Your Tenancy – FAQ’s
Waverley Housing recognises there may be things tenants are unsure of in relation to renting a property from us. Our aim is to provide our tenants with all the information and support they need to ensure their tenancy runs as smoothly as possible. Tenants can make an appointment to meet with our staff either in their home or at our office and if they wish to do so they simply need to contact our office on 01450 364200 and request an appointment.
Tenants will find the answers to their queries in their Tenancy Agreement and Tenants Handbook issued at the start of their tenancy, whilst below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. For any specific queries or questions not covered in the list below, tenants should either speak to their designated Housing Officer or alternatively contact us and our Customer Services team will be happy to help. Answers to other questions may also be found on our main FAQs page.
What is a tenancy agreement?
A tenancy agreement is the legal contract that the tenant and Waverley Housing sign before they are given the keys to their home. The tenancy states what Waverley Housing’s obligations are to the tenant and their home and lists the conditions that the tenant must abide by.
What is a breach of tenancy?
This is when a tenant fails to abide by one of the conditions in their tenancy agreement. If a tenant is unsure whether they are in breach of their tenancy they should contact their designated Housing Officer to discuss further.
What will happen to the tenancy if a tenant dies?
If a joint tenancy is held and one of the tenant dies, the tenancy will automatically pass to the surviving tenant who is qualified to succeed in the tenancy.
If the tenancy is in a single name, the first priority goes to the surviving spouse, partner (e.g. person living with the tenant as their husband or wife), co-habitee or same sex partner providing that the property was their only or principal home for 6 months previous to the tenants death.
The second priority, if anyone in the above category does not qualify, or where they do qualify but choose not to succeed, goes to a member of their family providing that they are over the age of 16 and that it was their only or principal home at the time of the tenants death.
The third priority, if anyone in the above category does not qualify, or where they do qualify but choose not to succeed, goes to a carer who was providing care for the tenant or a member of their family. The carer must be over the age of 16 and have given up their previous or principal home with the tenants property having been their only or principal home at the time of the tenants death.
If a sole tenant dies and there is nobody living at the home with the right to succeed, the next of kin has the responsibility of ending the tenancy. In the event of a tenant dying, 4 weeks notice should be provided in writing from the next of kin. The property should be cleared out before the notice expires and keys are returned. If the next of kin are unable to do this, Waverley Housing can carry out this work but will need to charge for this service along with any outstanding rent payment from the estate of the deceased.
What happens to a tenancy following a family break-up?
If a tenants relationship with thier spouse or partner breaks down and they can no longer live together, they may become involved in a dispute about which of them will remain in the property. If this happens, they should seek independent legal advice regarding their occupancy rights.
The laws surrounding this matter are complex but tenants should note that in the case of divorce or where there are children involved, the courts can decide who keeps the tenancy and it is not always necessarily the tenant but sometimes the tenant’s spouse who is awarded the tenancy.
How do tenants put someone else on the tenancy with them?
A joint tenancy is held when more than one person is named on the tenancy agreement. A tenant may be able to add someone to a tenancy if the other person is their spouse or civil partner and they have lived together for a period of 12 months or more. A new joint tenancy will not be granted if there are any outstanding rent arrears.
We will not normally grant a joint tenancy to a parent and their child. It is important to note that with a joint tenancy, both tenants share the tenancy and therefore the conditions apply to them equally. This means they are both jointly and individually responsible for meeting the obligations of the tenancy, including paying the rent or any arrears.
How does a tenant remove themselves or transfer their tenancy?
Tenancy can be assigned to another person who lives in the household provided that the person is over the age of 16 and it has been their only or principal home for 6 months prior to the application. If both parties are in agreement, the process is quite straightforward and the tenants will be asked by their designated Housing officer to come into the office to sign the legal document to assign the tenancy.
What if a tenant wants to change their name?
Tenants wishing to change their name on their tenancy agreement should contact their designated Housing Officer in the first instance and put their request in writing along with a copy of the relevant documents such as their marriage certificate or deed poll certificate.
How do tenants end their tenancy?
If tenants wish to leave their tenancy they must give Waverley Housing at least 4 weeks notice in writing. Our Customer Service team will confirm the actual end-date as we need this to tie into rent periods. They will also provide information on the steps to take place before tenants leave the property such as inspection, meter readings and handing keys over etc.
Although it is usually possible to postpone a leaving date, tenants can only leave sooner if both parties agree in writing or they pay the rent for the full 4-week period. Tenants should also remember that the same applies on termination of a lock-up or garage.
Upon giving notice, the tenant will be required to complete our standard termination form. We will also require a forwarding address. If the tenant is married, both them and their spouse are required to sign the termination form regardless of whether a joint tenancy or not. Any other household member over 16 years of age will also be required to sign. This is to meet the requirements of the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.
How Waverley Housing can end a tenancy?
As a last resort where tenants have significantly breached the terms of their tenancy agreement, a court order will be applied for by Waverley Housing to end the tenancy and a Notice of Proceedings for Recovery of Possession will be sent to the tenant and which remains in effect for 6 months.
After 4 weeks of serving the notice we will start court proceedings for eviction. The notice period allows tenants to take legal advice and to prepare a case opposing the recovery of possession if required. Tenants who are worried about eviction should contact their designated Housing Officer to discuss how they can settle any differences.
If the court thinks it reasonable, a tenant can be evicted on one or more of the grounds set out in Section 16 and Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.
What is Abandonment?
Abandonment occurs if a tenant leaves their home empty and we have no way of telling whether they have given up their tenancy or if they intend to return. If we are of the belief that a tenant has given up their tenancy we will serve a notice on the property, advising that unless we hear from the tenant within 28 days, we will bring the tenancy to an end.
