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									    GUIDE FOR
Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Chapter   1   Welcome

Chapter   2   Tenancy Matters

Chapter   3   Anti-Social Behaviour & Breaches of Tenancy

Chapter   4   Tenancy Support

Chapter   5   Repairs

Chapter   6   Rents and Other Charges

Chapter   7   Home Matters

Chapter   8   Moving Home

Chapter   9   Tenant, Resident and Community Involvement

Chapter 10    Housing for Older People

Chapter 11    Comments, Compliments & Complaints

Chapter 12    Contact Us and Important Numbers

              The information in this guide does not
              cover every situation and is not the same
              as getting legal advice. If you need more
              detailed information or specific advice,
              please call Luminus on 01480 428777.
Welcome                    to the
Luminus Guide for Tenants
  There are a few things in life that everyone agrees really are
  important. One of these is your home and we have prepared
  our Luminus Guide for Tenants to help deal with most of your

  Luminus, as your landlord, and you as our tenant, have legal rights and responsibilities,
  but we believe that our work goes beyond that. Firstly, we need to make sure that we
  know everything you want to tell us about yourself (and anyone living with you) so
  that our services meet your needs. Then, in all our contact with you, we want to give

                                                                                              W E LCO ME
  the best possible service. Finally, we want you to be as involved as you want to be in
  relevant things concerning the management of the property and area in which you
  live. Your local community is very important to us since we believe that well managed,
  safe neighbourhoods, where people are actively involved, help them to lead happy
  and contented lives.

  This Guide will give you a lot of information but there may be more questions that you
  would like to ask or you may have ideas or suggestions about how we could continue
  to improve our services. The people who work for Luminus are deeply committed to
  great services for our customers, so please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to
  listen and we will always do our best to help. You will find details in Chapter 12.

  I wish you happiness in your home.

  Chan Abraham, Group Chief Executive

  Building in excellence, working with communities                     1•1
What is a tenancy
Your tenancy rights are set out in your
tenancy agreement. When you accepted
your tenancy you agreed to the terms and
conditions set out in that agreement. You
will have been given your own copy. It is an
important document so you should read it carefully
and keep it safe. A tenancy agreement is a legal contract
between you and us. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of you as the tenant,
and ours as the landlord.

                                                                                           T E N AN CY MAT T E R S
You also have statutory rights, that is, rights automatically granted as set out in law.
The booklet ‘A Charter for Housing Association Applicants And Residents’, produced
by The Housing Corporation (the predecessor of the Tenant Services Authority) (the
“Charter”), tells you what extra rights an Assured tenant of an RSL can expect from
their landlord. You were given a copy of the booklet when you signed your tenancy

Do we offer everyone the same type of tenancy?
No. We use different types of tenancy that are described below.

Transferring Assured tenancy
If you were a secure tenant of Huntingdonshire District Council on 20 March 2000,
when the housing stock was transferred to us, you are likely to have been offered an
Assured tenancy with “enhanced” rights. These included the “preserved right to buy”
and a five-year rent guarantee. We generally refer to this tenancy as a “Transferring
Assured tenancy”.
However, any tenant of Huntingdonshire District Council who had a court order
relating to their tenancy at that date was not entitled to the Transferring Assured
tenancy. This can only be granted when such a tenant has fully complied with the
court order. Until that time the tenant may have the limited rights that apply to a
“statutory” Assured tenancy, or may have no legal rights. This will depend upon the
extent of compliance with the court order. For such people, the rights explained in
this handbook will not apply.

Building in excellence, working with communities                      2•1
                          Re-let Assured tenancy
                          If you became as Assured tenant of HHP, now Luminus Homes, or Oak Foundation
                          after 20 March 2000 you are likely to have been offered an Assured tenancy
                          without the enhanced rights described on page 2.1. Your tenancy does include the
                          extra rights in the Charter. We generally refer to this tenancy as a “Re-let Assured

                          Assured Shorthold tenancy
                          If you are a new tenant of Luminus Homes you will initially have an Assured
                          Shorthold tenancy called a “starter” tenancy. This will automatically become an
                          Assured tenancy after 12 months as long as we do not serve you with a special
                          notice to end the tenancy. We will only serve you a notice if you or a member of
                          your household or a visitor to your home breaks your tenancy conditions. For those
                          tenants who have an Assured Shorthold tenancy some of the rights set out in this
                          handbook will not apply. Where you do not have a right, this is expressly stated.

                          What is the difference between a ‘joint’ and a ‘sole’

                          You are a sole tenant if only one tenant is named on the tenancy agreement. If two
                          or more people are named on the tenancy agreement then you have a joint tenancy.
                          Joint tenants each have all the rights and responsibilities set out in the tenancy
                          agreement – even if one leaves. If one joint tenant formally ends the tenancy, the
                          tenancy comes to an end, even if the other joint tenant/s did not know about it or
                          does not want the tenancy to end.

                          Generally, we grant joint tenancies to established couples at the start of their tenancy.
                          We will also consider joint tenancies with other close relatives for example; parent
                          and child, two brothers or sisters. We will discuss the implications of this with you
                          before starting the tenancy.

                          In certain circumstances we will allow a “sole” tenancy to become a “joint” tenancy
                          (for example, if a tenant gets married or has a relationship recognised as a civil
                          partnership). We will also allow a “joint” tenancy to become a “sole” tenancy where
                          the tenants agree. This will be achieved through an assignment. In both cases we will
                          not change the tenancy if there is rent owing.

                                                 2 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
I am having relationship difficulties/getting divorced –
what will happen to my tenancy?
Only the courts can decide matters regarding separation, divorce and parental
responsibility for children (where this cannot be agreed between the parents) and
you should get legal advice about this. Nevertheless, your Neighbourhood Officer can
advise you about you and your partner’s housing rights, and other things to consider
regarding your tenancy agreement.

We believe that no occupant of our properties should be fearful or suffer from
domestic violence. We will support tenants or their household members confidentially
and respect their wishes in helping them to find solutions. This could involve
specialist support, legal remedies or, in serious cases we may be able to help make
the home safe or find alternative accommodation for the victim.

Can I pass my tenancy to my partner, or to anyone else,
when I die?

                                                                                         T E N AN CY MAT T E R S
When a joint tenant dies, the tenancy continues to be in the name of the surviving
joint tenant(s). Even if not a joint tenancy, it would also continue in the name of
the surviving partner providing your partner was living in the home as their only or
main home at the time of your death. ‘Partner’ means husband, wife, civil partner or
common law partner. This is known as succeeding to the tenancy.

However, this will not apply if the tenancy had already been passed on in this way.
The only exception is if the tenancy is a “Transferring” Assured tenancy and the
earlier succession took place when the property belonged to the District Council.

If there is no partner, then a member of the family (who must have been living with
the former tenant for at least a year immediately before the death and who did not
inherit the tenancy) may be entitled to a new tenancy of the same, or of another
suitable property. This right is not available where the former tenant was an Assured
Shorthold tenant.

A member of the family may inherit the tenancy from a former tenant through the
terms of a will or through special laws applied if there is no will. If the tenant who
has died was the tenant of a re-let tenancy we have a right to end the tenancy
through legal action.

We would offer an alternative property, and take legal action if necessary, if we
consider that the existing property is unsuitable for the person taking a new or
continuing tenancy. An example would be if the property is unsuitable in size or has
special facilities that the new household does not need. This would not apply to a
partner who succeeds to a Transferring Assured tenancy.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     2•3
                          Any person who believes they can take a tenancy in any of these ways must contact
                          us as soon as possible after the death of the tenant. This should be within six months
                          if a partner or member or the family is inheriting a tenancy. Otherwise this should
                          be within three months if a member of the family who is not inheriting the tenancy
                          wishes to be considered for a new tenancy. They will need to prove their right to take
                          a tenancy. If more than one person makes a separate claim, we will decide which,
                          if any one of them, is entitled to succeed. If more than one person is entitled to
                          succeed, they should try to decide between them who will succeed. If they cannot
                          decide, we will make the decision.

                          Can I pass my tenancy to my partner, or to anyone else, at
                          any other time?
                          There are three other situations when you can pass or assign your tenancy to
                          someone else. Before you can do this you must get our permission in writing. You
                          can assign your tenancy if:

                           •	 You exchange, or swap, your home with someone else (see Chapter 8 for more
                              information about mutual exchanges)

                           •	 You have a court order ordering you to do so (as often happens in divorce)
                           •	 You assign your tenancy to someone who would be entitled to succeed if you died.

                          An Assured Shorthold tenant does not have the right to exchange the tenancy and
                          can only assign the tenancy when there is a court order.

                          Can I run a business from my home?
                          You do not have the right to run a business from your home, but we may consider
                          granting you permission. You must ask permission before you set up your business.
                          We will consider all requests. We might refuse your request if, for example, we think
                          that it could disturb your neighbours or would be unlawful.

                          I have to be away from home for a long time – is there
                          anything I should do?
                          Yes, please let us know you are going away, and if possible give us a contact address
                          and telephone number. You are allowed to leave your home on a temporary basis,
                          but according to your tenancy agreement you must tell us if you know you will be
                          away from home for more than four weeks. If you do not tell us we may think you
                          have abandoned your home. In that case we may take action to take it back and let
                          someone else move in.

                                                2 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Remember to pay the rent while you are away, and leave your home secure. If you
are going to be away in the winter, you should also leave the central heating “ticking
over” or otherwise turn off the water supply and drain down the system, to prevent
burst pipes. Please contact our Service Centre on 01480 428333 if you need further
advice on this.

What is subletting, and am I allowed to sublet?
Subletting is where you rent out your home to someone and they have private use of
your home or part of it. You may only sublet part of your home, but you must get our
written permission before you do so. If you sublet the whole of your home you will
no longer have an Assured tenancy and we will take steps to end your tenancy and
evict you and the person(s) you have sublet to from your home.

An Assured Shorthold tenant does not have the right to sublet any part of their home.

Am I allowed to take in a lodger?
A lodger is someone who pays to live in your home, but does not have private use of

                                                                                          T E N AN CY MAT T E R S
any of it (apart from a bedroom). You are allowed to take in lodgers, but you must
make sure that you do not overcrowd your home. If you have any doubts you should
contact your Neighbourhood Officer.

If I take in lodgers or sublet part of my home, will it affect
my Housing Benefit entitlement?
It may reduce your entitlement to Housing Benefit if you take in lodgers or sublet part
of your home. Please make sure that you keep the Council’s Housing Benefit Section
informed of all the changes to your household income.

Can I buy my home?
There are two different schemes that enable some tenants to buy their home. Both
provide a discount on the value of the home. Some conditions apply to both schemes.
These include:
 •	 You must be an Assured tenant who has spent at least two years as a social
    housing tenant (or five years if your tenancy started after 18th January 2005).
 •	 You must live in a self contained house or flat that is your only or main home.
Preserved Right to Buy
This applies only to our tenants who have been granted a “Transferring Assured
tenancy”. It does not apply to our “Re-let Assured tenancies”.

Building in excellence, working with communities                   2•5
                          Under the Preserved Right to Buy, qualifying Assured tenants are entitled to purchase
                          their current home. The price that you pay will depend on the length of time that
                          you have been a tenant in social housing and Government limits on the maximum
                          discount that can be given. If you transfer to either a council home or Luminus home,
                          then your Preserved Right to Buy moves with you.

                          The above is only a summary of the Preserved Right to Buy. Please contact us for
                          more information, or see our website (

                          Right to Acquire
                          The Right to Acquire is a scheme giving some tenants the right to purchase their
                          home at a discount. It only applies to homes that have been built or purchased by us
                          using certain government grants.

                          In addition to the properties mentioned above, homes in rural areas may also be
                          excluded and so you cannot buy them.

                          The discount against the value of the home under this scheme is a set amount
                          determined by central government, varying only according to the part of the country

                          that the home is in.

                          For more information about these rights please contact us or see our website
                          ( We will supply you with an application form and further
                          information. Please note that the Right to Acquire does not apply to Assured
                          Shorthold tenants.

                          What other rights do I have and what do they mean?
                          The other rights you have as an Assured tenant are described below:

                          Right to make improvements and receive compensation
                          for them at the end of your tenancy
                          As part of the terms of your tenancy agreement, all of our Assured tenants have the
                          right to carry out alterations and improvements to their home. You must request and
                          gain our written permission to carry out alterations or improvements to your home
                          before work is started. See Chapter 5 for more details.

