Tenant's Handbook

+ Contact us

For any housing service enquiries please email the housing services team or call 01233 330688. In an emergency outside of office hours (8:30am-4pm) please call 01233 629911.

Alternatively, you can write to: Housing, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL.

Alternative formats
This page can be translated using the 'Select Language' tool in the top left hand corner of this page. However, if you need this information in a different format, please call 01233 331111.

Do not allow anyone into your home without correct identification. All employees of Ashford Borough Council and their contractors will carry identification, which will include a photograph. Contractors should be wearing company-identifiable uniform and all vehicles should bear the company's name. If you are in any doubt, please contact the housing team on 01233 330688 who should be able to confirm if the caller is genuine.

+ Paying your rent and service charges

You will be charged rent for 52 weeks throughout the year. Your rent is due weekly on a Monday, however, you can make an agreement to pay fortnightly, four weekly, or per calendar month with your Neighbourhood Housing Officer. 

We will send you four statements per year, but you can request an additional statement by calling 01233 330688.

You can pay your rent in the following ways:
  • By direct debit or standing order
  • Pay your rent online
  • By using your rent card at your local Post Office, PayPoint outlet, or the Civic Centre
  • Over the telephone by calling 01233 330625
  • You can also pay by credit card, but this is not recommended as a charge is made for paying by this method and you could also be charged interest

Claiming Universal Credit

If you are entitled to claim Universal Credit to help towards your rent you will need to visit the Job Centre to make a claim or change your address and payable rent. While you are waiting for your claim to be processed you need to be making payments towards your rent account. Visit the government website to complete an application.

What could happen if I don't pay my rent?
If you have problems paying your rent the most important thing to do is contact us. We will be able to discuss the problems you are experiencing and offer practical help and advice. 

We will work with you to resolve your rent arrears. However, if arrears continue to rise a notice will be served advising of our intention to proceed with court action to recover the debt and obtain a possession order, which may ultimately lead to you being evicted from your home.

The best way to avoid this is to keep in contact with us and not ignore the problem.

+ Things you need to do before you move into your new home

We want your move into your new home to be as successful as possible. There are a few things you must do before you move to your new home:

Call 0870 608 1524 to find out who supplies your gas. You can choose to change supplier if a different one suits you better. You can also change between key, card and quarterly payments. You may need to order a new payment card for this as the existing key or card may have debt on it.

Call the Meter Point Administration Service on 0845 601 5467 or visit the UK Power Networks website who can help find out which company is currently supplying your electricity.

Call our heating and hot water maintenance contractor on 0800 206 1371 to arrange for them to turn on and test your gas boiler. This must be done for your health and safety. The boiler cannot be used before it has been checked by our contractor.

+ Things you must do after moving into your new home

You'll need to contact the council's finance department and set up your new council tax account. This can be done by calling 01233 331111 or you can use our change of address form.

You'll need to check your bin collection day.

Contact the relevant water companies to set up your payment accounts for water supply and sewerage. You can visit the Southern Water website or call Southern Water on 0845 270 1508.

Ensure that you have home contents insurance for your property. Crystal Insurance Scheme specialise in home insurance for Local Authority tenants.

Arrange for your post to be forwarded from your previous on the Royal Mail website.

Apply for a TV licence or to have an existing licence transferred to your new home. You can also call TV Licencing on 0300 790 6165.

+ Repairs and maintenance to your home

Who is responsible for the repairs to your home?
You are responsible for keeping the inside of your home and your garden – including boundary walls, fences and gates – in good condition. You will also be responsible for some repairs. Details of these can be found on our repairs and maintenance page.

We will carry out any repairs for which we are responsible and rely on you to report any faults as promptly and accurately as you can.

Please make sure you are at home to let the contractor in at the agreed time. We prioritise our repair requests so that we can address those that are urgent first.

How do I report a repair?
You can report your repair online, or you can call us on 01233 330366.

How soon will my repair be completed?
  • Emergency repairs will be carried out within two to 24 hours.
  • Urgent repairs will be attended within five working days.
  • Routine repairs will be carried out within 28 days.

+ Living in your community

Being a good neighbour is treating someone as you would expect to be treated yourself. This will help to create a safe and welcoming environment for you and your neighbours to live.

Working with our partners

We work closely with a number of partners (including Kent County Council, Kent Fire & Rescue Service and Kent Police) to help ensure your community is a safe and happy place to live. 

If a crime is being committed call 101 if it is not urgent or 999 in an emergency.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is a crime and has a profound effect on many families and individuals.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse you can contact Kent Police in confidence on 101 or, if an emergency, 999.

