New tenancy terms set to clamp down on anti-social behaviour
Council tenants are being urged to have their say on proposed changes to their tenancy agreement which aim to make it clearer to understand and easier to clampdown on anti-social behaviour.
The new terms and conditions introduce a zero-tolerance approach for tenants, and their visitors, who commit crimes and anti-social behaviour.
The council’s Housing Team has written to its 5,500 tenants to outline the key changes, why they have been made and to invite comments as part of a consultation, which runs until 6 December.
Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and housing, explained:
“As part of our vision to transform the council, we have carried out what was a long overdue review of our tenants’ terms and conditions. Our Housing Team has put a great deal of work into this to ensure it is robust and sets us up for the future.
“The key changes to the agreement will put our communities first. By strengthening our position when dealing with problem tenants, it will make it easier for us to tackle some of the issues that blight our communities, such as anti-social behaviour.
“It is fantastic news for tenants, as it will makes the agreement clearer and easier to understand, including what is expected of us, as a landlord.
“I hope these proposals will be welcomed, not only by our tenants, but also fellow councillors and residents across the borough. We encourage them to share their views during the consultation.
“Ultimately, the new tenancy agreement is the key to building stronger communities.”
The proposed changes to the agreement include:
Criminal, nuisance or anti-social behaviour
Tenants, household members and visitors must not carry out any criminal, unlawful or anti-social activity in the home or surrounding common areas. The council does not tolerate anti-social behaviour and will take action whenever necessary, which may include applying to the court for the possession of your home.
Tenants are expected to engage with mediation services if recommended by the council. If you refuse or fail to engage in mediation to resolve any dispute without good reason, the council will apply to the court for possession of your home. For serious cases of antisocial behaviour, where mediation is not appropriate, the council will apply to the court for possession of your home.
Pets and animals
You must keep the number of pets at or below the permitted number. Where permission is given this is on condition that pets are neutered and micro-chipped, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Council.
Gas and electricity safety
You or any member of your household or visitors must not tamper with gas or electricity supplies or with utility meters. It is your responsibility to ensure there is a suitable amount of credit on the meter.
Access to your home
You or any member of your household must allow council employees, their contractors, agents or other statutory bodies to enter your home at all reasonable hours when you have been given reasonable written notice (usually 24 hours) for reasons such as carrying out repairs, maintenance or safety checks on the property or in communal areas.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
You are responsible for testing any battery-operated smoke detector and ensuring it is always in good working order. You must not tamper with or damage any smoke or carbon monoxide detector in the property.
We will ask your views about any of the Council’s housing plans if they substantially affect you - for example we will consult you about modernisation or improvement work that is planned for the property or your area. We will involve you or your tenants’ group in local housing issues.
The consultation will run for four weeks until 6 December. After this date Members will consider comments and make any changes as necessary, before sending out a Notice of Variation to tenants to include the date the new terms and conditions will take effect, sometime in January 2022.
If you have any questions regarding the new agreement you can contact Darlington Borough Council Housing Services on 01325 405333; email [email protected] or message us through your Darlington Home Online account, please mark your email or message subject as ‘Tenancy Agreement Consultation’.