                          You must also get any other permissions you require, for example planning
                          permission, before the work is started. You may also be entitled to receive
                          compensation for certain qualifying improvements if and when your tenancy
                          ends. This right is explained in greater detail in Chapter 4. An Assured Shorthold
                          tenant does not have the right to make improvements or receive compensation for

                                                2 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Right to Repair
You are entitled to compensation if you report a repair or a maintenance problem
that affects your health, safety or security, and we fail twice to carry out the repair
within the set timescale. This applies only to repairs up to a value of £250. This right
is explained in greater detail in Chapter 5.

Right to Complain
If you have a complaint about our policies or procedures, the way that we have
treated you, or about the service that we have provided, you have the right to
complain. Chapter 11 sets out our complaints procedures.

Right to Information and Consultation
You have the right to have information from Luminus about:
 •	 The terms of your tenancy
 •	 Our policies and procedures
 •	 Our performance.

                                                                                           T E N AN CY MAT T E R S
You have the right to be consulted if we are considering any of the following:
 •	 Changes in the management of your home – for example if we are thinking about
    letting some other company provide management or maintenance services
    instead of us
 •	 Improvements or major repairs to your home or estate
 •	 Demolishing your home.
Chapter 9 describes how as a tenant you can get involved with Luminus and
comment on, or influence our services.

Right to Home Loss and Disturbance Payments
If you are required to leave your home permanently because of redevelopment
works or other works of a substantial nature, you may be entitled to Home Loss and
Disturbance Payments.

 •	 The Home Loss payment is a fixed amount set by government. You must have
    occupied your home as a tenant for at least a year.
 •	 The Disturbance payment is a payment equal to the reasonable expenses of
    moving home. There is no minimum occupation period. Luminus has a policy
    about making such payments; please ask if you would like more information.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     2•7
                          Disabled Adaptations
                          We can help with installing minor aids and facilities which cost less than £250 for
                          disabled people (although our budget for this is limited). We will do some work
                          without a referral from an Occupational Therapist. These include:

                           •	 Grab rails
                           •	 Stair rails
                           •	 Lever taps
                           •	 Half steps.
                          If you require any other work which is not included in the above list, a referral by a
                          recognised Occupational Therapist would be required.
                          We will only carry out work up to a value of £250. If the work exceeds this amount
                          we may carry it out if you pay the extra above £250. If you are unable to pay you
                          may be able to apply for a disabled facilities grant. The grant is managed by the
                          Home Improvements Agency which is part of the Local Authority. Please discuss this
                          with your Occupational Therapist.
                          Examples of work that can be funded by a grant include:

                           •	 Over bath showers
                           •	 Flat floor showers
                           •	 Door entry ramps and rails
                           •	 Stair lifts.
                          Whilst we carry out work to the structure of the home to make life easier for disabled
                          people, Social Services are responsible for providing “moveable” aids such as electric
                          hoists, internal grab rails and free standing shower chairs.

                          If you need an Occupational Therapist you can contact Social Services.

                          We have committed ourselves to making good any failures of service. If we fail
                          we will ask you for your preferred means of redress and consider giving you
                          compensation. Further information is available in our Customer Service Policy.

                          Access to Personal Information and Data Protection
                          We comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. In our Data Protection Policy we
                          commit ourselves to letting you view the information we hold about you other than
                          certain information specified in our policy (e.g. certain letters from the medical
                          profession). We may charge a reasonable fee to cover our expenses. For further
                          information and to make a request please contact us.

                                                 2 • 8 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Behaviour &
Breaches of
What is anti-social behaviour?

                                                                                     AN T I- S O C IAL B E HAVIO U R & B R E ACH E S OF T E N ANC Y
Luminus has adopted the definition of
anti-social behaviour used in the Housing Act
(1996) which is:

“Conduct which is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person
directly or indirectly relates to or affects the housing management functions of a
relevant landlord”; or
“Conduct which consists of or involves using or threatening to use housing
accommodation owned or managed by a relevant landlord, for an unlawful

A wide range of behaviours can be seen as anti-social. These include:

 •	 Aggressive and threatening language and behaviour
 •	 Violence against people and property
 •	 Racial harassment
 •	 Using or selling drugs or other illegal substances
 •	 Loud noise, especially late at night, for example by playing music loudly
 •	 Allowing pets to make excessive noise, or to be a danger to others
 •	 Vandalising property, including graffiti
 •	 Dumping rubbish and litter
 •	 Parking vehicles inconsiderately, abandoning vehicles, or keeping untaxed
    vehicles on the street
 •	 Domestic violence
 •	 Being intolerant of other people’s lifestyles
 •	 Being a general nuisance in the community.

Building in excellence, working with communities                  3•1
                                                                 What is the Respect Standard?
                                                                 The Respect Standard for Housing Management is a voluntary code for all social
                                                                 landlords which sets out standards that need to be complied with in the way we
                                                                 tackle anti–social behaviour. We have signed up to the code. The Standard has six
                                                                 core components against which every Landlord who has signed up to the Respect
                                                                 Standard will be measured:

                                                                  1   Accountability, leadership and commitment
                                                                  2   Empowering and reassuring residents
                                                                  3   Prevention and Early Intervention
                                                                  4   Tailored services for residents and the provision of support for witnesses
                                                                  5   Protecting communities through swift enforcement

                                                                  6   Support to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour.

                                                                 The components of the Respect Standard have been built into our Anti-Social
                                                                 Behaviour Strategy. If you want a copy of the strategy or a summary please ask us.

                                                                 What happens if I am experiencing anti-social behaviour?
                                                                 If you are affected by the anti-social behaviour of someone else you should let us
                                                                 know, either by letter, telephone call or email. The action we take will depend on
                                                                 the seriousness of the problem. Many problems can be solved by making the other
                                                                 person aware of the problem and we may encourage you to talk to your neighbour to
                                                                 resolve the issue yourselves. We may ask you to keep a written record of incidents for
                                                                 a while, as this will then allow us to make a decision on what action we should take.
                                                                 We will always agree a plan of action with you.
                                                                 If the problem persists we may consider more direct intervention such as using
                                                                 voluntary agreements called Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Parenting Agreements
                                                                 or involve other agencies such as the council, the Police, Social Services, Probation or
                                                                 a mediation service.
                                                                 If none of these interventions are successful we may have to take legal action.
                                                                 This can include:

                                                                 i. Applying for an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI), which is a court order
                                                                 requiring the tenant causing the problem to stick to the terms of their tenancy or
                                                                 preventing them from doing certain things. This is used mainly against tenants who
                                                                 cause unreasonable annoyance to others in the neighbourhood, such as causing
                                                                 excessive noise, abuse, threats, violence, racial intimidation or harassment, etc. We
                                                                 can also apply for an injunction against other adults who are not tenants if they are
                                                                 causing serious nuisance on our land or affecting the lives of our tenants.

                                                                                         3 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
ii. Applying for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). This requires close co-operation
with other agencies including the Police and Local Authority. If the person does not
keep to the terms of an ASBO, there are a number of steps the authorities could take,
including custody.
iii. Applying for a Parenting Order - these are orders that commit a parent to
accepting intervention to help provide more positive parenting of children who are
causing anti-social behaviour.
iv. Applying for a Demotion Order. This is a court order which reduces the status of
an Assured tenancy to an Assured Shorthold tenancy. This could lead to the tenant
being evicted if the anti-social behaviour does not stop. We must first serve a Notice
Before Proceedings for a Demotion Order before we can apply to the Court for a
Demotion Order. The Demoted Tenancy can be ended by serving a two month notice.

                                                                                           AN T I- S O C IAL B E HAVIO U R & B R E ACH E S OF T E N ANC Y
v. Serving a Notice Seeking Possession (NSP). This tells the tenant that we intend to
apply to court for a possession order if the anti-social behaviour is not stopped (see
vi. Applying for a Possession Order - If the NSP expires but the anti-social behaviour
continues, we can apply for possession. If the court grants an outright order we will
ask for a warrant to evict the tenant from their home. If the court grants a postponed
order we will ask for a possession date if the anti-social behaviour continues and
then apply for the warrant to evict the tenant.
vii. Working with other agencies to enable them to use the legal powers they have to
stop anti-social behaviour.

What if it is a family member or friend of the tenant who
is causing the problem?
We can take action against other adult members of the household, children and
visitors to the property. The tenant is responsible under the tenancy agreement for
the actions of everyone in the household and their visitors when they are on our land
or property. So we could take action against the tenant if we felt that the tenant was
not controlling visitors to their home.

What happens if I am a victim of domestic violence?
We take domestic violence very seriously. If a case of domestic violence is reported
we will investigate it and work with the victim and other agencies to provide an
appropriate solution. If you are a victim of domestic violence you should report it to
the police and contact Luminus as soon as possible.

Racial Harassment/Hate Crime
We want to prevent any forms of racial harassment/hate crime. If you experience any
harassment of this type, contact your Neighbourhood Officer immediately.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     3•3
                                                                 Luminus is a reporting centre for the Open Out scheme and our officers are trained to
                                                                 deal with any complaint of racial harassment/hate crime.

                                                                 Are there other rules in the tenancy?
                                                                 As well as being the perpetrator of anti-social behaviour you may break the rules of
                                                                 the tenancy agreement in other ways. These include:

                                                                  •	 Refusing us access to allow the servicing of a gas boiler or carrying out repairs
                                                                  •	 Carrying out alterations to your home without our approval
                                                                  •	 Falling behind with the rent on your home
                                                                  •	 Parking heavy goods vehicles or untaxed vehicles on our land
                                                                  •	 Not living in your home on a permanent basis

                                                                  •	 Overcrowding your home
                                                                  •	 Using your home for any illegal or immoral purpose
                                                                  •	 Not carrying out repairs you are responsible for (see Chapter 5).
                                                                 What happens if I break one of the other conditions of
                                                                 If you break a tenancy condition we will firstly give you the opportunity to put it right.
                                                                 If you do not we may take legal action against you, either in the form of an injunction
                                                                 or a possession order which may result in you being evicted.

                                                                 What is a Notice Seeking Possession (NSP)?
                                                                 When we serve a Notice Seeking Possession it is the first step of legal proceedings to
                                                                 end your tenancy. You should take it very seriously.
                                                                 We could serve a notice in any of a number of ways. These could include posting it;
                                                                 handing it to you (or a joint tenant); fixing it somewhere obvious on the property or
                                                                 even posting it to your last known address.
                                                                 We normally give you 4 weeks notice, after which we can then apply to court for a
                                                                 possession hearing. You should use this notice period to correct things, for example,
                                                                 stop causing a nuisance or clear your rent account. We could apply to the court at
                                                                 any time in the twelve months after we serve the notice, if you do not put matters
                                                                 right and keep to your tenancy.
                                                                 In cases of severe nuisance the notice period may be shorter than four weeks.

                                                                                        3 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What are the reasons that we could apply to court for a
possession order?
We can use all the Grounds from Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 for both
Assured and Assured Shorthold tenancies issued by us. We will not use Grounds
1,2,3,4,5,6,8 or 11 for transferring assured tenancies.
The main Grounds are summarised below. Please note that Grounds 1,3,4 and 5
rarely apply to Luminus tenancies.

Ground 2

The property is subject to a mortgage and the mortgagees are repossessing the
property to enforce the charge. Written notice should be given before or at the time

                                                                                          AN T I- S O C IAL B E HAVIO U R & B R E ACH E S OF T E N ANC Y
the tenancy begins that possession may be required under this ground. (The court
can sometimes allow possession under this ground even if no notice is given.)

Ground 6

The Landlord is a registered social landlord or a charitable housing trust and intends
to demolish or reconstruct the whole or part of the property or carry out major works
to all or part of it and the works cannot be carried out if the tenant is there.

Ground 7

The tenancy is a periodic tenancy which has passed to the new tenant, through
the previous tenant’s will or intestacy. The Landlord must bring proceedings within
twelve months of death of the tenant or twelve months of the date the Landlord
became aware of the tenant’s death.

