We hope that you are happy in your home

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1 Moving home

2 We hope that you are happy in your home We recognise that there may come a time when you might want to move. This may be to a local authority or housing association property through mutual exchange, moving to another home or buying your own home. We want to ensure that you are able to move with as little fuss and cost to yourself as possible. Caution: Remember your rights and tenancy conditions may change when you move. Always seek advice about this first. You can visit or talk to the Housing team for more information. Moving to rented housing You can swap your home with another tenant. There is a national scheme for people who want to mutually exchange homes, called Homeswapper, where you can register your details and search for a suitable exchange partner: You and your exchange partners will each need written consent from your own landlords. Caution: You should check the other tenant s property carefully as you will be accepting it in its current condition and will take over responsibility for alterations by the other tenant or damage they may have caused. You will not be able to move to another property or bid for properties if you have arrears. Westward advertises all its properties on Devon Home Choice ( and Cornwall Homechoice ( which are choice-based lettings schemes. You will need to register with them if you wish to find a different empty property. Westward is committed to treating all people with fairness and respect. We aim to actively help remove barriers and open doors for our customers and staff and foster good relations within the communities we serve. 2

3 Buying a home If you are unable to buy your own home or rent a good quality home on the open market, then you may be eligible to purchase or rent a home through a government-run low cost housing scheme. If you would like to know more about the schemes available and see if you are eligible for one, please visit or you can call Moving out Your obligations are set out in your tenancy agreement. You need to pay your rent and service charge in full including the day you hand back the keys. You need to give us your forwarding address, hand back your keys on moving day and remember to pay your utility bills and council tax. You must give at least one month s written notice if you have a monthly tenancy, or four weeks notice for a weekly tenancy. If you give less notice than this, or hand in your keys early, Westward will charge you rent for the full notice period. Caution: Before your tenancy ends you need to pay all rent and service charges owing. If you do not, we will pursue you for payment and may use a debt collection agency and/or take legal action if it becomes necessary. If you receive any benefits, you will need to tell the government agency that you are moving. If you move out before your notice ends, you may not qualify for benefit for the remaining period of your notice. What happens if I do not leave my home in satisfactory condition? We will carry out any work which is needed, and send you the bill. Under your tenancy agreement you will be responsible for paying this within 28 days or we will use a debt collection agency and / or take legal action. 3

4 Making sure your home is in good condition You must leave your home in good decorative order. Completely clear out all furniture, personal belongings, and any items you do not want, including rubbish. This includes clearance of any loft, outbuilding or garden. The only exceptions are items which you have agreed with us or the new tenant to leave for them, or which belong to Westward. Do not leave any items or rubbish in common areas. Take these to the nearest waste disposal site, or your local council can arrange collection of bulky items before you move. We will not accept responsibility for any items left behind. We will dispose of them without warning. The garden must be left in good order, clean and tidy. Grass should be cut, and cultivated areas weeded. Repairs Before leaving, you must do any repairs which are your responsibility, to the standard required by Westward. Some examples are repairing or replacing: Broken or damaged sinks, basins, baths, toilets worktops or kitchen units. Broken or cracked window glass. Holes in plasterwork or doors. Broken light fittings. If we need to carry out any repairs as a result of neglect or misuse before the property can be re-let, you will be charged for the cost. 4

5 Alterations Before you leave, we will check any alterations you have made. We will tell you if you need to do any work to bring these up to an acceptable standard. For example: any replacement heating appliances you have installed and are now intending to remove must be replaced with the original appliance or a similar appliance agreed by Westward. All work to gas appliances and pipework must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. All work to electrical appliances and installations must be carried out by a NICEIC accredited electrician. In either case, we will require written proof of accreditation, and a copy of the bill showing the work which has been carried out, before accepting replacement appliances. If this is not provided, we will carry out our own safety testing and the cost of this, and any remedial work require, will be charged to you. Leaving your home in safe condition You must make sure: All open gas supplies are capped off by the Gas Safe registered engineer. All open water pipes (e.g. pipes left from showers and automatic washing machines) are capped off. Disconnection of electrical appliances is carried our by a NICEIC qualified electrician and all wiring left safe. All meters are read, supplies turned off on departure and the suppliers notified. This will ensure that you only get billed for the fuel which you have used. All windows and doors are closed and secure, and that you return all your window keys. The water is turned off at the stopcock. 5

6 Before you move out You must allow our employees and contractors into the property, at reasonable times, to inspect it before you leave. You must allow us to show possible new tenants around the property at reasonable times (a member of staff will pre-arrange suitable times with you). Hand in your keys Return your keys to us by the date your tenancy ends. If we do not receive them, you will be charged extra rent up to the time we are able to gain access to the property. We will also charge for the cost of any changes to communal locks and the provision of keys to other residents that may result from them not being returned. Forward your post Make sure everyone who needs to know, including us, has your new address. You can arrange for the Post Office to forward your mail, charges vary according to how long you have this service. We do not accept responsibility for your post once you move. Disconnect your phone Make sure any landline is disconnected so your contract ends and you cannot be charged for any further calls. 6

7 Pay utility bills Notify your utility company of your outgoing meter reading and make arrangements to pay your outstanding bills. You will need to take gas, electricity and water readings at your old address just before you leave and give these to each of the service suppliers. If you have not informed them of your outgoing meter reading you will be liable to pay all electricity usage until the new tenant moves in. We will inform the company of your forwarding address when we notify them of the new tenant s details and meter reading at the start of their tenancy. Gas / Electricity Please note your supplier may also be the same at your new property, but the change-over may not have taken place by the time you move in. You will need to contact them to check the progress of the change-over. If your meter point reference number (MPRN) is not printed on a recent gas bill you can find it out by calling Transco on The MPRN is the unique identifier for your gas supply point and the identity of the current registered gas supplier at your premises. Water If you are moving house, want to discuss or set up a payment plan, or if you have any queries or concerns about your account or water meter, call South West Water, Tel: or Minicom:

8 If a tenant living on their own dies There is often a lot to do and so we hope the following points will help explain what to do to end their tenancy without adding to your burden too much. This is a very distressing time for family and friends. We would ask that the nearest relative, or person acting on behalf of the person who has died, gives us four weeks or one month s notice to end the tenancy. We need to see the tenant s death certificate. If the tenant was receiving any benefits, the Benefits Office needs to be notified of the date of death. Any outstanding balance before the end of the rent period will have to be paid. This should come out of the estate money, if there are insufficient funds we will need to see evidence of this. If four weeks or one month is not long enough please contact us to discuss it. Housing: Text: with your name, address, phone number and brief outline of query. If you have hearing problems, please use the RNIDTypetalk service on (textphone users) or (hearing people). Westward, Templar House, Collett Way, Newton Abbot TQ12 4PH If you or someone you know would like this Moving Home leaflet on CD, in large print, in Braille, or translated into another language please contact our Communications Team on or July Westward includes: Westcountry Housing and Support, Tarka Housing, Horizon Homes and Help to Buy South West. Westward Housing Group Ltd (exempt charity), Templar House, Collett Way, Newton Abbot TQ12 4PH. Westcountry Housing Association Ltd (exempt charity),address as Westward. Tarka Housing Association Ltd (exempt charity), Tarka House Clovelly Road Industrial Estate Bideford EX39 3HN.

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