Insurance

Top five questions

Can I buy my freehold?

Can I buy my freehold?


Is my home covered by buildings insurance?

Is my home covered by buildings insurance?


How do I pay my service charge?

How do I pay my service charge?


How do I report a repair?

How do I report a repair?


What can I do about ASB?

What can I do about ASB?Ask yourself if your neighbour just has a different lifestyle. Their behaviour may not be unreasonable. If you feel comfortable, you should talk to your neighbour directly. This often settles problems at an early stage.

You can report the behaviour by contacting your Estate Officer at Thrive Homes. We will agree with you the action that can be taken. This may include things that you need to do, for example, taking part in mediation, keeping a nuisance diary or being able to act as a witness in any legal action required.

Search questions database

Your lease (8)

As the landlord what can Thrive Homes do?

As the landlord we can:

  • set the service charges, including building insurance and management charges to cover the cost of any communal services
  • ask for access to your home in circumstances where you have failed to carry out your repair responsibilities.

What are Thrive Home’s responsibilities to me?

We will:

  • allow you to live in your home, as long as you pay the ground rent and service charges and meet all your obligations
  • keep your home insured for the full reinstatement value (this does not include the
    contents of your home), provide you with a summary of the policy and allow you to see the full policy on request. (See Section 5: Insurance)
  • keep the structure and exterior of the building in reasonable repair; keep services
    to the building in working order and maintain all common parts of the building or
  • estate where you live. (See Section 4: Repairs and Maintenance)
    maintain proper accounts of your service charges and make these accounts available to you on request. We will also provide information on how service charges are calculated.

What does being a leaseholder mean?

If you have bought your flat/maisonette you have bought a leasehold interest. This means that you have the right to live in your home for a certain period without having to pay rent, except for a small ground rent. The period is set out in the lease. The Lease is a legal document that sets out the details of the contract between you (the leaseholder) and us (the landlord). It includes:

  • our responsibilities to you
  • your responsibilities
  • your rights as a leaseholder.

You may have bought your home through Right to Buy, Right to Acquire or from a previous leaseholder. Your solicitor should have explained the terms of your lease to you, so you understand both your responsibilities and Thrive Homes’ responsibilities. If you are buying your home under Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, Thrive Homes will provide you with this information.

What are my responsibilities?

You will:

  • pay the ground rent and service charges promptly and regularly
  • pay our expenses for any fees or charges we have to pay in connection with your property
  • maintain, decorate and repair all parts of your home
  • allow us into your home to carry out repairs you have not done (we will then
    charge you for doing any work)
  • pay all taxes and charges due on the property
  • not cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours
  • not harass or offend others, including our staff, on grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability
  • only use the premises as a place of residence
  • provide notice to us in writing of details of any change in lease ownership or if you
    sub-let the property
  • not make any additions or alterations to your home without the consent of Thrive Homes.

You are entitled to:

  • exercise your contractual and statutory rights
  • peaceful occupation of your home.

The above points do not cover all rights and responsibilities. You should always refer to your lease for these.

What happens if you breach a condition of the lease?

If you breach the conditions of your lease, Thrive Homes can apply to the courts to end your lease. Ending your lease before it is due to end is called forfeiture. Because this is very drastic, the matter would have to be very serious for the courts to decide that we would end your lease. Not paying your service charges is an example of breaking the conditions of your lease. We cannot apply to the courts to end your lease because you have not paid your service charges unless:

  • you agree you owe us the amount that is due
  • a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal has agreed that the service charge to be paid is reasonable.

Can I extend my lease?

If you satisfy certain criteria, you can ask for a lease extension. The price should be agreed between you and us, or if this is not possible, set by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). The usual extension term is 90 years. To exercise your right to extend your lease, you first need to check that you meet the appropriate criteria. For example:

  • have you owned your flat for the last two years?
  • do you have a long lease of over 21 years?
  • did you buy your flat through a shared ownership scheme?
  • is your landlord a housing association with charitable status?
  • if you have inherited the lease, are you applying to extend within two years of the grant of probate?

If you meet the appropriate criteria then you can notify us in writing that you wish to exercise the right to extend your lease, stating the price you are offering.

We then will reply within two months of receiving your notification letting you now if we are either:

  • accepting your right and the price offered, or
  • accepting your right and proposing another price, or
  • stating why you cannot use the right.

Up to two months are allowed for negotiations on the price. After the two months, either you or we can apply to the LVT to settle the price and any other issues.

Can I buy my freehold?

Leaseholders of flats/maisonettes may have the right to buy the freehold of the building as a group in certain situations. This is known as ‘enfranchisement’. If at least two-thirds of the residents in your block are leaseholders and the number of leaseholders willing to buy the freehold equals at least half the flats in the block, then you can apply jointly to buy the freehold of your block and manage it yourselves. For example if there are 12 flats/maisonettes in your block at least eight must belong to leaseholders and at least six would need to join in buying the freehold. However, there are some things you should consider:

  • Thrive Homes would no longer be your landlord and you would all be jointly responsible for the maintenance and management costs for your block
  • you would no longer be able to call on our housing service if you had problems with your neighbours
  • if you get on well with your neighbours, you would have more say in the way your block is managed and the money that is spent on it
  • you would have complete control over all matters relating to your block. You could decide when to carry out repairs and redecorations and you could appoint your own contractors, who would work under your direct supervision and instruction
  • if the block contained at least one Thrive Homes’ flat, you would charge us for our share of management and maintenance costs.

What do leaseholders pay for?

Leaseholders pay ground rent and service charge. The ground rent is the annual charge that is set out in your lease. Because leasehold is a form of tenancy, it involves paying us a ground rent. Ground rent is a specific requirement of your lease. The amount payable is set under the Housing Act 1985 at £10 a year.

The service charge covers your share of the costs of managing the block your property is in. This includes insuring, maintaining and repairing the exterior and communal parts of the building and providing any other services specified in the lease.

If your block of flats is on an estate, you also have to contribute towards the management and maintenance of the communal areas.

Service charges and ground rent (10)

What is ground rent?

The ground rent is the annual charge that is set out in your lease. Because leasehold is a form of tenancy, it involves paying us a ground rent. Ground rent is a specific requirement of your lease. The amount payable is set under the Housing Act 1985 at £10 a year.

What are service charges?

When you bought your lease, you became a ‘shareholder’ in the building your flat is in. This means you have a responsibility to pay your share of the costs of maintaining and managing the building. If you owned a freehold house, you would have to pay all the costs of running your house. As a leaseholder you share those costs with your landlord and other leaseholders.

The costs are shared among all the flats/maisonettes in the block (unless a cost relates only to one property and the others receive no short- or long-term benefit). For example, if there are 10 flats in your block and 7 of them are rented to Thrive Homes tenants and the other 3 belong to leaseholders, each leaseholder will pay one tenth of the cost and we will pay seven-tenths on behalf of the tenants.

What does my service charge pay for?

The service charge covers the cost of services that benefit all the residents of a particular building or estate. These will be made up of the following:

  • Repairs and maintenance to your building and communal areas
  • Major works to the block or the estate
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Buildings insurance
  • Communal services (e.g. cleaning, lighting and heating)
  • Services (e.g. servicing of communal door entry system)

When is the service charge payable?

We send out Service Charges a year in advance. In March we will send you details of the estimated charges for the forthcoming financial year ie April to March. This charge can be paid in monthly instalments.

At the close of the financial year we calculate the actual expenditure. If your share is less than what we estimated, you will receive a credit to your service charge account. If it is more we will make an adjustment to your account.

How and where to pay your service charges?

In person – by cheque, debit or credit card. You can visit us at:

  • Thrive Homes’ head office
    Thrive Homes Limited
    Building 3, Hatters Lane, Watford WD18 8YG
  • The One Stop Shop at Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth. Opening hours 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday. 8.30am – 5.00pm on a Friday. If you pay here by cheque, it must be payable to Three Rivers District Council.

By direct debit – if you have a bank account, the most convenient way to pay is by direct debit. You can pay monthly on either 1st or 15th of the month. To set up a direct debit, please telephone Thrive Homes on.0800 917 6077.

By 24 hour telephone service on 0800 917 6077 using a credit or debit card. Payments made after 3.45pm on a Friday and over the weekend will not show on your rent account until the following Tuesday.

By Post. Cheques or Postal Orders which should be crossed and made payable to Thrive Homes may be sent to Thrive Homes’ head office.

By Standing Order. A regular Standing or Bankers Order can be arranged through your bank to pay your rent either weekly or monthly in advance. Thrive Homes’ bank is Barclays PLC account number 93851257 sort code 20 00 00.

Online http://www.thrivehomes.org.uk/paypoint.cfm

Housing benefit direct payment. If you are entitled to housing benefit you can have it paid directly to us. Please contact Three Rivers District Council housing benefit office for an application form or ring us for more information.