Ground 8

Rent is unpaid at the time of service of Notice Seeking Possession and at the time of
the hearing for a possession order;

i. In the case of rent paid weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks’ rent is owing
ii. In the case of rent paid monthly, at least two months’ rent is owing
iii. In the case of rent paid quarterly, at least one quarter’s rent is more than three
     months overdue
iv. In the case of rent paid yearly, at least three months’ rent is more than three
     months overdue.

Ground 9

There will be suitable alternative accommodation available for the tenant if a
possession order is made. The Landlord must pay the tenant’s reasonable removal

Building in excellence, working with communities                     3•5
                                                                 expenses if a possession order is made. A tenant can oppose a possession order on
                                                                 this ground if the alternative accommodation is not suitable.

                                                                 Ground 10

                                                                 Rent which is lawfully due from the tenant has not been paid by the time the
                                                                 possession proceedings are started and was owed at the time the Notice Seeking
                                                                 Possession was served (unless the court has agreed service of a Notice Seeking
                                                                 Possession is not necessary).

                                                                 Ground 11

                                                                 The tenant has repeatedly failed to pay rent on time. There need not be rent arrears
                                                                 at the time possession proceedings are started.

                                                                 Ground 12

                                                                 The tenant has breached part of the tenancy agreement.

                                                                 Ground 13

                                                                 The tenant, or anyone living with them has allowed the property or parts of it
                                                                 (including common parts) to deteriorate. If the deterioration has been caused by
                                                                 someone living with the tenant, and the tenant has failed to get rid of that person
                                                                 then, in this situation too, a possession order may be made.

                                                                 Ground 14

                                                                 The tenant or a person living with them or visiting them has:
                                                                 i. Caused or is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or their
                                                                     neighbours, guests or visitors to the area; or
                                                                 ii. Been convicted or using the property for immoral or illegal purposes or has been
                                                                     convicted for an arrestable offence committed in the area.

                                                                 Ground 14A

                                                                 A married couple, civil partnership or common law couple lives in the property, of
                                                                 which one or both of them is the tenant of the property and one has left the property
                                                                 because of violence or threats of violence from the other partner towards them or a
                                                                 member of their family who is also living in the property. The court has to be satisfied
                                                                 that the partner who has left the property is unlikely to return. (Also the partner who
                                                                 has left should be served with a Notice Seeking Possession so they know about the
                                                                 possession proceedings unless a court agrees this is not necessary.)

                                                                                       3 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Ground 15

Furniture at the property has deteriorated because the tenant or someone living with
the tenant has not looked after the furniture. If the damage has been caused by
someone living with the tenant and the tenant has not taken steps to get rid of that
person then a possession order may be made against the tenant.

Ground 16

The property was let to the tenant as part of their employment by the Landlord and
the tenant is no longer employed by the Landlord.

Ground 17

The tenant or one of the persons to whom the tenancy was granted, or person acting

                                                                                         AN T I- S O C IAL B E HAVIO U R & B R E ACH E S OF T E N ANC Y
on the instruction of the tenant has given false information to the Landlord which the
Landlord used to decide whether to grant the tenancy.

When will the Court make a possession order?
If any of Grounds 1 – 8 are proved, the Court must make an order for possession.
However for Grounds 9 – 17 the Court will only make an order where the ground is
proved and the Court is satisfied that it is reasonable to make the order.
If I get a possession order does this always mean I will be evicted?

No. The court may grant a postponed order. We will only apply for a possession date
if the tenancy breach continues. We will then ask the court to fix a possession date
and then to issue an eviction warrant and bring in the bailiffs. We would always tell
you if we intended to do this. A decision for such serious action can only be taken by
a senior officer.

If you evict me from my home would you offer me somewhere else?

No, and in some cases the council might consider you to have caused your own
homelessness by breaking your tenancy terms, and so would not consider finding you
alternative housing either.
However, in some circumstances the court would only grant an order for possession if
we can offer you suitable alternative accommodation (Ground 9). Generally speaking,
we would use this if:

 •	 We need your home empty to carry out necessary or major repair works,
    or redevelopment
 •	 You inherit the tenancy from a member of your family (except your husband, wife
    or common law partner who was a tenant of a transferring assured tenancy) and

Building in excellence, working with communities                   3•7
                                                                      the home that you live in is bigger than you need. We would apply for possession
                                                                      between six to twelve months after the death of the previous tenant (see also
                                                                      Chapter 2)
                                                                   •	 You live in a house or flat that has special adaptations, features or services that
                                                                      are no longer needed by anyone living there.

                                                                  We could also seek possession of your home if too many people are living there
                                                                  because the law states that it is illegal for a home to be overcrowded. In these cases
                                                                  help with finding suitable housing may be provided by the council. In summary, a
                                                                  home will be overcrowded if:

                                                                   •	 Two or more people of different sexes and over the age of 10 years (other than a

                                                                      couple living together as man and wife) have to sleep in the same bedroom or
                                                                   •	 There are more people over the age of 10 years sleeping in a home than are set
                                                                      out in the table below. Children under the age of 1 year are not counted and
                                                                      children between 1 year and 10 years are counted as half a person.

                                                                        Number of rooms available for sleeping          Number of persons
                                                                                          1                                2
                                                                                          2                                3
                                                                                          3                                5
                                                                                          4                                7½
                                                                                          5 or more                        2 for each room

                                                                  Further information regarding overcrowding can be obtained from us or the council.

                                                                  Assured Shorthold tenants: 2 months notice
                                                                  If you have an Assured Shorthold tenancy and cause anti-social behaviour, we may
                                                                  serve 2 months notice to terminate your tenancy. If you failed to move out in that
                                                                  time, we could apply to the Court for an order for possession. We do not have to
                                                                  prove any Grounds for possession.

                                                                                        3 • 8 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What is Tenancy Support?
Tenancy Support gives advice and
assistance to tenants either living in
their own homes or moving into a new
home. Support is provided in the home and
can cover a number of areas from financial
advice to emotional support.

Support is provided to tenants who feel they may need help in keeping to the rules of
the tenancy or running their home.

Support is available until it is agreed between the Tenancy Support Officer and

                                                                                        T E N AN CY S U PPO RT
the tenant, that the tenant no longer needs the service. The support service is not
expected to last beyond two years.

We can help you if you:
 •	 Feel you need extra support
 •	 Are vulnerable
 •	 Are leaving care, an institution or homeless accommodation
 •	 Have little or no experience of living on your own
 •	 Have learning difficulties
 •	 Have an addictive illness e.g. drugs or alcohol
 •	 Are a user of mental health services.
What support is available to you?
 •	 Help with budgeting and homemaking
 •	 Help with furnishing your home
 •	 Help with getting education and employment
 •	 Help in claiming welfare benefits
 •	 Advice, advocacy and liaison
 •	 Help with accessing services from specialist agencies
 •	 Safety and security issues
Building in excellence, working with communities                    4•1
                          •	 Help with accessing social and leisure activities
                          •	 Checking, monitoring and supervision of care services.
                         How does it work?
                         You can get this service through your Neighbourhood or Revenues Officer, the District
                         Council or relevant agency worker who may have concerns about you or your family.
                         Alternatively you can refer yourself by calling 01480 428568 and asking to speak to
                         a Tenancy Support Officer.

                         There is an initial visit from a Tenancy Support Officer to assess the level of support
                         you require.

                         After the initial assessment, your action plan will be drawn up to provide the support.
                         The Tenancy Support Officer will meet with you regularly to work through any issues
                         outlined in your support plan.

                         Why is it important to take up Tenancy Support?
                         You may be experiencing difficulties which can lead to serious problems which could

                         result in your eviction and affect your future accommodation options.

                         Regular support could help you prevent a crisis which could affect your tenancy.

                         Who pays for the service?
                         Funding is at present paid by central Government and the service is free.

                         Specialist Support Services
                         Luminus is able to supply specialist support services for young parents, homeless
                         people in temporary accommodation and female offenders and offenders who are
                         subject to a Probation order or who have signed up to the Cambridgeshire Drug
                         Intervention Programme.

                         Accessing the Service
                         If you feel you need support please contact the Community Services Team on
                         01480 428568.

                                                4 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Repairs, Maintenance and
Alterations to your home
This section tells you about the repair
service Luminus provides to your home.

Luminus’ Responsibilities
Luminus is responsible for maintaining the
structure and exterior of your home, its main
services and the communal areas in blocks of flats.

In particular, Luminus is responsible for:

The structure of your home

                                                                             R E PAIR S
 •	 Roof
 •	 Chimneys
 •	 Gutters and rainwater pipes
 •	 Ceilings
 •	 Window frames and external doors
 •	 Floors
 •	 Walls.
Areas outside of your home
 •	 Steps and paths
 •	 Drains and soakaways
 •	 Garages and sheds owned by Luminus
 •	 Fencing.
The services and fittings in your home
 •	 Plumbing and pipes
 •	 Heating and appliances
 •	 Installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation

Building in excellence, working with communities                       5•1
              •	 Baths, basins and sinks
              •	 Internal walls (plastering but not decorative finishes such as Artex)
              •	 Communal equipment: lifts, heating plant and lighting of communal areas.
             Tenant Responsibilities
             You are responsible for the items listed below. If you ask us to carry out a repair to any of
             these items we will charge you for the work.

             Home and Garden
              •	 Clearance of blockages in waste pipes and toilets caused by lack of care
                 (e.g. cooking waste, nappies, excessive toilet roll)
              •	 Fitting draught excluders
              •	 Glass in windows, doors and panels (except where glass is broken as a result of anti-
                 social behaviour and you have a Police incident number)
              •	 Maintaining the garden in good and tidy order
              •	 Keeping the property in good condition internally.
             Fixtures and Fittings
              •	 Fixtures and fittings such as curtain rails

              •	 Replacing light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and their starter mechanisms
              •	 Internal door fittings (including adjusting doors for carpet fitting)
              •	 Replacing locks and lost keys/gaining access if you lose keys
              •	 Replacing sink plugs and chains
              •	 De-scaling baths, sanitary ware and kitchen sinks
              •	 Replacing toilet seats
              •	 Repairing/renewing gate catches
              •	 Replacing batteries in smoke alarms (except in sheltered housing or hard wired alarms)
              •	 Child locks and security chains.
             The list above is not exhaustive and is only to be used as a guideline. If for some reason
             you are unable to carry out any of these tasks, for example you have a certain type of
             disability, it maybe possible for Luminus to make special arrangements. Please contact us
             on 01480 428333.

             Home Insurance
             Some of the items above which you are responsible for may be quite expensive. Repairing
             broken glass in a door or window is an example. We therefore strongly recommend that
             you consider an insurance policy, which covers such damage.

                                    5 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Home Contents Insurance Scheme
A competitive package of Home Contents insurance is offered to Luminus tenants.
The “My Home” scheme is available to all tenants by requesting an application pack.

The scheme offers flexible payment plans including fortnightly payments and
comprehensive cover such as “New for Old”, replacement of external locks if your
keys are lost and the contents of your freezer should the electricity supply fail.

Cover can be arranged by telephone or the completion of an application form.

How to Report a Repair
The best way to report your repair is to telephone the Service Centre at Brook House
on the number provided in the ‘Contact us’ section in Chapter 12.

You will need to give us your name, address and telephone number. The telephone
number will help us in arranging access when carrying out the work. It would be
helpful if you write down the name of the person who took your phone call in case
you need to refer back to us.

The service operates from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm Friday.

                                                                                         R E PAIR S
Outside of these hours only, emergency repairs can be reported as detailed in the
section ‘Out of Hours Emergency Service’ below. Non-emergency repairs can be
reported via our website (

You can contact us by email, the internet or by visiting Brook House – see Chapter 12.

Out of Hours Emergency Service
An emergency repair request line is only available outside of the Service Centre
opening hours shown above. Details of the number are shown in Chapter 12. We will
only attend to a problem outside of office hours if it is an emergency.

Luminus may charge you the cost of an out of hours visit where it is found that
the reason for the request does not meet with the emergency criteria.

Examples of the types of issues that qualify as emergencies are:

 •	 Serious flooding and burst pipes (where the stopcock cannot be turned off)
 •	 Dangerous structures
 •	 Dangerous and major electrical faults/total loss of electrics or lighting
 •	 Gas leaks (Always contact Transco immediately)
 •	 Heating failures where vulnerable tenants are at risk (autumn/winter only)
 •	 Blocked drains where sewerage is overflowing.

