Living in and around your home (section 8)

This page provides information about your responsibilities and rights when living in and around your home, including flooring, lofts, keeping your garden tidy, fencing, parking and vehicle access, and running a business from home.

On this page:

Your responsibilities as a council tenant

8.1 We expect you (and anyone living with you or visiting you, including children) to act in a reasonable way at all times, and respect your home, the area around your home, and your neighbours.

8.2 You must live in the property as your only or main home. If you are a Joint tenant, one of the Joint tenants must live in the property as their only or main home.

8.3 You must tell us if you are going to be away from your home for more than 28 days and you must also give your housing officer an address and telephone number they can contact you on.

8.4 You must allow us access to carry out a regular inspection of the property in order for us to complete our housing management responsibilities and to ensure you are complying with the conditions contained in your tenancy agreement. Part of the inspection will be to check the number of persons residing in your home and to check that the legal tenant is in occupation and to record the condition (internal and external) of all parts of the property. This will be undertaken through a combination of inspection forms, photographs, recordings.

8.5 As part of the visit you must provide proof:

  • of your identity and of anyone living with you (such as driving licence or passport)
  • that you are living at the property

Your rights

8.6 You have the right to live peacefully in your home, without us interfering, as long as you keep to your agreement and respect the rights of others.

8.7 You do not need to let anyone representing the council into your home, unless they show you official identification.

Looking after your home

8.8 You must immediately report to us any faults and repairs we are responsible for.

8.9 You must keep the following areas in a reasonable condition:

  • the inside of your home, including decoration inside your home
  • your garden and other outside areas
  • any garage or other outbuildings (such as sheds or greenhouses) which belong to you

Inside your home


8.10 If you wish to install any type of hard floor covering such as laminate, wood, other artificial wooden floor coverings or ceramic tiles or if you want to have bare floorboards within your home, you must receive our prior written permission.

8.11 We will generally grant permission if you live in a house which is detached, terraced, semi-detached or in a ground floor flat or maisonette. 

8.12 If you live in a flat we will generally refuse permission for noise nuisance reasons or in cases where properties have asbestos tile flooring. There may be other grounds for refusing permission.

8.13 We may withdraw permission if, at any time, your floor coverings cause noise nuisance to your neighbours, and you will be required to remove the flooring and cover it with underlay and carpet. If you are unable to do this we may be able to do this for you but you will be recharged for the cost of the work.

8.14 You must not use adhesives (glue) to secure floor covering. If you do, we will charge you the cost of removing the floor covering if we need to do any repairs. It will be your responsibility to replace the floor coverings on completion.

8.15 If we are carrying out work to your home that means any laminate or wooden flooring needs to be removed (whether installed by you or not) you will be responsible for removing and re-installing it. If you are unable to do this we may be able to do this for you but you may be recharged for the cost of the work.

8.16 If we need to remove the flooring ourselves, we will not be responsible for any damage to the floor.

If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to make alterations, additions or improvements to your home, including laying laminate or wooden flooring.


8.17 If we require access to your loft space, you must remove your belongings to allow us to carry out our inspection, repair or improvement. If you don’t do this and we have to carry out the work you will be recharged for the cost.

8.18 At the end of your tenancy you must remove all of your belongings from the loft space. If you don’t do this, and we have to carry out the work, you will be recharged for the cost.

Keeping your garden tidy

8.19 You must keep your garden or balcony (if you have one) in a tidy and good condition. This includes cutting grass, and pruning hedges, shrubs and trees to a manageable height. You are responsible for the maintenance of any tree(s) within the boundary of the property. Trees must be maintained to prevent loss of light or damage to property.

8.20 You must maintain your garden (or balcony) so as not to endanger the health and safety of other people or cause damage to any property (including pipes, drains or cables).

8.21 You must not allow trees or vegetation to grow so as to overhang public areas or the gardens of neighbouring properties.

