Your tenancy

Check what you're responsible for in your home, who can live there and how to make changes to your tenancy.

AmicusHorizon tenancy - your responsibilities

As an AmicusHorizon resident, you must:

  • Pay your rent on time
  • Be a respectful neighbour – Make sure everyone in your home (including visitors) is considerate and doesn’t cause a nuisance to neighbours
  • Live in your home - you cannot sublet your home to someone else
  • Tell us when you intend to move out and give us at least a month’s notice
  • Never use your home for any illegal or immoral activities
  • Get our permission if you want to make changes or alterations to your home
  • Get our permission if you want to run a business from your home.

We expect you to:

  • Take care of your home and not cause damage to it
  • Keep your home in good repair. This means reporting repairs to us straight away and doing the repairs you are responsible for
  • Report damage you or members of your household have caused
  • Allow us access to your home for gas inspections or to carry out repairs we’re responsible for
  • Return our calls when we need to speak to you about your tenancy
  • Take out home contents insurance to cover your belongings
  • Make sure we know who is living in your home – this is easy to update on MyAccount
  • Keep your home and garden clean, tidy and free from rubbish
  • Keep your shared areas clear and not leave caravans, boats or untaxed vehicles on your drive.
If you break your tenancy agreement we’ll contact you and take appropriate action. If it’s a serious breach, we may take legal action.

AmicusHorizon tenancy - our responsibilities

As your landlord we also have responsibilities to you. We’ll:

  • Listen to you, take your views into account and consult with you about any changes to our services
  • Carry out the repairs we’re responsible for
  • Allow you to carry out your own improvements and alterations with our permission
  • Allow you to swap homes with another social landlord or council tenant. Providing you are not in rent arrears and have no history of anti social behaviour
  • Give you information about the services we provide and how we perform.

What is a tenancy agreement?

This is a legal contract that sets out the terms of your tenancy, making it clear what you are responsible for and what we are responsible for. There are different types of tenancy:
  • Starter or 'probationary' - 12 month tenancies for new housing association tenants
  • Assured - most housing association tenants have this type of tenancy. It's got no time limit
  • Assured guaranteed -  if you were originally a council tenant you may have the 'right to buy'
  • Secure tenancy - another form of tenancy some ex-council or long-standing tenants may have
  • Demoted tenancy - an assured tenancy can be 'demoted' (reduced) to an assured shorthold tenancy if tenants behave in an anti social way.

Making changes to your tenancy

If you hold a tenancy with us and wish to update the members of your household you can do this via MyAccount. It's simple to add and remove members of your household and update the information we hold about them (and you).

Adding or removing a member of your household does not mean they've been added or removed from the tenancy agreement.
 

Changing your tenancy agreement - adding a joint tenant

If you hold a sole tenancy with us and want to change this to a joint tenancy you'll need to check the terms of your tenancy agreement. In most cases a joint tenant can be added if the new tenant:
  • Is the husband, wife or civil partner of the current tenant
  • Is the cohabitee of the current tenant and has lived at the property with the current tenant for at least 12 months
  • Agrees to take on the rights and responsibilities of the new tenancy.
  • You'll both need to sign a new tenancy agreement, saying you accept the new terms.
Contact us to find out more.
 

Changing your tenancy agreement - removing a joint tenant

If you hold a joint tenancy with us and want to change this to a sole tenancy, both tenants must agree to the change. You'll also need to meet the following conditions:
  • Both joint tenants give their written consent by signing the deed
  • The sole tenant agrees to take over the rights and responsibilities of the existing tenancy
  • There are no rent arrears on the tenancy
  • There are no breaches of the tenancy.
For more information please contact us.
 

How do I end my tenancy?

To end your tenancy and move out of an AmicusHorizon home, you'll need to complete a termination of tenancy form, we'll send you this if you contact us. You must give us 4 full weeks notice.
  • We'll write back to you to confirm the date the tenancy will end (this will normally be a Sunday)
  • We'll visit you to inspect your property before the tenancy ends
  • You must pay your rent up to the date your tenancy ends, even if you move out before then
  • You must pay off any rent arrears you may have
  • You must return your keys to us before 12 noon on the Monday after your tenancy ends. If you do not, we will continue to charge you the full rent.