Building in excellence, working with communities                   5•3
             Can I be charged for any repairs that Luminus would
             normally be responsible for?
             Yes, if you (or your family or visitors) damage or neglect your home, we will re-charge
             you for the cost of repairs. If the damage is caused willfully, we may take legal action.

             Please note:
             You should never instruct a contractor to carry out work on our behalf. If you
             do, we will not cover the cost of the repairs instructed by you.

             Will someone carry out an inspection before the work is
             In most cases a tradesman will be called to carry out your repair. Some repairs may
             require a surveyor to call and assess the problem.

             If a surveyor needs to visit, our Service Centre staff will inform you that this is the
             case when you make your call to us. If your repair request is made via another
             method, we will advise you in writing or call you. You will be advised of the date
             when the surveyor will call, we aim to visit within 10 working days of your request.

             We offer morning or afternoon appointment times when the surveyors will call, please

             ask if you require an appointment.

             All of our employees carry identity cards. For your own safety please ensure that
             you ask to see the surveyor’s identity card before you let them into your home.

             Who will carry out my repair?
             This depends on the type and size of repair request. Our own tradesmen will carry out
             the majority of repairs. Our approved contractors undertake the remainder.

             All of our workman and external contractors carry identity cards. For your own
             safety please ensure that you ask to see the identity card before you let them
             into your home.

                                    5 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Repair Timescales
Luminus uses a system of priority codes to determine the length of time in which the
work should be carried out. This is in line with regulatory guidelines. The priority is
determined by the nature of the fault and the possible risk to the health and safety of
the people living in the home.

The priority codes and the target timescales together with examples of repair requests
that would fall into each category are shown below.

  Priority Code          Target Completion Time              Examples of Type of Repair

          E              Within 24 hours, but normally        Total loss of water supply; Total
 Emergency Work:         the same day                         loss of electric power; Major
 Significant risk of                                          water leak (causing a flood);
 injury to people or                                          Blocked flue to a boiler; Blocked
 serious damage to                                            toilet

    Priority 1

                                                                                                     R E PAIR S
                         Within 7 calendar days               Blocked sink, bath or basin; Toilet
 Urgent repairs:                                              blockage where there is another
 Can wait without                                             WC in the property; Overflows
 causing major                                                and taps continually running

    Priority 2           Within 1 calendar month              Leaking gutters; fences and gates;
 Non-urgent                                                   window and roof repairs (where
 repairs: Can wait                                            not leaking)
 without causing

 Deferred works:
 Some repairs may be delayed for a period of time, this may be because we:

   •	Are aiming to get better value for money by putting together a number of the same type of
      jobs, for example fencing repairs

   •	 Are unable to undertake certain jobs in some seasons, such as tree lopping and repairs to
      concrete paths in winter

   •	Are limited by our repairs budgets for that year, and need to delay the non-urgent repair for
      a given time period.

Building in excellence, working with communities                              5•5
             How will I know when the repairs are going to be done?
             When you call to ask for a repair you will be given an appointment. Sometimes we
             may ask a specialist to call and make their own appointment with you if we do not
             control their diary.

             What happens if my repair takes longer to do than I was
             Please contact our Service Centre who will check to see what is happening.
             If necessary you will be given a new date for completion of the works.

             If, thereafter, the repair remains outstanding please contact our Customer Relations
             Officer, giving details of the repair, when you reported it and when you contacted the
             office to chase the repair, which will allow a senior member of staff to investigate
             your concerns.

             If after that problems still remain, please follow our formal complaints resolution
             process as set out in Chapter 11.

             What is the ‘Right to Repair’?

             ‘Right to Repair’ is a right we give you in the tenancy agreement and relates only to
             essential ‘qualifying repairs’ estimated to cost less than £250 and where the failure to
             repair could jeopardise the health or safety or security of tenants.

             Examples of such repairs are:

              •	 Total or partial loss of electric power
              •	 Total or partial loss of water or gas supply
              •	 Unsafe power, lighting socket or electrical fitting
              •	 Total or partial loss of gas supply
              •	 Total or partial loss of space heating between 31st October and 1st May
              •	 Total or partial loss of water heating
              •	 Blocked flue to open fire or boiler
              •	 Toilet not working, where there is no other toilet in the house
              •	 Blocked sink, bath or basin
              •	 Tap which cannot be turned
              •	 Leaking from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern
              •	 Leaking roof
              •	 Insecure external window, door or lock
              •	 Loose or detached banister or hand rail
              •	 Rotten timber flooring or stair tread
              •	 Mechanical extractor fan in internal kitchen or bathroom not working.
                                    5 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
If the Luminus maintenance team or our contractors fail to carry out the essential
‘qualifying repairs’ listed in the specified time limits shown in the repairs priority table
above, you can get us to appoint another contractor to do the repairs.
If, following your second request, we do not carry out essential ‘qualifying repairs’
within the timescales listed above we will pay compensation provided that you have
given us reasonable access arrangements.

Compensation is paid at a rate of £10 + £2 per day for each day beyond the second
target date, up to a maximum of £50. This is known as your ‘Right to Compensation
for Failure to Repair’. You can find further details on this issue in the booklet entitled
the Assured Tenants’ Charter, a copy of which can be supplied upon request.

Are there any other times when I may qualify for
compensation for outstanding repairs?
You may apply for compensation for repairs which do not qualify under the Right to
Repair scheme and which are not completed by our target date following your second
request. A flat rate of £10 may be payable, plus £2 for each day beyond the second
target date up to a maximum of £50, providing that you have given us reasonable
access to carry out the work.

Do you check the quality of the work after the job is done?

                                                                                               R E PAIR S
For each Priority 1 & 2 job order a letter is sent to acknowledge the repair request.
With that letter we send you a survey form and pre paid envelope that allows you to
comment on how satisfied you were with:

 •	 The way your repair request was handled by the Service Centre
 •	 The way the repair was completed by the tradesman.
We also have a Quality Inspection Team who visit and inspect a number of homes
each month; they will interview tenants to find out their views about the quality of
the service, attitude of the workmen and so on. We use this information to make sure
our repairs service is operating to a high standard.

Gas servicing
Every year we have to by law, service your gas boiler and check the safety of the gas
carcass, ventilation and any additional gas appliances that may be installed. This is
a vital part of ensuring the safety of you, your family and your neighbours. We will
inform you by letter in advance of when we are coming and you should make sure
we are able to gain access into your home. If you do not give us access to service the
boiler we can take legal action to allow us to carry out the service.

Building in excellence, working with communities                       5•7
             You will be putting yourself, your family, friends, neighbours and even unborn children
             at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning if you do not allow us access to carry this
             out. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can
             cause paralysis, brain damage and kill quickly without warning.

             Planned maintenance
             Major works are carried out on a planned basis. In this way we are able to be more
             efficient. Planned maintenance programmes can be for a period of months or years,
             or cyclical.

             Windows, kitchen & boiler replacements are examples of planned work. An example
             of cyclical maintenance is external decoration and repairs and internal decoration to
             communal areas, which are usually carried out every five years or so.

             What will happen if Luminus wishes to do major repairs or
             improvements to my home?
             We will inform and consult you prior to work starting and during and after the work
             has been completed. We employ a Tenant Liaison Officer specifically for this purpose.

             Temporary accommodation because of major work

             When we carry out major works to your home we try to arrange them so you can
             remain in your home whilst the works are being carried out. In the unlikely event that
             you have to leave your home temporarily, we will arrange temporary accommodation
             having regard for your needs. We will grant you a decant tenancy agreement for the
             temporary property. You will have to continue paying rent for your home, but no rent
             will be payable for the temporary home.

             Responsibilities for decorating
             You are responsible for decorating the inside of your home and for keeping it at a
             reasonable standard.

             Prior to moving in, we will only decorate if deemed necessary. If other small making
             good (for example, filling holes) or decorating is required we will provide a decorating
             allowance for you.

             We are responsible for decorating the outside of your home and for decorating any
             communal areas in blocks of flats. This work is undertaken about every five years or

                                     5 • 8 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What if I am elderly/have a disability/am chronically ill –
can anyone help me decorate or do my garden?
We operate schemes to assist with decorating and gardening in these circumstances.
Please contact our Service Centre to obtain details on how to apply. As both schemes
are very popular there are often waiting lists.

Sometimes other voluntary organisations are able to help out, and they may charge
you for the work that they carry out.

Can I make alterations to my home?
You must not make any alterations (including improvements) to your home without
first getting our written permission. Permission will not be withheld unless the
alteration will make your home less safe, cost us money to maintain or reduce the
value of the property.

You must also get any other permissions you require, for example planning
permission, before the work is started. You will also need to comply with planning
requirements and building regulations, if applicable.

You should write to our Surveying Services Team at Brook House, outlining the nature

                                                                                       R E PAIR S
of the work you intend to undertake. No work should be undertaken until you have
written authorisation from the Surveying Services Team.

Please note; if you decide to put down wooden/laminate flooring,
please use non-glue products. If we have to gain access to cables,
pipes or drainage, we cannot be held responsible for damage caused
in lifting the flooring.

What is counted as an alteration?
Examples include:

 •	 Changes to your kitchen or bathroom fixtures and fittings
 •	 Knocking down any walls either inside your home or in your garden
 •	 Changing fixtures and fittings that relate to water gas or electricity
 •	 Erecting sheds or greenhouses or other structures in your garden
 •	 Constructing a dropped kerb and hardstand
 •	 Putting up any external aerials (e.g. CB or TV aerials or satellite dishes)
 •	 Fitting additional locks
 •	 Erecting conservatories or porches.

Building in excellence, working with communities                      5•9
             Will you increase my rent if I carry out alterations to my home?
             We will not increase your rent as a result of you undertaking alterations to your home
             at your cost.

             Will I have to leave my home as I found it when I move out?
             We will arrange to inspect your home and assess the condition, durability and safety of
             any alterations you have made. If the alterations fail to meet our standards you will be
             asked to rectify the problem or restore your home to its original condition. If we have
             to carry out the reinstatement works, you will be charged for the cost of this work.

             Am I entitled to any compensation for carrying out
             improvements to my home?
             At the end of your tenancy you may be entitled to claim for compensation for certain
             improvements that you have made whilst living in your home. Remember that you
             must have obtained our permission in writing to carry out the improvement or
             alteration in the first place and comply with our right to compensation procedure. You
             can get a leaflet from our Maintenance Administration Team.

             Improvements that qualify under the Right to Compensation are:

              •	 Installation of a bath or shower, wash hand basin, toilet or kitchen sink
              •	 Work surfaces for food preparation
              •	 Kitchen or bathroom storage cupboard
              •	 Space or water heating
              •	 Thermostatic radiator valves and water tank insulation
              •	 Pipe and loft insulation
              •	 Cavity wall insulation
              •	 Draught proofing of external doors or windows
              •	 Double glazing or window replacement
              •	 Rewiring or the provision of power and lighting
              •	 Improving security (but not the fitting of security alarms).
             We will consider a claim for compensation. The current maximum level of
             compensation is £3000 and it is calculated using a set formula that takes into
             account how old the improvement is.

             Assured Shorthold tenants
             An Assured Shorthold tenant does not have the right to make improvements or
             receive compensation for improvements.

                                  5 • 10 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Rents and
Other Charges
How is my rent set and
who sets it?
The rent you pay is based on a
government scheme which is intended
to make sure that the rents of all social
landlords in a region are broadly the same.
The government has given us a formula we
have to use to calculate what is called the “target”
rent of the property. This formula takes into account the size
and value of the property. All our properties need to be at target rent by April 2011.

At the present time, unless you have a water meter fitted, we also collect your water
charge with your rent. You have a right to have a water meter fitted. If you want a
water meter installed you should contact the water company and they will tell you if

it is possible to fit a meter to your home. Once the meter is in place you should write
to us and let us know. We will then check the meter and remove the water charge.

We increase the rent every year at the beginning of April. The amount the rent is
increased will be dependent on the guidelines issued by our regulator who tell us the
maximum percentage figure we are able to use to increase the rent. If your property
is not yet at the “target rent” we will charge you a little bit more each year until it
reaches the target rent in 2011.

