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Tenants' rights and responsibilities

If you are a council tenant, you have certain rights and responsibilities. Your rights depend on the type of tenancy that you hold. There are three types of tenancy agreement:

Your responsibilities are:

  • to pay your rent on time and make arrangements to pay any other debts you may have with the council
  • to keep your home and garden (if you have one) reasonably clean
  • not to disturb or harass your neighbours.

A full description of your rights and responsibilities can be found in your tenancy agreement.

Introductory tenancy agreement

If you are a new council tenant, you will be asked to sign an introductory tenancy agreement. This is a trial tenancy that lasts for approximately one year. It gives you most of the same rights as a secure council tenancy. If you break the conditions of the tenancy and this breach is serious enough and proportional, the council will apply to the courts for a mandatory possession order. As long as you do not break your tenancy agreement while you are an introductory tenant, you will automatically become a secure tenant. The Council can also extend the introductory terms by six months if it is not satisfied with the conduct of your tenancy. Tenants have the opportunity for such extensions to be reviewed.

Secure tenancy agreement

After a year as an introductory tenant and providing you have not broken the rules of the introductory tenancy, your tenancy agreement will be converted to secure. Once you become a secure tenant, you will gain the right to apply for a transfer or mutual exchange or to buy your property from the council.

Demoted tenancy

A demoted tenancy is a one-year, probationary council tenancy. The council uses demoted tenancies if tenants have been involved in anti-social behaviour.

View Medway Council's Housing Services' Anti-social behaviour policy.

Demoted tenants can be evicted much more easily than secure council tenants. Your tenancy can only be demoted by court order. This means that the council has to provide evidence to show why it has asked for your tenancy agreement to be demoted.

Find out more about the independent advice on tenancy agreements and your rights as a tenant that is available to you locally or from Shelter.

Your right to repairs

The tenant welcome pack and your tenancy agreement gives you information about the repairs that you are responsible for, which usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause. The council is usually responsible for most other repairs, including any problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork. It also has to ensure that the plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

If your home needs repairs, report the problem to the council immediately. There is a 24-hour service for emergency repairs.

Your right to be involved in housing management

Council tenants and leaseholders have the right to have a say in how the properties that they live in are managed. This is called tenant and resident involvement and it helps to make sure that the service provided by the housing department is always improving. The council believes that the more it involves tenants in what it does, the more satisfied they will be with the services it offers. This is why it provides plenty of opportunities for participation. If tenants want to play an active role in developing new tenant services or housing management, the council will give them all the help and support it can.