Rights up my street: tenants

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This information is a summary and does not replace your tenancy agreement. If you have any questions or need advice you should our Customer Services Team.

Rights and responsibilities

THH is responsible for maintaining your home and the services connected to it.

 Your responsibilities are to:

  • Use the property as your only or main home.
  • Pay your rent and other charges on time and in full.
  • Look after your home and keep it in good condition.
  • Have consideration for those living around you.
  • Be responsible for your visitors.
  • Seek our permission if you want to keep any sort of pet, carry out alterations or rent out a room.
  • Keep us informed of any changes in your household circumstances.
  • Let us know in advance if you intend to move out and end your tenancy.

 Our responsibilities are to:

  • Consult you before making any changes to your tenancy.
  • Keep the condition and structure of your home in good repair.
  • Inform you in advance of any changes to your rent or other charges.
  • Maintain the services to your flat, building and estate, for example, caretaking.
  • Give adequate notice if we need access to your flat to carry out works or inspections other than in emergency situations.
  • Keep you informed about any changes to what we do or how you can contact us.
  • Keep an accurate record of your contact details and allow you to access the information about you on file and update if necessary.

Types of tenancy

You become a tenant when you sign a tenancy agreement and live in the property as your home. Your tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and the Council and tells you all the rules about living in your property. It also lists the services you are entitled to in return for the rent and other charges you pay.

There are two types of tenancy agreements depending on how long you have been a council tenant. If you have had your tenancy for at least 12 months you will normally be a secure tenant. If you have been a tenant for less than 12 months, you will probably be a probationary tenant.

Probationary tenants have fewer rights than secure tenants – but as long as you do not break any of the tenancy conditions during the 12 month trial period, you will automatically become a secure tenant.

 Rights and responsibilities included within your tenancy agreement:

You have the right to



Live peacefully in your home   without being unnecessarily interrupted by us or disturbed by your   neighbours.



Carry out your own home   improvements after gaining our permission first.



Rent out a room, after   checking with us first.



Apply to exchange or swap   properties with another tenant, after checking with us first.



Buy your home under the   Right to Buy scheme if you meet certain criteria.



Be consulted about any   proposed changes to the services you receive.



Have certain repairs carried   out (further information is available in your Repairs Booklet).



Pass your tenancy onto a   family member who lives with you when you die (certain rules apply).



Appeal against decisions we   make that you do not agree with.




Paying your rent

Tenants need to pay rent to live in their home – rent covers the cost of the building and services provided to it such as repairs and maintenance. Visit thh.org.uk/tenants for details on how to pay rent and other charges.

Home improvements

Alterations can be carried out to improve your home but you must ask our permission before starting any works. We normally agree but if we say no, we will provide the reason in writing. You may also need planning permission and building regulations approval from the Council before you can make certain alterations. Further advice can be found by contacting Tower Hamlets Council.


THH is responsible for maintaining the structure and outside of your home including heating facilities and communal areas such as lifts, stairwells, lighting and alarm systems. In addition, we carry out a gas safety check each year. We provide a 24 hour, seven days a week telephone service to report repairs on 0800 376 1637 (free from landlines) or 020 7364 5015. You can also report repairs online at my.thh.org.uk.

We offer a choice of three appointment time slots Monday to Friday: Morning (8am to 10.30am), mid-day (10.30am to 2.30pm) or afternoon (2.30pm to 5pm).

We will complete the appointment when we say we will and aim to complete your repair correctly on first visit whenever we can.

You are responsible for maintaining the inside of your property (excluding fire doors and kitchen doors), including the following:

  • Blockages to sinks, baths and basins where you caused this blockage
  • The repair or replacement of draught excluders
  • The repair or replacement of internal glazing (except to make safe in which case this work will be charged to you)
  • Wall tiles (except splash backs)
  • Gates, garden paths and fences (except those leading to the property or adjacent to public walkways or play area)
  • Kitchen furniture (except damaged worktops as a result of normal wear and tear)
  • Faulty external door furniture not fitted by us (except Yale locks or night latch locks)
  • Renewal of any lock required as a result of lost or damaged keys
  • The repair and replacement of plugs and chains for sanitary ware

Paying for damage

You must pay us the cost of:

  • Special cleaning if you have allowed your home to become dirty or infested
  • Special cleaning if you do not clear the local area after your pet has fouled
  • Repairing any damage done to your home or its fixtures or fittings caused by your misuse
  • Replacing any of the council’s fixture or fittings removed while you are living in the property unless you got our written permission
  • Clearing any blocked toilets, drains, or rubbish chutes caused by your misuse or carelessness


Fly-tipping is a fineable offence. If you dump any items in a communal area you will be committing an offence and will be fined and charged for removing the items you have dumped.

If you have information about fly-tipping, please contact us. All calls are treated confidentially.

Fire safety

Fires can seriously injure or even be lethal. Be aware of fire safety in your home and help avoid danger. The London Fire Brigade campaign includes a reminder that it is important to keep communal areas and escape routes clear. Please take a few minutes to read these simple steps to help prevent fires from happening:

  • Fit smoke alarms on each level of your home and test them once a week. The Fire Brigade provides FREE home fire safety checks and will give you a free smoke alarm. You can book an appointment online at www.london-fire.gov.uk or phone them on 0800 028 4428.
  • If you are a Council tenant there should already be a smoke alarm installed in your flat. If not, please contact the THH Housing Service Centre on 020 7364 5015.
  • Make sure that you have closed all the internal doors before going to bed.
  • Take care in the kitchen – accidents whilst cooking account for nearly 60% of fires in the home. Never leave your cooking unattended and take extra care with hot oil.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully. Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Be careful not to overload electrical sockets.
  • Do not store flammable liquids such as petrol in your home, bin store or chutes.

For further information on what to do if there is a fire in your property or block, visit thh.org.uk or call the Tower Hamlets Fire Safety Team on 020 8555 1200.

Home ownership

You can buy your home from us as long as you have been a tenant for at least five years. Some homes, such as purpose built ones for people with disabilities cannot be bought. The Right to Buy scheme offers eligible secure tenants the opportunity to buy their current home at a lower price than the full market value. To find out more about how the Right to Buy scheme works and discuss what options you have contact us on 020 7364 5015.