Payment Card. We have introduced payment using the AllPay card system. This means that you are able to pay your service charges 24 hours a day locally and nationally at outlet shops and post offices showing the AllPay and PayPoint signs.

What should I do if I am struggling to pay my service charge?

If you are having difficulty paying your service charges charges or you fall behind with payments you should contact the Home Ownership Officer to discuss the situation. You should also contact your local benefits office or Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.

What happens if I don’t pay my charges?

If you do not pay your share of the charges, you are breaching the terms of your lease agreement. As a last resort, we could apply to the courts to have your lease ‘forfeited’. In these circumstances, you could lose your home. We may also start debt-recovery proceedings.

What is forfeiture?

Forfeiture is where we apply to the court to end your lease because you have broken the lease conditions. This could happen for example if:

  • you do not pay your service charges/ground rent
  • you cause nuisance and harassment to your neighbours.

If the court decides that you have seriously broken the terms of your lease, it may end the lease and grant us possession of your home. You would lose your home and would not get any payment or compensation.

As a responsible landlord we would only apply for Forfeiture as a last resort, to protect the interests of Thrive Homes, our tenants and other leaseholders. With overdue service charges/ground rent, we will always try to help you if you have genuine financial problems. Before applying for forfeiture for unpaid service charges we would have to show that our charges were reasonable and that you had made no attempt to pay them.

How do I dispute charges?

If you disagree with any charges being made you can contact the Home Ownership Officer, giving details of why you disagree. We will investigate and, if appropriate make the necessary alterations. If you are still unhappy you can contact the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal with your concerns.

How do I buy the freehold?

How do I buy the freehold?

When you want to move (11)

How do I buy my home?

If you were a tenant at the time of the transfer of your home from Three Rivers District Council to Thrive Homes and you have signed your new Assured at Transfer Tenancy Agreement you will have the Right to Buy your home as long as you meet the requirements of the Government’s scheme. You will qualify for a discount of up to £77,900.00 against the market value.

If you became a tenant after the transfer or you do not satisfy the requirements of the Government’s Right to Buy scheme, then you may have the Right to Acquire.

This depends on:

  • the type of property
  • where it is
  • the type of funding used to pay for it when it was built.

The Right to Acquire scheme offers a grant to help you buy your home and cannot be used in conjunction with any other right to buy, shared equity or openmarket homebuy scheme.

Mutual exchange

A mutual exchange is a move arranged by two or more housing association or council tenants who wish to ‘swap’ properties. If you have already found someone to exchange with, application forms will need to be filled in for all the landlords involved so that permission can be granted for the exchange to take place.

Permission to exchange will usually not be given if:

  • either exchange partner is in rent arrears
  • either exchange partner has breached their tenancy conditions and/or if action has been taken to seek possession of the property
  • either exchange partner does not pass a pre-void inspection
  • the move will result in substantial over-crowding or under- occupation
  • the exchange would result in a property specially designed or adapted for a disabled or elderly person being occupied by someone without similar needs
  • you are a contractual or demoted tenant
  • you or members of your family have a history of anti-social behaviour.

When you move by way of mutual exchange you accept the other property on an “as seen” basis. This means that you each accept the new property, garden, shed and any other outbuildings in its current condition and will be responsible for any outstanding repairs. You will also be accepting the responsibility for any alterations to the property which the previous tenant(s) may have made. You must make your own enquires about the condition of the property and come to an agreement about any fixtures and fittings it may contain. The move is made at your own expense.

If you have not yet found someone to exchange with and you are an assured tenant of Thrive Homes, you can register free of charge at www.homeswapper.co.uk and search for potential mutual exchanges. HomeSwapper is the UK’s largest community of social housing tenants looking to swap homes. Registration is quick and easy and you can search for a move either locally or nationally. In addition you may also want to advertise your property on the South Oxhey office notice board or on other local notice boards, such as in newsagents.

For further details on mutual exchanges please contact us on freephone 0800 917 6077.

Choice Based Lettings

Thrive Homes is part of a choice based lettings scheme called Herts Choice Homes.

This scheme is designed to give people more choice about where they want to live and will operate across five local authority areas:

  • Three Rivers District Council
  • Hertsmere Borough Council
  • Watford Borough Council
  • Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
  • St Albans City and District Council.

All council and housing association properties that are available to let will be advertised fortnightly on the Herts Choice Homes website and in the magazine available at various places throughout the districts.

In order to search for any available properties, you must be registered on the Housing Register that is managed by the Housing Needs team at Three Rivers District Council. This applies to all applicants, including current tenants of Thrive Homes or another registered social landlord who want to transfer to another property. To request a Housing Register application form:

Telephone: 01923 776611
Email: enquiries@threerivers.gov.uk
Visit: www.threerivers.gov.uk

Once you have registered you will be sent a welcome letter that contains information about the scheme and the housing needs band you have been placed in. Further information can be found on the Herts Choice Homes’ website www.hertschoicehomes.org.uk

Transfers

All applications for transfers, and subsequent offers are made through the Herts Choice Homes choice based letting scheme. You will need:

  • 12 weeks’ clear rent account
  • a successful inspection of your present property before you transfer.

For further information about transfers contact the Housing Needs team at Three Rivers District Council on 01923 776611 or www.threerivers.gov.uk

Low cost and key worker housing

You may be eligible to register with Lea Valley Homes for one of their low cost housing schemes, some of which are specifically reserved for key workers. These schemes are sometimes referred to as ‘shared ownership’ or ‘homebuy’ and enable people to buy a property in the private sector if they are unable to secure the full cost of the property themselves. This is because a share of the property will be secured for you and rented back to you at a reduced rate. For more information you need to contact Lea Valley Homes directly at:

Lea Valley Homes
6 Houghton Hall Business Park Porz Avenue
Houghton Regis
Bedfordshire
LU5 5UZ
Tel: 01582 869440
Fax: 01882 869200
Email: leavalleyhomes@aldwyck.co.uk
Web: www.leavalleyhomes.co.uk

Space saver scheme

This scheme helps Thrive Homes make better use of its limited housing stock by creating vacancies for high priority families that need to be housed, while at the same time providing financial and other support to those wishing to move to smaller homes. Thrive Homes offers a payment of £1,000 for each bedroom given up.

You can benefit from the space saver scheme if you are living in a property that is too large for your needs and you either transfer or mutual exchange to a smaller Thrive Homes property.

You can choose whether to keep the payment, or ask us to use some of the money to assist with your move, for example, we may be able to arrange your removals and/or for your new property to be decorated and/or carpeted. The cost of these works, along with any rent arrears or other debts to Thrive Homes (including recharges for works carried out at your property after you have left) will be deducted from your space saver entitlement.

Ending your tenancy

If you wish to end your tenancy, you must give us 28 days notice in writing. Your reason for ending the tenancy and a full forwarding address or contact address must also be supplied.

Please note that in accordance with your Tenancy Agreement, 28 days notice is required and, even if keys are returned within the 28 day notice period, full rent will be charged until the notice period has expired.

An inspection will be arranged with a Maintenance Officer before you leave the property so we can tell you about anything that you need to do before you leave. You may be recharged if you fail to complete any outstanding works or repairs satisfactorily.

Your tenancy will always end on a Sunday and if you are moving over a weekend the keys must be returned before9.30am on the Monday morning to avoid another week’s rent being charged.

All keys to the property must be returned and the property must be left in a clean and tidy condition clear from any possessions or rubbish. You must also ensure that you have paid your rent account in full until the date your tenancy ends.

Please remember to contact the gas, electricity, telephone and water companies to tell them that you are leaving. You should also arrange for your mail to be re-directed as we will be unable to collect any mail delivered after you have left.

What is sheltered housing?

Sheltered housing refers to individual, self-contained flats or bungalows that are grouped together in a ‘scheme’ often with a communal lounge and gardens for social activities. Sheltered housing seeks to help tenants maintain their independence, provide a safe and secure living environment where social activities help dispel loneliness and isolation.

Sheltered housing provides the following to help maintain tenants’ independence:

  • a 24 hour emergency call system in each property
  • information about accessing other services
  • social and leisure activities in the scheme and the wider community.

Who can apply for sheltered or older persons housing?

Anyone can apply for sheltered housing provided you are:

  •  aged over 55 years

or

  • younger people with physical disabilities (in certain circumstances).

To apply, you need to contact the Housing Needs department at Three Rivers District Council on 01923 776611 or www.threerivers.gov.,uk.

What other types of accommodation are there for older people or people with disabilities?

Thrive Homes has around 400 properties suitable for people aged 55 and above or people with disabilities. These are a mixture of sheltered housing and self contained flats or bungalows, some of which are fitted with an emergency call system and some with Lifeline alarms.

If you decide to apply to move into a Thrive Homes property, please contact the Housing Needs team at Three Rivers District Council on 01923 776611, or visit www.threerivers.gov.uk.

If you would like further information about sheltered housing
or would like to visit our schemes, please ring us on freephone 0800 917 6077.

