Wealden District Council

Frequently Asked Questions About Tenancies

Below are details on topics that tenants frequently contact us about in relation to their tenancy agreement.

Contents Insurance

As your landlord we have insured only the structure of your home. The Council does not insure your furniture and belongings against theft, fire, vandalism, burst pipes and other household risks. It is therefore important that you take out Home Contents Insurance.

You are advised to shop around for the best deal. However, in conjunction with Thistle Tenant Risks 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.

Keeping Pets

  • If you keep a pet it must not cause a nuisance or be a danger to others
  • If you would like to keep a pet but live in a flat or maisonette or retirement living court you must get  written consent before doing so
  • Please complete the Obtain permission to keep pets form 

Maintaining Your Garden (if you have one)

  • You must keep the garden (including hedges and trees) tidy and free of rubbish
  • If you would like to add a shed or greenhouse you will need our written consent

Parking

  • Council owned 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 (including gardens) you must get our written consent.
  • In some areas we do have garages to rent. Please contact us for more information.

Running a Business From Home

  • If you want to run a business from home you will need our written consent. Some businesses will not be permitted including car repairs.
  • You will also need to check whether planning permission is required and may need to adjust your insurance.

Can I Install a Hard Standing at the Front of my Property?

If you want to install a hard standing on the front of your property, within the boundary of the property, you will need permission from both the council's Housing Services and Planning Department as well as East Sussex Highways Department. You will have to pay the full cost of installing a hard standing and providing a dropped kerb.

Firstly, obtain permission from your Housing Officer that you can install a hard standing. Do not start the work until you have confirmed with Planning that you may proceed, and also confirmed with East Sussex Highways Department that they will agree to the dropped kerb being installed. Planning will advise if they have any concerns regarding your proposal and inform you accordingly.

The East Sussex Highways Department will employ their own contractor to carry out the work of installing the dropped kerb. They will first need to carry out a survey of the site in question. They will then be able to provide a schedule of costs.

Can I Install a Satellite Dish?

Before installing a satellite dish you must obtain written consent from your Housing Officer. You must also check the regulations with the Council's Planning Department. Further information can be found in the Satellite Dish Policy (pdf). 

Improvements

Before carrying out any improvements or alterations to your property you must contact your Housing Officer for written consent. Please note that Non-Secure and Introductory tenants cannot carry out any improvements.

Due to the specialist nature and construction of retirement living courts, improvements and alterations need careful consideration. Detailed plans must be submitted and approved by Wealden District Council before any works are started. It is essential that you take advice from your Retirement Living Manager before undertaking any works in your property.

Costs incurred by Wealden District Council for carrying out work to the communal systems as part of your improvement may be passed on to you.

Improvement works include:

  • New bathroom / kitchen
  • Knocking down walls
  • Erecting a conservatory
  • Creating a hardstanding

This list is not exhaustive.

Lodgers and Subletting

  • If you are thinking of taking in a lodger or letting out part of your property contact your Housing Officer to ask permission before doing so by completing the Notify the Council of a lodger form. Please note that if you are an Introductory or Non-Secure tenant you cannot take in lodgers or sub-let.
  • If you are in receipt of benefits, taking in lodgers or subletting may affect your benefits so contact the Housing Benefit to find out. See  webpage.

Fire Safety

  • All homes are now fitted with a smoke detection system that is connected to the main electrical supply. There is therefore no need to change the battery but you should test it on a weekly basis using the remote test button.
  • Should you be concerned at any time that there is a fault, please report it as a repair.

Communal Areas

  • Do not leave any personal belongings in internal and external communal areas, as this is a health and safety risk.

Rubbish Disposal

If you want to check your rubbish collection days go to the Bin Collection Day Search. You can also find out about disposing of large items at: Bulky Household Waste Collections page and for details of your nearest household waste recycling site Recycling Sites (external link)

Re-Charges

A re-charge is an amount of money the Council will require you to pay for works carried out to your current or previous home for which you are responsible for or for damage/neglect which has been caused by yourself or others including friends/relatives/visitors.

Your tenancy agreement states that you must keep your home clean, tidy and in a good state of repair.

What can I be recharged for?

Recharges normally fall into three categories:

  • Repairs for which the landlord is not responsible for
  • Dumped rubbish
  • Works carried out as a result of wilful damage or neglect

Occupying Your Property:

It is the requirement of all tenant(s) that the property is occupied as their "only or principal" home, and that the property is not wholly sub-let. This means with permission you can take in a lodger or sub-let part of the property but not the whole property (see below).

Can I Take in a Lodger?

Introductory and Non-Secure tenant/s do not have the right to take in a lodger, but Secure and Flexible Fixed Term tenants do. We encourage you to advise us and there is a standard form available to use for this purpose - Notify the Council of a lodger form.

In taking in a lodger you are not permitted to make the property overcrowded, and you are responsible for the behaviour of your lodger.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit you must inform the relevant department's of the change in your household's circumstances. See the Benefits Contact Us page.

What is Subletting Part of the Property?

Subletting part of the property, whilst the tenant remains in occupation, can broadly be described as a more formal arrangement than taking in a lodger.

If you are considering subletting part of the property you must first obtain permission from the Head of Housing by writing in to the Housing Services Department.

If you are unsure about whether you are taking in a lodger or subletting part of the property, talk to your Housing Officer before allowing that person to share your home.

What is Subletting the Whole Property?

This is known as unlawful sub-letting and usually occurs where the tenant moves out of their Council property and allows other persons to use the whole property, usually in return for payment of rent. Subletting the whole of the property in this way is not allowed.

You can report someone that is subletting their whole property by contacting using the Report an incorrect property use form.