Living in your home
Some details regarding insurance, fire prevention, crime prevention, neighbour disputes, pets, parking, gardens and refuse:
- Do I need to take out an insurance policy?
- How can I protect my home from theft?
- Can I keep a pet?
- Domestic violence is help available?
- Where can I park my car?
- Is it my responsibility to maintain the garden?
- Can I add a shed or greenhouse to my garden?
- How can I dispose of rubbish?
- Can I run a business from my home?
- Housing services for people with special housing requirements
- What is Wealden and Eastbourne Lifeline Service?
- What is Sheltered Housing?
The Council have produced a Tenants Handbook (pdf) in partnership with tenants to help you understand your rights and obligations as a tenant
Is my home insured?
As your landlord we have insured only the structure of your home. We do not insure the contents - you are responsible for insuring all your personal possessions in your home (for example. carpets furniture, appliances and personal effects).
We strongly advise you to take out a policy to insure the contents of your home. The Council is not liable if you lose or damage items due to fire, theft, flood or other accidents.
Make a list of the items in your home and their value - what would it cost if you had to replace some or all of them? Insurance costs are very small compared with the cost of replacing damaged or lost items.
Wealden District Council can help its tenants and residents obtain home contents insurance easily and at a price that is affordable. While many people often hope that nothing will happen to their belongings sometimes things can go wrong unexpectedly.
In conjunction with Thistle Tenant Risks and Wealden District Council a special scheme called Crystal has been agreed for tenants and residents to protect their belongings and gain peace of mind knowing if the unexpected happens that they have cover. For more information visit: Crystal Insurance (external link) or call Crystal Insurance on 0845 601 7007 or call Housing Services Team on 01323 443322 and ask for an information sheet.
Or you can contact different reputable insurance companies - they will provide quotes and information free of charge so you can find the best policy for your home. Look around for a comprehensive household contents policy which includes 'tenant liability'. This will cover you if someone claims against you - for example if you left a tap running and flooded a neighbour's home.
The Council as your landlord provides smoke alarms free of charge - the number we give depends on the type of property. If your property has not been supplied with a smoke alarm please contact the Housing Department on 01323 443322 or please contact your Housing Officer.
It is your responsibility to regularly check the smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly. If your alarm does not work please contact the repairs desk on 01323 443322.
For further information about fire safety please contact East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
Thieves can enter and leave your home in minutes - don't make theft easy for them. There are simple precautions you can take to reduce the risk. Information on crime prevention is available on the Home Office Website.
The council has clear policies for dealing with cases of anti-social behaviour, and your housing officer will be the first point of contact should your initial attempts to resolve issues fail. Depending on the nature of the anti-social behaviour it may be necessary to involve the Environmental Health Department, the Police and other appropriate agencies. For more information Anti-Social Behaviour
Most people think of domestic violence as someone being physically violent to a partner or relation. However, domestic violence can take many forms including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, threats and intimidation, sexual abuse, isolation, financial abuse, physical abuse. Although most people suffering domestic violence are women, a small percentage of victims are men. Help is available for people suffering from domestic violence:
- Phone 999 - call the police if you or someone else is in danger or
- Phone 101 - to talk about non-emergency domestic abuse.
East Sussex Domestic Abuse Service
Support for women and men who are living with domestic abuse. Run by the charity CRI, an advisor will talk you through the options and help work out a plan with you. They can point you to other services and legal remedies which could help.
- Phone 0844 225 0657 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
If you need a safe place to stay where you can get emotional and practical support from trained staff, you can call any of the local services listed above or:
- Phone 0808 2000 247 - National Domestic Violence 24-hour Freephone Helpline (a partnership between Refuge and Women's Aid).
Keeping communal areas tidy
Please keep these areas clean and tidy. Do not leave rubbish and equipment lying around. Leaving rubbish around will encourage vermin and could be a fire risk. Do not leave your belongings in communal arrears - items may removed by the Council, or be stolen.
Pets need to be properly looked after and kept under control. Your tenancy agreement sets out rules for pet ownership - your household is not permitted to keep a pet that causes nuisance or annoyance to anyone. For more information please contact your Housing Officer. If you live in a flat or maisonette you must seek our permission before taking a pet in to your home.
