This section provides information on your tenancy and ensuring you keep to the tenancy conditions
In this Section You Will Find:
The Residents Guide which is handed out to every new resident is a useful reference should you have any questions about your tenancy. You can download a copy of the guide through the following link- Residents Guide
back to top
Residents Guide on Film
South Essex Homes are pleased to introduce a series of short films which provide useful support and information about being a resident.
Please choose from one of the sections below to find out more information. If the information you need is not displayed please contact us on freephone 0800 833 160.
Anti Social Behaviour
Equality and Diversity
How to contact us
Paying your rent
back to top
Conditions of Tenancy
Revised Conditions of Tenancy
Following the consultation period for the revised Conditions of Tenancy we are pleased to advise that a list of amendments to the proposed revised Conditions of Tenancy will be coming out to you in the post within the next few weeks. We would like to thank all those residents and staff (both Council and South Essex Homes) who contacted us with their comments and suggested amendments. These have all been taken into account and are reflected in the list of amendments.
South Essex Homes will be required to seek formal approval from the Council to adopt the revised conditions and once they have been approved they will come into force.
Thank you for your co-operation and assistance. If you wish to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact Traci Dixon on 0800 833160.
Please click on the links below to download the conditions of tenancy, and amendments that have been made:
back to top
Your Housing Officer
Please click on the link below to download the list thats states the different Housing Officers for West, Central and East Area.
Housing Officers List
To contact your Officer please call 0800 833 160.
back to top
Introductory Tenancies are different from Secure Tenancies the following information explains the operation of Introductory Tenancies.
What is an Introductory Tenancy
An Introductory Tenancy will last for 12 months and can be extended by a further 6 months, after which time it will become a Secure Tenancy, unless the Council obtains a Court Order for possession of the dwelling. Your tenancy agreement will be the same as that for Secure Tenants, but certain rights will not apply to you as an Introductory Tenant.
An Introductory Tenant has fewer legal rights than a Secure Tenant. The difference between the rights of a Secure Tenant and an Introductory Tenant are set out on in this leaflet.
Who will be offered an Introductory Tenancy?
Anyone who is not a Council or housing association tenant already and who becomes a Council tenant from 1st April 2003 will be offered an Introductory Tenancy.
The scheme does not apply to existing Council or housing association tenants seeking to transfer or exchange.
Remember, the Council expects that all tenants, both Introductory and Secure, will;
· read their Tenancy Agreement carefully and make sure they understand what they must do in order to comply with it.
· pay the rent on time
· make any Housing Benefit claim promptly and comply with the requirements of the Housing Benefit office.
· not cause nuisance to their neighbours or other people on their Estate.
What are the differences between an Introductory Tenancy and a Secure Tenancy
The table below sets out the main differences. Please note that many of the rights listed are not absolute rights but are subject to qualifying conditions.
RIGHT TO SUCCESSION OF SPOUSE OR FAMILY MEMBER
RIGHT TO REPAIR
RIGHT TO BUY
(but this period counts toward the discount)
RIGHT TO TAKE IN LODGERS
RIGHT TO SUB-LET
RIGHT TO IMPROVE
RIGHT TO EXCHANGE
RIGHT TO VOTE PRIOR TO TRANSFER TO NEW LANDLORD
RIGHT TO BE CONSULTED ON HOUSING MANAGEMENT ISSUES
RIGHT TO BE CONSULTED ON DECISION TO DELEGATE HOUSING MANAGEMENT.
RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN HOUSING MANAGEMENT CONTRACT MONITORING
What happens if I breach my Introductory Tenancy agreement?
If you are in arrears with the rent, or breach the terms of the Tenancy in some other way, the Council may take action to bring the Tenancy to an end.
The procedure is that the Council will serve on you a 28 day Notice to terminate the Tenancy. During the 28 day period you may ask the Council to review its decision to re-possess the dwelling. Once the 28 day period has expired the Council will apply to the County Court for a Possession Order. If the Court makes a Possession Order and you do not leave the dwelling by the date stated in the Order the Council will arrange for the Court Bailiffs to evict you.
You have the right to ask the Council to review its decision to end the Tenancy. The procedure for doing so is to complete the “Right to Review” form which is included with the 28 day Notice to terminate the Tenancy and return it to the Council.