Will Thrive Homes buy my at?

Will Thrive Homes buy my at?

Consultation (8)

Major works

Under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 151, the leaseholder must be consulted before the landlord carries out works above a certain value. We will consult if these works cost over £250 for any one Leaseholder, except where work is an emergency.

Major works to the communal areas and the structure of the block may include the following:

  • Refurbishing the roof
  • Renewing window frames
  • Painting the outside of the block
  • Painting Communal areas
  • Major structural works
  • Re-pointing
  • Rebuilding walls and chimney stacks
  • Relaying paths, fencing and garden gates.

What is the consultation process?

The main purpose of consultation is to seek your views on the proposals. Legislation limits the amount leaseholders are required to pay if there is no consultation. The maximum amount we could charge without consulting you would be £250 per leaseholder for each item of work to the building or estate.

Stage 1 – Notice of Intention

We will issue a ‘notice of intention’ informing you that we plan to carry out works to your home. You will have 30 days from the date of the notice of intention to make comments on our proposal. Also at this point, you will be asked if you would like to nominate a contractor to be included in the tender process. Any contractor you nominate (the ‘nominee’) will need to meet our conditions for approved contractors, which is available on request. We will also ask if you would like to be a representative for the contract which would involve attending contract meetings and being involved in each stage of the process.

Stage 2 – Statement of Estimates

Once the 30-day consultation period has ended, we will send you a ‘statement of estimates’. This notice will give details of the two best estimates we have received and invite you, within 30 days from the date of the notice, to comment on these.
The Notice should also summarise any comments we have received on the notice of intention, and our response to these.

Stage 3 – Notice of Reasons

At the end of the notice consultation period, we will award a contractor the work. Within 21 days of awarding the contract, we will send all the leaseholders in the block a notice, stating which contractor we have appointed and explaining why. We do not need to serve a notice if the contractor we have chosen was put forward by a leaseholder or sent in the lowest estimate for the job. The notice should also include a summary of any comments we received in response to the notice of proposal and our response to those comments.

Examples of long-term agreements

  • Grounds maintenance
  • Communal cleaning
  • Insurance
  • Tree works.

Some services may only have one realistically possible supplier. However, we will still consult, or seek permission not to do so from the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

What is not a long-term contract agreement?

  • Contracts of employment
  • An agreement for less than five years, which was entered into while there were no
    leaseholders at the property
  • An agreement for more than 12 months that was entered into before 31 October 2003.

Can I inspect documents?

Where we have a duty to allow you to inspect documents, we will provide a reasonable place and time for you to do so. The cost of making facilities available, additional management, administrative and related costs may incur a charge.

Is there a limit to the amount I can be charged for major works?

This depends on when you bought your flat and what the conditions of sale were at the time. If your flat was purchased under the Right to Buy within the last five years, s.125 of the Housing Act 1985 requires the landlord to serve a notice giving information about the terms of the proposed sale. This includes information about major works. This notice limits the amount you have to pay for major repairs and improvements carried out during the first five years of the lease. During this initial period you will only have to pay for the works and costs listed on the original offer notice, plus an allowance for inflation. When we bill you for major works, we will advise you of your liability for costs, which will take into account any eligibility you have for deductions.

What do I do if I have a complaint about major works?

You should report any defective work to your Home Ownership Officer. Remember, the sooner you report any problems with the work, the sooner they can be investigated and sorted out. We have very limited power to get faults rectified once the final certificate is issued.

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal

The LVT now has powers to decide all matters covered by Section 20 of the 1985 Housing Act (consultation requirements). It has the power to dispense with consultation in a particular case ‘if satisfied that it is reasonable to dispense with the requirements.’ This is called a dispensation. Examples of cases where the LVT may grant a dispensation are:

  • Very urgent works ‘emergency works’ (on the grounds of safety, etc).
  • Advance applications, where the landlord gives a full description of the relevant
    reasons.
  • Specialist works where it is difficult to get more than one estimate.

Repairs and maintenance (9)

Who’s reponsible for repairs

The upkeep and repair of your home is the shared responsibility of you, the tenant, and us, the landlord. This section explains what type of maintenance work you are responsible for and which repairs you can expect us to carry out.

What am I reponsible for

You are responsible for:

  • anything that belongs to you, for example furniture and carpets
  • replacing door locks and keys if you lose yours
  • internal decorations
  • clearing blocked sinks (where the blockage is caused by something you have thrown away, eg, fat, tea leaves)
  • repairing and replacing everyday items like lightbulbs and fuses
  • maintaining your garden
  • repairing damage caused by your appliances, for example washing machine floods
  • repairing anything damaged through misuse, wilful damage or neglect by you, your family or visitors
  • replacing broken windows, where caused by wilful damage.

When the tenancy ends you must repair any work that you are responsible for before you leave.

Communal areas of flat blocks

Communal areas must be kept clear and free from any personal possessions at all times. Personal items must be kept inside your flat or stored in a shed if provided.

What is Thrive Homes responsible for?

Our maintenance responsibilities include:

  • the outside structure of the building, for example, drains and gutters, roof tiles, brickwork, external doors and door frames and rendering work
  • fixtures and fittings that we supply, for example sinks, kitchen units, baths, heating units and electrical wiring including wall sockets, light fittings and fuse boxes, internal doors and plumbing pipework
  • communal or shared areas, for example communal gardens, corridors, stairways and rubbish bin areas
  • testing the gas appliances we provide every 12 months.

What if I have been a victim of vandalism

If a window has been broken or you have been a victim of some other act of vandalism we will need a crime reference number (URN) from the police. You will need to report damage to the police even if they do not intend to investigate the crime. The police will only issue a crime reference number to the victim of the crime (you).

We can provide more information about:

  • rechargeable repairs
  • handy person service
  • internal decoration scheme.

What about emergency repairs?

Emergencies are problems that immediately put your safety, security or health at risk. These risks could also affect your family, your visitors or anyone else in your home.

Examples of emergency repairs include:

  • serious water leaks
  • electrical faults and failures
  • major structural damage
  • blocked toilet (if this is the only one in your home)
  • no heating in winter
  • no hot water in winter.

In these circumstances a contractor will visit your home within 24 hours to ensure you and your home are safe. Some repairs may take longer to complete, for example, a broken window will be boarded up to make it secure but new glass may have to be ordered, so reglazing would be done later.

To report an emergency repair out of office hours freephone 0800 917 6077.

Please note: this service is for emergency calls only. Callers not reporting an emergency will be asked to contact Thrive Homes during normal office hours.

However, if you make an emergency repair request asking for a contractor to attend and you are not at home when they visit, then the cost of the call out will be recharged to you.

Can I claim compensation

You can claim compensation from us if we take an unreasonable amount of time to complete a repair.

If the repair is not carried out within our target time you should contact Thrive Homes for a second contractor to be instructed to complete the works. If the second contractor also fails to complete the work within the agreed time, you may qualify for compensation.

Repair work expected to cost over £500 can take longer to organise and is not liable for compensation.

Improving your home

Before you make improvements to your home, you need to get written permission from Thrive Homes. We will not withhold permission unreasonably. However not all Tenancy Agreements allow you to make home improvements.

We have to make sure sure that any work on our property is done by professional people and to a decent standard. Please tell us what improvements you want to make and get our written permission before the work starts. This includes the laying of any laminate or solid wood flooring.

Your written request should be sent to your Estate Officer.

If you get our permission for an alteration you may be able to claim compensation from us if you leave the improvement behind when your tenancy ends.

How do I get repairs carried out?

Contact Thrive Homes on freephone 0800 917 6077.

We will need:

  • your name
  • address
  • a daytime phone number where we, or our contractors, can reach you.

Please be ready to give as much information as possible about the problem. For example:

  • what is wrong?
  • where is the problem?
  • which room(s) is affected?
  • when did the problem start?
  • have you reported it before and if so, when?

If you have an emergency repair to report outside office hours, please call freephone 0800 917 6077

Please note this service is for emergencies only – an emergency is defined as being a problem putting a person or the property at risk. Callers not reporting an emergency will be asked to contact Thrive Homes during opening hours.

Health, safety and security (9)

Gas appliances

All gas appliances supplied by us require an annual safety inspection by an operative or contractor listed with the Gas Safe Register. This inspection is compulsory. You need to make sure they can get access to your home to carry out the inspection.

We will advise you in writing when your next inspection is due.

If you do not allow us access to carry out the inspection we can turn off your supply from outside the property and we will not restore it until we have gained access to complete the inspection.

We can also ask the Courts for permission to force entry to carry out the inspection. You will be liable for all costs if we have to do this.

Improving your home

Before you make improvements to your home, you need to get written permission from Thrive Homes. We will not withhold permission unreasonably. However not all Tenancy Agreements allow you to make home improvements.

We have to make sure sure that any work on our property is done by professional people and to a decent standard. Please tell us what improvements you want to make and get our written permission before the work starts. This includes the laying of any laminate or solid wood flooring.