For any rent increase (except the first one) if you are not happy with your new rent
level, you do have the right to refer the matter to the Rent Assessment Committee.

What are service charges?
Some tenants pay service charges to cover the costs of services they receive in
connection with their home. Service charges are collected with the rent. The charges
you pay will be included on the schedule on your tenancy agreement. They could be
for items such as:

 •	 Cleaning of communal areas
 •	 Grounds maintenance
 •	 Lighting in communal areas
 •	 Lift maintenance

Building in excellence, working with communities                    6•1
         •	 Door entry maintenance
         •	 TV aerial.
        This list is not exclusive and other services may be charged for, depending on the
        particular circumstances. We may also introduce new services, following consultation,
        if this will improve the management of the block of flats or area in which you live.

        What is the Supporting People charge?
        If you live in sheltered housing you will have to pay a charge to cover the support
        costs of the Sheltered Housing Manager service. If you are on housing benefit the
        charge will be paid by the County Council through the Supporting People programme.
        If you do not receive housing benefit you may still get help to pay this charge through
        the “fairer charging” regime. Please ask your Sheltered Housing Manager for more

        How can I pay my rent?
        You must pay your rent and any service charge on time. Your rent and any service
        charge is due every week on a Monday. You can pay in advance every two weeks or
        every month if you prefer. If you are joint tenants you are each responsible for all the
        rent and any payments missed. If one tenant leaves we can claim the rent owing from

        the remaining tenant or tenants, as well as from the one who leaves.
        We work out your rent so that every year there are some weeks when you do not pay
        rent. These are called ‘rent free’ weeks. At the present time your rent is calculated on
        a 48 week year. If you pay your rent monthly you must pay 4 weeks rent every month
        to make sure that all the rent is paid in the year.
        There are a number of ways you can pay your rent. These are:

         •	 At a post office, or Paypoint outlet using your rent payment card. You can find the
            nearest payment outlet to you by doing a search on the website,
            or by asking us.
         •	 By telephone using your bank or building society debit card and your rent payment
            card. During office hours call us on 01480 428288. Outside office hours you can
            call 0870 2436040.
         •	 By direct debit or standing order
         •	 By bank giro or electronic transfer
         •	 By internet payment
         •	 For more information about these payment methods please call us on 01480 428522.
        Every 3 months we send rent statements to all our tenants. Please check your
        statements to make sure we have received all your payments and telephone us if you
        have any questions. If there is a minus (-) sign by your balance this means that you
        are in credit and do not owe us any rent.
                               6 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What about Council Tax?
Council Tax is a local tax which must be paid by almost all households to the council.
You are responsible for telling the council when you move into your home. You also
have a right to pay this charge in 10 monthly instalments, which can be arranged if
you contact the council.

Can I get help to pay my rent?
It is your responsibility to pay your rent. However, if you live on a low
income you may be entitled to receive Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit is paid by the
council towards some or all of your rent. If you are entitled to benefit you can choose
to have the benefit paid to you or directly to us as your landlord. It is usually better to
have your rent paid directly to us. If you have rent arrears we are entitled to ask the
council to pay any benefit directly to us. If you have the Housing Benefit paid directly
to you, you must pay us the full rent.
If you make a claim for Housing Benefit you must provide all the information
requested. If you do not, your claim cannot be worked out and benefit will not be
paid. If you need help with your claim please contact your Revenues Officer. However,
it is your responsibility to pursue your claim with the council. You are responsible for
the rent even if you are entitled to have it covered in full or part by Housing Benefit.

If you think you may qualify for Housing Benefit, make a claim straight away. Any delay
and you may lose out on any benefit entitlement.
Any claim for Housing Benefit will also be treated as a claim for Council Tax benefit.
If your circumstances change you must make sure you tell the council’s Housing
Benefit section and the Department for Work and Pensions. They will claim back from
you any payments made to which you were not entitled.

Is all my rent covered by Housing Benefit?
The water charge element of your rent is NOT covered by Housing Benefit. Therefore,
even if Housing Benefit covers your rent you must pay your water charge every week.

Income and benefits advice
All the staff in the Neighbourhood Services Team can give you good advice on housing
and other welfare benefits. However, if you have benefit problems or financial
difficulties and debts you may want further in depth advice. Our Income and Benefits
Advisor can help. Please telephone 01480 428521 to make an appointment.

Building in excellence, working with communities                      6•3
        Alternatively you can just turn up at one of the monthly surgeries. The surgeries are
        open between 10.00am and 1.00pm at the following venues and times:
        Huntingdon         - Brook House             - 3rd Wednesday of the month
        St Neots           - Priory Centre           - 2nd Thursday of the month
        St Ives            - The Free Church         - 4th Thursday of the month

        If you would like more information about dealing with debt you could ask us for our
        “Debt Pack” which details what you could do if you find yourself in financial

        If you prefer to speak to someone who does not work for us there are other
        organisations you can contact. Their details are included in the “Contact Us” section.

        I am having difficulties paying my rent, what should I do?
        It is most important that you contact us as soon as you can if you are having problems
        in paying your rent. We will discuss this matter with you, most likely in the privacy of
        your own home, and will be able to suggest the best methods of clearing your debt.
        Remember your debt can start off small when the occasional payment is missed but
        can build up quickly. If your account remains in arrears or if you are a persistent late

        payer we will take action to recover the rent you owe us.
        Ask for help before your debt gets too large.

        What happens if I do not pay my rent?
        If you do not make arrangements to clear your debt or it continues to increase, we will
        serve you with a Notice Seeking Possession. This is a legal notice that tells you that
        we will apply to the County Court for possession of your home. We cannot apply to
        the Court until 4 weeks after the notice is served. This gives you the opportunity to
        clear your debt or to make an arrangement with us to pay the arrears by instalments.
        If you make an arrangement you must keep to it and make regular payments. If you
        do we will not apply to the County Court for possession.
        If the court makes an order it can either:
         •	 Grant an outright possession order which ends the tenancy on a specified date
            period. You must leave the property by that date.
         •	 Grant possession but postpone giving a date on which possession takes place.
        We will also ask the Court to make an order for the legal costs we incur in issuing
        proceedings. These will be at least £150.

                               6 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What happens if the Court grants an order?
If the Court grants an outright possession order you must leave the property and
pay all costs due by the date specified in the order. If you fail to do so we would be
entitled to apply to the court for you to be evicted.
If the Court grants a postponed order you must keep to the terms of that order.
That means you will normally be asked to pay so much a week in addition to your
weekly rent. If you do not keep to the terms we will apply to the court to set a date
for eviction. There will be further legal costs for this application which we will seek to
recover from you. If the Court grants a date for eviction you must leave the property
and pay all costs due by the date specified in the order. If you fail to do so we will be
entitled to apply to the court for an eviction warrant.

Will I be evicted if I break a court order?
We only take eviction action as a last resort if all other attempts to recover the arrears
owed have failed. If you have been given a postponed possession order you will be
given an opportunity to pay extra to bring yourself back in line with the court order.
However, if you do not take that opportunity we will apply to the court for eviction.
We will seek to recover from you the fee for this application which will be at least £95.
You will be told by the court when the eviction will happen and you can apply to the
court for a hearing to prevent the eviction taking place. The court will hear your case

and decide whether it is reasonable to stop the eviction.

If I am evicted will I still have a debt?
Yes. We pursue former tenants who owe us money, including using tracing companies,
debt collection companies and further legal action.

Building in excellence, working with communities                      6•5
Access to your home
Sometimes we may have to gain access
to your home. We will try to let you
know beforehand, for example, when
carrying out roof repairs to a neighbouring
property. However, in emergencies we
may have to force entry without warning (for
example to repair a burst pipe or to deal with a gas
leak). Your tenancy agreement allows us to do this. If this
happens, we will make sure that your home is made secure afterwards. If your locks
have to be changed, we will leave a note saying where the new keys will be held. For
security reasons, you will have to prove you are the tenant before we release them.

                                                                                          HO ME MAT T E R S
Gas Servicing
Every year we have to, by law, service your gas boiler and check the safety of the gas
carcass, ventilation and any additional gas appliances that may be installed. This is
a vital part of ensuring the safety of you, your family and your neighbours. We will
inform you by letter in advance of when we are coming and you should make sure
we are able to gain access into your home. If you do not give us access to service the
boiler we can take legal action to allow us to carry out the service.

You will be putting yourself, your family, friends, neighbours and even unborn children
at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning if you do not allow us access to carry this
out. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can
cause paralysis, brain damage and kill quickly without warning.

What can I do to be as safe as possible in my home?
So that you are prepared for any emergencies which may arise we recommend that
you complete the details set out overleaf. If you cannot find where they are please
ask us for help.

Building in excellence, working with communities                    7•1
                                   Item                                    Where is it?

                      Water Stopcock

                      Electric Fuse Box and Trip Switch

                      Gas Supply Lever

                      Hot Water Cylinder

                      Central Heating Boiler

                      Central Heating Thermostat

                      Cold Water Tank


                    You can reduce the risk of fire by:

                     •	 Using a fire guard in front of any fire
                     •	 Not airing or drying clothes near a fire
                     •	 Putting matches out of children’s reach
                     •	 Never leaving cooking (especially chip pans) unattended
                     •	 Closing doors at night (this reduces the spread of fire)
                     •	 Ensuring a smoke alarm is fitted and checked regularly.
                    What to do in case of fire:

                     •	 Close all doors and windows - if you have time
                     •	 Get out of the building
                     •	 Alert your immediate neighbours by shouting “Fire” and banging on doors
                     •	 Call the Fire Service and report anybody who is missing to the Fire Service when
                        they arrive
                     •	 Do not go back into your home until advised to do so by the Fire Service
                     •	 Let us know later if a fire has occurred at your home.

                                               7 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
If you smell gas:

 •	 Immediately turn off the gas supply
 •	 Put out all cigarettes, and do not use any matches or naked flames
 •	 Contact the emergency gas service on 0800 111999
 •	 Do not use any electrical equipment, including light switches
 •	 Open all windows and doors
 •	 Check if any gas tap is turned on - if it is, turn it off
 •	 If necessary, go outside and await the arrival of the emergency gas service
 •	 Let us know if you call out any emergency service (including Transco).

To avoid electrical problems in your home:

Do not:
 •	 Overload socket outlets by plugging too many appliances into the same socket

                                                                                        HO ME MAT T E R S
 •	 Use adaptors or extension cables
 •	 Take any electrical appliances into your bathroom
 •	 Plug electrical items into light fittings.
 •	 Disconnect plugs (or switch off the socket outlet) when they are not in use
 •	 Replace any frayed or damaged flexes
 •	 Only use the right fuses for the appliance.
If you leave your home unoccupied in cold weather for more than a day, you can help
protect it by leaving your central heating switched on low, or by:

 •	 Turning off the main stopcock
 •	 Running all taps until the water stops (however, this will not drain the radiator
 •	 Turning off all gas appliances and/or the immersion heater.
On your return do not use your boiler or immersion heater until the stopcock
is turned back on!

Building in excellence, working with communities                     7•3
                    Fire, floods and accidents can be financial disasters. Spend a few moments adding
                    up the replacement costs of your goods – you may be surprised. Whilst we are
                    responsible for insuring the building where you live, we do not insure your personal
                    possessions such as your clothes, books, furniture, electrical items etc. We strongly
                    recommend that you arrange your own insurance for these items. We have arranged a
                    low cost insurance scheme through a broker. Please contact us for more information.


                    How safe is my home from break-ins?
                    A burglar can be in and out of your home in minutes. You can help protect your
                    home by:

                     •	 Always locking your doors and windows when you go out
                     •	 Never leaving valuables lying around
                     •	 Always asking for identification if you do not know callers. Our staff and
                        contractors carry identification cards whenever they visit you

                     •	 If you would like to know more about the safety of your home, there is a free
                        booklet called “Protect your Home” which is available from your police station
                     •	 Ask the Police if there is a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in your area.
                    What can I do if I witness vandalism?
                    If you witness our property being vandalised, please contact the police and also let us
                    know. We may wish to take criminal action against the perpetrators.