It must be received at South Essex Homes, 49 Alexandra Street, Southend on Sea, SS1 1BW within 14 days of the service on you of the 28 day Notice.
Please contact us for a “Right to Review” form on 0800 833 160.
The Council’s Review Panel will consider your application at a hearing. You will be notified of the hearing date at least 5 days in advance and have the right to attend. At the hearing you may speak to the Panel yourself or a representative may speak on your behalf. The Panel’s decision will be notified to you either at the hearing or in writing.
What Happens if the Application to Review the Decision to End the Tenancy is Rejected?
Once the 28 day Notice has expired, the Council will apply to the County Court for a Possession Order to be made. If the Court makes a Possession Order and you do not leave the dwelling by the date stated in the Order the Council will arrange for the Court Bailiffs to evict you.
back to top
Under Occupation Grant
If residents who currently live in family sized accommodation and wish to move via the transfer list to a one or two bedroom, accommodation, a lump sum payment may be paid to help toward the cost of moving.
Please note that the Under Occupation Grant scheme has limited resources and so help may not always be available please click here to download the leaflet that provides more information.
From the 1st April 2003 all residents who are offered a new tenancy with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council ("The Council" )will be offered an Introductory Tenancy.
back to top
If you want to swap your council house or flat with someone else’s house or flat, we call this a mutual exchange. You can swap locally with another Southend-on-Sea Borough Council tenant or nationally with other Housing Association or local council tenants.
You can advertise your home in the following ways;
In your local newspaper or in the local newspaper of the area you wish to move to.
If you find someone you want to swap with, you will need to fill in a mutual exchange application form. You can get one of these from us at Cheviot House, 70 Baxter Ave, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6HZ, or call 0800 833 160 and we can send one by post.
When we receive your application form, an officer from the Tenancy Services Team will arrange to visit and inspect your home. This is to check if any repairs or alterations need doing before the exchange.
We normally allow exchanges providing both residents are keeping to their tenancy conditions and neither home is too small or too large for the families wanting to move into it.
If your home, or the home you are wanting to move to has had adaptations carried out we will need to ensure that the proposed exchanges meets everyone needs.
We will tell you if we agree to the exchange within 42 days of receiving your application from. We will give you a choice of the date, time for your sign up interview.
You will need the permission from South Essex Homes before you exchange properties. There are certain procedures that are carried out before permission is granted, and the exchange process can take up to six weeks to finalise. The Council cannot refuse permission unreasonably (see Rights Section).
Further information and application forms can be obtained from Customer Contact Centre at Cheviot House, 70 Baxter Avenue, Southend, SS2 6HZ or call 0800 833 160
back to top
HOMESWAPPER is a UK-wide database of people who want to swap their home and is FREE for South Essex Homes tenants to use.
Tenants of private landlords, homeowners and people living in shared ownership properties cannot use this scheme.
If you want to move within Southend on Sea or to another part of the country www.homeswapper.co.uk is a national scheme for helping you find someone to swap with. This is the largest mutual exchange service covering both local and national areas. If you are a South Essex Homes tenant there ia no charge for this service otherwise, there is a small administration charge for three months. For more information please visit their website .
If you are living in permanent, self-contained accommodation, renting from a council or housing association and you want to move within the UK then you can register on HOMESWAPPER. Both partners in any exchange must have the permission of their landlord.
You can register with HOMESWAPPER to find a mutual exchange. They have over 200,000 people looking for swaps, and you can register on-line now!
We can also offer the service to residents without access to a computer. If you are aware of someone who wishes to apply to HomeSwapper but cannot access the website you can request an application form from the contact centre or download it Here
Increase your chances of a swap by 50% by adding photos of your property.
Please visit the homeswapper website or email Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
back to top
Absences From Your Home
Please can all residents tell their Tenancy Services Officer if you are going to be away from your home for more than two weeks, for example going on holiday or going into hospital.
Please leave a contact name, address and telephone number.
If you are planning on leaving your home for more than 42 days you must give written
notice to the Tenancy Services Team. This is in case something should happen to your property, such as a fire, or flood so that officers are aware that you are away and they have details of someone to contact who may be able to deal with such a situation in your absence.
If there is any leak or flooding while you are away you will have to pay the cost of repairing it and any other work involved. In cases of emergency and no contact arrangements we may have to force entry.