Your written request should be sent to your Estate Officer.

If you get our permission for an alteration you may be able to claim compensation from us if you leave the improvement behind when your tenancy ends.

How to deal with condensation

In most cases, mould growth on walls and other surfaces within a building is a result of condensation. Condensation occurs when warm moist air hits a cold surface and water droplets are produced, which in turn can lead to mould. The following points will help you prevent condensation:

  • open windows when you can
  • open windows particularly when using the kitchen and bathroom
  • do not put furniture directly against the wall as this stops air from circulating around the room
  • do not dry clothes on the radiators
  • cover pans when cooking
  • ventilate your tumble dryer – tumble dryers must have a proper vent fitted through the wall.

Home contents insurance

We insure our buildings and any fixtures and fittings that we provide, for example, central heating systems.

We cannot provide insurance for your belongings. We recommend tenants get their own home contents insurance which should cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

The National Housing Federation offers a special affordable insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders called ‘My Home’. For details ring 0845 337 2463. Other insurance companies can also provide cover for you.

What if I have been a victim of vandalism

If a window has been broken or you have been a victim of some other act of vandalism we will need a crime reference number (URN) from the police. You will need to report damage to the police even if they do not intend to investigate the crime. The police will only issue a crime reference number to the victim of the crime (you).

We can provide more information about:

  • rechargeable repairs
  • handy person service
  • internal decoration scheme.

Laminate flooring

If you have laminate flooring in your home, it must be laid to a professional standard and include the appropriate sound proofing / underlay. You must ask our permission before laying laminate flooring.

If you live in a block of flats and complaints are upheld regarding unacceptable noise nuisance due to the laminate flooring, you may be asked to remove it at your own cost.

How can Thrive Homes help people with disabilities?

If you or a member of your family develop any disabilities while living in one of our homes, we may be able to help make it easier for you to live there.

If you think you need help please contact the Community Services team at Thrive Homes.

How do I get home adaptions fitted?

If you or a member of your family develop any disabilities while living in one of our homes, we may be able to help make it easier for you to live there.

If you think you need help please contact the Community Services team at Thrive Homes.

Switching home energy supplier

Changing your energy supplier can save you money. It’s always worth checking your energy bills are competitively priced – for peace of mind or saving £££.

My Home Energy Switch is an energy supply service from the National Housing Federation to help tenants reduce their energy bills.

This service is completely free and impartial and on average customers save £116.35 on their energy bills.

How does it work?

Simply call freephone 0800 0014 706 or go to www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk with your postcode and a current energy bill. The My Home Energy Switch team will do the rest.

Insurance (5)

Home contents insurance

We insure our buildings and any fixtures and fittings that we provide, for example, central heating systems.

We cannot provide insurance for your belongings. We recommend tenants get their own home contents insurance which should cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

The National Housing Federation offers a special affordable insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders called ‘My Home’. For details ring 0845 337 2463. Other insurance companies can also provide cover for you.

Who insures the building that I live in?

The building you live in is owned by Thrive Homes so we are responsible for insuring it. Building insurance covers the structure and common parts of the block. This ensures that leaseholders are covered in the event of a claim relating to building structure. We will take out the insurance policy, and charge you for your share of it. This charge will be shown on your annual statement of accounts. Your policy cover will run for 12 months and is renewable by us annually.

What does the buildings insurance cover?

The Building Insurance covers the communal elements of the building which are the landlord’s responsibility to maintain. These include the structure, the exterior and the services and installations of the block. The ‘fixtures and fittings’ within your property are also covered by the Building Insurance. These can be explained as ‘anything you would not be able to remove and take with you, were you to move’. Examples of these are:

  • the plaster on the walls and ceilings in your flat
  • floorboards
  • window glass
  • doors
  • bathroom and kitchen fittings
  • decorations

The cover generally applies to alterations and improvements provided that you have received written permission to carry them out. The insurance includes damage caused by the actions of another lessee or tenant. This only applies to damage caused to the structure of the building, or other elements covered by the Building Insurance
(i.e. fixtures and fittings)

The policy does not cover every situation. These include faults caused by mechanical breakdown, hidden defects or wear and tear which are all treated as normal repairs.

How can I make a claim?

If you suffer damage and you want to make a claim, you should contact the Home Ownership Officer for contact details of the current insurer or refer to www.thrivehomes.org.uk

What about contents insurance?

Your building insurance does not cover the contents of your flat (such as your furniture and personal belongings). You should arrange your own home contents insurance, which will cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

We strongly advise you to take out contents insurance and recommend that you get individual advice from an independent insurance company.

Living in your home and neighbourhood (14)

What can I do about ASB?

What can I do about ASB?Ask yourself if your neighbour just has a different lifestyle. Their behaviour may not be unreasonable. If you feel comfortable, you should talk to your neighbour directly. This often settles problems at an early stage.

You can report the behaviour by contacting your Estate Officer at Thrive Homes. We will agree with you the action that can be taken. This may include things that you need to do, for example, taking part in mediation, keeping a nuisance diary or being able to act as a witness in any legal action required.

Harassment

Thrive Homes will not allow harassment and will take the strongest action against anyone proven to be causing it.

We define harassment as “the deliberate interference with the peace, comfort or safety of any person on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, ethic origin or any other identified factor”.

Actions that might be defined as harassment include:

  • verbal abuse
  • threatening or intimidating behaviour
  • arson or attempted arson
  • graffiti
  • damage to property
  • physical abuse or mental abuse or assault.

Your Tenancy Agreement forbids harassment in any form. This also includes the actions of anyone living in your property or anyone visiting your home.

We will take action where necessary. We will seek to end your tenancy if you, your friends or family cause harassment.

If you are feel you are being harassed please call Thrive Homes immediately. In serious cases the incident should be reported to the Police, please keep a note of the URN (Unique Reference Number) given to the report by the Police.

Nuisance

Nuisance covers many types of behaviour that can disturb your enjoyment of your home. This may include excessive noise, a problem with pets and accumulating rubbish.

Your Tenancy Agreement states that you, members of your household and visitors must not do anything likely to cause nuisance to other people in the area.

If you are experiencing nuisance, please call your Estate Officer.

Domestic violence

The term domestic violence refers to abuse suffered in a home environment.

It can include:

  • threat of physical violence
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • excessive financial controls
  • social isolation
  • any behaviour that feels like bullying.

The law allows us to end the tenancy of a person who has used or threatened violence which has made his or her partner leave home.

If you are experiencing any form of domestic violence, please ask for help:

  • try to involve the police
  • contact the Citizens Advice Bureau
  • talk to your Estate Officer in private.

We are here to help. Do not suffer in silence.

You can also contact the Hertfordshire domestic violence helpline in confidence on 08088 088088.

Home contents insurance

We insure our buildings and any fixtures and fittings that we provide, for example, central heating systems.

We cannot provide insurance for your belongings. We recommend tenants get their own home contents insurance which should cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

The National Housing Federation offers a special affordable insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders called ‘My Home’. For details ring 0845 337 2463. Other insurance companies can also provide cover for you.

What is anti-social behaviour

We are committed to dealing with all aspects of anti-social behaviour so that we can improve the quality of life for our customers and create safer environments for everyone to live in. We aim to work with residents and other organisations to make sure that the right action is taken at the right time.

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of actions, from minor disputes between neighbours to severe nuisance, harassment and domestic violence. Activities that are considered anti-social include:

  • illegal and immoral behaviour – alcohol related, drug dealing and misuse, prostitution, kerb crawling, sexual harassment
  • nuisance graffiti, litter, noise nuisance, messy gardens, car problems
  • violence or harassment – assault, domestic violence or abuse, harassment on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability
  • youth nuisance – abuse, gangs, noise, criminal damage.

Your Tenancy Agreement is a contract between Thrive Homes and you. It grants rights and responsibilities on both sides. You have the right to live peacefully in your home but you also have a responsibility to ensure that you, your family and any visitors to your home do not cause nuisance or harassment.

What action is taken against anti-social behavoiur

There is a range of actions that can be taken if someone has committed anti-social behaviour:

  • verbal & written warnings
  • acceptable behaviour contracts [ABCs]
  • anti-social behaviour orders [ASBOs]
  • injunctions
  • harassment notices
  • parenting orders
  • eviction

ASB complaint – What can I expect from Thrive Homes

We will offer support and advice to try to resolve your anti- social behaviour complaint. This will include:

  • allocating a named officer to manage your case
  • assessing all cases within one working day
  • arranging a visit (if needed) with you within one week for general cases and 24 hours for serious cases of harassment or violence
  • giving you diary sheets to record what is happening and how it is affecting you and your family
  • interviewing all those involved (where they are known)
  • giving you regular feedback on the progress of the complaint
  • advising you about your rights and responsibilities
  • carrying out regular reviews
  • removing racist or offensive graffiti within 24 hours (not including out of hours).

