When it’s time to move on
Ending a tenancy and moving home can be stressful – whether you are moving into another West Kent property or to somewhere else, there's a lot to think about.
Before you move out of your home you must give us four weeks notice in writing and let us in to check whether you need to do any work on the home (such as decorating) before you move out. Before you move you should clear any debts with your utility companies, take meter readings and close your accounts. Don’t forget to let the local authority council tax team know you’re moving out.
You must return all the keys you were issued with at the start of the tenancy, including any entrance and car park fobs, shed or outbuilding keys and window lock keys plus any keys or cards for the meter.
Remember the photo-inventory we gave you when you moved in? Please use it as a guide to help you leave your home in the same condition you found it. This means:
- thoroughly cleaning the property throughout
- removing all personal items and disposing of household and garden rubbish responsibly
- removing any nails and screws and filling any holes in walls and doors.
You’ll also have to replace your own electrical items with standard fittings and ensure all doors, drawers and shelves for cupboards are in place along with bathroom and kitchen sink fittings.
Please remove any carpets and floor coverings, shelves or fitted cupboards and any other improvements you’ve made unless we tell you they can remain.
You must remove and make safe any unauthorised outdoor improvements, including garden sheds, and fill in garden ponds.
If you want to continue receiving housing benefit at your new home, you must tell the council your new address as soon as possible. You will usually have to fill in a new claim form before the date your new tenancy starts, or they will not backdate the start of the claim.
Read full details of our Home Standard.
Ending a friend’s or family member’s tenancy
We recognise that in some cases you or your family are going through a very difficult time and we do make allowances where possible. We charge rent and any service charges until the keys are returned because only then can we relet the home to a new tenant.
Housing benefit (HB) for some or all of the rent (including some service and support charges) will stop if:
- the tenant moves to a nursing home or residential care home permanently. HB may be paid during a trial period but as soon as you accept a permanent move it will stop. This means you’ll have to continue paying the rent until the keys are returned.
- the tenant dies. The council will stop paying HB on the first Sunday after the death. This means the tenant’s family or estate must pay the rent until the Monday after the keys are returned.
- the tenant has left the property and does not intend to return.
Taking over the tenancy when someone dies
When a tenant dies it may be possible for a relative or partner who was living with him/her at the time of death to take over the tenancy, depending on the type of tenancy held. By partner we mean a husband, wife or someone who lives with the tenant, as their partner as the time of their death. This is called succession.
Key points about succession rights
- Succession is immediate and automatic when a tenant dies, and it will happen whether or not West Kent agrees if the potential successor meets the statutory requirements.
- Where there is no obvious successor, we will serve Notice to Quit on the property and/or the Public Trustee if the tenant dies intestate. We'll send a notice to vacate to any non-successor or occupiers in the property (See also 'Ending someone's tenancy' where there is no successor, on this page.)
- We will advise non-successors of their rights to apply to the local housing register, where they will usually have reasonably high priority. We will charge weekly use and occupation charges until they leave. They will have to pay the weekly charge and take responsibility for any damage and clearing items belonging to them. Not paying the charges, causing damage or not clearing the property could become grounds for excluding the non-successor from being housed in other West Kent properties.
- We will visit tenants who have succeeded to a tenancy within four to five weeks of the succession approval, to check there are no issues or see if any advice is needed.
- Succession to children (minors) is now possible. It has been accepted that a child can have a tenancy held on trust for them by an adult until they are 18. A suitable adult will hold a legal tenancy and the child an ‘equitable tenancy’.
Full details of our Succession Policy.