                    Other Matters

                    Who is responsible for taking care of my garden?
                    You are responsible for ensuring that your garden is kept neat and tidy. If you cannot
                    do this because you are elderly or have a disability we may be able to arrange help.
                    Please contact us.

                    If you are not elderly or disabled and fail to maintain your garden we may take legal
                    action against you, or do the work for you and charge you the costs.

                                          7 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Rubbish Disposal
The local council is responsible for removing household waste. Most councils now
offer recycling facilities to help you recycle as much of your waste as possible. Please
contact the council for more information about the waste collection service. If you
have bulky items to dispose of, the council will remove them for a small charge.

If you allow rubbish to build up outside your home so that it causes a health hazard,
we may remove it and charge you our costs. If rubbish is left in your home at the end
of your tenancy we also will charge you for clearing it.

Please do not dispose of household waste or bulky items by leaving them in the
street. This is known as fly-tipping and is illegal. You could be prosecuted if you are
found responsible for fly-tipping. We may also take legal action against you.

Pest Control
Even the cleanest of homes may be troubled by vermin (e.g. mice, cockroaches etc.)

If you have a wasps’ nest or a mortar-boring bees’ nest inside your home, or in the
brickwork of your home, please contact us and we will arrange for removal of the

                                                                                            HO ME MAT T E R S
nest. We will not remove wasps’, or other bees’ nests that are outside your home.

For other types of pests (e.g. fleas and mice) you should contact a pest control
contractor (see Yellow Pages) or the council for help and advice. We will not pay
for these services.

Can I keep a pet?
Our definition of pets is: dogs, cats, small caged birds, rodents, rabbits, non-poisonous
insects and small non-poisonous reptiles or fish.

 •	 You are not permitted to keep any dog that is classed as “dangerous” under the
    Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
 •	 You may keep a pet unless you are living in a sheltered scheme with more than
    four flats in the block. If this applies, tenants can only keep small caged pets
 •	 You must make sure that you keep your pet under control so that it does not
    disturb, annoy or be a nuisance to neighbours or visitors
 •	 You must not keep an animal, other than one in the list above
 •	 For further information please see your Tenancy Agreement.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     7•5
                    Can I put up a satellite dish?
                    If you wish to erect a satellite dish you will first of all need to get our permission.
                    We can tell you if you need planning permission. Please do not erect your dish and
                    then ask for permission.

                    Cars and parking
                    Please park considerately, and do not block access for emergency services. If your
                    home has a car parking space please use it. Most spaces are not allocated to specific
                    properties and you may, therefore, need to come to an agreement about parking with
                    your neighbours.

                    Only vehicles in regular use should occupy parking spaces. Please do not park
                    untaxed or unlicensed vehicles, large commercial vehicles, caravans, boats or trailers
                    in the spaces. If they are causing an obstruction, they may be removed and the
                    owners charged. We have lock up garages for rent in certain areas. Please ask us for

                    Smoking in your home whilst staff are working

                    We have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of our staff at work, including
                    protecting them against the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. While Luminus
                    cannot require tenants not to smoke when staff are in their homes, tenants may
                    politely be requested not to smoke when work is going on in their home. This is to
                    ensure the safety of our staff against the known hazards of passive smoking.

                    If tenants are smokers, they are requested to limit smoking to rooms where Luminus
                    staff will not be working, and open windows in rooms where staff are working to help
                    clear second-hand smoke. If tenants continue to ignore reasonable requests to stop
                    smoking, staff may consult their supervisor about continuing to work in your home.

                    You must not smoke in any communal areas.

                    In Huntingdonshire, the council provides two home recycling services to your front
                    door. The blue bin provided to you is for dry recycling and all cans, tins, paper, card and
                    plastic bottles can be placed in here. There are notable exceptions though, including
                    egg boxes, yoghurt pots and cling film. The green bin is for garden and kitchen waste,
                    e.g. plant trimmings, cut grass, vegetable peelings, stale bread. The grey bin is only for
                    things which cannot be recycled and you should aim to have as little in here as possible.
                    Recycling points around the district will recycle glass and old clothing. If you live
                    outside of Huntingdonshire the local authority may have alternative arrangements.

                                           7 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Energy Use
With fuel prices rising, conserving energy is one of the best ways to help the
environment and reduce your fuel bills:
 •	 Turn your thermostat down by 1°
 •	 Do not leave appliances on standby
 •	 Unplug chargers – even if the appliance is charged it still draws electricity
 •	 When cooking, match the size of the ring to the saucepan. Gas hobs should only
    heat the bottom, not the sides, of a pan
 •	 If you are drying your clothes indoors, don’t put them over a radiator. This stops
    the heat from reaching the rest of the room and causes condensation
 •	 Avoid leaving the fridge door open. Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into
    the fridge; allow it to cool first
 •	 Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply.
Saving Water
Our average consumption of water is rising every year and it’s not just the water we
waste, it takes energy to pipe it into your home and then to heat it. Here are some

                                                                                            HO ME MAT T E R S
tips on how to save water:
  •	 Vegetables and fruit should be washed in a bowl rather than under a running tap
     and the leftover water can be used for watering house plants
  •	 Use the minimum amount of water required when you boil water in saucepans
     and kettles; that way, you’ll save energy as well as water
  •	 Try keeping a bottle or jug of water in the fridge instead of running taps until the
     water runs cold
  •	 Half-load programmes on dishwashers and washing machines use more than half
     the water and energy of a full load. Therefore, wait until you have a full load
     before switching the machine on
  •	 Try not to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, shave or wash your
     hands, as this can waste up to 5 litres of water per minute
  •	 A 5 minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath
  •	 Old toilet cisterns can use as much as 9 litres of clean water every flush. Reduce
     this by placing a ‘save-a-flush’ or ‘hippo’ in the cistern
  •	 Cotton wool and tissues should be put in a waste bin rather than flushed down
     the toilet.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     7•7
You may want to move home because
your home is too big or too small for
your needs or, because you have a
medical or social reason for a move.

The demand for accommodation far
outweighs the available supply, and so we
cannot help everybody. There are two ways of
getting a move and we will assist wherever we
reasonably can. They are:

 •	 Transfers
 •	 Mutual exchanges

                                                                                   MOVIN G HO ME
What is a transfer?
A transfer is when you move from your current home to another home owned by us
or another registered social landlord.

How do I apply for a transfer?
We are a member of Home-Link, a sub-regional choice based lettings scheme.
This scheme is designed to give customers more choice about where you would like
to live and operates in the local council areas of:

 •	 Cambridge City
 •	 Huntingdonshire District
 •	 East Cambridgeshire District
 •	 South Cambridgeshire District
 •	 Fenland District
 •	 St Edmundsbury District
 •	 Forest Heath District.
Councils and housing associations who have properties available to let advertise
them fortnightly in the Home-Link magazine, on the website and at council and
housing association offices and other access points.

Building in excellence, working with communities                  8•1
                To apply for a transfer you will need to register with Home-Link. You can do this by
                completing the application form and returning it to Huntingdonshire District Council
                or by completing the form online at the Home-Link website.

                Once registered you will receive a welcome pack and user guide explaining:

                 •	 How the scheme works
                 •	 How your housing needs have been assessed using a banding system
                 •	 How to express an interest, called “bidding”, in available properties advertised.
                Please note that, in order to transfer you must:

                 •	 Have a clear rent account
                 •	 Ensure your home is in good order
                 •	 Make good any alterations you have done.
                If you would like more details about how Home-Link works or how to apply to join,
                please use the details below.

                 •	 For information about the Home-Link scheme and expressing interest in/bidding
                    for available properties currently being advertised: Web:

                 •	 For enquires about an existing or making a new application contact
                    Huntingdonshire District Council: Tel: 01480 388222 or 01480 388223
                    Email: Web:

                 •	 For further details about available Luminus properties advertised in the latest
                    Home-Link magazine: Tel: 01480 428345 Email:

                What is a mutual exchange?
                This is when you “swap” your home with another tenant who may be one of our
                tenants or a tenant of another landlord. A mutual exchange is often a quicker way
                for you to move than a transfer.

                How do I apply for a mutual exchange?
                You must first find a tenant who wishes to carry out a mutual exchange with you. You
                can do this by:

                 •	 Registering with the Home-Link scheme at by clicking on
                    the ‘Mutual Exchange’ link. If you are unable to access the internet, please call at
                    our offices or contact us on 01480 428537 for a paper copy of the mutual
                    exchange registration form
                 •	 Advertising in a local newspaper, shops, etc.
                                       8 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
 •	 Applicants registering on HomeSwapper may be required to pay an administration
   fee and details of these charges can be found on the HomeSwapper website.

What happens next?
When you have found a mutual exchange partner, please complete a Request for
Mutual Exchange form at If you are unable to access the
internet or are applying under the HomeSwapper scheme (see 8.4), please call at our
offices or contact us on 01480 428537 for a paper copy.

We have 42 days in which to let you know whether we agree to your request, from
the day we receive all the information we need from you and the other person.

We will visit you at home to complete a tenancy report. After we have considered the
report we will then make our decision and inform you of the outcome, in writing.

Both you and the other tenant involved will need to sign a deed of assignment
prepared by us. This passes on your tenancies to each other, so you accept the
terms and conditions of the other tenancy. It is always worth checking that you
are prepared to accept these terms, as the rights may be substantially different to
your existing rights. If you have any queries we will be happy to advise you of the

                                                                                       MOVIN G HO ME
differences in the tenancy and what this may mean to you.

How does Home-Link’s Mutual Exchange scheme work?
Home-Link runs a computerised mutual exchange register. If you are unable to access
the internet, please call at our offices or contact 01480 428537 for assistance.

The Home-Link Mutual Exchange website helps tenants exchange homes for the
Cambridgeshire sub-region and elsewhere in the country. This service is free and
offers clear information about:
 •	 What is a mutual exchange
 •	 Who can apply
 •	 Any tenancy rights which may be affected by mutually exchanging your home
 •	 What happens when you find an exchange partner
 •	 Landlords rights to refuse a mutual exchange
 •	 Hints and tips when viewing a home advertised for exchange
 •	 Simple registration process:
   •	 online
   •	 paper form

Building in excellence, working with communities                  8•3
                 •	 Easy search functions for:
                   •	 ‘Find a home’ including maps of property locations
                   •	 Changing application details
                   •	 Removing application details.
                How does HomeSwapper work?
                HomeSwapper (mentioned above) runs a computerised mutual exchange register. If
                you do not have internet access, please call at our offices, where we will be pleased
                to help you.

                HomeSwapper helps tenants exchange homes and covers the whole of the UK. It
                could help you move within your local area or move to a different part of the country.
                It offers the following features:
                 •	 New homes automatically matched to you
                 •	 Email and text match alerts
                 •	 ’My Favourites’ function
                 •	 Maps of property locations
                 •	 Quick registration process

                 •	 Instant access to swappers’ contact details.
                It also produces written details of applicants registered. You can view the register at
                our offices.

                If I carry out a mutual exchange will I lose my Preserved
                Right to Buy?
                If you currently have the Preserved Right to Buy as part of your tenancy rights, you
                will only keep this right if you carry out a mutual exchange to another Luminus home.

                Can you refuse permission for me to carry out a mutual
                We can withhold permission for you to carry out a mutual exchange. Here are a few
                examples of why we might refuse a mutual exchange:

                 •	 A property would be overcrowded or substantially under-occupied
                 •	 One of the properties is unsuitable because it is sheltered accommodation,
                    designed for elderly people or alternatively, it has been adapted specifically for
                    use by a person with disabilities and no such person is in the new household
                 •	 A tenant is subject to a Notice Seeking Possession or a court order.

                                       8 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
We can also give permission for the exchange subject to certain conditions being
met. Examples of conditions would be:
 •	 Payment of rent arrears
 •	 Make good any repairs or improvements to our satisfaction.
If you offer anybody a financial incentive to swap homes with you, this is against
the law and could put your tenancy at risk. We will not be responsible for any work
needed after the mutual exchange, except for our normal repairing obligations.
You are responsible for such things as internal redecoration, or moving kitchen units
to fit your appliances.

Assured Shorthold tenants
If you have an Assured Shorthold tenancy you do not have the right to exchange.

Moving out
This section tells you what you must do before you move out of your home and what
happens during the notice period.

What should I do if I wish to end my tenancy?

