Our Self-Service Centre

What happens to my Application?

Kirklees/Calderdale

When we receive your application form our lettings team will assess your circumstances to determine whether or not your application can be included onto our waiting list. If it is clear that we are unable to help you, you will be notified in writing – we do not want to raise your hopes unnecessarily when it is clear to us that you stand little or no chance of being rehoused.

We aim to process your application within 10 working days.

Leeds

You should submit your completed application to a (LCC) Local Housing Office or One Stop Centre. You will then receive confirmation in writing from Leeds City Council with your bidding number. If you haven’t received confirmation from the Council within 10 working days, you can ring our hotline and we can tell you your bidding number.

What happens if my circumstances change?

It is vital that you inform us of any changes in your circumstances, as it may improve your chances of being rehoused. Please ring us on 0300 5000 600.

What happens when I am considered for a property?

If you are shortlisted for a vacancy we will invite you to attend an interview at our office where we will be able to discuss your particular housing requirements and take up references. This interview does not guarantee a final offer of accommodation.

What happens if I am made an offer?

We will:
– Tell you how much the rent and any service charge will be.
– Make sure that you have the opportunity to view the property.
– Tell you when the tenancy will need to start.
– Give you two working days to decide if you want to accept the offer.

If you decide to accept the offer you will need to come into our office to go through the sign-up process.

At the sign-up we will give you a copy of your tenancy agreement and the Tenants’ Handbook and take time explaining them to you.

What kind of quality can I expect of my new home?

We aim to make sure that the property you are moving into is clean and empty. We will also make sure all major repairs have been carried out.

Some minor repairs may need to be done after you have moved in, but we will have agreed these works with you and we will make sure they are carried out soon after you have moved in.

Your new home will probably need decorating to your taste, which is your responsibility.

Do I have to move in straight away?

No, but you will be responsible for the rent from the start of the tenancy and you must tell us if you don’t plan to move in straight away as we may think that you have surrendered your tenancy (i.e. left without telling us) and serve a 4-week Notice to Quit to end your tenancy.

If you claim Housing Benefit, you need to inform the Housing Benefit office as soon as you move in. If you do not claim benefit at your new address from the start of your tenancy or for a period of absence, it may affect your Housing Benefit, leaving you with arrears to pay.

How do I get Gas, Electricity and Telephone supplied to me?

It is your responsibility to pay for the gas and electricity you use. Let the suppliers of all these services know that you are the new tenant. You may also need to make arrangements to get supplies connected. Even if the supplies are already connected, don’t put off contacting the suppliers to get the meters read because you could end up being incorrectly charged for the bills of previous tenants. Read the meter as soon as you can and keep a note of the meter reading so that you can tell the supplier when you contact them.

It is sometimes difficult to know if the previous tenant switched supplier and who the supplier is. The Association may not know. To find out call:

– Gas – Transco M number enquiry – 0870 608 1524

– Electric – CE Electric UK – 0845 3300 889

If you need more advice about switching suppliers, contact Energy Watch on 0800 451 451 or 0800 88 7777. You can also contact Joanne Wilson at Connect on 0300 5000 600 for specialist advice on energy efficiency in your home.

How do I get heating and hot water in my home?

Make sure that you know how your heating and hot water systems work. If you are not sure, a contractor from Sure Group can go through this with you when they come to uncap the gas supply. The Lettings Officer should be able to show you where the stopcock taps for water and gas are located when you first move in to the property.

You will not be able to use the gas supply until we have tested it. Our gas safety contractor Sure Group will carry out the test at an agreed date and time slot to suit you between 9.00am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. Please call Sure Group on 0333 777 7876 at least 24 hours before you would like them to attend. Please note that you must have the gas and electricity supply registered in your name before Sure Group can carry out your gas test.

How do I find local Doctors and Dentists?

It is important to find out where your nearest doctors and dentists are (you could ask neighbours for recommendations). It is best to register with them straight away rather than wait until you are ill, especially for dentists. If you are unsure what surgeries there are in your area, call the NHS Helpline on 0845 4647.

I don’t have much furniture. Where do I find some that I can afford?

If you need help to obtain furniture phone 0300 5000 600 to speak to a Housing Liaison Officer. They can refer you to one of our support team who may be able to help put you in touch with people who can offer second-hand furniture.

What is rent?

The total rent is made up of the ‘net rent’ and, where applicable, service charges. Not everyone has a service charge (it depends on the services provided).

