Living With Us
- Make a Payment
- 2017 Rent Review Consultation
- Problems Paying Rent
- Rights and Responsibilities
- Anti-Social Behaviour
- Management of Estates
- Service Complaints & Compliments
- Household Changes: Succession, Assignation & Lodgers
- Changes to Your Home: Improvments & Adaptations
- Home Contents Insurance
- Ending Your Tenancy
Make a Payment
Our rents are due to be paid on or before the 28th day of each month and are charged monthly in advance – this means for example that the April rent is due to be paid by the 28th March.
For convenience, we offer a number of different ways to make payments:
- Direct Debit – This is the simplest way to make a regular payment like rent. It saves time, is convenient and gives you greater control over your money. Call us on 01555 665316 to find out more about setting up a Direct Debit.
- Bank Standing Order – We can provide a form for you to give to your bank to set up a regular payment.
- Allpay Rent Payment Card – You can use this to make payments at any Post Office by cash, cheque or debit card. You can use the card to pay at Payzone using cash or debit card and at all participating e-pay outlets by cash only.
- Online Payments – If you have an Allpay Rent Payment Card, payment can be made at www.allpayments.net or you can phone the Allpay payment line on 0844 557 8321 to make your payment by debit card.
- By Post – You can send a cheque to our offices at 99 High Street, Lanark, ML11 7LN – please attach a note with your name and address. Please do not send cash through the post.
- By Phone – Call us on 01555 665316 to make your payment using a debit card, or to set up a Direct Debit.
- Housing Benefit – We can help you apply for Housing Benefit. If you qualify for Housing Benefit you can have it paid direct to us for convenience. If the Housing Benefit you receive is less than the rent you are required to pay, you must arrange to pay the difference to us using one of the methods above.
2017 Rent Review Consultation
From 28 March 2018 we plan to increase rents by 4.9% in order to fund our activities over next financial year.
We have written to all tenants with details of how this will affect the amount they currently pay. We have also published a “2018-19 Rent Consultation – Have your Say” newsletter which is available below for download.
Our rents are the second lowest for all rural housing associations in Scotland. Last year 98% of tenants told us that they either never (93.2%) or occasionally (4.8%) experienced difficulties in affording to pay their rent. Over the same period, 93% of tenants told us that their rent represented value for money when compared to the service they receive from us.
We are currently consulting with tenants on this proposed increase and we have asked tenants to let us know their views by 26 January 2018. Our Management Committee will make a final decision in February 2018 when the results of this consultation are known.
Problems Paying Rent
Our tenants and shared owners should contact us as soon as they experience difficulties in being able to afford making rent payments. We can check your entitlement to Housing Benefit/Universal Credit, provide advice and assist you with form-filling. We can also arrange for you to meet with a Money Advisor who will help you organise the repayment of rent arrears and any other debts you may have. The Money Advisor will also provide Benefit entitlement advice.
We have arrangements in place with South Lanarkshire Council’s Money Matters Service and Clydesdale Citizens Advice to offer qualified advice to tenants. Clydesdale Citizens Advice also provide outreach services in local communities.
Rights and Responsibilities
What is a Scottish Secure Tenancy?
Most housing associations, housing co-operatives and council tenants have a Scottish Secure Tenancy. It is a legal contract between a Tenant and us that provides a right to the Tenant to live in the property. It imposes rights and responsibilities on each party e.g. that the tenant pays the rent and that the landlord carries out repairs when required. A Scottish Secure Tenancy also provides security of tenure to the Tenant i.e. the landlord cannot end the tenancy without obtaining a court order – usually after proving to a court that the Tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy.
What are our responsibilities as a landlord?
- we will ensure that houses we rent are wind & watertight and fit to live in.
- we will keep the property in proper working order, i.e. the structure & exterior of the home, any installations in the house provided by us for services such as, water, gas & electricity, sanitation, hot water heating and central heating.
- we will ensure repairs are carried out within set timescales.
We have the right to set and change rent charges, which we do on an annual basis, but we will always consult with Tenants first. We also have the right to enter a property to do repairs and inspections. We will always ask Tenants when we can enter their home before we visit, but in the case of an emergency we have the right to force entry, if necessary.
What are the responsibilities of Tenants?
- pay rent on time, or make an arrangement if payments fall behind.
- make sure that occupants and visitors do not cause nuisance or anti-social behaviour.
- let us know about changes within the household.
- do not cause damage to the house or estate, or any neighbours’ houses.
- do not use the house for running a business, unless we have given written permission to do so.
- report repairs as soon as possible and provide us with access when requested.
