From 1st April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be abolished and replaced by Local Council Tax Support (LCTS)
Anti-social Behaviour Unit
Good Tenant Scheme
What is Hartlepool Good Tenant Scheme?
Hartlepool Good Tenant Scheme is a free to use tenant referencing service managed by Hartlepool's Community Safety Team, and delivered by the Housing Advice Team, from the Housing Options Centre in Park Road, Hartlepool.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector by providing landlords with information regarding a person's tenancy history to assist a landlord in deciding whether to offer a member of the scheme a property, in tenancy management and where appropriate by linking people to support to help them to get and then to maintain a property.
Landlords are often reluctant to let their properties to people who they know little about. They fear their property could be damaged, used for illegal purposes or that the rent may not be paid. This can make it difficult and time consuming to find a good property. Membership of the Good Tenant Scheme allows someone to show that they are a good tenant quickly and easily.
The scheme allows private sector landlords to obtain reliable, accurate and comprehensive information regarding the tenancy history of someone who has approached them for housing. This information is provided to the landlord with a person's written permission. Landlords use the information provided by the Good Tenant Scheme to make a risk assessment of whether it would be appropriate for them to take someone as their tenant.
Different landlords have different levels of experience, resources, and ability in tenancy management. For example; whether or not they are locally based; the number and experience of the staff they employ; the number of properties they manage; the financial resources available to them to maintain the property and manage the tenancy. This means that some landlords will be able to successfully maintain and manage tenancies that other landlords cannot.
Using information from the scheme, landlords are able to confirm whether someone is a good tenant and to hopefully offer them a property. As a voluntary scheme, the final decision as to whether to take someone as a tenant remains with the landlord.
What are the benefits of membership?
Membership of the Good Tenant Scheme allows someone to show that they are a good tenant quickly and easily. Landlords want to attract and keep good tenants. The scheme enables a fair and accurate picture of a person's tenancy history to be presented to a landlord which is based on reliable information.
How do I apply?
Joining the Good Tenant Scheme is easy and free. Complete an application form and hand it in at the Housing Options Centre, Park Towers, Park Road, Hartlepool.
When handing in the application form both applicant 1 and applicant 2 (if relevant) will need to be present to have their photograph taken. 2 proofs of identity (or 1 photo ID) and proof of current address will also need to be provided for each applicant at the same time.
Please note that the scheme will not accept an application form unless all of the above can be completed. This is to prevent any delays in processing an application. The scheme aims to process applications for membership within 10 working days.
The scheme will check your tenancy history for the past two years using our records, our partners records and with any current and previous landlords. This may include, but may not be limited to, any complaints of anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, rent arrears, damage to property, abandonment of property, breach of tenancy conditions, court orders, illegal use of property, and / or criminal behaviour which is deemed to be relevant to tenancy management.
Hartlepool Good Tenant Scheme does NOT carry out criminal record checks.
Depending on the results this may result in:
- Full Membership (Green) - Membership granted for 6 months. Applicants must have held a previous tenancy within the last two years. Applicants with no history of rent arrears, anti-social or criminal behaviour related to the tenancy or tenancy management concerns,
- Provisional Membership (Yellow) - Membership granted for 6 months. Applicants with minor rent arrears, anti-social or criminal behaviour related to the tenancy, tenancy management concerns, or who have not previously held a tenancy,
- Rejected Membership (Red) - Membership rejected for 12 months. Applicants whose behaviour would have entitled a landlord to seek immediate possession of the property at court. i.e., significant rent arrears, serious anti-social / criminal behaviour, major problems involving tenancy management.
What if I have had problems in the past?
If you have had problems with a tenancy in the past, you can still apply to join. The scheme will assess your application and may depending on the circumstances decide to grant you provisional membership of the scheme.
Applicants who are refused membership of the scheme will be offered an interview to discuss their refusal with their applications investigating officer.
Applicants who have been rejected for rent arrears must repay them in full or maintain a rent repayment plan agreed with their landlord for a minimum of 26 consecutive weeks. For assistance in negotiating a rent repayment plan with your landlord please contact Alistair Simpson - Tenancy Relations Officer.
Applicants who have been rejected for anti-social / criminal behaviour and / or problems involving tenancy management have a right to re-apply to join the scheme provided they can show an improvement in their behaviour over a consistent period of at least 6 months. (or they accept the support offered by the Supported Housing Panel - see below)
Applicants who attend their interview will be offered a referral to the Supported Housing Panel. The Supported Housing Panel will review the situation to see if there is any available and appropriate support that can be provided to assist in changing/improving the behaviour which led to rejection from the scheme.
Where an applicant accepts support offered by the Supported Housing Panel, and for a minimum period of 3 months; in the opinion of their primary support worker the applicant has engaged with the support offered, and there have been no further reports of behaviour which would affect a tenancy, an applicant will be offered provisional membership of the scheme. The scheme manager reserves the right to determine whether an applicant has met the above requirements when deciding whether to grant a provisional membership.
Good Tenant Scheme Contact Details
For information about the Good Tenant Scheme or to request an application form please contact:
Hartlepool Good Tenant Scheme
Housing Options Centre
Tel: 01429 284890
Useful Links - Community Safety and Housing
Telephone: 01429 266522