Pets

You may keep a pet or pets in your home provided they do not cause a noise or nuisance to other residents but you do need to let us know before you do. If you live in sheltered accommodation you will generally be allowed to keep a pet but this will be at the discretion of the Customer Relations Team and will depend on the type of accommodation you occupy. Thrive Homes recognises the benefits of assistance dogs for people with a disability.

If you are planning to keep a pet, please get in touch with our customer service team in advance, on 0800 917 6077 or email enquiries@thrivehomes.org.uk for permission.

Pests, vermin and infestations

Infestations of pets like ants, wasps, mice or even squirrels, can be a common problem and one that most households have to deal with at some time. If you have a pest problem, you should contact the Environmental Health department of Three Rivers District Council. They will be able to put you in touch with a pest control expert who can deal with the problem properly. You will usually have to pay for this service.

We will repair any structural damage caused by pests and vermin or do the work needed to stop pests getting in to your home. For example, if mice get into your home through gaps in walls we will block these up. However, we cannot repair the damage until the pest control expert has dealt with the infestation.

Rubbish and waste disposal

Please dispose of your rubbish properly. Only put bins and bin bags in designated areas, for example, the bin cupboard or sheds. Only put rubbish out on collection days. Furniture, doors and cupboards will not be collected by the refuse collectors.

Contact Three Rivers District Council if you need to get rid of white goods like a washing machine or fridge freezer. They will tell you what you need to do to get these items taken away. There maybe a charge for this, but if you receive income support or other benefits you may get it collected free.

Fly tipping

Fly tipping is the deliberate dumping of rubbish in an unauthorised place.

Fly tipping costs Thrive Homes a lot of money each year to remove. We will take action against anyone known to have carried out fly tipping. If you see anyone fly tipping please inform your Estate Officer immediately. Please tell us the vehicle registration of the person doing the fly tipping or their name or address if you can and we will do the rest.

Parking

Car parking is often restricted. On most estates, parking is not allocated unless your home has its own driveway. You have no guarantee of a parking space unless one is specified in your Tenancy Agreement. Please ask your Neighbourhood Officer about parking arrangements in your area if you are unsure.

Please do not park commercial and heavy trade vehicles, caravans or boats on the estate or sheltered housing scheme, either in a parking area, front garden or on the road.

You may only carry out minor repairs to a vehicle while it is parked on our property. We will remove vehicles that appear abandoned, unroadworthy or unsafe.

In extreme cases where parked or abandoned cars cause nuisance, we will work with authorities and the police or take our own legal action against the person or people responsible. This could lead to the person responsible losing their car or even their home.

When is my next Neighbourhood Inspection?

Tuesday 11th November
9am – 11am
Where: Mill End
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 12th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885

Thursday 13th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Abbots, Garston, Bedmond & Kings Langley
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 18th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Maple Cross
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 19th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 20th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 25th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Chorleywood
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 26th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

TThursday 27th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Oxhey Hall & Carpenders Park
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 2nd December
9am – 1pm
Where: Sarratt & Rickmansworth
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 3rd December
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 4th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Croxley Green & Watford
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 9th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Mill End
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 10th December
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 11th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Abbots, Garston, Bedmond & Kings Langley
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Your Rent (8)

How do I pay my rent?

It is important that you keep to your tenancy agreement and make regular payments to Thrive Homes in advance covering your rent and service charges. Failing to pay puts your home at risk and may prevent you accessing some services we provide. Contact us on freephone 0800 917 6077 immediately if you are unable to pay for any reason.

There are many ways to pay your rent. Choose which method suits you best:

By direct debit set up monthly or weekly through your bank or building society. We can give you more details and help you set up this easy payment method by phone.

Online by debit card, by clicking here 24 hours a day.

By standing order which can be set up through your bank to pay weekly or monthly in advance. Thrive Homes’ bank is Barclays plc account number: 93851257 sort code: 20 00 00

By telephone using a credit or debit card. Ring Thrive Homes on 0800 917 6077 (Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.30pm).

At any PayPoint outlet displaying the PayPoint sign. A variety of shops and garages will process your payment. Some are open 24 hours a day and you may pay at outlets across the UK. Click here to find you nearest PayPoint.

At the Post Office. This may include a charge and may take up to 10 working days to show on your account.

By housing benefit direct payment which can be paid directly to us.

How is my rent set?

The government and its regulatory organisation for housing set guidelines and limits for housing association rents. We review your rent every year to make sure we are meeting these requirements. We have to ensure that your rent is enough to cover our cost, but we aim to make sure our rents are affordable for people on low incomes.

When we review your rent charges every year, you will receive a letter confirming the new rent and service charges at least 28 days before the changes are made.

Service charge

This is a charge for services or facilities for your home or scheme. If you are a new tenant, your Tenancy Agreement will state how much service charge you need to pay. You should pay your service charges with your rent. We review your service charge every year and we will notify you in the same way as we do for the changes to your rent. The service charge covers several things, including:

  • gardening and grass cutting in communal areas
  • cleaning of communal areas, staircases and communal windows
  • lighting communal areas
  • maintaining door entry systems
  • maintaining communal lifts
  • Lifeline
  • litter picking.

If you are receiving income support or other benefits, your service charge will be covered by the housing benefit you receive (if you receive the full amount) except water charges (see below).

Water charges

If you have a water meter connected to your home your water company will charge you directly based on your water usage and issue you a bill which you are responsible for paying.

If you do not have a water meter connected to your home, we will collect the water charges from you on behalf of the water company.

When paying your rent you must pay your water charges at the same time as your service charge.

Even if you receive full housing benefit, your water charges are not covered and you must pay your water charges weekly to us. If you do not pay this amount we will take action against you and you could lose your home.

Housing benefit

Housing benefit is money available to people on a low income to help pay their rent. It can be either paid to you or directly to us, your landlord. At the maximum level it will cover all of your rent and some or all of your service charges. The higher your income the less you will receive.

Whether you are entitled to housing benefit or not will depend on your income, the size of your family and how much rent you pay.

Whether you are entitled to housing benefit or not will depend on your income, the size of your family and how much rent you pay.

You are always responsible for making sure that rent is paid in full. Even if you are entitled to housing benefit that covers the whole of your rent and service charge, you are still responsible for making sure that the rent is paid.

If your circumstances change or your rent goes up you may qualify for housing benefit even if you have not been entitled in the past.

Housing benefit is paid to Thrive Homes by Three Rivers District Council four weekly in arrears.

How do I claim housing benefit?

Ask Three Rivers District Council (telephone: 01923 776611) for an application form for housing benefit. There are housing benefit surgeries held regularly in South Oxhey, Rickmansworth and Abbots Langley where you can get advice and help with making a claim.

You will need to provide Three Rivers District Council with evidence of your income, for example bank statements, wage slips or letters confirming your entitlement to certain benefits like Jobseekers allowance and/or income support. Ask the council what other information they need. It will hold up your application if you do not provide the evidence they need quickly.

Speak to us as soon as possible so we are aware of any problems that might occur. We can help by estimating how much benefit you will receive. You can then pay an amount to cover the rent you will owe.

Please make sure you read the letters that the council send you about your claim. These are very important and a quick response to any questions they may have usually means your claim is assessed more quickly.

Remember: you are responsible for paying the rent as long as you are the tenant. Please contact Thrive Homes if your benefit is reduced or is stopped unexpectedly, or your circumstances change.

What if I have problems paying my rent?

If you are finding it difficult to pay your rent or you fall behind with payments, please contact us immediately on freephone 0800 917 6077.

We will be able to give help and advice about benefits or put you in touch with someone who can give you advice on more complex problems. It may be possible to come to an arrangement to pay off your arrears in instalments.

What happens if I don’t pay my rent

If you do not contact us or your arrears continue to grow, we will start legal action. When this happens we will serve you with a “Notice of Seeking Possession”. This is a legal notice warning that we will start court proceedings if an agreement or payment is not made. At this point you have the chance to take action to clear your arrears, if no action is taken we will then continue with legal action through the County Court.

If this happens you will receive a summons from the County Court informing you of the date of the hearing. Before the court hearing we will try to meet you to agree a way for you to repay the arrears. At the hearing the Judge can order you to pay the arrears (at once or by instalments) or grant us possession of your home. We will also ask the Judge to grant us “costs”. This means that you would have to pay the costs of the court hearing as well as the rent arrears.

Breaking the court order would ultimately mean you being evicted from your home.

Losing your home is a very serious matter. We do not seek eviction lightly, but we must be fair to all our tenants by making sure that everyone contributes towards the cost for our services.

 

Your Tenancy (9)

What is my tenancy?

Your Tenancy Agreement is the legal document that sets out the details of the agreement between you (the tenant) and us (the landlord). It includes:

  • services you can expect from us
  • your rights as a tenant
  • your responsibilities
  • our responsibilities to you.