If we have made sufficient enquiries to satisfy ourselves that the property is still unoccupied and have not received a response in writing from the tenant within the 28-day period, a second notice will be sent to the tenant confirming that the tenancy has ended.
If this happens, we will change the locks and either store or dispose of any items left in the property. If the tenant returns for their possessions, or we trace their whereabouts, they will be charged for the cost of removal of the items as well as any storage costs. We are not required to store possessions left in the property where the value of these possessions is determined to be less than any tenancy debt owed by the tenant.
What if a tenant can’t maintain their garden?
It is a condition of the tenancy that any garden ground or drying green allocated to the tenant is maintained to a good standard. If tenants do not do this, a letter may be sent advising that Waverley Housing will do the work and charge the tenant accordingly.
In the event of an elderly or disabled tenant not being able to manage their garden, and there being no friend, neighbour or relative available to help, contact should be made in with their designated Housing Officer for other options to be explored.
Tenants responsibilities for communal areas
Where they have the use of any common parts, areas or facilities, tenants must help keep these areas clean, tidy and clear of obstruction. If tenants fail to do so, we will write to the tenants concerned advising that we will do the work and charge the tenants for doing so.
Can tenants sub-let or take in a lodger?
Tenants have the right under certain conditions to take in lodgers or a sub-tenant as long as the property doesn’t become overcrowded. Tenants should speak to their designated Housing Officer to discuss the conditions and implications this may have on them and obtain written permission from Waverley Housing as well as providing details of any payment to be received by them. Tenants must not sub-let all of the property so that they no longer live there.
Can tenants make improvements or alterations to their home?
Tenants can make their own improvements or alterations to their home (e.g build a shed; knock down a wall; install double glazing or install central heating) but they must request written permission from us before undertaking any work. We will want to make sure that the work won’t damage their home or make it unsafe.
Tenants are responsible for applying and obtaining any necessary planning and building control approval from the local authority and for the costs incurred. Tenants should provide details of the work they would like to do along with any plans/drawings and the name(s) of those who will carry out the works. If you would like to apply for permission to alter your home or garden you can download a permission form here.
It may be necessary for us to visit the property before we can decide if permission is to be granted for the proposed work. We will only refuse permission for good reasons such as the proposed work making your home less safe, or it having a detrimental effect on your neighbours or the surrounding environment.
Can tenants replace the gas fire in their property?
Tenants requiring to replace their existing gas fire should seek approval from the office in the first instance and in accordance with the Gas Installation Regulations, only CORGI registered companies should install the new fire. It is the tenants responsibilities to subsequently ensure the gas fire is serviced annually.
Can tenants exchange their home with another tenant?
Can tenants keep pets?
As detailed in our Keeping Pets Policy, tenants must obtain written consent before keeping a dog or any other animal in their home or garden. Tenants must take all reasonable steps to supervise and keep their pets under control and to prevent them causing nuisance, annoyance or danger to anyone.
They must also ensure that any pets do not cause damage to the property, their neighbours property or anything belonging to Waverley housing of for which we are responsible for, such as the common parts. This includes fouling and tenants are held responsible for clearing up the faeces of any pet owned by them, living with them or visiting them.
Waverley Housing, as the landlord, reserve the right to request removal of the pet if found to be causing a nuisance or damage. Where we believe any pet is being kept in an improper way or being maltreated we will report the matter to the SSPCA.
Tenants are not allowed to keep pets for the purposes of breeding. Where the number of pets exceeds that for which the tenant has permission we reserve the right to have a tenant remove them. Tenants are not allowed to keep animals in kennels, huts, hutches or birds in aviaries in their garden without our express permission in writing. Where permission has been given we reserve the right to revoke that permission if the structure and/or the pet are found to be causing a nuisance.
Tenants are not allowed to erect a pigeon loft or keep pigeons in their garden or on any ground belonging to Waverley Housing.
Can tenants fit an aerial or satellite dish?
Tenants must obtain permission from Waverley Housing and that of their local authority (if applicable) before installing an aerial or satellite dish. The work must be undertaken by a qualified contractor who is suitably covered by insurance.
Can tenants run a business from their home?
A tenants home is in a residential area and is let to them as living accommodation and so tenants must not run a business from it unless they have permission in writing from Waverley Housing. Tenants should request permission from their designated Housing Officer.
What are the parking rules?
Tenants can only park cars and caravans etc in suitable areas. They must not park such vehicles on garden ground, drying greens, service areas or any grassed areas next to their home unless they have specifically received written permission to do so from Waverley Housing.
Vehicles must not be parked within the boundaries of the property unless on an approved driveway or parking area and where so parked must be limited to two in number. If requested to do so, tenants must provide proof of ownership of any such vehicle parked within the boundaries of the property.
Are my Home Contents Insured?
Waverley Housing provides free Home Contents Insurance to tenants as part of their tenancy agreement. However, cover is not provided to any tenant with an outstanding debt due to the company unless there is a repayment arrangement in place which is being adhered to.
Tenants are insured against:
- Fire, lightening, explosion, earthquake
- Storm or flood
- Water escaping from washing machines or heating systems
- Theft, attempted theft or vandalism
- Falling trees or branches etc. Cover includes:
- The contents of tenants homes e.g. Floor Coverings, Furniture, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing and Internal Decoration. Certain high risk items such as TVs, Hi-Fi, Computer Equipment, Computer Games, Jewellery, Watches, Clocks, Paintings and Collectables are also covered subject to a single article limit of £1,000 and a total high risk limit of £3,000. If tenants have valuable items in their home, it will help the insurers if they have photographs, valuations or original receipts for the items concerned. Further information on the sum insured and how to claim etc. can be found on the Information Leaflet & Claim Form which can be downloaded here.