This tenant handbook is...
Our tenants are important to us
NPH's vision is to provide homes which enable people to live happy and healthy lives in enriched communities - so our tenants really are the reason we are here. If you would like information on your tenancy, you can find lots below or you can call our friendly team on 0300 330 7003.
To become a tenant you need to apply to the Housing Register
Click on the sections below for important information on your tenancy.
As a tenant your responsibilities are to:
- live in the property as your main home, pay the rent and any other charges in full when they are due
- take care of the property
- keep the inside properly decorated, and do any repairs you are responsible for
- ensure that members of your household, guests, visitors or pets do not cause nuisance or annoy neighbours and behave in a reasonable way
- not harass or threaten anyone, including our staff and contractors
- inform us when you are going to be away from your home for more than 4 weeks, for example if you are going into hospital
- give us 4 weeks written notice of wanting to move out of the property (except for transfers) and leave it in good condition when you leave
Please see your Tenancy Agreement and the Tenant Handbook for a fuller description of tenant responsibilities
Our responsibilities are to:
- consult with you before we make any changes to your tenancy
- keep your home in good repair (including internal communal areas and garages)
New tenants will initially be offered an introductory tenancy for 12 months.
If you have an introductory tenancy you must:
- pay your rent on time
- look after your home
- abide by your conditions of your tenancy agreement
- not behave anti-socially, cause a nuisance or harass other people, our staff or contractors - this includes other household members, guests and visitors.
Whilst you have an introductory tenancy you cannot:
- buy your home
- take in lodgers sub-let part of your home
- make alterations
- exchange your home with another tenant (a mutual exchange)
We will monitor your tenancy and if there are no problems in the introductory period, the tenancy automatically becomes flexible or secure. If the tenancy is not conducted in a satisfactory manner, because of breaches of tenancy conditions, we can extend your introductory tenancy for a further 6 months or begin proceedings for repossession of your property. This means you could be evicted.
If you have an introductory tenancy and are struggling to pay your rent, it is really important that you talk to us as any level of arrears can lead to the loss of an introductory tenancy.
A flexible tenancy will usually be offered for a 5 year period and follow on from an initial 12 month introductory tenancy. In exceptional circumstances we will offer a 2 year flexible tenancy and the reasons for this are set out within the Tenancy Policy. A flexible tenancy is still a secure tenancy but unlike a lifetime secure tenancy it will usually last for a fixed period of time.
If you hold a flexible tenancy you will have the same rights as those tenants that hold a secure tenancy apart from the right to make improvements and the right to compensation for improvements.
If you are offered a flexible tenancy you can seek a review about the length of the term of the tenancy that you have been offered. If you choose to do this you must do so within 21 days of receiving the offer notice. You may attend a review in person or submit a written request.
We will visit you at home 12 months before your flexible tenancy is due to end. The purpose of this visit is to check on your circumstances and consider all other relevant factors such as the conduct of your tenancy and the condition of the property. We will decide whether you are to be granted either a further flexible tenancy or not, or whether you are to be granted a lifetime secure tenancy. If you are granted a further tenancy is may not necessarily be at the same property.
If you are not going to be granted a further tenancy you have the right to seek a review of our decision. You must request a review within 21 days of being given notice of our decision.
If it is decided you are not going to be granted a further tenancy then we will serve you with a notice at least 2 months before your tenancy is due to end.
If you are offered a secure tenancy, it will become secure after the introductory period if there has been no breach of tenancy. This means that your tenancy has no fixed end date and you are entitled to stay in your home for as long as you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement. You will also acquire additional rights such as the Right to Buy and being able to exchange your home.
If you had a secure or assured tenancy with another council or a housing association immediately before you moved into your current home it is likely you will be given a secure tenancy from the start.
To end your tenancy you must complete a Notice of intention to terminate a tenancy form. This gives 4 weeks notice to NPH, ending on a Monday. If you are transferring your tenancy or moving to a nursing or residential home you will normally need to give a weeks notice.
Who can terminate a tenancy?