It is a very important document so make sure you keep it in a safe and secure place. If you have any questions about your Tenancy Agreement, please contact your Estate Officer.

What different types of tenancies are available?

We offer different types of tenancies:

  • Starter Tenancy (Assured Shorthold)
  • Assured Tenancy at Transfer (protected rights for tenants who had a secure tenancy prior to the transfer to Thrive Homes)
  • Assured Tenancy
  • Contractual Tenancy
  • Demoted Tenancy
  • Special Needs Tenancy (where floating support is provided by Hightown Praetorian Housing Association).

If you are a tenant under one of these categories you need to look at your Tenancy Agreement in detail to be aware of any extra responsibilities or restrictions contained within them.

What is a joint tenancy?

If more than one person has signed the Tenancy Agreement, this is called a joint tenancy. Joint tenants have equal rights over the tenancy and equal responsibilities.

For example, joint tenants are both responsible for paying the rent and any arrears. If one tenant fails to pay the rent and then moves out, the other is still responsible for the arrears. Any debt recovery action, such as a county court order, can still be taken against both tenants.

You will need to contact your Estate Officer if you would like get a joint tenancy. We will need written consent from you and your partner. You will also need to prove you have been living together for 12 months or provide a Marriage Certificate.

We will not refuse permission unreasonably, however a new tenancy will not be given if there are rent arrears or a court order. Children will not be added to a tenancy.

You can change a joint tenancy back into one name only. This can be done if the other person voluntarily gives up their right to the tenancy. This can be done by letter. The tenancy can also be changed by a court order (which can be done as part of a divorce), or following the death of the other tenant (in this case a copy of the death certificate will be required).

If one joint tenant moves out, the tenancy will still be in their name.They will have the right to live there and will still be jointly responsible for it (including the rent) until their name is taken off the tenancy or the tenancy ends.

What are my rights regarding security?

If you live in the property as your main home, keep to the conditions of your specific Tenancy Agreement and pay your rent, you can keep the tenancy for as long as you like.

If you do not keep to the terms of your Tenancy Agreement or you live in another property, we have to follow legal steps before we can end your tenancy. Firstly, we must serve a “notice of seeking possession”. This will state why we want possession of your home and will give a date when we can start court action. The reasons for taking away your home include:

  • not paying rent
  • breaking a condition of your Tenancy Agreement
  • causing nuisance or annoyance to people in the area
  • harassing other people, including our staff or contractors
  • using the property for illegal or immoral purposes
  • giving false information to get your tenancy in the first place

Sometimes you may need to move out so that we can carry out major repairs to the property. We will endeavour to help you as much as we can during this time. If your home is especially designed for someone who has a disability but they no longer live there, we may ask you to move, in this case we will offer you another home to live in. If you refuse to move, we will ask a court to decide whether it is reasonable for us to make you do so.

What are my rights regarding lodgers and sub-letting?

You must get Thrive Homes’ consent before sub-letting a part of your home or taking in a lodger. Please ask your Estate Officer for written consent. We will not refuse consent unless we have a good reason.

We need to know about any change in the circumstances of your household so we can keep our records up to date. Your housing benefit may well be reduced by having a lodger living at the property which will mean that you will have to pay more rent for your home.

You will be held responsible for any nuisance or anti-social behaviour that your lodger or sub-tenant causes. If your tenancy ends and you leave the property you must make sure your lodger or sub-tenant leaves too. We will not be responsible for rehousing your lodger or sub-tenant.

No tenant may sub-let the whole of his or her home.

Can I giving my tenancy to someone else?

You may not give your tenancy to someone else unless:

  • there is an order from a court following a divorce or separation proceedings, or
  • we approve a move by way of a mutual exchange or swap

It is illegal to sell your tenancy to anyone else.

What happens to my tenancy when I die?

If there is a joint tenancy then the remaining tenant will retain their existing rights. The remaining tenant is responsible for paying all the rent for the property.

Alternatively, another member of your family may have the right to take over the tenancy. This is called succession. Usually your husband, wife or partner will take over the tenancy provided they were living with you at the time of your death. If not, another close relative is usually entitled as long as:

  • he/she was living with you in the 12 months before your death
  • the house or flat is his/her main home
  • the claim to take over the tenancy is made in writing, within one month of your death
  • you did not succeed to the tenancy yourself (except in the case of tenants who transferred from Three Rivers District Council to Thrive Homes where you have been given protected rights, so even if a succession took place before the transfer, this right started again upon the signing of a new Assured at Transfer Tenancy Agreement).

We may need to consider whether the property still meets the needs of your family and in some cases move you to a property more suitable to your needs. Succession is to the tenancy and not the property.

Sometimes more than one family member will want to succeed to the same tenancy. If this happens we will ask you to agree between yourselves who gets the tenancy. If you cannot agree we will make the decision for you.

For more information telephone Thrive Homes on freephone 0800 917 6077.

Do I have any other rights?

These are explained in other parts of the questions database:

  • Right to exchange
  • Right to carry out improvements
  • Right to repair.

What are my responsibilities?

You will only keep your tenancy if you live in the property as your main home.

If we find that you have abandoned or moved out of the property, we will take steps to end your tenancy and let the property to someone else.

Sometimes you may need to leave your home for a while, for example to go in to hospital or holiday for more than six weeks. You should always let us know:

  • where you will be
  • how long you will be away
  • who will be looking after your home and their contact details
  • how your rent will be paid.

When you want to move (4)

Can I sub-lett my leasehold?

A sub-tenant is someone who rents your flat/maisonette when you are not living there.

Lodgers and sub-tenants do not have the same rights as you. So if your mortgage lender or landlord repossessed your flat, they could be evicted.

You must advise Thrive Homes when you sub-let your home. You must also provide Thrive Homes with a contact address in England or Wales.

As the leaseholder you will be responsible for any breaches of the lease including nuisance or anti-social behaviour by your sub tenant. You will also still be responsible for paying the service charges,
Please also refer to Section 8: Health and Safety.

If I received a discount through my Right to Buy or Right to Acquire application will I have to pay it back?

You will have to repay some or all of the discount if you resell within the first five years of owning the leasehold interest.

If you sell within Discount to repay
1st year 100%
2nd year 80%
3rd year 60%
4th year 40%
5th year 20%
After 5th year 0%

You do not have to pay the discount if you are re-mortgaging the flat. If you have become the owner either through an inheritance or divorce settlement, this is termed an ‘exempt disposal’.

Can I sell my home?

You have the right to sell your lease at any time, give it away or leave it to someone in your will. However, the lease requires you to enter into a deed of assignment within 21 days of the change of ownership. Until we are notified, demands for service charges and ground rent will still be sent to you after the sale. You may also be required to repay the discount you received at the time of purchase.

What is a home information pack?

When you sell your flat you will be required to provide a home information pack (HIP) to any prospective buyer. We can provide the required leasehold documents for your HIP. The information we provide may be charged for. Please contact the Home Ownership Officer for more information.

Repairs and maintenance (10)

Who’s responsible for the repairs and maintenance on my home?

As a leaseholder you are responsible for the cost of all repairs to your home. As the landlord, we are responsible for the structure and exterior of the building and all common areas. However, under the terms of the lease you must contribute to the cost of such repair work.

Whate are my responsibilities?

You are responsible for:

  • anything inside your flat/maisonette
  • replacing door locks and keys to the communal door
  • maintaining your garden if you have an allocated garden
  • repairing anything damaged through misuse, wilful damage or neglect by you, your family or visitors.

Leaseholders have to pay for day-to-day communal repairs and you will be billed for your proportion of the costs as part of your service charge. You will not usually be consulted before we carry out day-to-day works unless the cost of the work exceeds a certain limit.

What are Thrive’s responsibilities

Our maintenance responsibilities include:

  • the outside structure of the building, for example, drains and gutters, roof tiles, brickwork, garden walls, fences, external doors and door frames and rendering work
  • communal or shared areas, for example communal gardens, corridors, stairways and rubbish bin areas.

Who maintains mommunal areas to flat blocks?

Communal areas must be kept clear and free from any personal possessions at all times. Personal items must be kept within the flat or stored in a shed if provided.

How do I report a repair?

If you need to report a repair you can contact Thrive Homes during office hours on 0800 917 6077.

  • your name
  • address
  • a daytime phone number where we, or our contractors, can reach you.

Please be ready to give as much information as possible about the problem. For example:

  • what is wrong?
  • where is the problem?
  • when did the problem start?
  • have you reported it before and if so, when?

If you have an emergency repair to report outside office hours, please call freephone 0800 917 6077. An emergency is defined as being a problem putting a person or the property at risk. Callers not reporting an emergency will be asked to contact Thrive Homes during opening hours. If you make an emergency repair request asking for a contractor to attend and you are not at home when they visit, or if upon attendance the repair is not an emergency, then the cost of the call out will be recharged to you.

