Frequently asked questions

Rent and Tenancy Agreements

The tenancy agreement is a legal document which is a contract between you and Highstone Housing Association (referred to as HHA). It sets out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and the rights and responsibilities of HHA as your landlord. When you accept your tenancy agreement you are agreeing to all the rules set out in that agreement

Yes. All our tenants have assured short hold tenancies

This depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your home, location, type of property and services provided

Your rent can only be increased once a year. HHA charges social rents, which are increased in accordance with government guidelines

There are lots of things you will have to pay for including rent, electricity bills, water bills, insurance for your own belongings, telephone and mobile phone bills if you have them. You may also need to pay council tax and for a TV license. There are other things you will need money for including food, clothes and toiletries, activities and holidays

HHA insure the structure of the building, but it is the responsibility of the tenant to take out home contents insurance.  Your housing officer can help and advise you if required

Paying the rent is very important. If you do not pay the rent you could lose your home. Some people can get help from the government to pay their rent. This is called Housing Benefit. You have to complete a claim form to get Housing Benefit so you must do this as soon as you decide to move in. HHA housing officer will be happy to help you make a claim for housing benefit

Service charges cover things to do with works and services which need to be carried out on the building and communal areas including, cleaning communal areas, lighting, cleaning windows, up keep of gardens and many more

No, your tenancy is only for the people named on it. You cannot pass it on to someone else.  You cannot let anyone else live at your address without the permission of HHA. You must never charge rent to anyone for staying at your house or take in a lodger

If you break the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement or any acceptable behaviour contract or the house rules we will contact you to tell you that you need to resolve this problem. We may ask to meet with you to discuss the problem and we will ask you to resolve the situation within a specific time-frame. If you continue to break the rules of your tenancy we may take legal action against you. This could mean that we get a court order requiring you to adhere to the rules of your tenancy or it may mean that we ask you to leave your home

If you are responsible for clearing the property, please let us know when you will be returning the keys.  We will need to see a copy of the death certificate.  If you are unsure what to do, please contact us support and guidance.  Rent continues to be payable until the keys are handed in.  HHA will claim any outstanding rent from the estate left by the deceased person. Please be aware that Housing Benefit payments cease on the first Sunday after death – full rent is due each week after that.  Also remember to have the electricity, gas and water meters (whichever apply) read before returning the keys

We specialise in providing supported living accommodation and work in partnership with local authorities.  Tenancies are allocated through a selection criteria assessment process carried out by each local authority.  Please contact your local authority for further information

Repairs

If you have a repair request, please tell us as soon as possible. You can do this a number of ways:

  • complete the ‘Report a Repair form’ here
  • telephone HHA office on 0330 0584090 (option2, then option1)
  • ask your carer or housing officer to contact HHA on your behalf

Repair response times:

  1. Emergency Repairs – These are repairs to stop something harming you or the house. We will fix them within 24 hours.
  1. Urgent repairs – These are serious repairs that we will fix within 7days.
  1. Routine repairs – These are repairs like a dripping tap that we don’t need to fix so quickly. We will do them within 28 days.

If you think the repair is an emergency please contact us by Phone – 0330 0584090 (option 2 then option 1)

Our office opening hours are:

9am – 5pm Monday to Thursday
and 9am -4pm Friday
We are closed on public holidays

If you need to report an emergency repair when our office is closed you can phone 07659 173894 and our emergency repairs helpline staff will deal with your call

Examples of an emergency include: major leaks or burst pipes; blocked drains; loss of electrical power; heating/ hot water (when no other form of heating exists). The contractors will normally make safe until a full repair assessment can be made

Pets

Your Tenancy Agreement is very clear about first obtaining our permission to keep a pet. Permission is at our discretion and if we do agree to let you keep a pet, this permission can be withdrawn at any time if the pet causes a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours. Registered assistance dogs will automatically receive consent which lasts for its working life. To apply for permission, contact your Housing Officer. For more information see HHA Pets Procedure Policy

Property

Any changes to your apartment, including decorative, require written permission from HHA. Upon receiving permission, at the end of your tenancy you will be expected to return the property to its original state.

Any changes to your apartment, including alterations, require written permission from HHA. Upon receiving permission, at the end of your tenancy you will be expected to return the property to its original state.

If you think your personal needs have changed, we will be able to offer advice and quotes for any work that is required to the property.  Written permission must always be obtained from HHA before any changes are made.