The net rent covers things like loan repayments (taken to build our properties), maintenance costs, staff costs and insurance.

What is a Service Charge?

The service charge covers the costs of providing services such as Care-Line and gardening.

If we include a service charge in your rent, we will provide you with a list of the services and an annual charge break-down (a service charge schedule).

In some cases this may include fuel and water rates where there are shared meters. This will appear on your Tenancy Agreement and Service Charge Schedule if it applies to you.

How is the rent and service charge set?

Connect’s assured rents are calculated using the Government’s ‘target rent’ method of setting rents. The aim is to make rents affordable, fair and consistent. This means that the rent for your home will reflect the property’s size, location and condition, and the average income of people living in the same county. Fair rents are set by the Rent Officer service.

Service Charges are set by the Association to pay the costs of providing any communal services.

When is my rent due?

Your rent is due in advance every Monday unless you have made specific arrangements to pay monthly. To do this or to confirm how much you have to pay, please speak to a Housing Liaison Officer on 0300 5000 600.

What are ‘rent payment holidays’?

Your rent is calculated so that there are four weeks in the year when no charge is made. This is to acknowledge that these may be times of high expenditure for you which may coincide with national holidays.

If your rent account is in arrears, you should continue to make payments to your rent account during the “rent payment holiday” in order to reduce your arrears.

Can I charge someone rent if they come and live with me (i.e. take in a lodger)?

Yes, as long as (a) it does not lead to overcrowding, (b) you do not grant them a tenancy and (c) you do not live in older person’s, adapted or supported housing. Before the intended lodger moves in you must tell us their name and date of birth by calling us on 0300 5000 600.

If you want to issue a tenancy to part (but not all) of your home, i.e. sub-let, you must write and request our written permission. If we refuse, we will write to advise of our reasons. If you do not hear from us within one month, you should assume we have not given consent and should contact us for more details.

Please note: taking a lodger or sub-letting may affect your Housing Benefit, and your lodger/sub-let tenant cannot stay in the property when you leave.

What do I do about Insurance?

We insure the building for fire and flood. So if you have a fire or there is a major flood, we will repair the damage caused to the building and the fixtures we supply e.g. kitchen. We do not insure your contents. You must do that.

The National Housing Federation offers a home insurance policy specifically for tenants and leaseholders. They can be contacted on 0845 337 2463 and will send you an easy to fill in application form. Click here for further information on My Home insurance.

Do I have to pay Council Tax?

All tenants aged 18 and above are responsible for paying Council Tax. Tell the Council Tax office of your Local Authority that you are the new tenant. You can arrange to pay your Council Tax in monthly instalments. It’s better to sort this out quickly as you could face a large bill later if you do nothing. You can get help to pay the charge (Council Tax Benefit) if you are on a low income. Ask a Housing Liaison Officer by calling us on 0300 5000 600.

Do I have to pay Water Rates?

The water rates for your home are your responsibility. Charges are payable to Yorkshire Water. You can arrange to pay them in instalments (call them on 0845 124 2424). Depending on the age of your home, you may have a water meter. If so, you will also need to make sure that the meter is read. Some properties have communal meters and water charges will be included in the sevice charge as part of your rent. We will notify you if you have a communal water meter or an individual water meter when your tenancy starts. If your home doesn’t have a water meter, the water company will only need to know the date you moved into the property to work out the water rates for the year.

Do I need a TV Licence?

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to
– watch or record live TV programmes on any channel (including BBC)
– download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

This applies to any provider you use and any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

What is live TV and when do I need a licence for it?

Live TV means any programme you watch or record as it’s being shown on TV or live on any online TV service. It’s not just live events like sport, news and music. It covers all programmes on any channel, including soaps, series, documentaries and even movies.

If you are unsure or need more information you can log on to www.tvlicensing.co.uk or ring 0870 240 1674.

Can Connect come into my home without my permission? Do you keep keys to my home?

No, on both counts, while you are living there. We can only enter your home without your permission if the courts grant us an Order to do so.

We only keep keys to communal areas, so if you lose your keys, we can’t cut you a spare set. Always keep spare keys with friends or family.

When do you have the right to ask me to leave my home?