If a window has been broken or you have been a victim of some other act of vandalism we will need a crime reference number (URN) from the police. You will need to report damage to the police even if they do not intend to investigate the crime. The police will only issue a crime reference number to the victim of the crime (you).

What about emergency repairs?

Emergencies are problems that immediately put your safety, security or health at risk. These risks could also affect your family, your visitors or anyone else in your home.
In these circumstances a contractor will attend your home within 24 hours to ensure you and your home are safe. Some repairs may take longer to complete, for example, a communal area broken window will be boarded up to make it secure but new glass may have to be ordered, so reglazing would be done later.

Gas leaks must be reported immediately to Transco Emergency (Telephone: 0800 111 999).

For full details and the criteria for out of hours calls, please refer to the our customer information leaflet.

Laminate flooring

If you have laminate flooring in your home, it must be laid to a professional standard and include the appropriate sound proofing / underlay. You must ask our permission before laying laminate flooring.

If you live in a block of flats and complaints are upheld regarding unacceptable noise nuisance due to the laminate flooring, you may be asked to remove it at your own cost.

Can I make home improvements?

Before you make improvements to your home, you need to get written permission from Thrive Homes. We will not withhold permission unreasonably. We have to make sure that any work on our property is done by professional people and to a decent standard. If you would like to carry out any improvements to your property you must write to us detailing the work and including a sketch. There is a charge for giving permission and you should check with the Home Ownership Officer for the current fees.

How to deal with condensation

In most cases, mould growth on walls and other surfaces within a building is a result of condensation. Condensation occurs when warm moist air hits a cold surface and water droplets are produced, which in turn can lead to mould. The following points will help you prevent condensation:

  • open windows when you can
  • open windows particularly when using the kitchen and bathroom
  • do not put furniture directly against the wall as this stops air from circulating around the room
  • do not dry clothes on the radiators
  • cover pans when cooking
  • ventilate your tumble dryer – tumble dryers must have a proper vent fitted through the wall.

Who’s Responsible for what?

Who’s Responsible for what? Leaseholder Thrive Homes
Aerials, cables, television masts No Yes
Cables No Yes
Ceiling of flat/maisonette Yes No
Central heating apparatus No Yes
Cisterns No Yes
Communal gardens No Yes
Conduits No Yes
Courtyards No Yes
Door frame Yes No
Doors (not communal) Yes No
Drains No Yes
Ducts No Yes
External walls No Yes
Fences – dependent on property
Fixtures/fittings Yes No
Forecourt No Yes
Foundations No Yes
Glass in windows Yes No
Gutters, soffits, fascias No Yes
Halls No Yes
Interior faces of walls dividing flats Yes No
Interior plaster Yes No
Internal walls Yes No
Joists and beams attached to ceilings or floors No Yes
Landings No Yes
Pipes (external) No Yes
Pipes (internal) Yes No
Roof No Yes
Roof supports No Yes
Sanitary apparatus Yes No
Sewers No Yes
Stairs No Yes
Structural part of balcony No Yes
Surface of floor of balcony Yes No
Surface of non-communal floors Yes No
Tanks No Yes
Wall dividing flats No Yes
Walls No Yes
Window fittings (handles) Yes No
Window frames No Yes
Window hinges No Yes
Wires No Yes

Health, safety and security (11)

What do I do if there is a fire?

If there is a fire in a room in your home:

  • don’t try to put the fire out unless you are sure you can do so quickly and safely
  • leave the room straight away and close the door
  • tell everyone who is at home and make sure they leave the property, closing all doors behind them. This will slow down the spread of the fire and reduce the spread of smoke. Smoke is the main danger in most fires.
  • Call the Fire Brigade straight away. Dial 999, give the phone number you are calling from and ask for the Fire Brigade. Give your name and address and say where the fire is. Wait until the Fire Brigade has repeated the address.

If you live in a flat or maisonette and the fire is somewhere else in the building you will normally be safe if you stay in your flat. You should close doors and windows to keep out the smoke. If smoke does get in, leave at once closing the door behind you. If you see signs of a fire in another flat, or the communal areas, please call the Fire Brigade immediately.

Fire Safety Update – June 2017

Escape routes – keep them clear

Escape routes must be kept clear at all times. Escape doors must not be secured with unauthorised padlocks or chains. Please do not wedge open spring-loaded, self- closing doors. These doors have been fitted in some key positions in our buildings and are fire resistant where applicable. When closed they stop fire and smoke from spreading. For this reason they must be kept closed at all times. Do not disconnect or remove the self-closing mechanism fitted to doors and frames. If you find any self- closing doors that are not working properly, please report them to your Neighbourhood Officer. Before you go to bed, and every time you go out, close as many doors in your home as you can. This will help stop a fire spreading if one starts.

Fire Doors

The door to your property is your responsibility. In order to comply with the Fire Regulatory Order 2005, any door that opens onto the communal hallway must be a FD30S fire resisting door to provide 30 minutes integrity from fire and be capable of limiting the passage of smoke.

Can I get help fitting smoke alarms?

If you are 60 years of age or older, or are registered disabled, you may get help towards having a smoke alarm fitted. Contact West Herts Against Crime on 01923 801138.

Can I use my paraffin heater?

hese are especially dangerous and Thrive Homes advises that it is best not to use them at all. If you must use a paraffin heater, make sure it conforms to the recommendations of British Safety Regulation BS 3300 and that it carries the
BSI kite-mark.

Gas leaks

If you think there is a gas leak turn off the supply at the meter and call Transco as soon as possible on 0800 111 999.

Do not

  • use matches or naked flames
  • touch electrical switches, including lights and doorbells.

Do

  • put out cigarettes
  • open all doors and windows and keep them open until the leak has been
    dealt with
  • check if a gas tap has been left on accidentally or if a pilot light has gone out.

Gas servicing

As you own the gas appliances in your home, it is up to you to make sure they are safe. Aside from the health and safety implications, failure to adequately maintain your gas appliance can adversely affect your household insurance cover. It is therefore very important that you arrange for this check to be done.

Subletting your home – important gas safety implications

If you sub-let your home, you are responsible for the landlord’s duties arising under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. This means that you are legally responsible for making sure your gas appliances and pipework are safe and well maintained. You must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered gas engineer and ensure that your sub-tenant is given a copy of the annual gas safety check record (CP12). You must also ensure that your sub-tenant receives a copy of the CP12 before they move in for the first time. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to criminal prosecution, resulting in a large fine or possibly even imprisonment.

For more information on the Gas Safety Regulations you can contact the Health and Safety Executive’s Information Hotline on 08701 545500 and ask for their free leaflets on gas safety and the responsibilities of landlords. These are also available in a number of community languages. Alternatively, you can find helpful information about gas safety by visiting the Health and Safety Executive’s website: www.hse.gov.uk/gas

Water

Make sure you know where the stopcock is to turn off the main water supply. If your water supply is cut off for any reason, make sure that all taps are turned off and plugs removed from all sinks and baths to prevent flooding when the water comes back on.

If you get a burst pipe:

  • turn off the water supply
  • turn off the electricity at the mains
  • catch as much water as possible with buckets, pans or cloths.

If the pipe concerned is our responsibility, report the problem to us. If it is outside office hours, contact the Emergency helpline on 07900 162152. If the pipe is your responsibility, you will have to call in a plumber. If you are unable to make your own arrangements you may call the Emergency helpline, but you will be charged for any works.

Electrical Safety

It is important to have an electrical safety check carried out once every five years.
Not only does this help keep your safety, it also means that your home is less likely to catch fire. Under new Building Regulations (part P) all electrical alterations in your home must be done by a suitable and competent person who will give you a certificate to say that the work has been tested.

To reduce the risk of fire from faulty electrical appliances and installations, please make sure you:

  • Switch off all electrical appliances that are not in use (this will also save you money!)
  • Turn off and disconnect televisions at night
  • Make sure plugs are wired correctly and check regularly for damaged or loose cables
  • Do not overload sockets when using adapter plugs and do not wire more than one appliance into each plug
  • Do not run cables under carpets or rugs as this can cause over-heating or fires
  • Avoid using extension cables
  • Never touch switches with damp or wet hands and never take electrical appliances into the bathroom
  • Ensure all electrical appliances are regularly checked by a qualified electrician and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Use low voltage systems for garden lighting and use a circuit breaker when using power tools or appliances such as a lawn mower.

Switching home energy supplier

Changing your energy supplier can save you money. It’s always worth checking your energy bills are competitively priced – for peace of mind or saving £££.

My Home Energy Switch is an energy supply service from the National Housing Federation to help tenants reduce their energy bills.

This service is completely free and impartial and on average customers save £116.35 on their energy bills.

How does it work?

Simply call freephone 0800 0014 706 or go to www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk with your postcode and a current energy bill. The My Home Energy Switch team will do the rest.

