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Using Your Home

Your rights

1. If you are a secure tenant, you have the right to take in lodgers. A lodger is someone who lives with you, shares your facilities but cannot stop you going into any of the rooms they use. They may get some sort of service from you such as cooking or cleaning. You do not need to get our permission, but you should tell us if you have a lodger.

2. If you are a secure tenant, you have the right to sublet part of your home, but you must get our written agreement first. A subtenant is someone who has their own self-contained part of your home. They share your facilities,but can prevent you from going into their part of your home. They will usually do their own cooking and cleaning. You can't sublet the whole of your home.

Your responsibilities

3. You must make sure that the home is your only or main home.

4. You must tell your local housing office in writing if you will be away from your home for more than a month. While you are away,you are responsible for making sure the property is secure.

5. You must not have more people living in your home than the most we allow. The way we decide how many people can live in your home is set down by law. You will find a summary in your tenant's handbook.

6. You are responsible for taking out home contents insurance to insure your furniture and personal possessions. We will not accept responsibility for loss or damage to your possessions caused by you, your family, lodgers, subtenants or visitors, pets, or any other person.

7. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep any machine or vehicle which uses flammable (which catches fire easily) fuel inside your home, or in shared areas inside (entrance halls, stairs, landings and so on).

8. You and the people you are responsible for must keep your garden in a neat and tidy condition. The lawns must be cut and hedges and bushes trimmed regularly. Do not allow trees, hedges and bushes to grow over paths and pavements. Your garden must be clear of rubbish, furniture, rubble and other items. If the garden is overgrown and there is no good reason why - you and the people you are responsible for can't do the work, we can charge you and then do the work. We might be able to help if you are elderly or have a disability. Ask at your local housing office for more information.

9. You and the people you are responsible for must make sure no obstruction is caused to any gas flue outlet in the garden.

10. You and the people you are responsible for must not plant or remove any tree, bush or hedge without getting our written permission first. We may enter your garden and do any work we think necessary if you allow any tree, bush or hedge to be a nuisance or danger or if it is likely to cause damage in any way. You will be responsible for the costs of this work. We may charge you and then carry out the work.

11. You and the people you are responsible for must keep shared areas clean, tidy and free of litter. You are jointly responsible with other tenants in the block for making sure that the shared areas are kept clean, tidy and free of litter.

12. You and the people you are responsible for must not leave any item in any shared area that we consider could be a fire risk, danger or cause an obstruction. We may remove such items and charge you the costs of doing so.

13. You and the people you are responsible for must not throw any rubbish or other items from windows, balconies or walkways.

14. You and the people you are responsible for must not leave any syringes in your home, garden or any area where they may harm people.

15. You and the people you are responsible for must keep any balcony clean, tidy and free of any items that are a danger to others. You and the people you are responsible for must not light fires or barbeques on it or allow any animal to foul on it.

16. You are responsible for paying for replacement keys or lock changes if keys are stolen or lost. We can change the locks and provide new keys. However,we will charge you for this. Or,you can change the locks yourself. There is a minimum standard of locks that we need. Please contact your local housing office who will advise you about these. You should consider home contents insurance in these circumstances.

17. You are responsible for the cost of repairs or other work, we feel is needed to your home, following lawful entry by the police, if evidence of a crime is found. You will be responsible for the costs, whether or not you authorised the repair or other work. Other than those we feel are urgent, you must pay us before the work or repair is done. When no evidence of any crime is found we will try to get the costs back from the police.

18. You and the people you are responsible for must not run a business from your home without first getting our written agreement.

19. You and the people you are responsible for must not carry out major car repairs or park an illegal or unroadworthy vehicle on the land around your home, on the road or on any shared area. If we need to remove or get rid of these vehicles, we may charge the registered owner the costs involved.

20. You and the people you are responsible for must not store anything which could catch fire or explode in your home or in any shared area, for example, bottled gas,paraffin,petrol or any other dangerous material. We do not allow liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in buildings over two storeys high. If you need to use and store oxygen cylinders because of a medical condition, you must tell your local housing office.

21. You and the people you are responsible for must not store any type of industrial equipment or large car parts such as engines or wheels, in your home.

22. You and the people you are responsible for must not park a vehicle on your garden unless you have a hardstanding (a driveway or paved area you park on). You must have our agreement to build this and to the standards we insist on. If you want to park a caravan, motor home, boat, or trailer on the hardstanding, you also need our written agreement. You must park all vehicles on the hard standing.

23. You and the people you are responsible for must not park a caravan, motor home, boat or trailer on the streets or on any shared parking areas unless you have our written agreement.

24. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep or look after a cat or dog (except a guide dog for blind people or a hearing dog for the deaf) if you live in sheltered accommodation and do not have your own garden.

25. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep or look after a dog (except a guide dog or a hearing dog for the deaf) if you live in accommodation with deck access (with the front door opening onto a shared balcony) and do not have your own garden. However, you may be able to if your tenancy began before 1 April 1997. You can keep a dog you had before that date but you cannot get another one. Ask at your local housing office.

26. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep any animal that we decide is not suitable for your home. If you have any doubt at all, ask at your local housing office.

27. Any animal you keep or look after must not frighten any person or cause a nuisance or annoy or disturb any other person. You must keep them under control at all times. You must not let your dog foul shared areas and public places.

28. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep more than a reasonable number of animals. If we think that the number of animals you keep in your home or garden is unreasonable, we can order you to remove all or some of them permanently. When we consider what a reasonable number is,we will take account of the neighbourhood, the type and size of your home, the number of people who live in your home and the type and size of your pets.

29. If you keep dogs classed as dangerous by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, you must keep to the act. By law, all dogs must be tagged with your name and address.

30. You and the people you are responsible for must not keep any pet in poor or unclean conditions.

31. You and the people you are responsible for must not tamper with gas, electric or water supplies or meters.

32. If you receive a decorating allowance you must use it for decorating the inside of your home only. If you do not, you must pay back to us the amount you have not used or used for other purposes. If we ask, you must agree to a housing officer visiting your home within a reasonable period of time from you receiving your decoration allowance to see how you have used the allowance.

33. You and the people you are responsible for must not get rid of inappropriate items down the toilet, such as disposable nappies.

34. You must test smoke detectors regularly and replace batteries in battery-operated smoke detectors when necessary. We may help you if you are elderly or have a disability. Ask at your local housing office.

35. You and the people you are responsible for must keep the inside of your home in a clean and tidy condition.

36. You are responsible for keeping the inside of your home in a reasonable state of decoration. You and the people you are responsible for must not apply textured plaster, such as Artex, to walls or ceilings without getting our written agreement.

37. You must make sure that your home is adequately heated and ventilated to prevent condensation within the property. If you get condensation on windows or walls, you should remove it immediately. For basic advice on how to deal with or avoid condensation read your tenants' handbook.

38. You and the people you are responsible for must not steal any item we own from the home or any shared area.

39. You and the people you are responsible for must not light fires in shared areas.