If you are going to leave home for any length of time make arrangements for the payment of your rent in advance by Direct Debit or Standing Order from your bank, building society or by Giro. Payments can also be made via the internet or using the 24 hour phone service. If you fail to pay the rent South Essex Homes may take possession proceedings against you.
If you are going to leave your home for any length of time and this is between
1 November and 30 April
· you must make sure there is enough heat in the property to prevent the water systems from becoming frozen; or
· Drain all the water out of the central-heating system, and turn off your gas, electricity and water.
If you are leaving your property for a considerable period of time (1 to 6 months) and would like the Tenancy Services Team to consider an application for someone to occupy your property in your absence, you should speak to a Tenancy Services Officer well in advance. If you are claiming Housing Benefit and will be absent from your home for more than thirteen weeks this will affect your entitlement to benefit, you must notify the Housing Benefits and Council Tax Section as well as your Tenancy Services Officer.
If you do not return to your home within the time you say, or the rent is unpaid, or you have not notified the Tenancy Services Officer, South Essex Homes will assume you are longer living there.
This can mean losing your tenancy. Anyone living in your home without the Tenancy Services Team’s knowledge or approval may be treated as an unauthorised occupant (Squatter) and South Essex Homes may go to Court to evict them from the property (see `Landlord's Termination') and take possession proceedings against you and anyone else occupying your home.
back to top
Designated parking facilities are provided on a number of our estates and tower blocks and in these areas that have been provided for parking, vehicles must not be parked where they:
block emergency exits
· obstruct access ways for emergency vehicles, refuse vehicles etc,
· obstruct pedestrian pathways and grass verges.
If you do not have a driveway and park on the road or in a car park on a housing estate, your vehicles should be taxed, insured and in a roadworthy condition. Please advise the Neighbourhood Services Team if you think there is an abandoned vehicle on Council land or on the highway outside your property and action will be taken.
You must not carry out major repairs to vehicles on estate roads, garages and parking spaces. This can be noisy, unsightly and hazardous.
You must gain written permission from the Neighbourhood Services Team if you wish to park or store on the property or on the estate any trailer, caravan or boat.
If you live in a house and you would like to install a driveway in your front garden, you will need to get written permission from the Neighbourhood Services Team. If permission is granted you will need to contact the Highways Section of the Council’s Department of Enterprise, Tourism and the Environment about having the kerb lowered.
We also offer garages for parking in some areas, for more information see the section below or click here
to download an application form.
back to top
Southend Borough Council owns 1,544 garages on 50 garage sites throughout the borough and these are managed by South Essex Homes.
If you are interested in renting a garage site this is the general guidance:-
When considering applications, the following prioritised list should be used;
- Existing Council tenants living in the immediate vicinity of the garage block where either they or a member of their household are registered disabled.
- Existing Council tenants living in the immediate vicinity of the garage block.
- Leaseholders of Council properties in the immediate vicinity of the garage block.
- Non Council tenants/ other leaseholders.
Furthermore the following guidance should be noted:
- Only in the absence of any other applicant waiting for a garage would applicants be allowed to rent a second garage (No person should be allowed to rent more than 2 garages at a time)
- If an applicant previously rented a garage where the non- secure tenancy was terminated by service of a Notice to Quit, they will not be allowed to re -register on the Garage Waiting List.
- Council tenants in arrears on their domestic account will not be allowed to rent a garage.
- Tenants exercising the Right to Buy should be allowed to retain use of one garage if already rented, but as a private letting i.e. subject to VAT (unless leaseholder in the block where garage is located).
- Within all the above categories , applicants will be considered in date order of registration .
- The Tenancy Services Team will maintain a waiting list for garages and publicise available garages within five working days of them becoming vacant.
An application form for garages can be downloaded here,
please send it to the Tenancy Services Team, South Essex Homes,
Cheviot House, 70 Baxter Avenue, Southend, SS2 6HZ.
If you sign for a garage this is what will happen:-
You must sign a Garage Letting Agreement which will include all the details of the garage and you must sign the agreement, you must also produce your Driving Licence (as proof of ID) and Vehicle Registration Documents of the vehicle to be stored in the garage – copies of which will be taken for our
The Officer conducting the letting should go through the conditions of the Garage Letting Agreement with specific reference to the following:
- Para 3 Rent is due in advance payable each Monday
- Para 5.4 Premises are for sole purpose of a private motor vehicle and are not to be used for business purposes or general storage
- Para 5.5. Not to cause nuisance i.e. car repairs in garage site, block access to other garages.