Living in your home and neighbourhood (12)

Nuisance

Nuisance covers many types of behaviour that can disturb your enjoyment of your home. This may include excessive noise, a problem with pets and accumulating rubbish.

Your Lease states that you, members of your household and visitors must not do anything which is likely to cause nuisance to other people in the area.

If you are experiencing nuisance, please contact the Home Ownership Officer.

Anti-social behaviour

Under your leasehold agreement, you are responsible for making sure that you, people living in your home, visitors and pets do not cause:

  • a nuisance to neighbours, or
  • any kind of harassment that interferes with their peace and comfort or which
    offends them.

Problems of this kind are called anti-social behaviour.

We are committed to dealing with all aspects of anti-social behaviour so that we can improve the quality of life for our customers and create safer environments for everyone to live in. We aim to work with residents and other organisations to make sure that the right action is taken at the right time.

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of actions, from minor disputes between neighbours to severe nuisance, harassment and domestic violence. Examples include:

  • illegal and immoral behaviour – alcohol related, drug dealing and misuse, prostitution, kerb crawling, sexual harassment
  • nuisance graffiti, litter, noise nuisance, messy gardens, car problems
  • violence or harassment – assault, domestic violence or abuse, harassment on
    grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability
  • youth nuisance – abuse, gangs, noise, criminal damage.

A customer information leaflet outlining our policies and procedures is available from Thrive Homes or www.thrivehomes.org.uk

What action can be taken against someone committing ASB?

There is a range of actions that can be taken if someone has committed anti-social behaviour:

  • verbal & written warnings
  • acceptable behaviour contracts [ABCs]
  • anti-social behaviour orders [ASBOs]
  • injunctions
  • harassment notices
  • parenting orders
  • eviction

Harassment

Thrive Homes will not allow harassment and will take the strongest action against anyone proven to be causing it.

We define harassment as “the deliberate interference with the peace, comfort or safety of any person on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, ethic origin or any other identified factor”.

Actions that might be defined as harassment include:

  • verbal abuse
  • threatening or intimidating behaviour
  • arson or attempted arson
  • graffiti
  • damage to property
  • physical abuse or mental abuse or assault.

Your lease forbids harassment in any form. This also includes the actions of anyone living in your property or anyone visiting your home.

We will take action where necessary. We will seek to take action against you under the terms of your lease if you, your friends or family cause harassment.

If you feel you are being harassed please call the Police on 999 or on their non-emergency 0845 3300 222 number. Please keep a note of the URN (Unique Reference Number) allocated to the report by the Police. Please also inform the Home Ownership Officer at Thrive Homes on 0800 917 6077.

What should I do if I experience anti-social behaviour?

Ask yourself if your neighbour just has a different lifestyle. Their behaviour may not be unreasonable. If you feel comfortable, you should talk to your neighbour directly. This often settles problems at an early stage.

You can report the behaviour by contacting Thrive Homes. If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour from a tenant, please report this to your Neighbourhood Officer. If the perpetrator is another leaseholder, please notify the Home Ownership Officer. We will agree with you the action that can be taken. This may include things that you need to do, for example, taking part in mediation, keeping a nuisance diary or being able to act as a witness in any legal action required.

Can I keep pets?

You may keep a pet or pets in your home provided they do not cause a noise or nuisance to other residents. Thrive Homes recognises the benefits of assistance dogs for people with a disability.

Pests, vermin and infestations

Infestations of pets like ants, wasps, mice or squirrels can be a common problem and one that most households have to deal with at some time. If you have a pest problem, you should contact the Environmental Health department of Three Rivers District Council. They will be able to put you in touch with a pest control expert who can deal with the problem properly. You will usually have to pay for this service.

We will repair any structural damage caused by pests and vermin or do the work needed to stop pests getting in to your home. For example, if mice get into your home through gaps in walls we will block these up. However, we cannot repair the damage until the pest control expert has dealt with the infestation.

Rubbish and waste disposal

Please dispose of your rubbish properly. Only put bins and bin bags in designated areas, for example, the bin cupboard or sheds. Only put rubbish out on collection days. Furniture, doors and cupboards will not be collected by the refuse collectors.

Contact Three Rivers District Council if you need to dispose of white goods like a washing machine or fridge freezer. They will tell you what you need to do to get these items taken away. There may be a small charge for this, but if you receive income support or other benefits you may get it collected for free.

Fly tipping

Fly tipping is the deliberate dumping of rubbish in an unauthorised place. The costs for removing fly tipped rubbish is recharged within the service charges. We will take action against anyone known to have carried out fly tipping. If you see anyone fly tipping please inform your Neighbourhood Officer immediately. Please tell us the vehicle registration of the person or their name or address if you can and we will do the rest.

Parking

Car parking is often restricted. On most estates, parking is not allocated unless your home has its own driveway. You have no guarantee of a parking space unless one is specified in your lease. Please ask your Neighbourhood Officer about parking arrangements in your area if you are unsure.

Please note your lease does not permit you to park commercial and heavy trade vehicles, caravans or boats on the estate, either in a parking area, front garden or on the road.

You may only carry out minor repairs to a vehicle while it is parked within the estate. We will remove vehicles that appear abandoned, unroadworthy or unsafe.

In extreme cases where parked or abandoned cars cause nuisance, we will work with authorities and the police or take our own legal action against the person or people responsible. This could lead to the person responsible losing their car or even their home.

When is my next Neighbourhood Inspection?

Tuesday 11th November
9am – 11am
Where: Mill End
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 12th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885

Thursday 13th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Abbots, Garston, Bedmond & Kings Langley
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 18th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Maple Cross
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 19th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 20th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 25th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Chorleywood
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 26th November
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

TThursday 27th November
9am – 1pm
Where: Oxhey Hall & Carpenders Park
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 2nd December
9am – 1pm
Where: Sarratt & Rickmansworth
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 3rd December
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 4th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Croxley Green & Watford
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Tuesday 9th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Mill End
Contact: Natalie Clark 01923 693890

Wednesday 10th December
9am – 1pm
Where: South Oxhey
Contact: Keith Gilder 01923 693885/Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

Thursday 11th December
9am – 1pm
Where: Abbots, Garston, Bedmond & Kings Langley
Contact: Adrian Anstee 01923 693891

ASB complaint – What can I expect from Thrive Homes

We will offer support and advice to try to resolve your anti- social behaviour complaint. This will include:

  • allocating a named officer to manage your case
  • assessing all cases within one working day
  • arranging a visit (if needed) with you within one week for general cases and 24 hours for serious cases of harassment or violence
  • giving you diary sheets to record what is happening and how it is affecting you and your family
  • interviewing all those involved (where they are known)
  • giving you regular feedback on the progress of the complaint
  • advising you about your rights and responsibilities
  • carrying out regular reviews
  • removing racist or offensive graffiti within 24 hours (not including out of hours).

Insurance

Home contents insurance

We insure our buildings and any fixtures and fittings that we provide, for example, central heating systems.

We cannot provide insurance for your belongings. We recommend tenants get their own home contents insurance which should cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

The National Housing Federation offers a special affordable insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders called ‘My Home’. For details ring 0845 337 2463. Other insurance companies can also provide cover for you.

Who insures the building that I live in?

The building you live in is owned by Thrive Homes so we are responsible for insuring it. Building insurance covers the structure and common parts of the block. This ensures that leaseholders are covered in the event of a claim relating to building structure. We will take out the insurance policy, and charge you for your share of it. This charge will be shown on your annual statement of accounts. Your policy cover will run for 12 months and is renewable by us annually.

What does the buildings insurance cover?

The Building Insurance covers the communal elements of the building which are the landlord’s responsibility to maintain. These include the structure, the exterior and the services and installations of the block. The ‘fixtures and fittings’ within your property are also covered by the Building Insurance. These can be explained as ‘anything you would not be able to remove and take with you, were you to move’. Examples of these are:

  • the plaster on the walls and ceilings in your flat
  • floorboards
  • window glass
  • doors
  • bathroom and kitchen fittings
  • decorations

The cover generally applies to alterations and improvements provided that you have received written permission to carry them out. The insurance includes damage caused by the actions of another lessee or tenant. This only applies to damage caused to the structure of the building, or other elements covered by the Building Insurance
(i.e. fixtures and fittings)

The policy does not cover every situation. These include faults caused by mechanical breakdown, hidden defects or wear and tear which are all treated as normal repairs.

How can I make a claim?

If you suffer damage and you want to make a claim, you should contact the Home Ownership Officer for contact details of the current insurer or refer to www.thrivehomes.org.uk

What about contents insurance?

Your building insurance does not cover the contents of your flat (such as your furniture and personal belongings). You should arrange your own home contents insurance, which will cover you against:

  • burglaries
  • damages caused to your belongings in a fire or other accident
  • damage caused to other people’s property, for example, if your washing machine floods the flat below.

You can also insure your belongings against accidental damage.

We strongly advise you to take out contents insurance and recommend that you get individual advice from an independent insurance company.