8.22 You must keep your garden (or balcony) tidy and free from rubbish and debris.

8.23 If you do not maintain your garden – and there is no good reason why you can’t do it – we may clear it and charge you for the work. If tenants have an allocated garden in a block of flats and fail to maintain it to an acceptable standard the Council will, following reasonable notice, take the garden over and return it to communal status on a permanent basis.

8.24 You must obtain our written permission before you:

  • remove any tree or shrub on a boundary  
  • plant, remove or carry out any work on trees
  • any works undertaken to trees should be carried out by a Tree Surgeon or other professional trade person

If you are an older or disabled person we may be able to help you. Ask your Housing Officer for more information.


8.25 You must not erect walls or fences or alter, move, remove or interfere with existing boundary features without getting our written permission first.

8.26 You must maintain fencing erected by you or fencing that you have taken on the responsibility for from a previous tenant. It is your responsibility to maintain this to a reasonable standard.

8.27 If you live in an area classed as an ‘open plan estate’ you must not erect fencing or any form of structure or extension at the front of your home unless you have first obtained our permission in writing.

8.28 If you break these conditions we may, after writing to you first, require you to return the boundary to its original state. If you don’t we may do the work ourselves and charge you the reasonable costs to do so.

Parking – vehicles and access

8.29 You must obtain our written permission before you:

build a garage, car hard-standing, driveway or dropped kerb (you will also need to get planning permission and building regulations approval if appropriate)

park a boat, caravan, motor home, trailer, lorry or large commercial vehicle or similar vehicle at your home or on land that we own or control

8.30 You must not:

  • park any vehicle, boat, caravan or trailer in your garden without a properly constructed driveway with a dropped kerb
  • block access to any other property by parking inconsiderately or allow anyone living with or visiting you to do so
  • allow any motor vehicle, caravan, motor-home, trailer, lorry or other wheeled vehicle to obstruct any road, lane, path or access-way or to block the route of emergency vehicles
  • park any vehicle either within or outside the boundaries of your home, unless it is on a designated parking area or on the road and it is in a roadworthy condition, taxed and insured or where a statutory off road notification is in force
  • allow any motor vehicle to be repaired, serviced or worked on between 10pm and 8am the following morning at your home or on any land or road outside your home, except in an emergency
  • carry out any repairs, servicing or other works to a motor vehicle unless it belongs to you or someone living with you at your home
  • park or drive a vehicle on any Council-owned land that is a grassed open-plan area, footpath, grass verge or open space
  • if your property has designated residents’ parking space, only you and your legitimate visitors can park there – you must not give, rent or sell the parking space to anyone else

If you breach any of the above conditions your vehicle may be removed and you may be charged our costs in doing so.

Rights of access

8.31 Where there is a right of access over your property to another property or place (including over a drive or footpath), you must allow us and the adjoining occupiers and visitors to use that right of access. You must not cause or allow any obstruction across any right of access.

Running a business

8.32 You must not run a business or carry on a trade from your home without first getting our written permission.

8.33 We will only refuse permission if we have good reason to do so. We will however refuse permission if we think your business will cause a nuisance or annoy your neighbours or damage your home. 

8.34 If we give permission and the business causes a nuisance or annoyance, we may withdraw our permission and stop you running the business from your home.

8.35 If we give you permission, you will also need to get Planning permission and Building regulation approval if appropriate. 

8.36 Some examples of the businesses we will not allow are:

  • repairing and maintaining cars
  • running a print business
  • running a shop
  • businesses that involve using hydraulic equipment, using  industrial machines, and controlled substances or chemicals

This is not a full list.


8.36 You are responsible for the contents of your home and you may wish to consider taking out contents insurance. If you live in a flat, you may also take out insurance to cover you in case you cause damage to your neighbour’s property, as you may be liable for any costs that arise from the damage e.g. flooding.


8.37 You must comply with any estate rules or similar regulations that apply to your home and with any covenants, conditions or obligations which affect it and which are binding on us as tenant or owner of it.

Last updated on 29/05/2024