Starter tenancies

What is a starter tenancy?

A starter tenancy is a kind of trial tenancy for new tenants. Starter tenancies usually last a year, after which we offer the tenant an assured tenancy if there have been no problems. If there are problems, we can extend a starter tenancy to give the tenant a chance to solve them. If this does not happen, we can end the starter tenancy.

Why are we using starter tenancies?

Starter tenancies allow us to deal quickly with problems like anti-social behaviour. They also help new tenants understand their responsibilities right from the start, such as paying their rent on time, looking after their home, and behaving in a neighbourly way towards other residents. If there are problems and a tenant breaks any of the terms of their tenancy, we can end their starter tenancy more easily than an assured tenancy. We have decided to use starter tenancies after consulting our residents, the local council and other agencies we deal with.

How is a starter tenancy different from an assured tenancy?

A starter tenant does not have the right to:

• transfer to another home, use a mobility scheme, or swap their home with another tenant - mutual exchange

• take in lodgers or sublet part of their home

• assign or pass on their tenancy, except by a court order

• make improvements to their home

• buy their home.

You will have all these rights if you get an assured tenancy.

What will a starter tenancy mean for me?

• When we offer you a home, we will tell you whether we will offer you a starter tenancy

• If we do, it means you are ‘on probation’ for an initial period of a year. It is like a trial period for a new job

• Your housing officer will visit you at home two or three times during the first year to make sure you are keeping to the terms of your tenancy by paying your rent, looking after your home and not causing a nuisance to others. These visits also enable you to talk to us about anything to do with your tenancy or our services

• If you keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement, we will give you a full assured tenancy after a final review. Your new assured tenancy will give you the rights listed above, provided you keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement

• If you break the terms of the starter tenancy, we may extend the tenancy or we may end it. If we extend the tenancy and you keep to the terms ofyour tenancy, we may then give you an assured tenancy

• If we decide to end your tenancy, we will start legal action to evict you by sending you a Notice Requiring Possession.

If you decide to end my tenancy, can I appeal?

You can appeal. When we write to give you our decision, we will also tell you how you can appeal, explain the appeals process and provide an application form for you to complete if you decide to appeal.

If we send you a Notice Requiring Possession, you will have 10 working days to appeal. Your appeal will be heard by a panel of at least one of our Directors, and one Board member or a lay person, or both. The lay person will be someone who does not have any role in our organisation. The panel does not have any legal status or legal powers.

When we write to give you our decision, we will also tell you how you can appeal, explain the appeals process and provide an application form for you to complete if you decide to appeal.

Do starter tenants receive the same treatment as other residents?

Yes they do. We are committed to giving our starter tenants the same opportunities as all other residents. We will be closely monitoring the progress of our starter tenancy scheme to ensure that it does not disadvantage anyone, including black or minority ethnic groups, and the young, elderly, or disabled.

What if I need more information?

You can talk to your housing officer or get independent advice from, for example, the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What happens if there are problems with my tenancy?

If you are having problems with your tenancy, contact your housing officer first to discuss them. If we receive complaints about you, we will act quickly to investigate them and see if the situation can be resolved.

Starter tenancies are not intended to deal with minor neighbour disputes. We expect all our residents to resolve small disagreements among themselves. If there is a serious problem with your tenancy, such as a serious neighbour dispute, we will discuss with you what actions you should take to improve things. We will confirm these actions in writing and warn you what may happen if the dispute continues.

If you do not do what we ask, we will take legal action to end your starter tenancy. In very serious cases, we may not issue any warning and may take immediate legal action to evict you.

You are responsible for your own behaviour and that of your family and anyone living with you or visiting your home. You are responsible for ensuring that your rent is paid on time and in full.