You'll find the answers to many common questions here. If your question is not answered please visit our Contact Us page.
- Choose a category
- Repair responsibilities
- Help for common repairs
- DIY repairs
- DIY improvements
- Home safety
- Choose a category
- If your circumstances change
- Adding or removing someone from your tenancy
- When someone dies
There are a number of ways you can pay your rent - choose the one most convenient to you.Payment options
Help with paying my rent
You must consider rent a priority payment. If you do not pay your rent, you may lose your home.
If you think you might be entitled to housing benefit contact your local council straight away. Don’t delay as your council may not backdate it and even if they do, remember housing benefit can only be backdated for one month. Find your local council’s details here
Managing your money
Help to manage your money is available.
Help with budgeting
Knowing what you can spend after you have paid all your bills helps you plan for the future. By looking at your income and outgoings, you will see where you could make changes to your spending and even save money. You can use our budgeting tool to help give you a real grip on your finances.
See if you're eligible for social housing and find out what your other options are using the pre-assessment form at Kent Homechoice.
Renting from West Kent
Find out about social renting from Kent landlords including West Kent.Rent a home
Find the answers to most frequently asked questions about finding a home in this self help section.Housing Help
Can I buy my home?
If you are a former tenant of Sevenoaks District Council and transferred to West Kent Housing Association on 23 March 1989 you may have the Right to Buy your home. Other tenants may also have the Right to Acquire.
The Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire will depend on your tenancy type.
If you cannot buy your existing home, you might be interested in buying a home through shared ownership instead.Shared ownership
When you move out of your West Kent home, there are a few things you need to do.:
- You must give us four weeks' notice in writing of your intention to move.
- You must leave the property in the condition you found it in and let us into your home before you leave it to check if you need to do any work before you move out. If you don’t leave it how you found it, you may be charged.
- Don’t forget to return all the keys and fobs that you were given when you move in, including those for windows, outbuildings and car parks.
Providing you a safe and decent home is a priority for us. Find out who is responsible for each type of repair and how we prioritise them.Repairs
Leaseholders and shared owners
Our repair responsibility is defined in your lease: With houses you are generally responsible for all repairs; however with flats we are responsible for repairs to the structure, fabric and any shared services or communal areas.Homeowners
Charges for repairs
We will charge you for carrying out repairs to your home where:
- a repair (to an individual home or communal area) has to be carried out that is:
- Your responsibility
- Due to damage and/or neglect, (caused by you or anyone in your household, visitors or emergency services) including replacing items like kitchen worktops.
- we have had to make good alterations carried out without authorisation or not to the required standard
- we carry out a service which you are responsible for
- you have called us out for an emergency that is not an emergency
- you have left items in communal areas or on our land that require removal.
- a repair (to an individual home or communal area) has to be carried out that is:
Pests found within the home, such as mice, fleas, cockroaches or ants, are your responsibility. Here are some suggestions that can help resolve the problems:
- Avoid accumulating rubbish outside that can attract pests
- Keep food in airtight containers
- Use remedies available from local DIY/hardware store such as flea and ant powders, insect sprays, mouse traps or poison
- Contact the environmental health team at your local council. Some services are free or at a discounted rate to families claiming benefits.
If you notice pests within the communal areas of a West Kent site please report it to us on 01732 749400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out the answer to our most frequently asked fencing questions by reading our guide.Fencing repairs and replacements
Plumbing, heating and hot water
Our DIY video will help you with several small checks you can do yourself that might resolve your issue. If nothing works you need to report it to us.
See how plumbing, heating and hot water repairs are prioritised in our repairs guide.
Emergencies: Call the Customer Service Team on 0800 169 1122 (24 hours)
Condensation and mould
Condensation is caused when excess warm moisture in the air (steam or water vapour) meets a cold surface and turns into water. This can cause patches of mould to form. Everyday activities cause condensation, such as cooking, showering/bathing and drying clothes indoors. You can take some simple steps to reduce condensation, helping to prevent damp and mould. Read our full guide for more advice.
Doing it yourself
Our short videos can guide you through doing small repairs yourself. It's not possible to cover all the variations that exist within our homes but the advice will usually apply to most houses (not flats).
Resetting your boiler
Sometimes a fault on your boiler can be fixed without the need to call out an engineer. Once you know the manufacturer of your boiler you can follow their troubleshooting guides to see if you can resolve the problem.
You must write to us and get our written permission before starting any work on improvements or alterations to your home. We will only refuse for good reasons, and if we can agree to what you want to do we'll write and tell you.read more
We take the issue of fire safety very seriously. Find out what we do to keep you safe, what you can do to keep yourself safe, and get some great tips on avoiding a potentially disastrous fire emergency.Read more
Asbestos was commonly used in buildings up until the 1980s. It does not pose a risk to health if it is undamaged or in a position where it cannot be easily disturbed.
Find out about our asbestos policy and how you can avoid any risks when living with asbestos in your home.Asbestos
Gas and electrical
It's our legal duty as your landlord to ensure the home you rent is safe before your tenancy begins and for as long as it lasts.
