Your Tenancy Agreement is a legal contract. It describes the rights and responsibilities of Thurrock Council and of you the tenant.
You can read the Full Tenancy Agreement Terms online.
As a tenant in a Thurrock Council property, you have many rights - the main ones are outlined in this section, however there may be more.
You can get full details of your rights from your Tenancy Agreement, or alternatively, speak to your Estates Officer. Also, there are further details regarding all the issues mentioned below in relevant sections of this handbook.
As well as having these rights as a Tenant, there are also several obligations and responsibilities which you must keep to. Again, the main ones are outlined below. For a full list, see your Tenancy Agreement or speak to your local estates officer.
When two adults move into a property, depending on their circumstances, they may be given a 'joint tenancy'. This gives both equal rights and makes both equally responsible for the tenancy.
If you are a sole tenant (i.e. the only named person on the tenancy agreement) and you have somebody living with you who wishes to become a joint tenant, you can apply in writing to your estates officer who will look into your situation and make a decision.
If your home has been their main address for at least a year, your rent account is clear and you are not in breach of your tenancy agreement, a joint tenancy can be created.
Examples of situations that would stop a joint tenancy being granted are if:
If you are joint tenants, any one of you can end the tenancy by giving the four weeks notice required (see below - Moving out-ending your tenancy). The Council will then decide if any of the other joint tenants can stay in the home if they wish.
You are not normally allowed to pass your tenancy on to someone else whilst you are living there (this is known as assigning your tenancy). You can, however, do this under certain circumstances:
If you die, the tenancy of your home will pass automatically to your spouse. It may also pass to your partner or another near relative providing they have been living with you continuously for the previous twelve months. This is known as succession. (The term partner in this context includes same sex partners).
If you succeed to the home and under occupy it as a result, we may decide to offer you more suitable sized accommodation.
The partner/spouse or near relatives who take over your tenancy if you die become tenants. If they die, the tenancy will not go automatically to their relative or partner but the council can agree to this in some cases.
If you are going to be away from your home for more than 4 weeks, for example, if you are going into hospital, trying out a residential home, you are a member of the armed forces on exercise, or you are going into custody, you must let the Council know. This information will be treated in the strictest confidence. We can then advise you of what preparations you should make before you go. It can usually be agreed for people to be absent from their home for a period that is no longer than 6 months.
Please remember that your rent must still be paid during your absence.
In your own interest, you should arrange for somebody to keep an eye on your property, and you should let the Council know a contact number for an emergency key holder. If you are going away in winter, you should drain your water system by turning off the water supply at the stopcock and turning on all the taps. Speak to your estates officer, as the Council may be able to help you with this.
You have the right to take in a lodger - providing it does not make your home overcrowded. A lodger is a person who lives in your home but does not have exclusive right to any part of it. If you do take a lodger in, we ask you to let the Council know so that we have a record of who lives in our properties, although this is not compulsory. However if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit, you must let the Housing Benefit section know.
You do not have the right to sub-let any part of your home.
If you apply for a transfer, your lodger is not the Council's responsibility and will not be considered part of your household. If you move out, you must not leave any lodgers in the property - if you do, they will be treated as unauthorised occupants.
If you wish to leave your home, you must inform your local office in writing at least four weeks before. This four weeks "notice" must end on a Monday and you must return your keys to the local office on the day that you leave. The 4 week notice period includes when a tenant goes into a care home, or when a tenant dies.
You can get more information about how to terminate your tenancy from your Local Office and our leaflet entitled "Ending your Tenancy".
When you leave the property, you must leave it and any furnishings and fixtures that the council have provided in good condition. Take all of your belongings with you. The council will dispose of anything you leave behind and you may be charged for this.
If there is any deliberate damage to the property or its furnishings and fixtures when you leave, you will have to pay for any repairs or replacements that are necessary. You will not have to pay for normal wear and tear.
You must not leave anybody else living in your home when you move out.
Make sure that you have paid all rent owing to the Council and that your home is in a good decorative condition when you leave, as if you do not, you may not be given another council home in the future.
It's important that you remember and follow the points below when ending your tenancy - otherwise you may find it difficult to get another council home in the future.
You must give us four weeks notice and hand over the keys when you go.
You must not leave owing any rent - unless you have made an agreement with us to pay off your arrears.
When you move out of your home you must leave the property, and any fixtures and furnishings, in good condition.
Don't leave any of your belongings behind - we will have to dispose of them.
Don't leave anybody else living in your home when you move out. You cannot pass on your tenancy to anyone else.
You will have to pay for repair or replacement if you leave any damage that has been caused deliberately or by your own neglect. You won't have to pay for normal wear and tear.
If you are joint tenants, any one of you can end the tenancy by giving the city council four weeks' notice. The council does not legally have to allow the other joint tenant(s) to stay in the home - it depends on your circumstances and whether the property could be more suitable for another type of household (like a family for instance). But we will not end your tenancy without a good reason.
As a secure tenant, you can stay in your home as long as you want to. However, there are certain circumstances in which the council can apply to a court for possession of your home. One of these is if you have broken your tenancy agreement, examples are:
There are also a few rare and unusual circumstances when we might require you to move to an alternative Council property. This may be if we needed to carry out major repairs or demolish your home, or if you succeed to a tenancy and as a consequence under occupy the property.
Before undertaking any possession action, however, we would seek to explore more agreeable solutions to any problems with you. Re-possession is a last resort in all cases.
The standards for occupation of rented accommodation are laid down in law. They are quite complicated, but are basically worked out by taking into account the number and ages of people living at the property, and the amount of space. The permitted number of people for your home is shown on the front of your tenancy agreement. If you would like a more detailed explanation of the over-crowding law, please speak to your Estate Officer.