What you can expect from us – our service standards
- We will follow our responsibilities clearly set out in the conditions of tenancy and our procedures.
- We will tell you what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant.
- We will make decisions on requests for changes to your tenancy within 10 working days of receiving all the information.
- We will take prompt and appropriate action against anyone who breaks their tenancy conditions.
- We will only take legal action if the tenancy conditions are broken persistently or in a serious way.
- We will provide a written explanation of any action we have taken.
- Customer Service standards – when you contact us
- Feedback – for comments, compliments and complaints
When you become a tenant of The Community Housing Group, you will have either an assured tenancy, an assured shorthold tenancy or a starter tenancy, and you will sign a tenancy agreement which is a legal contract. We have to give you this agreement by law and it gives details of what your responsibilities are when living in our homes and neighbourhoods and what our responsibilities are as your landlord. The differences in the types of tenancy we will be explained to you when you sign your agreement.
- Give you four weeks written notice to change your rent or service charge.
- Consult over any proposed change to your tenancy agreement or changes in the services we provide.
- Complete necessary repairs to the structure of your home and maintain any communal areas.
- Respond to enquiries about your tenancy and rights within 10 working days.
- Make decisions on requests for changes to your tenancy within 10 working days of receiving all the information.
Your Housing Team
To help you manage your tenancy and home, a Housing Officer and Neighbourhood Warden will have responsibility for looking after your area. Their details will be given to you when you sign your tenancy and receive the keys to your new home.
You can contact your Housing Officer through the Customer Service Centre who will put your call though if they are unable to answer your query first time.
You can discuss any issues you have with your tenancy or your home. The Housing Officers work closely with local communities to involve you in monitoring local services and to deal with anti-social behaviour.
When you move in, your Housing Officer will contact you within the first four weeks to check you have settled in and outstanding repairs have been completed.
If you are a new tenant with a starter tenancy, we will visit you regularly to ensure you are looking after your home and keeping to the terms of your tenancy.
Your starter tenancy will be reviewed in the ninth month to decide if it will convert to assured status on the one year anniversary. If your tenancy is not converted, the probationary period may be extended for a further six months. (You will have the opportunity to request a review of this decision.)
Your Housing Officer can also give advice on health and safety, dealing with neighbourhood issues or anti-social behaviour, looking after communal areas and to answer any questions you have about us.
Where your tenancy includes a service charge for a Neighbourhood Warden, they will work closely with you and your Housing Officer to support you in your tenancy. Neighbourhood Wardens provide a uniformed presence on your estate, identifying environmental issues, repairs and community safety issues.
Ending your tenancy
There may be many different reasons why you want or need to end your tenancy. However, you must tell us as soon as possible if you wish to leave your home. You will find details of the amount of notice that you must give us before you move out of your home in your tenancy agreement. This is usually 28 days.
You can notify us by calling the Customer Service Centre on 0800 169 5454, giving notice in writing by letter or email, or by visiting our offices at 3 Foley Grove, Foley Business Park, Kidderminster DY11 7PT.
After you have told us you are leaving, our Voids Inspector will visit you in your home to carry out a property inspection. They will
- check the condition of the property
- let you know about any possible charges
- ask you to sign the Notice to Quit if you have not done so already
- confirm what the final arrangements are for handing back your keys including when, where and by what time.
If you are the next of kin for a tenant who has died and are handing the tenancy back to the Group, we will accept two weeks’ notice.
If there are any outstanding rent arrears or debt that you owe the Group, we expect you to make arrangements for it to be repaid. If no arrangement is agreed upon, we may send the outstanding debt to a debt collection agency.
If there is rubbish left at the property or it is left in poor condition due to tenant neglect or delib¬erate damage, we will seek to recover the cost of repairing the property.
If you do not give notice but move out of your home, we may consider that you have abandoned the tenancy and will start action that may result in repossession of your home. It is important that you contact us if you are going to be away from home for some time, for example going into hospital or on an extended holiday, and ensure rent is paid.
You will continue to be responsible for the rent until we receive valid notice from you, or the court grants us legal possession and we will take steps to collect this rent from you, including passing the outstanding debt to a debt collection agency.
For more information about the Notice to Quit process or if you are giving notice as a Next of Kin or Executor, please visit the Ending Your Tenancy section.
Sometimes tenants need to move house as their circumstances change. While it is not possible to transfer all of our tenants who wish to move, we can help by giving you information on the different housing options available to you.
We prioritise transfers on the basis of need; including people suffering from domestic abuse, racial, disability and homophobic harassment, people who are over-crowded, or under occupying and people who are unable to cope in their own home, as a result of a disability or poor health.
Before we agree to a move, you will need to respond promptly to any requests we make about paying arrears of rent or carrying out repairs which we make as a condition of the exchange.
More information is available on our website, in a separate leaflet or by calling the Customer Service Centre.
A mutual exchange is where you arrange to swap homes with someone else. Most of our tenants have the right to apply to swap their home with another council or housing association tenant within the Wyre Forest District or across the country. If you can find someone to swap homes with, it can often be much quicker than waiting for a transfer.
As a tenant of The Community Housing Group, you will be eligible to join the online “Homeswapper” service free of charge. This is a national exchange register that will allow you to advertise your own property to other tenants who may be interested in exchanging homes with you. It will also give you details of tenants from all over the country who are looking to exchange their homes.
- We won’t allow you to exchange your home if you hold a Starter Tenancy.
- We will deal with applications to exchange within six weeks.
- If you or the other tenant are in rent arrears or there are other breaches of tenancy, the exchange could be refused unless the breaches are rectified.
- We will give you a written response to all applications for exchange, giving reasons for those that are refused.