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Tenants

A comprehensive housing advice service is provided by the Housing Needs Team. Advice is given on a range of tenancy issues, including harassment, illegal eviction, eligibility for benefits and rights and responsibilities.

Tenants need to:

  • pay their rent on time
  • comply with the terms of their tenancy agreement
  • take care not to damage the property or any contents provided by the landlord
  • give reasonable notice of leaving the property
  • keep the property reasonably tidy
  • respect the neighbours and keep noise to an acceptable level

Complaints about your landlord

If you make a genuine complaint in writing to your landlord about the condition of a property, such as asking for a repair, you're entitled to support from us in taking the matter further if one of the following is true:

  1. If you don't receive a response within 14 days
  2. If you do receive a response, but the response is unsatisfactory
  3. If you are issued with a Section 21 eviction notice

If any of the above applies to you, contact the Private Sector Housing team. We'll carry out an inspection to check whether the property contains serious health or safety hazard and whether your complaint is valid.

If it is valid, we can issue your landlord with an 'Improvement Notice' or a 'Notice of Emergency Remedial Action', which will both require your landlord to carry out the repair work. In both instances, it's now illegal for your landlord to issue a Section 21 eviction notice as a result of a complaint like this, so you don't have to worry about being made homeless.

Complaints about your letting agent or property management company

All letting agents and property management companies, by law, have to belong to a 'redress scheme', which is an independent place that you can complain to if you have a problem.

The three redress schemes are:

Please check whether your letting agent or property management company belongs to one of these three schemes and complain to the relevant scheme about the service you've received.

If they don't belong to a redress scheme,  please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on privatesectorhousing@tunbridgewells.gov.uk or 01892  554241

Failure to belong to a scheme could result in a fine of up to £5,000. Find out more on the Central Government website, Lettings agents and property managers: redress schemes page.

If you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, your landlord must place your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme.

These  schemes ensure you’ll get your deposit back if you:

  • meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • don’t damage the property
  • pay your rent and bills

Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it. For detailed information about the available schemes and how they work see the GOV.UK website.

 


 

For households who have a priority for accommodation under homelessness legislation the Council funds the Rent in Advance and Deposit Guarantee Schemes.

Grants are available to tenants who meet the eligibility criteria and where the landlord is unwilling to carry out the works and enforcement is not an option (for example, the provision of energy efficient heating systems or disabled adaptations).

To find out more about the schemes please contact the Housing Needs Team.

Landlords have a duty to provide Energy Performance Certicates (EPCs) and a valid Gas Safety Certificate for all their properties as well as comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and must licence their properties as Houses in Multiple Occupation where appropriate. We also encourage landlords to meet the requirements of the Decent Home Standard and join our regulated Private Accredited Letting (PAL) Scheme.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Landlords of privately rented homes are required to:

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor within their properties
  • Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuel appliance
  • Check that all alarms are working when a new tenancy starts

The Private Sector Housing Team will give advice to tenants in response to complaints about the condition of their housing. Visits will be arranged and formal enforcement action taken under the Housing Act where appropriate.

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