- do not rent out the house, unless we have given written permission to do so.
- keep gardens and any common areas clean and well kept.
- let us know if the Tenant is going to be away from the house for more than four weeks.
- tell us if there is a wish to terminate the tenancy.
Tenants who break any of these responsibilities will be in breach of the tenancy agreement and could lose their home.
It is the right of everyone to live peacefully in their home, free from harassment and nuisance. If the enjoyment of your home or the estate you are living in is being disturbed please contact us.
We will investigate allegations of anti-social behaviour confidentially and impartially. Complaints should generally be made in writing, otherwise it may be difficult for us to pursue them. However there may be circumstances where it is appropriate for us to respond to verbal complaints. We will discuss complaints in a location where tenantsfeel comfortable and details of the alleged anti-social behaviour will be treated confidentially.
Our approach to dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour complaints falls into the following three categories:
- Anti-Social Behaviour 1: first time offender or repeat Estate Management offender – we aim to conclude these cases within 5 working days of receiving the complaint.
- Anti-Social Behaviour 2: cases escalated from Anti-Social Behaviour 1 or first time complaints of a serious nature – we aim to conclude these cases within 10 working days of receiving the complaint.
- Estate Management: environmental issues such as fly tipping, stair-cleaning – we aim to conclude these cases within 15 working days of receiving the complaint.
More serious or prolonged antisocial behaviour may be addressed through a partnership approach involving other agencies such as South Lanarkshire Council and Police Scotland.
Our initial response to antisocial behaviour will be determined by the seriousness of the situation. Our approach is usually one of escalation through a variety of options including mediation, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Antisocial Behaviour Orders before the ultimate sanction of eviction is considered.
Tenants and Residents experiencing noisy neighbours during non-working hours can phone South Lanarkshire Council’s freephone noise hotline service on 0800 24 20 24.
Where antisocial behaviour involves criminal activity, this should be reported to the Police first on 999 for emergencies or 101 for non-emergencies. Please let us know when you have had to report an incident to the Police.
Management of Estates
We work hard and invest heavily in creating and maintaining living environments that benefit residents and the wider community. Work on the management of our estates includes:
- Creating and maintaining balanced and sustainable communities through the allocation of housing.
- Ensuring that estates are attractive and safe places to live.
- Implementing effective approaches for combating anti-social behaviour.
- Maintaining common soft and hard landscaping.
- Providing good lighting.
To deliver these outcomes we:
- visit and inspect the condition of each estate at least twice each year and take necessary action to resolve the issues we identify.
- ask a resident to check and sign our estate inspection documentation at the end of each visit and record the issues raised by that resident on the documentation.
- regularly inspect the quality of workmanship by our repairs contractors.
- regularly inspect the quality of work carried out by our landscape contractor.
Service Complaints & Compliments
We place great importance on providing high quality services and on involving our service users in further improving our activities. Despite this, there may still be occasions when a service user is not happy about how a service was provided – in these cases it is important that customers let us know about this dissatisfaction.
Use of our Complaints Process is a great way of letting us know which services need to be improved. When we get it wrong we always look to find better ways of delivering services.
The downloadable Complaints Leaflet on this page explains:
- how to make a complaint.
- what can be complained about.
- the different stages of complaints, including independent review.
There are three stages for dealing with a service complaint:
Stage One – Frontline Resolution (Target Response Time = 5 working days or less)
- Frontline resolution aims to quickly resolve straightforward complaints that require little or no investigation. Any member of staff may deal with complaints at this stage.
- The main principle is to seek early resolution, resolving complaints at the earliest opportunity and as close to the point of service delivery as possible.
- At this stage we aim to resolve the complaint at the first point of contact.
- We may settle the complaint by providing an on-the-spot apology or explaining why the issue occurred and, where possible, what will be done to stop this happening again.
- A stage one complaint can be made in writing, in person, by telephone, by email, or through a person acting on your behalf.
- Not all complaints are suitable for frontline resolution and not all complaints will be satisfactorily resolved at that stage. Complaints handled at the investigation stage are typically more complex or require a detailed investigation before we can state our position. These complaints may already have been considered at frontline resolution stage, or they may have been identified from the start as needing more investigation.
- An investigation aims to establish all the facts relevant to the points made in the complaint and to give the customer a full, objective and proportionate response that represents our final position.
Stage Three – Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) Review
- Once the investigation stage has been completed, the customer has the right to approach the SPSO if they remain dissatisfied.