We can also offer advice and support through our Domestic Violence Prevention Officer. We also work closely with other organisations and can make relevant referrals to help you. All reports of domestic abuse will be dealt with in a sensitive manner and in confidence. 

You can speak to our Domestic Violence Prevention Officer by calling the housing services team on 01233 330688.

Or you may prefer to call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Dementia friendly Kent

This is a confidential service offering support and guidance for people with dementia and their carers. Between 9am to 5pm all calls are taken by qualified staff who are able to:

  • Source and phone/email back relevant information
  • Discuss any concerns
  • Signpost to relevant services offering local support
  • Listen and offer confidential emotional support

+ Anti-social behaviour

We do not tolerate any acts of anti-social behaviour and will take action where it is proven the tenant has conducted or allowed anti-social behaviour to take place within the property or the neighbourhood. 

What is your responsibility?

Tenants are responsible for the behaviour of all members of their household, including children, and for the behaviour of visitors to the property. Tenants should be aware that if they, their family or visitors cause any sort of nuisance, they may be breaking the council's conditions of tenancy, and could ultimately lead to legal proceedings including the risk of eviction. 

What should you do if you are affected by anti-social behaviour?

If you think your neighbour is causing anti-social behaviour, firstly, you should approach them and politely explain what is of concern to you. If you have approached your neighbour and the situation does not improve, or you feel that you cannot approach him or her, you should contact your Neighbourhood Housing Officer.

Points to remember

Noise will be transmitted through the walls as walls are rarely completely sound-proof. All tenants should be aware that even sound from a radio or television after 11pm can cause disturbance to their immediate neighbours, let alone DIY activities. Children will play outside for longer in the summer and when all the windows are open, the noise will seem louder.

When the council will not take action

  • If we do not consider a complaint to be anti-social behaviour
  • If no one is willing to keep diary sheets and/or to attend court, if required
  • When the dispute is between two neighbours and there is insufficient evidence to support either party's allegations
  • If the complaints are considered to be unreasonable, taking into account the nature of the alleged nuisance and the mix of property and family types in the area
  • View our anti-social behaviour policy [docx] 68KB to see the action steps and processes that will be taken against anti-social behaviour.

Read about Ashford Mediation.

+ Moving on

How can I apply for a move?

If you decide you want to apply for a move, you will need to complete a Choice Based Lettings form on the Kent Home Choice website.

Transferring to a new home

As an existing tenant, with a secure tenancy, you can apply online through Kent Home Choice for a transfer to a new home, providing you meet certain criteria.

Mutual exchange

You may have the right to exchange with another secure council tenant or an assured housing association tenant. Find out more on Homeswapper or Facebook.

Assisted moves scheme

We are able to offer financial incentives if you are over 50 and are giving up family size accommodation. For further information contact your Neighbourhood Housing Officer.

Bungalows – There are a number of bungalows available for rent within the borough. These bungalows have either one or two bedrooms with some equipped with personal alarm system.

Sheltered accommodation – We have nine sheltered accommodation schemes made up of flats and bungalows, specifically for tenants over 50 years old. All properties are fitted with a Lifeline which is linked to a 24-hour monitoring centre. They also have scheme managers who are onsite during office hours.

Right to Buy

The Right to Buy scheme is available to enable secure tenants who have held a tenancy for at least five years to purchase their property. To find out more email the housing team.

+ How do I end my tenancy?

You are required to give 28 days' notice before leaving your property. Please complete the relevant form to do this.

All keys for the property are to be returned to housing services before noon on or before the termination date on the notice. 

If you are transferring to another Ashford Borough Council property, you do not need to give us 28 days' notice. However, you must make sure that your keys are returned to us by noon on the start date of your new tenancy.

If the property's sole tenant passes away the council should be informed as soon as possible. In this instance, 28 days' notice to return the keys is not required but a termination of tenancy form, available from the customer services team, needs to be completed.

Leaving your home

When you leave your home for the last time you must:

  • Remove all rubbish and belongings, including carpets, light fittings and curtains
  • Leave your garden tidy
  • Clear your attic and sheds

If you fail to do so we will charge you for the cost of the work.

+ Useful contacts

Citizens Advice Bureau - 01233 626185
Gas - if you can smell gas - 0800 111 999
Gas supplier (gas supplier information) - 0870 608 1524
Our heating and hot water contractor - 0800 206 1371
Job Centre Plus - 0845 604 3719
Mediation services - 01233 663488
Meter Point Administration Service - 0845 601 5467
Royal Mail redirection - 0845 774 0740
South East Water (fresh water) - 0845 850 6060
Southern Water (waste/sewage) - 0845 272 0845
Television licence - 0300 790 6165