Pets are only permitted in a limited number of sheltered housing schemes - please check the rules for your scheme with the manager before considering having a pet.
Parking areas can only be used by cars or motorbikes which are taxed, insured and roadworthy.
Before parking any commercial vehicle, caravan, boat or trailer on land owned by the Council you must get our written permission first. In some areas we do have garages for rent - although we usually have waiting lists.
For more information on applying for a garage and to complete the necessary form visit Renting a Garage or telephone the Housing Department on 01323 443363 for an application form.
If you have to park on the street do be considerate. Badly parked cars can be dangerous, they can limit visibility and cause accidents. They can also block access for the emergency services - causing delays in dealing with urgent problems.
Car repairs should be restricted to minor repairs to your own vehicle only. When mending your car always be considerate to your neighbours.
Keeping the garden tidy and free of rubbish is your responsibility. When planting new trees or shrubs it's important not to plant too closely to your home as the roots could cause damage to the structure. For more information please contact your Housing Officer.
Gardens cannot be used for storage unless you have our written consent.
Well kept gardens improve the environment for everyone. To encourage tenant gardeners throughout the District we run an annual garden competition with prizes for winners. Look out for the details in the spring issues of our tenants' magazine, Threshold.
If you find looking after the garden is getting too much due to illness or disability please contact us - we may be able to suggest sources of help or suggest more suitable housing options.
Before installing a shed or greenhouse you need to obtain our written permission. Maintaining the shed or greenhouse will be your responsibility. If you move out you will be asked to remove the structure and make good the area. For more information please contact your Housing Officer.
Rubbish is taken away by regular collections, it should be placed in the wheelie bin or containers supplied by ourselves. Only rubbish put in these containers will be taken away. Some areas of Wealden are on the CROWN recycling service.
Keep your garden and communal areas free of rubbish and discarded food - this will prevent vermin being attracted to the area.
Larger items including furniture and cookers can be disposed of on your behalf.
There are recycling points around the district where you can dispose of bottles, tins, textiles and paper.
For more information on services.
If you want to run a business from home you will need to seek our written consent. You will also need to check whether planning permission is required and if you need to adjust your insurance cover. For more information please contact your Housing Officer.
Some business activities are allowed but businesses such as car repairs which affect your neighbours are not permitted.
The council aims to help elderly and disabled people to live independently by providing a range of services for existing tenants. When someone is experiencing difficulties managing in their existing home there are a range of options that can be considered.
Purpose Built Properties
The Council has properties that are adapted for disabled people or are specially provided with the needs of elderly people in mind. For example we have nomination agreements which give us access to specially designed and supported housing owned by the various Housing Associations within the Wealden District.
We also have 12 schemes for the elderly at various locations throughout the District.
Where our tenants or members of their households have special accommodation requirements we are always happy to advise on the possibilities of "transferring to more suitable accommodation".
As a result of a change in the Housing Benefit rules from 1st April 2013 people living in social housing and under occupying their home and on full housing benefit will receive a 14% reduction of benefit for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.
In certain instances people going to smaller accommodation will be eligible for special incentive payments and removals under our Tenant Incentive Scheme This is because there is a severe shortage of accommodation for families with children and we are attempting to make the best of our existing resources by encouraging couples or single people who are living in family sized housing to move to a smaller property.
Additional Help and Support
If you are unable to manage because you require assistance with your independent living skills, we are able to assess your needs and refer your case to appropriate agencies.
Examples of assistance that you may be able to access include: personal care, housework, shopping, meals, general advice and assistance with form-filling. Southdown Housing Association provide a Housing Support service that may be able to help you.
Every year a limited amount of money is put aside from the Council's Housing Budget for the purpose of adapting individual Council properties to suit the "requirements of disabled people".
Works may involve small scale adaptations such as the provision of rails and lever taps or more extensive and costly projects such as shower installations, ramp access or stairlifts. Many of our tenants are able to benefit from adaptations works each year, but in recent times the demand for adaptations has exceeded the annual budget available, therefore resulting in delays.
To request assistance and/or further information on any of the previous items please contact your area Housing Officer. We shall be able to discuss your difficulties and explore solutions to your problems.