Understanding your tenancy

As a Red Kite Community Housing tenant, it's important to understand your tenancy agreement, which outlines your rights, responsibilities, and type of tenancy. We encourage you to read it carefully and please keep it safe.

Tenancy breaches

Failing to follow the conditions of your tenancy may result in legal action and loss of your home. 
Some examples of actions that would breach your tenancy agreement include:

  • not living in your home permanently
  • falling behind on rent or other payments
  • making alterations to your home without written consent
  • causing damage to your property or the surrounding environment
  • engaging in illegal activities
  • abusive or violent behaviour
  • refusing access for essential repairs and maintenance work.

Types of tenancy

As a Red Kite tenant, you'll sign up to one of the following types of tenancy, this outlines all your responsibilities, as well as ours:

  • Starter Tenancy - this will apply to you if it's your first tenancy
  • Fixed Term Tenancy - once you've completed a Starter Tenancy, you may be offered a Fixed Term Tenancy. This is usually for a 2- or 5-year fixed term
  • (PASS) Preserved Assured Right to Buy - (PASS) Preserved Assured Right to Buy tenancies were issued to pre-stock transfer tenants from the council with secure tenancies. These tenancies are no longer issued and can only be passed on through succession
  • (NASS) Assured Non-Shorthold - (NASS) Assured Non-Shorthold tenancies are issued to individuals who have the right to a secure tenancy, such as those who have mutually exchanged into Red Kite from another housing association with a PASS tenancy or those transferring to another Red Kite property with this type of tenancy. These tenancies come with the right to acquire.

Using your home

You must take occupancy of your home and live there as your main and principal home.

You must not leave your home and/or live elsewhere and not tell us you have left.

You must not sublet your Red Kite home. If you do, legal action will be taken to recover possession of your home.

If you want to use your home to run a business you must ask us and you will need written permission before you will be allowed to do this. Some businesses, such as taxis or car repairing, which can cause a nuisance will not receive permission.

Lodgers

If you are an assured tenant, you have the right to take in lodgers. A lodger is someone who lives in your home but does not have sole use of all of it. They usually get some sort of service from you, such as cooking or cleaning. The law says how many people can live in one house and so you must make sure that a lodger will not make your home overcrowded.

If you are on Housing Benefit you must inform us if you are taking in a lodger. You also need to tell the Housing Benefit team at Buckinghamshire Council that you have taken in a lodger as this may affect your benefits. Also, you will need to let the Council Tax team know if you receive a single person discount.

If you want your lodger to move out, you will be responsible for organising this. When the lodger moves out, please let us know.

Joint tenants

As joint tenants, all signatories are equally responsible for the terms of the agreement, including rent and other charges. This remains true even if one tenant moves out. Breaching the tenancy conditions may result in legal action against both tenants, leading to the loss of the home.

Who can apply for a joint tenancy?

Joint tenancy is typically only available to people who are married, in a civil parnership, or who are living together as partners. However, there is no legal right to joint tenancy, and it is not available to non-couples, such as father and son or siblings. Tenants are responsible for the behaviour of their household and visitors, even if they are not named tenants.

Ending your joint tenancy

One tenant can end a joint tenancy by giving four weeks' notice, without the other tenant's agreement. This ends the whole tenancy. We may consider the other tenant's housing needs and decide if they can have a new tenancy or need to make other arrangements.

Please contact us if you want to end a joint tenancy and we can advise you on the next steps.

Death of a joint tenant

In the event of the death of a joint tenant, the surviving tenant(s) may continue to live in the home. However, we must be notified and provided with a copy of the death certificate. The surviving tenant(s) is/are responsible for all rent and charges, both before and after the death. The tenancy cannot be passed on to another family member or individual if the surviving tenant also dies, as the law only allows for the tenancy to be automatically passed on once. Please contact us if you need advice or information following the death of a joint tenant.

Relationship breakdown

In the case of a relationship breakdown, both parties must decide what to do about their home while considering the law. We would advise tenants to seek independent legal advice about their rights when ending or assigning a tenancy. A court order may be required to remove a joint tenant from the tenancy if there is a dispute over who will remain as a tenant. We are unable to remove joint tenants without agreement to assign the tenancy or a court order. We will consider each request on an individual basis, but it is important to understand that a joint tenant cannot be removed just because they have left the home or your relationship has broken down.

Management moves

We will only consider a management move if there is a risk to the life of the tenant. We would need to see evidence of this from the police and other agencies working with you. If you think you need to move due to a risk then please contact us for advice.

If there is a serious risk to your life, then the council will offer you temporary accommodation to keep you safe until we find another suitable property for you. We need to agree a management move for you before you approach the council.

You must not leave your home without telling us unless the police or other agencies assist you in an emergency to keep you safe. You then need to contact us, and we will work with you and other agencies to find a solution to your housing needs.

We do not offer management moves when the property is deemed unsuitable for housing need, such as overcrowding or not liking the area or property, or where there are outstanding repairs. If you wish to move from your home, then you can ether consider a mutual exchange or make an application with Bucks Home Choice to consider a transfer.

Succession - what happens when a tenant dies?

When a tenant dies, their tenancy can be passed on to their spouse, partner, or civil partner if the property is their principal home - this is called statutory succession. You will need to prove that you lived with the tenant at the time of their death and/or were married to or in a partnership with the tenant in order to succeed.

If the tenancy is assured and started before 1st April 2012 and you are a son, daughter, sibling, or other approved relation you can apply for succession of the tenancy - this is called contractual succession. You will need to prove that the property has been your main and principal home for at least 12 months prior to the death of the tenant and that you are related to the tenant.

Red Kite will look at each case individually and may offer options such as downsizing or transferring to a home that better meets the needs of the person remaining.

Further information