It is acceptable for garage user to fit own padlock to the garage door but no other alterations are permitted.
All new garage tenant will be issued with the following:-
- A swipe card for payments at any retail unit displaying the payzone sign.
- Direct Debit/Standing Order Form (if required)
- A copy of the Letting Agreement
- Garage Keys
If the garage is let to a Council tenant, no VAT is payable – similarly if the garage is let to a leaseholder who lives on the same estate as where the garage is situated, no VAT is payable. Private Owner Occupiers will be liable to pay VAT. (If an SBC tenant becomes an Owner Occupier through the Right to Buy scheme, they will be required to pay VAT from the date of sale).
back to top
Ending Your Tenancy
When you leave your home, you must return all the keys to South Essex Homes no later than midday on the day your tenancy ends. If you fail to do so, you must pay all the rent we lose as a result as well as the costs of replacing the keys and the locks.
You must make sure you take all your belongings including any furniture and rubbish with you when you leave. This includes removing any items in the loft or garden. Please can you ensure you also clean your home, make any repairs and redecorate if necessary. If you leave any items behind (after leaving/abandoning or being evicted from your home) we will store them for a limited period of time.
After that the items will become the property of the Council and we may get rid of them. We will make attempts to contact you to let you know we have your items and that if they are not collected within one month they will become the property of the Council.
If we know where you are we will serve a notice on you and the items will become the property of the Council six months from the date they came into the possession of the Council. You will have to pay all our reasonable removal and storage costs and these costs must be paid before the items will be released to you.
You must leave your home secure when you leave. If you do not, you may have to pay any loses we suffer. You should do the following things to make sure you leave your home secure:
· make sure all windows are closed and locked
· cancel any milk deliveries
· tell the Post Office of your new address and arrange for them to send your post to your new home
· arrange for the phone lines to be disconnected
· contact your gas and electricity suppliers to make sure they disconnect the supply and take a final meter reading.
· lock any gates to your back garden
· take all belongings from the shed and garden
· make sure no food is left inside your home
· make sure the washing machine or dishwasher is safely shut off. You can do this by turning the water off at the stopcocks. Please contact about where the stopcocks are situated.
If anyone from your household or someone you have allowed into your home continues to live in your home once your tenancy has ended, we will treat them as trespassers.
You can end your tenancy at any time by giving us at least four weeks’ notice in writing. Your period of notice must end on a Monday.
We can only end your tenancy on one of the grounds set out in the Conditions of Tenancy and (if appropriate) by a court order. If we intend to end your tenancy, we will serve you a notice in one or more of the following ways:
· by hand to you in person
· by hand to your home
· by post to your home
· by post to the last known address we have for you.
If you or anyone in your household stays in the home after the notice ends, we can take legal action to remove you or them.
If we evict you we will serve a Torte Notice at the property and after 7 days will dispose of all goods remaining at the property. If you abandon your home, we will store your personal belongings for a maximum of six months and charge you for the cost of doing this.
You will only be able to get your items back if you pay the removal and storage charge. If you have not claimed your items during the notice periods we will dispose of them as we think is appropriate.
back to top
Information about evictions.
Evictions are carried out as a very last resort. If you have not complied with your Conditions of Tenancy and South Essex Homes have served a notice upon you, you could ultimately lose your home.
The notice is to advise that we could start court proceedings against you, it does not necessarily mean we will. If a notice has been served because:
· you have been acting in an anti social manner
· you have failed to have your gas service check carried out
· you have not maintained your garden or your property
you must contact the Neighbourhood Services Team immediately on 0800 833 160.
If a notice has been served because:
you must contact the Income Management Team immediately on 0800 833 160.
A number of measures can be adopted in order to prevent you becoming homeless. Officers of South Essex Homes will be able to assist you:
However, if you fail to comply with any support or recommendations that have been suggested to you and you have failed to either clear your arrears, are continuing to cause anti social behaviour or have not addressed the issues raised on any notice that has been served upon you, South Essex Homes will commence court action against you. You will be liable for any court costs and you will be given notice to leave your home. Any possessions remaining in your home will be removed and stored for a limited period of time and disposed of if you fail to collect them. You will be liable for the cost of the removal and the storage. If you have been evicted for nuisance the Council will not have a duty to rehouse you. You will not be able to apply to the housing register for rehousing for at least five years.
back to top
Gardens, Trees and Fences
Residents with the use of a shared garden are expected to agree with the other residents on how to keep the garden in a neat and tidy condition, unless the garden is covered by the Grounds Maintenance Contract.
