Before you move into your home, we will ask you to sign a tenancy agreement. This is a legal agreement that sets out the rights and responsibilities that you have as a council tenant and that we have as your landlord. You should keep this agreement in a safe place and refer to it if you have any queries about your tenancy.
You will also receive an energy performance certificate for your home, some advice leaflets, a direct debit form and a intention to claim housing benefit form.
Once you have moved in, a visit will be arranged with one of our estate officers to go through your responsibilities and to help you with any queries you may have.
Repairs and maintenance
Before you move into your home, a maintenance surveyor will have normally inspected it and arranged for any necessary repairs to be carried out. The booklet "Our letting standard", explains the standard that our empty properties are brought up to before they are let.
The gas and electricity services will have been checked to make sure that they are all working safely and efficiently. From the start of your tenancy you will be responsible for paying all charges in connection with gas and electricity supplies to your home.
If the gas supply was turned off when we inspected it, we will not have been able to carry out a safety check before you moved in. If this is the case, red warning notices will be fixed to all gas appliances in the property. These will tell you who to contact so we can test and approve the appliance. If you want to install a gas cooker or any other gas appliance, you must get our written permission first and this work must be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Gas, water and electricity supplies
You are responsible for taking meter readings and giving these to the gas and electricity suppliers of your choice. The water supplier is Veolia Water East and you will need to contact them and advise them of your tenancy start date.
Housing decoration allowance voucher
You may be provided with a Housing decoration allowance voucher. This is a one-off voucher that you can use in selected stores to buy decorating materials (such as wallpaper and paint). After this, you will be responsible for meeting the cost of decorating your home throughout your tenancy.
If you have moved into your home through a mutual exchange, we will have only carried out an electric and gas safety check at the start of your tenancy and you will not be eligible for an allowance to help with decorating. So when you view a potential property, make sure that you are happy with the condition before you agree to the exchange.
Local Housing Allowance
If you are intending to claim local housing allowance to pay your rent, you must fill in a form immediately. Benefit payments will not be backdated. Send in the form even if you can't answer all the questions - give as much information as possible. If you are already receiving local housing allowance at your old address then it will stop when you move into your new home so a change of circumstances form must be filled in.
Altering your home
You can put in your own fittings as long as you do not damage, remove anything or alter the property. If you would like to alter your home then you will need to ask for our permission. We will not unreasonably withhold permission, but certain conditions may be attached to the permission such as finding out if planning consent is needed.
Who to notify
You can find out who you should notify when you move home by using Directgov, a government information website.