Your Rights as a Tenant
You have an assured tenancy. This provides you with a range of rights; some of which are statutory rights (rights in legislation) others are contractual rights (rights written into the tenancy agreement).
The terms of your tenancy agreement can only be changed with your agreement. The HCA (Homes & Communities Agency expects Registered providers of social housing in England to meet regulatory standards.
Some of the most important rights you may have as an assured tenant are:
- The right to live in your home;
- The right to repair your home;
- The right to information from your landlord;
- The right to be consulted by your landlord;
- The right to be treated fairly;
- The right to take in lodgers;
- The right to pass on your tenancy after your death;
- The right to exchange with another tenant;
- The right to buy or acquire your home.
- The right to live in your home
You have a right to remain as a tenant and live in your home as long as you keep to the conditions set out in the tenancy agreement and live in the property as your only or main home.
As an assured tenant you have ‘security of tenure’. This means that WATMOS can only evict you in specific circumstances and must satisfy a court that this is reasonable.
The main circumstances in which you could be evicted include:
- If you don’t pay your rent or consistently pay it late;
- If you gave a false statement to get your tenancy;
- If you, people living with you or visitors to your home have caused a nuisance to other people or committed an criminal offence near to your home;
- If you, people living with you or visitors to your home have been convicted of using your home for illegal purposes;
- If you, people living with you or visitors to your home have caused serious damage to your home or to other WATMOS property;
- If you have broken other terms listed in your tenancy agreement.
WATMOS and the TMO's would prefer to resolve such matters without the need for eviction and will always try to work with you to sort the problem out before taking court action.
The right to repair
The ‘right to repair’ allows you to claim compensation from us, or to carry out certain repairs to your home. You can reclaim costs if we fail to carry out ‘qualifying repairs’ within the given timescales. Qualifying repairs are urgent small repairs which may affect your health, safety or security.
If you would like to know more about the right to repair please contact the staff at your local TMO office.
The right to make improvements
You have the right to make improvements and alterations to your home but you must always get our permission first. You must also make sure that you get all other necessary approvals (e.g. planning permission and building regulations approval). Permission will always be on condition that the work is done to an acceptable standard. We will only refuse permission where it is reasonable to do so.
You may be able to get compensation for the improvements you make if you end your tenancy. If you have any queries about improvements, please contact the staff at your local TMO office.
The right to information
You have a right to information about what WATMOS and your local TMO are doing and how we are performing. Once a year, we will send you an annual report about these matters. In addition, during the year WATMOS and your local TMO will keep you informed with newsletters and other communications.
The Data Protection Act 2018 gives you the right to make sure that the personal information we hold about you on computer or in certain written records is accurate and up to date. If you would like to view our records containing personal information about you, this request must be made in writing to your local TMO. The TMO will make a small charge for supplying this information.
The right to consultation
You have a right to be consulted on the way that WATMOS and your local TMO manages our homes and provides housing services. WATMOS is a resident-controlled landlord and we are committed to giving you every opportunity to help shape and develop the services we provide.
The local TMO manages your estate and is itself run by tenants. The best way for you to get involved is to attend the TMO Annual General Meeting (the AGM). At the AGM all tenants elect a committee to govern the activities of the TMO for the next year. You may want to put your name forward for election to the TMO committee. Contact your local TMO if you would like to know more about other opportunities to get involved.
WATMOS is governed by a Board on which tenant members are in a majority.
The right to be treated fairly
WATMOS has an equal opportunities policy to ensure that it treats all tenants, leaseholders and housing applicants fairly. However, if we get something wrong, we also have a complaints policy and procedure that you can follow.
The right to take in lodgers or sublet
A lodger is someone who is not your dependent but who lives with you as a member of your household and shares the facilities of your home (e.g. the bathroom and the kitchen). You have a right to take in lodgers as long as this does not result in overcrowding but you must get our written permission first.
If you claim Housing Benefit, taking in a lodger may affect the benefit you get. You must let the Council’s Housing Benefit section know about any changes in your circumstances.
You cannot let your entire home to someone else. You can sublet part of your home with our written permission. We may refuse permission in certain circumstances, for example, if it would cause overcrowding.
The right to pass on your tenancy
If you die while a tenant, it is possible under certain circumstances, for a member of your family to take over the tenancy. They can become the new tenant with all the rights and obligations that you had as a tenant.
As long as you did not become a tenant as the result of the death of a relative, your surviving partner has the right to take over your tenancy if it has been their only or main home for at least one year before your death.
In certain circumstances, a close member of your family (son, daughter, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece) may have the right to take over your tenancy.
The right to exchange
You have a right to exchange with another tenant (a ‘mutual exchange’) although you must always get permission from us before you do this. We can only refuse a mutual exchange for a limited number of reasons that are set out in schedule 2 of your tenancy agreement.
The right to buy
If you had the right to buy as a secure tenant of Walsall Council or the London Borough of Lambeth before your property transferred to WATMOS, you may now have a preserved right to buy your home. In addition you may also have the preserved right to buy if you:
Had the preserved right to buy and moved from a whg home to a WATMOS home or had a transfer within WATMOS.
Have taken over your tenancy from a deceased relative who had the right to buy.
The right to acquire
Even if you don’t have a preserved right to buy, as an assured tenant you have a right to acquire your home under Section 16 of the Housing Act 1996. If you would like more information about the right to acquire please contact the staff at your local TMO office.
You have a right to claim Housing Benefit to help with your housing costs. The Council deals with Housing Benefit applications. The Council will need you to complete the relevant forms and provide the necessary information so your claim can be assessed. The staff at your local TMO office can help you with Housing Benefit applications.
Please see here for our Tenant Privacy Notice [pdf] 253KB
Tenants CORE Privacy Notice [pdf] 231KB (this explains our obligations to share customer housing data with Government departments and agencies)