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Council tenants handbook

Your new home

Moving in

When you move into your new home there are a lot of things you must remember to do. We have listed some things you may need to arrange now, if you haven’t already.

  • Most of our homes will have utilities set up with British Gas. If yours does not, we will tell you and you will need to take meter readings and contact your utility supplier. Read the utilities section below for more information. 
  • You can arrange for a telecoms company of your choice to take over or install phone, internet or cable television services. If you have a new telephone number, please tell us what it is.
  • Tell your doctor and dentist about your change of address.
  • If you receive any benefits, tell the appropriate office about your change of address. You can tell the housing benefit team online. Go to GOV.UK to report a change for Universal Credit.
  • Tell the Council Tax team about your change of address.
  • Contact TV Licensing to get a TV licence or transfer your existing TV licence to your new address.
  • You can ask Royal Mail to redirect your post to your new home. You can arrange this at any main post office or go to the Royal Mail website.
  • Introduce yourself to your new neighbours! Remember to be a considerate neighbour by not causing a nuisance. For example, do not do DIY late at night.

Your neighbourhood officer

Your neighbourhood officer may visit you when you've moved into your new home. We will complete any tenancy verification checks and check that you're settling in well.

You can contact the neighbourhood officer who covers your area by email:

Utilities

As a tenant, you pay for your own utilities. You are responsible for notifying all utility companies when you move in. This includes gas, electric and water companies.

Visit Ofgem’s website to find out who supplies your property’s gas and electricity.

You can also contact Scottish & Southern Electricity Network directly about your electricity.

To find your gas supplier over the phone, call the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524. Please note that calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

Your water supplier is Thames Water.

You cannot make any changes to your utilities equipment without getting our written permission first. This means you cannot do things like move the gas meter or erect a cupboard around it without asking us first. This is for your safety.

Make sure a Gas Safe registered tradesperson installs any gas appliances in your home.

You can change your utilities suppliers to find the best deal for you.

Keys and fobs

We do not keep copies of the keys to your property. If you want an extra key cut, you may need written permission from Housing.

Contact Housing services.

Some blocks of flats have key fobs for the door entry systems. You are responsible for replacing any keys or fobs that you lose. If you have tenant contents insurance your policy may cover the cost.

If your keys or fobs are stolen, we will replace the locks and provide new keys or fobs free of charge. You must first report the theft to the police and give us the crime number they give you.

You can request a new door entry fob online.

Contents insurance

You are responsible for insuring the contents of your home against loss or damage. This means that if there was a fire, flood, or your possessions were stolen, you would have to replace them. As your landlord, we would not replace them.

If something happens to destroy or damage your possessions, it can cost a lot of money to replace them.

We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance to cover the cost of replacing all your possessions. For a small monthly fee, you can have peace of mind that when something goes wrong, you’re covered.

We have linked up with a reputable insurance company so we can offer you insurance at specially negotiated rates.

Your insurance with us is only valid if your rent payments are up to date.

Decorating your home

You are responsible for decorating the inside of your home. We do not provide furniture or carpets. Consider using sites like Gumtree and charity shops for affordable furniture.

Animals and pets

The rules about keeping animals and pets depend on the type of property you live in and your tenancy agreement.

Check your tenancy agreement. If your tenancy agreement allows you to apply to keep a pet, you need to complete the keeping an animal application form.

If you have issues accessing or competing this form, please call 01753 475111.

Please return this form to the neighbourhood officer who covers your area:

Parking

If you do not have a marked parking space, you may park anywhere it's legal to do so.

You must not spoil the environment. For example, you cannot churn up grass verges.

If you have space for a driveway in your garden, you may be able to get permission to install a drive at your own expense. You will need to get permission from us as your landlord and get planning permission before you make any changes.

Parking caravans and boats

You need to stand your caravan or boat on a hard surface, preferably separate from any driveway used for parking a car. If you need to construct this, you need written permission from us as your landlord. You should also check if you need planning permission for this structure.

Repairing your vehicle

You can carry out minor repairs to your own vehicles on an approved hard standing.

Be considerate to your neighbours and the environment when you are carrying out repairs. Keep everywhere as tidy as possible and get rid of used materials (such as oil and tyres) in the proper way. If you regularly cause a nuisance, we can stop you from repairing cars.

Garages

If you do not have a garage attached to your home, you may be able to rent a garage from the council.