Getting your home up to standard:
- You need to clear all your belongings from the property, including any items in the loft, gardens or outbuildings. If you have a garage, this must also be cleared. We cannot be held responsible for any belongings left in the property.
- You must leave your home clean and in a good state of repair and decoration. All cupboards should be swept out and surfaces washed down; the bathroom and lavatory must be thoroughly cleaned. Any damage to the fittings, or any unauthorised alterations you may have carried out should also be made good before the tenancy end date.
- You need to arrange a pre-termination visit with your Housing Officer, along with a member of our Property Services team, before your tenancy ends.
Arranging your pre-termination visit
If you arrange for a pre-termination visit - ideally approximately two weeks before your tenancy ends, we can discuss with you:
- Our Property Services team will check for any repairs/alterations which are your responsibility to put right.
- How you should leave the property
- Any repairs which are your responsibility
- Explain what work is required in your home (this could help you avoid any extra costs - see below)
Make sure you don't incur extra costs
If we need to carry out work to your property, we will do the work required and send you an invoice to pay. If you arrange a pre-termination visit we can explain what work is required and give you the chance to carry out any work needed. However, usually the costs we charge for include.
- Removal of any items left in the property without our express permission
- Cleaning and clearing the property of any rubbish
- Changing the locks to the property where the keys are not returned at the proper time
- Any additional work which should have been carried out before the tenancy end date; for example repairing any damage to the property which is not made good
- Decorations due as a result of the property not being kept in a condition required by the tenancy agreement
- In the case of a death, the estate is liable for any rechargeable costs
Further details about the costs we may charge can be found here
Returning your keys
All keys must be returned to the main Council offices no later than 12 noon on the Monday the tenancy ends. Please obtain a receipt when you return the keys. If they are not returned by 12 noon on the Monday, another week's rent will be charged and this might not be covered by Housing Benefit. We may also decide, for security reasons, to change the locks to the property and reclaim the cost from you or the estate.
Inform rents and benefits
If you stop living in the property before your tenancy end date, it is likely that any Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you were entitled to will stop and the full rent will become payable. You need to contact the Council's Housing Benefit department or the DWP to discuss your situation. If there are any outstanding amounts on the rent account at the end of the termination period, you will receive an invoice asking for payment. Please do not leave it until this stage to contact us, as it may be too late to avoid your case being referred to our Legal team and additional costs being placed on your account. You will remain responsible for the security of the property until the termination date and keys should be returned to our office by that date. You must give us vacant possession (this means you return the property to us with nobody still residing in it).
Making arrangements for your mail
We cannot assist in the collection of mail and the new tenant is unlikely to be willing to redirect any mail. On the payment of a fee, the Post Office will redirect mail for a fixed period and you can obtain details of this service at any Post Office counter.
You should arrange for final readings to be taken of gas, electricity and water meters. You are advised to take your own readings in case of dispute. Please do not ask for disconnection, as a new tenant will occupy the property soon. In winter months, the water supply should be drained to prevent freezing pipes. Please contact your Neighbourhood Manager to arrange a plumber to drain the property if it will be left empty before the tenancy end date.
Please leave all gas and electricity meter keys in the meters. These cannot be transferred to a new property.
Other information that you may find helpful
Advertising the Property
During the four week notice period we will advertise the property on the Kent Homechoice website so we can find a new tenant. This is because the process of re-letting the property takes a number of weeks and with thousands of people on the housing waiting list we need to fill all empty properties as quickly as possible. We hope you understand our reasons for this. If anybody contacts you asking to view your property, having seen it advertised online, please do not show them around. DDC will carry out viewings with any potential new tenants once you have returned the keys.