditions shown in the Tenancy Agreement are broken or if you no longer live in the property as your only or principle home.
What is a Starter Tenancy?
A starter tenancy (or probationary tenancy) is a type of tenancy which SHA gives our tenants who are new to having their own home with a social landlord.
It means that for a period of 12 months from the start of your tenancy, SHA will check that you are keeping to the terms of tenancy agreement, such as being a good neighbour and paying your rent. During this period you do not have some rights that are available to “full” assured tenants and it is easier for SHA to take action to end your tenancy if you are not keeping to the terms of your tenancy agreement.
Why does Spitalfields Housing use starter tenancies?
They can be useful in identifying which households need support, especially when starting as new tenants. They also make it easier for SHA to take action against tenants who do not keep to the terms of their tenancy agreement, for example by causing anti- social behaviour or nuisance to neighbours.
What happens next?
During the first 12 months of your tenancy you will be asked to meet with your housing officer. At the end of the 12 months the Housing Officer will make a recommendation regarding your tenancy. This recommendation can be to move to an assured tenancy if all is well, to extend the starter tenancy for up to 6 months or to terminate the tenancy if there have been persistent unresolved issues/failure to keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement. If termination were recommended, you would have the right to appeal.
Passing on your tenancy
There are two ways of passing on your tenancy.
This means transferring your tenancy to someone else. This can be done only in the following circumstances:
- if the court has decided that a tenancy has to go from one spouse to another as part of divorce proceedings
- if you wish to carry out a valid mutual exchange
- For further details contact your housing officer.
If a tenant dies and there has not already been a succession then a member of the tenant's family (usually a spouse or partner) living in the property may qualify to take over the tenancy.
There are a number of conditions to be met so please discuss any such situation with your housing officer.
Ending your tenancy
Before you leave your home you must tell us in writing at least four weeks before you go. Clear your arrears leave a forwarding address, clear and clean your property, make sure Council Tax and all other bills are paid and the accounts cancelled. Remember to get your phone and broadband disconnected too. Make sure you take everything with you – we will have to dispose of anything left behind and may charge you for that. Hand all your keys back to the association and leave us your new address so that we can contact you if we need to. You will need to make sure that your rent/service charge account is clear before moving.
Lodgers & subletting
You can take in a lodger as long you notify us in writing with the full details of your proposed lodger. If you sublet or transfer your tenancy illegally we will take immediate legal action to repossess your home and evict any people living there. Under the conditions of your tenancy agreement, you are not allowed to sublet the whole of your home. You may sublet part of your home [with written permission].
Being a good neighbour
You should be able to enjoy life in your home. Good neighbours will tolerate the different lifestyles of people living near them as long as they don’t cause a nuisance. Good neighbours will also understand the impact their behaviour may have on their neighbours and act accordingly.
We want you to be able to enjoy your home and neighbourhood. By following these basic rules, we hope all residents will have full enjoyment of their home.
SHA will encourage all residents to become involved in the local community. This can be through getting involved in or starting a new Tenants Association or through taking part in activities at local Community Centre. In Autumn 2016 we are opening our first purpose built Community Centre which will offer a range of services for the local community. This is at Pedley Street/Fakruddin Street on the Vallance Road E1. Our residents can also access the services offered from Selby Street Community Centre. For other ways to get involved please see “Getting Involved” section within this booklet or our website: www.spitalfieldsha.co.uk