Before you move out

You're responsible for clearing your home, removing any rubbish and leaving the home in a reasonably decorated and clean condition. You mustn't remove any fixtures or fittings. We'll expect you to restore any original fixtures and fittings that you have removed without our permission.

If we have to remove rubbish or carry out repairs or replacements, we'll charge you the cost. You must also remove all your belongings from your home. If you don't, we'll charge you for clearing them.

Ending the tenancy after a resident dies

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy; trying to deal with their affairs can be complicated and upsetting.

Here are some simple first steps to take:

  • Let us know when the resident died
  • Confirm it in writing to the Housing Officer
  • Send the Housing Officer a copy of the death certificate and a completed tenancy termination form.

Things you need to know

  • Rent is payable until the representative of the resident legally ends the tenancy, all our tenancies end on a Sunday
  • Housing Benefit stops on the date of the resident's death
  • All belongings and furniture must be cleared and the property should be left in a reasonably decorated and clean condition
  • You'll need to cancel the gas and electric supply
  • All keys should be handed in to your nearest neighbourhood office by 12pm the day after the tenancy ends. This will be a Monday. Please ask for a receipt for the keys.

Dealing with finances

If you're responsible for dealing with the resident's finances and need help, call our Income team on 0800 121 60 60

Can I become the new tenant?

If you've been living with the tenant for 12 months or more and there's been no previous succession, you may have the right to take over the tenancy, if you were:
  • The joint tenant
  • Husband or wife of the tenant
  • A close relative of the tenant
Contact us for more advice on your rights.

Dealing with tenancy fraud

We want to ensure only people in genuine housing need live in our homes, so if we suspect tenancy fraud we'll tackle it.

What is tenancy fraud?

There are different types of tenancy fraud.  Examples include:

  • Unlawful subletting - When a tenant moves out and rents out their home without our permission, it's unlawful subletting
  • Getting a tenancy by giving false information - This is when a tenant gets a tenancy by giving false information in their application. For example, they don't tell us they already have a tenancy elsewhere or own a home
  • Non occupation - Every tenant must use our property as their only or principle home. It is a breach of tenancy if they fail to occupy our property in this way
  • Misrepresenting information to exercise the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire - Some tenants are able to buy their home through the Right to Buy scheme. These schemes allow tenants to buy their homes at a discount. It's a form of tenancy fraud if:
    • The tenant isn't using our property as their main home
    • The tenant provides false information such as the length of a joint applicant's occupation in our home.
What's the overall impact?
  • We lose much needed social housing to the private sector
  • Longer waiting lists for residents wanting to move home
  • Unlawful occupants living in poor housing conditions
  • Expensive repairs when the unauthorised occupant moves out.
How can I report tenancy fraud?

If you suspect a tenant is committing tenancy fraud, please report it. You can do this by contacting us on 020 8726 8963 or reporttenancyfraud@amicushorizon.org.uk  We'll keep your identity confidential.
For more information, please refer to our tenancy fraud leaflet.

What we'll do?

We promise to investigate reports of tenancy fraud. Housing Officers will work with residents, local authorities, police and our partners to ensure we're making best use of our homes.

Action we'll take against tenancy fraud

If we've evidence a tenant has committed tenancy fraud we'll:
  • Claim possession of their home through the courts
  • Make a claim to the tenant for any rent arrears and legal costs.
Data Protection

In the context of tenancy fraud we may share or disclose your information with third parties for the purposes of detecting and preventing tenancy fraud. This includes:
  • Data matching with credit reference agencies
  • Credit checks at the start of your tenancy.

Tackling unlawful subletting

We want people in genuine housing need living in our homes, so if we suspect tenancy fraud we’ll tackle it.

Recently a tenant of a one bedroom AmicusHorizon flat in London moved out and sublet the whole of the property.

When the new occupant moved in, he believed he’d signed a six month tenancy for a privately owned home.

This criminal offence and breach of tenancy was identified by one of our housing officers during a routine visit.

The new occupant was surprised to learn the property was owned by us.

He showed our housing officer a copy of the tenancy agreement and confirmed he was paying close to market rent.

A joint investigation with the London Borough of Lambeth was carried out.

Our tenant was prosecuted under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud 2013.

The tenant was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay £500 in costs. We also took possession of his home and let it to somebody who genuinely needed it.