                                                                                               MOVIN G HO ME
If you wish to end your tenancy you must notify us, in writing, at least 4 full weeks before
you intend leaving your home. All tenancies begin and end on a Monday and all keys to your
home must be returned by 12 noon on the day that your notice to end your tenancy ends.
If keys are returned after that date (which must be a Monday) you will be charged for
the next week’s rent.
When you give us notice to end your tenancy, we will write to you to explain the
process in detail. We will also send you key tags so that you can make sure that all
keys are labelled clearly with your name and address when you return them to us.

What happens during the notice period?
We will visit you at home, to discuss what you need to do before you leave. During
this visit we will assess what repairs/damage (if any) you are responsible for.
In the meantime we will be identifying a new tenant to move into your home, and by
arrangement with you, will allow them to view the property.

What state do you expect me to leave my home in when I go?
We expect you to leave your former home clean and clear of all your personal
belongings and refuse. This includes the gardens, roof space, and any outbuildings
or sheds. Any repairs not due to fair wear and tear are your responsibility and if they
have to be carried out by us, after you leave, you may be charged for them.

Building in excellence, working with communities                        8•5
                Can I leave items in my home for the new tenant, for
                example a carpet that is in good condition?
                If you want to do this please discuss this with a member of staff who will visit you and
                agree what will be left. If the new tenant does not want the item, and we dispose of it
                later, we may charge you for this.

                I have handed in my notice, but I have a partner/lodger
                living with me who wishes to stay in the property.
                What should I do?
                You must give us vacant possession of your home – you cannot leave other people living
                in it when you leave. If you do this we may need to take court proceedings to regain
                possession of your home. We may then require you to pay our costs and charges for the
                property whilst it cannot be rented to somebody else. Notice to end a tenancy is valid
                even if given by only one of the joint tenants. The other joint tenant will then also have
                to move out when the tenancy ends.

                Who else should I tell that I am moving?
                Remember to tell all organisations who need to know your new address. These may include:

                 •	 The council tax and housing benefits departments of the council
                 •	 The Department for Work and Pensions
                 •	 Electric/gas/telephone/banks and credit companies
                 •	 Social Services
                 •	 School/libraries
                 •	 TV licensing
                 •	 GP, Dentist etc.
                When you leave, please make sure you have:

                 •	 Removed all your possessions and property from home and garden
                 •	 Left no-one in occupation
                 •	 Left all the premises clean and tidy
                 •	 Notified the water, gas and electricity companies
                 •	 Returned to us all the keys to the premises by noon on the tenancy end date
                    (including window locks and shed keys, where applicable)
                 •	 Reinstated any of our fixtures and fittings, making good any damage and any alterations
                 •	 Paid all your rent
                 •	 Given us a forwarding address (in case we have to send on post or make further
                 •	 Left the internal decorations in a good condition.
                                      8 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Resident and
Why do we want to involve
our tenants?

                                                                                        T E N AN T, R E S IDE N T AN D CO MMU N IT Y IN VOLVE ME NT
Luminus aims to provide high quality services
which meet the needs of our customers. Our Tenant,
Resident and Community Involvement Policy and Strategy set
out how we will achieve this by placing our tenants at the heart of our activities.

We value the opinions of our tenants as they are essential in helping to inform
the direction and shape of the services we provide that affect you and your
neighbourhood. We encourage as many tenants as possible to contribute their
views and experience. We recognise that our tenants are individuals with busy lives
and personal commitments. Because of this, we have developed arrangements for
everyone to have a say in a way, at a place and at a time of their choosing. Creating
a rich and varied menu of involvement, training and support opportunities designed
to appeal to all ages and backgrounds has achieved this.

How can you get involved?
We encourage your involvement, and you can get involved by:

 •	 Becoming a Tenant Board Member
 •	 Joining one of the many special interest groups
 •	 Responding to surveys and questionnaires
 •	 Attending Focus Groups to discuss services, policies and other matters
 •	 Becoming a Mystery Shopper (checking out the services we provide)
 •	 Completing other service specific surveys sent out when appropriate
 •	 Taking part in customer surveys
 •	 Forming a residents group in your area.
Our Tenant, Resident and Community Involvement Framework shows the many ways
you can become involved and make a difference to the services we provide.

Building in excellence, working with communities                    9•1

                                                                Tenant, Resident and Community Involvement activities
                                                                All Tenant, Resident and Community Involvement activities are advertised in our
                                                                quarterly magazine, Luminus News. Support, training and out of pocket expenses will
                                                                be provided for all tenants who wish to become involved.

                                                                If you are interested in getting involved or would like further clarification or details
                                                                please contact our Tenant, Resident and Community Involvement Officer on 01480
                                                                428541 or email

                                                                Tenants, Residents and Community Groups
                                                                Luminus is committed to supporting and working closely with tenants, residents and
                                                                community groups that meet our criteria of equal opportunities and work to benefit
                                                                the communities they live in.

                                                                As a tenant you can apply for our help if you are a member of an existing group or
                                                                form a new representative group to benefit the community you live in.

                                                                What is on offer?
                                                                Currently up to £200 towards running costs such as materials, meeting costs and
                                                                general committee expenditure. The grant cannot cover personal expenditure or
                                                                anything which does not benefit the aims or development of the group.

                                                                                       9 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What type of work would the group do?
You would be committed to improve the quality of life in your community.
This may include:

 •	 Providing or improving children’s play areas
 •	 Improving safety and security of residents
 •	 Helping develop youth activities
 •	 Improved landscaping
 •	 Traffic and parking management
 •	 Initiatives to help and support older or more vulnerable residents
 •	 Working with statutory agencies to ensure that services are delivered and

                                                                                  T E N AN T, R E S IDE N T AN D CO MMU N IT Y IN VOLVE ME NT
   are accountable.

What help could we provide you with?
 •	 Basic training in holding meetings and committee skills
 •	 Producing newsletters
 •	 Advice and support in setting up groups
 •	 Support in writing constitutions, putting together basic accounting systems
 •	 Producing publicity materials such as posters and flyers
 •	 Paperwork for meetings such as agendas, minutes and reports.
How can larger projects be funded?
We can help you look for funding opportunities such as the National Lottery
Commission or the Sports Council for larger community projects and also help to
submit funding bids.

Building in excellence, working with communities                   9•3
Housing for
Older People
What is sheltered housing?
Sheltered housing is accommodation
with support services for older people.
The aim of such accommodation is to
enable older people to continue enjoying
life in the community as independently as
possible. Sheltered housing allows you to have
your own front door yet have the reassurance of
help and support when you need it

                                                                                          HO U S IN G FO R O LDE R PE O PLE
All sheltered housing has a dedicated Sheltered Housing Manager who is normally
available from 8.00am until 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

What does the Sheltered Housing Manager do?
The Sheltered Housing Manager plays an essential role in the life of the scheme.
They act as a focal point for delivery of our services to you. Any concerns or problems
you may have, where possible, should always be directed to your Sheltered Housing

Your Sheltered Housing Manager will discuss with you your support needs when
you move into the scheme and whom to contact in the event of an emergency. This
information will be recorded in your Individual Support Plan and it will be reviewed
every six months or sooner if needed. You have the right to ask for a review at
anytime particularly if you feel your needs have changed in any way. The support
provided to you will be flexible as we recognise that people’s needs change over time.

The Sheltered Housing Manager is able to support to you by providing:

 •	 Help to set up and maintain your home
 •	 Help to manage your finances and claim welfare benefits
 •	 Emotional support and advice
 •	 Help in gaining access to other services
 •	 Help in establishing social contacts and activities
 •	 Help in establishing your personal safety and security
 •	 Supervising and monitoring of health and well being

Building in excellence, working with communities                   10 • 1
                                     •	 Peer support and befriending
                                     •	 Advice and support on repair work/home improvement work
                                     •	 Advice, advocacy and liaison
                                     •	 Help to access local community organisations
                                     •	 Good neighbour tasks.
                                    The Sheltered Housing Manager is expected to make contact with you on a daily basis
                                    during the week. This contact can be by a personal visit, meeting you when you are
                                    around the scheme or by talking to you on the intercom. You do not need to have a
                                    personal visit if you do not want one.

                                    What happens if I need help?
                                    If you need emergency assistance, the Sheltered Housing Manager will summon this
                                    for you. In some instances the Sheltered Housing Manager may have a pass key to
                                    your home. In an emergency they may use this key to access your property with the
                                    emergency services or a suitable witness.

                                    As well as providing support services Sheltered Housing Managers are expected to
                                    look after the scheme where you live. The main tasks include:

                                     •	 Reporting repairs and monitoring the service provided to residents
                                     •	 Supervising contractors that do work at the scheme
                                     •	 Making sure the scheme is maintained to a high standard, particularly with regard
                                        to safety and cleanliness
                                     •	 Signing up new residents once they have been offered a home
                                     •	 Completing your support plan and reviewing this twice a year or more often
                                        if required
                                     •	 Ensuring that residents support needs are met.
                                    The Sheltered Housing Managers are expected to promote social activities and
                                    promote opportunities for the wider community to become involved in the life of the

                                                        10 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What is the Sheltered Housing Manager unable to do?
The Sheltered Housing Manager will not carry out the following:

 •	 Give medication
 •	 Provide personal care
 •	 Do shopping
 •	 Collect prescriptions
 •	 Collect pensions
 •	 Cook and prepare meals
 •	 Cleaning.
What facilities are available?
Those schemes with communal facilities mostly have a lounge, kitchen, toilets,
laundry, games/hobbies room, hairdresser and communal gardens.

                                                                                             HO U S IN G FO R O LDE R PE OP LE
The lounge is open to all residents and may be used by the wider community with our
consent and that of the residents.

The Out and About service will host activities for residents and the wider community
in the lounge. A brochure detailing the events and where they are held can usually be
found in the residents’ lounge.

Out and About offers a wide variety of quality activities for the many older, vulnerable
and disabled people living in the area, including days out at various local attractions,
exercise classes, shopping, arts and crafts sessions, bingo and quiz nights. Lunches
at local venues are organised each week, together with tea dances, an afternoon film
club and even computer courses. The project has its own fully accessible mini-bus,
and works closely with social car schemes and Dial-a-Ride to offer suitable transport
to all its members. Luminus understands that one of the biggest barriers that prevent
people from participating in social activities is the cost, and as such has kept it as low
as possible.

Leisure activities are facilitated by the Sheltered Housing Manager and the details
of events can be found on the notice board. Some schemes may have a residents
committee who arrange activities with the assistance of the Sheltered Housing

The laundry is for the use of all residents to do personal washing. The Sheltered
Housing Manager arranges the rota for residents to do their own washing.

The details of the times when the hairdresser is open are available on the notice board.

The gardens are maintained by us and are available for all residents to enjoy.

Building in excellence, working with communities                     10 • 3
                                  How does the emergency alarm service work?
                                  All accommodation has an emergency call alarm cord and pendants are available for
                                  residents to wear around the neck.

                                  In an emergency you would pull a cord or press the button on the pendant. The alarm
                                  system will notify the Sheltered Housing Manager that you need help. When on site
                                  the Sheltered Housing Manager will attend to the emergency.

                                  When the Sheltered Housing Manager is not available or the call is outside normal
                                  working hours the call will be answered by Careline who are our 24 hour call centre.
                                  They will call a carer, doctor or emergency services depending on who is required to
                                  help. Careline will remain on the line until help arrives.

                                  Health and Safety
                                  The Sheltered Housing Manager carries out health and safety checks within the
                                  scheme whilst they are on site. Safety checks include locks, any items which could

                                  represent a fire risk, something that residents could trip or fall over and the fire
                                  equipment. If you think there is something which is a health and safety risk please
                                  contact the Sheltered Housing Manager.

                                  In the event of a fire please stay in your flat. If you are outside your flat please make
                                  your way to the nearest emergency exit.

                                  General Information
                                  Can I keep pets?
                                  Cats and dogs are not allowed in sheltered schemes where the door of your room
                                  opens on to a communal corridor. Residents who live in bungalows are permitted to
                                  keep cats and dogs.

                                  Pets such as small caged birds and animals are allowed.

                                  Owners are expected to be responsible and have consideration for other residents
                                  and ensure their pets do not cause a nuisance.