This does not include shared gardens in sheltered units. Annual garden competitions will be held so that you can show off your talents and be rewarded for your efforts. For details of the Annual Garden Competitions please contact the Resident Involvement Team on 0800 833 160.
back to top
South Essex Homes advice can be summed up in a single sentence with regards to bogus callers; If in doubt, keep them out. More practically there are steps that residents can take;
· Think before opening the door to a stranger. Put the door chain or, if you do not have a chain, speak through the letterbox. Do not let strangers in at the door.
· Ask who the caller is and what they want.
· Always check their identification. All bona fide callers will have identification on them. Ask to see an identity card. Call their company, (Don’t use the number on their card; look it up in the ‘phone book or if advise they are visiting from South Essex Homes contact 0800 833 160/161) and verify they are who they say they are. Take your time. Don’t be pressurised. A genuine caller will be prepared to wait.
· If someone asks you for help, or for you to go outside, only think about doing so if someone, a relative, friend or neighbour, is with you. Never leave a stranger alone with access to the house.
· Don’t worry if you chose not to help a stranger calling at the door; it isn’t being rude or unhelpful.
· Avoid keeping large sums of money in the house.
· Report any suspicious callers to the police .
back to top
Pets and Animals
Residents must not keep animals in their property without written permission.
Please contact South Essex Homes on 0800 833 160 to obtain a registration form to keep pets in your accommodation. If permission is granted the following condition must be kept to;
1. Your pet must not cause damage to your home and must not create a noise or other nuisance. This includes smells, and dog and cat mess.
2. If you have a dog, you must keep it under control and must clean up any dog mess.
3. If you have a dog and you have a private garden you must make sure
the garden is enclosed so your dog cannot escape.
4. You must not allow your dog to enter any children’s play area or other
5. If you live in a group 1 or 2 sheltered scheme you must not allow a dog
or cat into the communal lounge areas.
6. You must not keep more than two dogs in your home at any one time.
7. You (and anyone living with you) must not keep (or allow your visitors to
bring onto the estate) any dog breeds named as dangerous in section 1
of the Dangerous Dog Act 1991, or any other breeds which we do not
If pets regularly cause a nuisance to neighbours, South Essex Homes on behalf of the Council can take action to stop the nuisance, this could be seeking an injunction or Antisocial Behaviour Order to prevent you or anyone living with you from keeping animals. If you or anyone living with you fails to abide by these conditions South Essex Homes on behalf of the Council may take legal action, which could result from you being evicted from your property. South Essex Homes will liaise with the Council’s Dog Warden and the RSPCA in relation to solving animal nuisance/animal problems, this will include where there are allegations of neglect or welfare issues.
If you are considering setting up an aquarium in your home or an aviary or an tank housing snakes you must contact the Neighbourhood Services Team to seek their permission.
back to top
Altering and Improving Your Home
If you want to alter or improve your home(apart from general decorating), please contact the Neighbourhood Services Team.
You will need to get our written permission for changes such as:
• adding an extension, porch, conservatory, patio or patio doors
• altering the structure of the building
• moving or removing walls and partitions
• removing ceiling, wall or floor surfaces
• adding to or changing the electrical system
• adding to or changing the heating or plumbing system, or installing a shower
• installing double glazing
• creating a vehicle crossover or parking space
• Fitting a television aerial or satellite dish.
• Installing a new bathroom/kitchen
A surveyor may need to visit your home to check on the proposed changes, to make sure that they meet health and safety and planning regulations.
If we give you permission to alter your home or add new fixtures and fittings, the consent letter will say whether you need to leave them if you move out, or if you will have to remove them and make good any damage.
If you make any alterations without our written agreement, you may have to return the property to its original state when you move out, or pay us the full cost of reinstatement. Should you wish to apply to make improvements to your home please contact us on freephone 0800 833 160 for more information.
South Essex Homes issues vouchers to assist new tenants with the cost of decorating their property. please see this leaflet for more information (the leaflet is currently under review and some information may be inaccurate)
back to top