Any tenant can give notice to end their tenancy. If you hold a joint tenancy, either tenant can give notice. During the 28 day notice period the council has the discretion to award the remaining tenant a tenancy in their sole name. If the remaining tenant wants to stay at the same address, the council will consider whether he or she is still eligible for the property type and how the previous tenancy was conducted before granting a sole tenancy for the property.
If you have Power of Attorney for a tenant of Northampton Borough Council you are able to serve notice on their behalf, if it is appropriate to do so. The council can ask the courts for a Possession Order to end a tenancy in circumstances where tenancy conditions have been breached.
What happens if I'm exchanging my property?
If you have been given written permission for a mutual exchange you need to complete a termination of tenancy form which records the date the exchange will take place so your old and new tenancy run concurrently.
When does the tenancy end?
Your tenancy does not actually finish until you have handed in your keys. If you complete your four week notice period but have not handed in your keys rent will continue to be charged against your account until you do so. The council requires vacant possession to end the tenancy. Please be aware that once your notice is handed in your property is likely to be advertised through the council's Choice Based Lettings Scheme. The advert might appear before you have moved out.
Where/when do I have to hand in my keys?
Keys should be handed in at the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall. So you do not build up any additional rent please hand them in by noon on the Monday when your notice period expires. A Customer Services Officer will give you a receipt.
What happens if I change my mind and want to withdraw my notice?
You can request at any time during the notice period to withdraw your notice. In law the council does not have to accept your withdrawal but if your reasons are acceptable we may rescind your notice. Speak to your housing officer about the circumstances which led to you wishing to withdraw your notice.
My relative has died. What should I do? Can we leave items we don't want/ cannot move?
You should inform the local housing officer as soon as possible and arrange for the completion of a termination form. You should also discuss with the relevant housing officer how much time you need to clear the property and remove the personal effects of the person who has passed away. In these circumstances we may allow up to 2 weeks, upon request, to do this during which time no rent is charged on the account.
Please remember - payment of Housing Benefit will cease on the Sunday following the tenant's death.
What happens if I have rent arrears?
The council expects you to clear any rent arrears (or other debts on your rent account) before you leave your home. Our policy is to recover any outstanding monies owed to the council after a tenancy has ended. If a tenancy ends because the tenant has passed away, their estate will be liable for the debt. Please note if you wish transfer to another council property it is unlikely that you will be able to do so if you have rent arrears. Most housing landlords also take up references and may not offer a tenancy to someone who has a poor payment history or has terminated a tenancy still owing rent. The council also expects that you will put right any damage and do any repairs for which you are responsible before you leave. If you do not you will be recharged for any work that the council has to do before the property can be re-let.
Northampton Partnership Homes takes tenancy fraud very seriously and takes action to regain possession of properties wherever there is evidence of a home occupied by someone who should not be living there or where the tenancy has been obtained fraudulently.
Tenancy fraud is illegal and action will be taken against people who are caught abusing the system.
Do you know someone who has committed one of the following types of Tenancy Fraud?
- Unlawful Subletting - subletting the whole, or part, of a property without the landlord’s permission.
- Succession Fraud - when someone continues to live in a property after the tenant has died, falsely claiming to have been resident in order to obtain the tenancy.
- Allocation Fraud - when false information is used on a Housing Application in order to obtain a tenancy.
- Right to Buy Fraud - when false statements are made in order to purchase a property.
- Abandonment - when a tenant is no longer living in the property.
- Key Selling - when a tenant vacates a property and passes on the keys in return for a one off lump sum payment or favour.
- Unauthorised Mutual Exchanges - when tenants swap properties without the landlord’s permission.
If you suspect someone is committing tenancy fraud, please let us know - it could make a home available to an individual or family in genuine need.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
We understand that pets are much loved family members and if you live in a house, you can keep a maximum of two dogs.
Dogs are not permitted in flats or bedsits unless:
- you need a guide dog;
- your GP, or another health or wellbeing professional, has recommended you keep one;
- you are a repeat victim of crime;
Please make sure that you give us enough information to make a decision.