                                  Who is responsible for cleaning?
                                  We are responsible for the communal areas and the outside of all windows.

                                                       10 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What personal security measures can I take?
The Sheltered Housing Manager is responsible for security within the scheme during
the working week. Residents are encouraged to be vigilant and close any windows
during the evening.

If you notice that doors or gates are not being shut, windows left open or fire exit
doors are being used as a means of entering or leaving the building please notify the
Sheltered Housing Manager immediately.

Residents are requested not to put chains on their doors as this may hinder the
Sheltered Housing Manager and emergency services if they need to access your
property should you need help.

Sales persons are not allowed into sheltered schemes without the permission of the
Sheltered Housing Manager. Residents are encouraged to ask people for identity if
they ask to come into the scheme or are in the corridor. Do not let anyone into your
home without property identity. If you are in doubt do not let them in and pull the
emergency alarm cord.

                                                                                        HO U S IN G FO R O LDE R PE OP LE
Do I have to pay for my television license?
Residents of sheltered schemes who live inside a communal block are normally
entitled to a concessional television license. The Sheltered Housing Manager will
collect this payment from you on an annual basis. Your Sheltered Housing Manager
will tell you when you need to pay.

If you are over 75 years of age your television license is free.

Scheme Notice Boards
All schemes have two notice boards. One is for important information from us relating
to our organisation and services. The information we provide is about our complaints
procedure, our commitment to protecting older people from abuse and how to report
it, health and safety and where you may access cultural and faith services

The other notice board is for residents which show activities at the scheme and items
of interest for all.

For information on rent, service charges, utility charges and Supporting People
charges please see Chapter 6.

Building in excellence, working with communities                   10 • 5
Why we want to hear
from you
Luminus aims to provide high quality
services for all our customers. However,
we want to be aware if people are
dissatisfied with the service received. If
this happens we need to know so we can
put matters right. To let us know you may:

                                                                                           COMMENTS, COMPLIMENTS & COMPLAINTS
 •	 Contact us by telephone or in person at any of our offices or request a home visit
 •	 Write to us
 •	 Use the printed complaint form. You can download a copy of the form from our
    website or request that a copy is sent to you
 •	 Give online feedback.
What do we mean by a complaint?
We define this as dissatisfaction with our standard of service, action or lack of action
by our staff or contractors or our response to a request for service.

For example, a complaint would be if a member of staff had been aggressive or rude
to you whilst you were making an enquiry. You are entitled to make a complaint not
only about a service directly supplied by us but also by any of our contractors.

What we don’t treat as a complaint:
 •	 A request for information or an explanation of our policy or practice
 •	 An initial request for a service, for example a repair to one of our properties
 •	 Factors that are outside our control, for example a defective street light, although
    we will of course pass these on to the right people wherever possible.

Building in excellence, working with communities                    11 • 1
                                     What is the first thing you should do if you are unhappy
                                     about the service we are providing?
                                     We want to do everything we can to find out if something has gone wrong and to put
                                     things right. Our dedicated Customer Relations Officer is here to help. Please contact
                                     us by:

                                      •	 Calling us on 01480 428333 to tell us about why you are unhappy with the
                                      •	 Come in person to our offices at Brook House
                                      •	 Complete an ‘Online feedback’ form which you can access through our website at
                                      •	 Put your issue in writing to us at Luminus Group, Brook House, Ouse Walk,
                                         Huntingdon, PE29 3QW.

                                     Our experience tells us that most enquiries can be dealt with immediately, by for
                                     example, telling you when a repair job is scheduled, or advising you to speak to a
                                     Neighbourhood Officer to deal with a neighbour or tenancy issue. In some cases we
                                     may advise you to contact another organisation – for example, many enquiries we
                                     receive can only be dealt with by Huntingdonshire District Council.

                                     If your enquiry is a Luminus matter and our Customer Services Team are unable to
                                     give you an answer straight away they will forward your enquiry to either the Head of
                                     Maintenance Services or Head of Neighbourhood Services depending upon the type of
                                     issue you are contacting us about.

                                     We will always try to acknowledge your enquiry on the day you make it. We will tell
                                     you who will be dealing with your enquiry. If you are calling us or contacting us by
                                     email we will give you an instant acknowledgement. Where you have written to us or
                                     explained your problem in person to a Luminus representative we will try to contact
                                     you by phone or by email to confirm that we are dealing with your enquiry. Where
                                     this is not possible we will post you an ‘Enquiry Acknowledgement Card’ within 24
                                     hours of your contact with us.

                                     Our Heads of Service will make sure your enquiry is dealt with quickly and effectively.
                                     A member of their team will contact you within a further five working days to tell you
                                     the outcome of your enquiry. We may contact you again in the future to ask for your
                                     views on how well we dealt with your query.

                                                          11 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
What if I am unhappy with the way my enquiry was
We will do everything possible to answer your enquiry to your satisfaction. In some
cases you may not be satisfied with the outcome and you may wish to make a formal
complaint about the service you received.

How the complaints resolution process works
Our complaints resolution process consists of two clear stages that allow your
complaint to be dealt with as effectively as possible.

Stage One
Contact us using any of the methods described at the beginning of the section. A

                                                                                            COMMENTS, COMPLIMENTS & COMPLAINTS
more senior person within Luminus will investigate the issue. We will always aim to
acknowledge your complaint within five working days, advising you of the following:

 •	 The name of the person dealing with your complaint
 •	 The individual reference number your complaint has been given
 •	 The timescale for a full or partial reply.
We will aim to reply to your complaint within a further 21 working days. In some
cases, where the complaint is complex, it may only be possible to provide a partial
reply at this stage. If this is the case we will continue to provide you with regular
updates until a decision has been reached.

Where you are not satisfied with the reply you have received then you can move onto
Stage Two.

Stage Two
If you are not satisfied with the way in which we dealt with your complaint, there are
two options for how your complaint can be looked at again. Please contact us within
21 days from the date you received our decision. You can contact us by calling into
our office, by requesting a home visit, by letter, telephone or email to let us know that
you want your complaint to be reviewed.

At this time please tell us which of the following two options you would prefer for
the review of your complaint.

Building in excellence, working with communities                    11 • 3
                                     OPTION 1 – Investigation of your complaint by an Executive Director

                                     We will aim to acknowledge your request for the matter to be reviewed in this way
                                     within 5 working days of you telling us. We will aim to contact you again within the
                                     next 21 working days to inform you of the progress of the review of your complaint.


                                     OPTION 2 – A personal hearing with the Group Chief Executive and a board
                                     member at Brook House, Huntingdon during business hours

                                     Once you have told us of your decision to have your matter reviewed in this way we
                                     will aim to inform you of the date and time of the hearing within 10 working days.

                                     Your personal hearing must take place within 3 months of you informing us that you
                                     wish your complaint to be reviewed in this way. This time limit cannot be extended.

                                     A detailed reply will be sent to you within a further 10 working days from the date of
                                     your personal hearing.

                                     Independent Housing Ombudsman
                                     If, after you have exhausted the complaints system, you still feel that your complaint
                                     has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Independent Housing
                                     Ombudsman whose address is:

                                     The Housing Ombudsman Service
                                     81 Aldwych
                                     WC2B 4HN

                                     Putting Things Right
                                     If we find that a failure in service has occurred we will attempt to ‘put things right’.
                                     The remedy will differ depending upon the type of complaint.

                                     A remedy might, for example, take the form of a written apology with an explanation
                                     about what has happened. In certain circumstances some form of compensation
                                     might be appropriate and it is recognised that this may not always be financial but
                                     could be to provide replacement items, such as plants that may have been damaged.

                                     Of course, we also appreciate hearing about situations where tenants are pleased
                                     with what we have done, so we can do it again.

                                                          11 • 4 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Persistent Complaints
A persistent complaint is one which:

 •	 Has already been at Stages 1 and 2 and has also been referred to the
    Housing Ombudsman Service
 •	 Is regular, repeated and trivial in nature
 •	 Demands an unreasonable amount of time, communication and contact.
    For example excessive, unreasonable, or unnecessary demands or letters,
    telephone calls, emails, text messages, faxes, office visits or approaches outside of
    the office.

Where we consider a complaint is persistent we will not investigate it further.

Service Standards

                                                                                            COMMENTS, COMPLIMENTS & COMPLAINTS
Luminus Service Standards cover all our main activities and were developed in
partnership with our customers.

Our Service Standards cover:

•	   Customer	service
•	   Equality	and	diversity
•	   Carrying	out	repairs	to	your	home
•	   Dealing	with	anti-social	behaviour
•	   Letting	homes
•	   Collecting	rents	and	service	charges
•	   Getting	involved
•	   Neighbourhood	and	tenancy	management
•	   Leaseholder	issues
•	   Services	for	older	people
•	   Tenancy	support	services.

Our Service Standards form a major part of our commitment to our customers. They
are a benchmark of the Luminus “more excellent way of doing business.”

Our Service Standards are available from Brook House, on our website at or you can request a copy by calling our general enquiries
number on 01480 428777.

Building in excellence, working with communities                    11 • 5

                                     Guide for Tenants 2009   |   11 • 6 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business
Contact Us
How to contact us by
Opening times:
9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Thursday
9:00am to 4:30pm Friday
General Enquiries & Reception:
01480 428777
Repair Requests/Service Centre:
01480 428333
An emergency repair request line is available outside of our opening times:
Out of Hours Emergency Repair:
0207 540 9820

                                                                                     CO N TACT U S
(Please note; the out of hours service will only accept qualifying emergencies
– see Chapter 5 Repairs)

How to contact us by email or our website:
Go to and from the contact us menu of the left hand side,
select Feedback/Request Form. Input the details of your request on the form & then
click the submit button.
Alternatively you can email queries directly to us:

Repair requests:
General comments:

Where you can visit us or write to us
Luminus Group,
Brook House,
Ouse Walk,
PE29 3QW

Building in excellence, working with communities                      12 • 1
                    Important Numbers
                    Below is a list of important numbers
                    to call if you need help

                    POLICE                                          Mental Health & Counselling
                    Emergency                      999              Hunts Mind              01480 470480
                    Non-emergency                  0845 456 456 4   Mind in Cambridge       01223 311320

                    NHS Direct                                      Relationship Issues
                    NHS Direct                     0845 4647        Relate                       0300 1001234

                    Victim Support                                  Samaritans
                    Victim Care Unit               0845 3899523     Samaritans                   08457 909090
                    Victim Support Line            0845 3030900
                                                                    Alcohol Issues
                                                                    Alcoholics Anonymous         0845 7697555

                    Domestic violence
                    Women’s Aid                    0808 2000247
                                                                    Drugs information and advice
                    Water                                           FRANK                   0800 776600
                    Loss of water supply / Blocked drains not
                                                                    Disability Assistance
                    owned by Luminus Group:
                                                                    Cambridge Direct             0845 6502150
                    Anglian Water                0800 145145
                    Cambridge Water              0800 3167676

                    Smell gas?
                    Transco                        0800 111999
                    (freephone, guaranteed attendance within 1hr)

                    EDF energy                     0800 0969000     Other Services

                    Debt/Finance problems                           If there is any other help you need, besides
                    Consumer Credit Counsellling   0800 1381111     the numbers listed above, we may be able
                    National Debtline              0808 8084000     to point you in the right direction.
                    Citizens Advice Bureau         020 7833 2181
                    Christians Against Poverty     0800 3280006     Please call us on 01480 428777 or email
                    Age Concern
                    Age Concern                    01354 696541

                                          12 • 2 Demonstrating a more excellent way of doing business

    De mons t rat i ng a m o re excel l en t w a y o f d o i n g b u s i n e ss
                         w w w.l um i n u s.or g.u k
                          The Luminus Guide for Tenants is printed on Claro Silk
                          The PEFC Council (Programme for the           The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism
                          Endorsement of Forest Certification            to purchasers of wood and paper products
                          schemes) is an independent, non-profit, non-   that they are promoting the sustainable
                          governmental organisation which promotes      management of forests.
                          sustainably managed forests through
                          independent third party certification.         Claro Silk has the PEFC accreditation.

Published by Luminus Group
Registered Office Brook House
Ouse Walk, Huntingdon PE29 3QW
Tel: 01480 428777 • Fax: 01480 428555
Email: •

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