Here's what we do to keep you safe and what you can do to help.Gas and electrical
If your family changes or you change your name, please let us know. We may require proof of the changes, such as a marriage certificate. To tell us about any changes and to find out what evidence we need you can email email@example.com
If your income reduces and may affect your ability to pay your rent, please tell us as soon as possible. If you don’t pay your rent, you may lose your home. If your income increases, please tell us as it may affect what benefits you are entitled to. To tell us about the changes, contact your Income Officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You must tell us if you change your email address or your home or mobile phone numbers. We may need to tell about important information to do with your home, so it’s important we know how to contact you. To update your contact details you can log into My West Kent or email email@example.com
Adding or removing an occupant
You must tell us if your partner or a family member moves in or out of your home. If they are not named on your tenancy they are classed as an 'occupant' and all you need to do is provide us with their details and when they moved in or out. To tell us about any changes to occupants in your home you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Adding or removing a joint tenant
Before you request to add or remove a joint tenant, please contact us to discuss it. There are a few rules to be aware of:
- Both tenants must agree to remove a joint tenant from your tenancy and sign a Deed of Release form. To be released from the tenancy, you must have no breaches if tenancy, not be under any kind of notice and have a clear rent account.
- To add someone to your tenancy as a joint tenant you must apply using our request form and provide copies of their supporting documents. To become a joint tenant, the person must have lived in the property for a year. We will require proof of ID and of residency - we must see proof of who they are and their right to live in the UK.
- We may sometimes refuse to allow someone onto a West Kent tenancy - please see our exclusion policy.
- We recommend both you and the person wishing to join the tenancy get independent advice about the implications of changing to a joint tenancy.
When someone dies
We appreciate this is a very difficult time for you, but there are a few things we need you to do as soon as possible:
- If you need to end a tenancy for someone who has passed away, please let us know as soon as possible. The tenancy will end four weeks after you notify us in writing and rent is due until the end of the tenancy. If the tenant receives housing benefit, this will stop from the date of death.
- Please arrange with us to collect the person’s belongings from their home.
- If you were living with the tenant at the time of their death you may have the right to take over the tenancy - called succession.
If you have any further questions please contact us.
When a tenant dies a relative or partner who was living with him/her at the time of death may be able to take over the tenancy. This is called succession and whether it is possible depends on the type of tenancy the deceased person held. By partner we mean a husband, wife or someone who lives with the tenant, as their partner as the time of their death.Succession
If you or someone you know is a victim of hate crime so, you should report it to the police. If it's an emergency call 999, otherwise call 101. To find out more about hate crime visit Kent Police's website here or call 01622 690690. If you're not sure about contacting the police, you might prefer to:
- Call 0800 1381624 - this service is run by trained, non-police staff and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Visit the True Vision online reporting website.
Contact your Tenancy Services Officer or come and join us on an estate inspection.
Neighbourhood agreements and charters
If there are tensions in your neighbourhood we can help everyone agree to acceptable standards of behaviour. Find out more about what we do.
Keeping a pet
In most cases you can keep a pet, but you must ask us for permission first.Read more
Problems with animals
Our pets policy helps us deal with pet nuisance, cruelty or neglect effectively.
We will record complaints of nuisance behaviour about a pet or other animal living at any property, whether permanently or temporarily, as an anti-social behaviour complaint.
Suspected cruelty or neglect - including leaving animals tied up outside in hot weather without adequate food and water - should be reported in the first instance to the RSPCA who will need information about the animal.
For permission to let a spare room to a lodger please email email@example.com
We'll write to you when we have agreed to give permission, which we won't unreasonably withhold.
You must not rent out your entire home. This is illegal subletting and a breach of your tenancy or lease.
If you take in a lodger, you will need to tell your benefits office. They will treat any income that you receive from a lodger in one of two ways.
If you are not in receipt of Universal Credit, your housing benefit will not be reduced, as the room occupied by the lodger is no longer spare. The benefits office will disregard the first £20 of rental income that you receive.
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, you will still be deemed to under-occupy but the benefits office will disregard all the rental income you receive from the lodger.
Tax on rental income
Usually a rental income from a lodger will be considered as part of your overall taxable income. The tax to be paid will then depend on how much profit you make over your personal tax allowances after setting against the rent expenses of letting, including things like replacing fixtures or furniture, or a ‘wear and tear’ allowance.
You may prefer to take advantage of the Rent a Room allowance, which allows you to earn up to £7,500 per year gross income from letting tax-free.
Choosing the right person
Letting someone live in your home is a big step, so it pays to be prepared. Think about the rules you would want the lodger to live by. There is a risk your lodger may fall behind with their rent. If this happens you will still have to pay YOUR rent.
Everything you need to know about being a West Kent shared owner.Read more
Everything you need to know about being a West Kent leaseholder.Read more
Works and services you pay for
Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by section 151 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) says we must consult you about some of the works and services your lease says you must pay for.
It's complicated - this page aims to make it all clear.Read more
Still got questions?
If you have any further questions, please contact us using:
You can also call us between 8.45am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday, or 8.45am to 4.45pm on Fridays on 01732 749400.