You have ‘security of tenure’ which means that we cannot just ask you to leave. It means that we have to do the following if we want you to leave your home:

– If we think that you have left without telling us (called surrending the property) or if you die and there has been no-one living with you who has the right to take on the tenancy, we can end this agreement by serving a 4-week Notice to Quit at your address. In the case of surrender, you have the 4-week period to make contact with us to advise us that you have not surrendered your tenancy. If you do not, the tenancy is ended and we will take possession of your home.

– If you break your Tenancy Agreement, e.g. you do not pay your rent or you cause anti-social behaviour, and you refuse to come to an agreement with us, we may serve a Notice of Seeking Possession (which is normally 4 weeks). If you do not come to an agreement with us during this time, we may apply to court to obtain a court order for possession on one of the grounds listed in your agreement. The court may grant:

~ A suspended possession order which will require you to do some-thing to avoid losing your home e.g. pay the rent. If you do not do what is required, we may apply to evict you.
~ An immediate possession order which will end the tenancy immediately (or within a specified number of days). At this point you should leave your home. If you do not leave, we will apply to evict you.

Assured Shorthold tenancies maybe ended by serving a two months’ notice.

Please be assured that eviction is the last resort and we will try to work with you to avoid it. Please NEVER ignore our letters or telephone calls. It may be a difficult period for you and you may be worried about speaking to us, but we want to help.

How do I change the name on my tenancy agreement and the records you hold?

Call in to see a Housing Services Advisor with legal proof of your change of name e.g. your marriage certificate or deed poll notification. We cannot do this without legal documentation.

Can I keep a pet?

Before you get a pet you must write to Connect and get written permission from us. See our homepage for details of our address.

Can I work from or run a business from home?

If you want to work from home permanently, especially if you want to run a business from home, you must write to us with the details and get our written consent. If we do give permission and your business disturbs your neighbours (such as noise from cars parcar parking, noise, visitors), we may require you to stop.

What happens to my tenancy if I die?

In the unfortunate event of your death, various things can happen.

– If you lived alone, the Tenancy will end but, by law, we have to formally serve notice on your estate to officially end the Tenancy. We will serve a Notice to Quit at your address which will give your family or executors of your will four weeks to clear your home of your belongings. The estate will be liable for the rent during that time. Your family/friends must remove all of your possessions and leave the property clean and tidy. They should return all of the keys to our office. If they discuss it with us, we may be able to accept the return of the keys and end the rent liability before the four weeks has expired.

– If you are a joint tenant, and the other tenant survives, they can bring a copy of your death certificate to us and we will remove your name from the Tenancy and our records, creating a sole tenancy. This is classed as succession.

– If you have a husband, wife, partner or civil partner who was not a joint tenant and if s/he lives in your home as his or her only or main home when you die (and has done for the previous 12 months), as long as you did not get the tenancy through the death of a partner or family member, they can take on the tenancy. This is called Succession. They must notify us immediately (within one month) and bring a copy of the death certificate into our offices.

– If you are a sole tenant and you are not married nor have a partner living with you but you do have a close family member (such as a son/daughter/parent/brother/sister/grandchild—over 18) who lived with you for at least 12 months ending with the date of your death and lives in your home as their only or main home when you die, then we will consider granting a new tenancy of your home to him/her, as long as you did not get the tenancy through the death of a partner or family member. They must ask us to consider this immediately (within one month) and bring a copy of the death certificate. There is only one Right of Succession for each tenancy.

Is the information I give you confidential?

Yes. We won’t discuss personal information you give us unless:

– you give us permission to do so;

– we are obliged to share information with agencies such as the Police or Housing Benefit for the prevention and detection of crime, fraud or anti-social behaviour;

– there is a serious risk to the health and safety of you or others if we do not share the information;

– we have an information sharing protocol with agencies who also comply with the Data Protection Act such as utility companies.

Please note this means that if you want someone else (such as a friend, family, advice worker or solicitor) to discuss any aspect of your tenancy with us, you will have to give us written permission to talk with them.

If you leave your home owing money for gas, electricity or water bills and the utility company tries to charge the Association for your bill, we will share information about your tenancy with them.

We will also provide your telephone number to our maintenance contractors to arrange access for repairs.

Can I look at the information you hold about me?

Yes. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you can write to request to look at information about you which we have (except for information provided to us in confidence). We will arrange a date for you to come into the office and may charge an administration fee (because we have to remove third party correspondence) which we will advise you of. You can correct or record any disagreement with any information held by us but cannot remove it. Please note that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply to Housing Associations.