- The SPSO considers complaints from people who remain dissatisfied at the conclusion of our complaints procedure. The SPSO looks at issues such as service failure and maladministration (administrative fault), as well as the way we have handled the complaint. More details are available on the SPSO’s website here.
Service Compliments: identify incidents when we get it right. Usually provided through thank you cards and letters, we share this positive feedback with staff in recognition of a job well done.
Household Changes: Succession, Assignation & Lodgers
Applications to succeed to a Scottish Secure Tenancy on the death of a tenant will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010
In the absence of a ‘qualifying person’ (i.e. a family member over the age of 16 who has lived permanently at the property at the time of the Tenant’s death), an application from a non-qualifying person who was normally resident with the tenant at the time of death will be considered based on the circumstances of the case.
In all cases where the property is of a type specifically designed or substantially adapted for special needs, succession will not apply unless the proposed successor or any member of their household has special needs requiring accommodation of the kind provided by the dwelling.
Assignation of Tenancy, Sub-Letting & Lodgers
We recognise the right of secure tenants to assign, sublet, or to take in lodgers. Requests to assign, sublet or take in lodgers must be in writing and Tenants must provide any additional information required to allow proper consideration of their request. Approval will not be unreasonably withheld, but may be granted subject to certain conditions.
Changes to Your Home: Improvments & Adaptations
Tenants can make improvements to their home such as fitting a shower or a new kitchen. However, they must obtain written permission from us before carrying out this type of work. The Tenancy Agreement states that written permission must obtained before they:
- alter, improve or enlarge the house, fittings or fixtures.
- add new fixtures or fittings (for example kitchen or bathroom installations, central heating or other fixed heaters, double glazing, or any kind of external aerial or satellite dish).
- put up a garage, shed or other structure.
- decorate the outside of the house.
Requests for permission will be responded to within one month. In that reply we will advise on the outcome of the application and whether any conditions are attached to an approval.
Tenants with disabilities or medical conditions can request that their home be adapted to suit their needs, e.g. replace a bath with a level access shower, install handrails, disabled parking spaces.
Tenants should make the initial request to South Lanarkshire Council’s Occupational Therapy Team on 01555 673400. An Occupational Therapist will usually visit the tenant and then contact us with details of what is required.
Our ability to carry work out can be limited by the physical constraints of the property or the level of funding available to us.
Home Contents Insurance
Tenants and residents are responsible for insuring against the loss or damage to decoration, furniture and personal possessions. Damage or destruction of belongings caused by a burst pipe or flooding from a neighbour above happens all too often. Tenant and resident contents insurance gives you peace of mind that should something like this happen, you are protected.
With a special scheme arranged and administered by Thistle Tenant Risks, our tenants and factored owners can protect their belongings and gain peace of mind knowing if the unexpected happens they have cover. This scheme offers:
- Flexible regular pay-as-you-go payment options
- No fuss, quick and easy to apply either through the post or over the telephone
- No excess (you don’t pay the first part of the claim)
- Cover for fire, theft, flood, water damage and other household risks
- Cover for all postcodes
- Cover for damage to internal decoration and accidental damage to sanitary fixtures such as toilets and washbasins
- Cover for damage to external glazing for which you are responsible
- Cover for lost or stolen keys
- No minimum security requirements
- Cover for theft from sheds and garages as standard
Except where the tenancy agreement otherwise specifically allows, Tenants are required to obtain prior written permission for the keeping of pets. Such permission will not be unreasonably withheld but may be subject to conditions.
As a minimum, it will be a condition of every approval granted to keep a pet that:
- The animal is kept under proper control at all times.
- It will not be allowed to cause a nuisance or annoyance to other residents.
- The animal will not be allowed to foul in the garden of other tenants /residents, or in common landscaped areas.
- That ‘poop scoops’ will be used for the proper disposal of pet ‘mess’.
Failure to comply with the approval conditions will result in the withdrawal of permission to keep the animal.
Private owners who fail to exercise control over their pet in accordance with above standard, are to be formally reported to the police as causing a public nuisance.
Ending Your Tenancy
Tenants wishing to terminate their tenancy are required to provide 28 days notice – either in writing or verbally. Tenants terminating their tenancy will be required to complete a Termination of Tenancy Form.
We will visit all tenants who wish to terminate their tenancy in order to:
- offer advice about moving out.
- explain how much rent will be payable up to the tenancy termination date and offer Housing Benefit advice.
- advise the outgoing tenant on the condition which the property is required to returned in.
- inspect the property and advise the outgoing tenant on repairs they will be responsible for before returning keys.
An End of Tenancy Checklist is available below for use by tenants thinking about terminating their tenancy with the Association.