Standard for letting empty homes
The Empty Homes Standard is the standard of safety, comfort and cleanliness that properties must meet for tenants moving into our homes.
As your landlord, we want you to enjoy living in your new home. This page tells you what work we will do to make sure your home is safe, comfortable and clean.
We will carry out essential works to ensure that you are safe in your home. This will include all statutory works leaving your property safe, secure and in a clean condition. However, so that you are not waiting too long to move in, we may do some work after you move in. We will explain more of this in the "Work that may be carried out after you have moved in" section.
If you have any questions, or you don’t think your home meets the Empty Homes Standard, please email email@example.com or call 01442 228000 and ask for Empty Homes.
If you would like to be part of a tenant focus group working with us to develop the housing service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 228000 and ask for Housing Engagement.
Condition of your home when you move in
Hall, stairs and landing
- Handrails will be secure and any supporting uprights will be spaced no more than 100mm apart.
- The treads and risers of the stairs will be safe and secure.
- In General Needs homes, you will need to provide your own flooring, including gripper rods and underlay if you wish to lay carpet.
- In Supported Housing, flooring is provided.
Doors and windows
- All windows will open and close, and will fasten securely.
- All windows above the ground floor will have restrictors which will limit how far they can open.
- There will be new locks to the front, back and balcony doors (where applicable) unless you are in one of our Sheltered Housing schemes, which have their own dedicated lock systems.
- No doors inside the property will have glass panels.
- The glass in bathroom windows will be frosted.
- Any fire doors will meet fire safety regulations. (In flats, the front door of the property will also meet fire safety regulations).
If your new home is in a block with security doors or a parking barrier, you will be given a key or fob to use it. You will be charged for replacements if you lose these.
- Cupboard doors and drawers will open and close correctly.
- There will be at least one base unit, one wall unit and one sink unit in the kitchen, and worktop over all the base units.
- The kitchen worktop will not be damaged.
- There will be either electricity or gas supply for a cooker.
- The space for your cooker will be at least 620mm wide.
- The wall behind the cooker will have at least three rows of tiles above worktop height.
- There will be at least three rows of tiles above the worktop.
- Where non-slip flooring has been provided, you are not permitted to remove or change this without first obtaining permission from us.
- The water stopcock will work properly and be easy to get to. (We will leave you details of where the stopcock is in your home.)
- There will be space for either a fridge, fridge-freezer or a washing machine, or both if there is enough room in the kitchen.
- If there is space for a washing machine, there will be connections to the water and waste pipes.
- There will be hot and cold running water and the taps will work properly.
- A plug and chain will be fitted to the sink.
- There will be no rust in the sink or on the kitchen taps.
- Sinks in sheltered housing will have lever taps.
Bathroom and toilet
- The bathroom will be fitted with a basin, toilet and either a bath or a shower
- The toilet will have a new seat
- Taps will be working and will not drip
- The bath and basin will be fitted with a plug and chain
- Bath and basin will not have cracks
- At least two items in the bathroom suite will match. The third may be plain white
- There will be a minimum of three rows of tiles above the bath and basin (unless the position of the window makes this impossible)
- Where an over-bath shower is provided for adaptations this area will be tiled and in working order
- The hair rinse on the bath should not be used as a shower due to water pressure
- Homes in sheltered housing will have lever taps.
- Any floorboards will be even and secure. No nails will stick out.
- Any gripper rods left by the previous tenant will be in good condition and broken rods will have been removed.
- Any carpet or laminate flooring left in the property will be in a very good condition. (You will be responsible for replacing any floor coverings left in the property.) Laminate flooring above ground level will require adequate sound acoustic materials to prevent sound transmission.
- Bathroom and indoor toilet floors will be non-slip. You are not permitted to replace this flooring without first asking permission from us.
- Homes in sheltered housing will have flooring fitted, which you are responsible for cleaning, maintaining and replacing when required.
Ceilings and walls
- Ceilings and walls will be safe. (If you strip the wallpaper in your property after you move in, and find that the plasterwork is damaged we will inspect as detailed below). We recommend that you do not use steam wallpaper strippers as this can damage plaster.
- Any cracked plaster will be inspected and, if necessary repaired, but this will not stop you from moving into the property.
- There will be no large tears in the wallpaper left in the property.
- There will be no polystyrene (‘poly’) tiles or coving in the property and you must not install any.
- There will be no graffiti inside or outside the property.
- Any Artex on the ceiling will be in a good condition. Artex on walls will be removed.
- Homes in Supported Housing will have been decorated before you move in.
- Future decoration will be your responsibility.
- We do not provide or maintain telephone cables or sockets unless we tell you otherwise.
- Your gas supply will be safe and will have been disconnected at the mains. The supply will be reconnected as part of your Turn on and Test. Where pay-as-you-go meters are fitted you will need to make sure that there is enough credit for the Turn on and Test to be completed.
We do not allow tenants to install their own solid fuel appliances. Doing so is a breach of tenancy and you will be required to remove it and reinstate the property to its original condition at your own cost.
- Your home will have electric or gas heating.
- There will be sufficient heating in at least one living room (lounge, dining room, kitchen).
- The rest of the heating will be upgraded within six months if needed.
- The electricity supply and wiring will be safe.
- Electrical sockets will be safe to use and will be our standard fittings.
- Each room except the bathroom will have at least one electrical socket.
- The kitchen will have at least two double electrical sockets and a cooker socket.
Flats: Some blocks of flats and sheltered schemes have communal TV aerials, so your home will be connected to the communal supply.
Houses: All aerials in houses are the tenant’s responsibility unless specifically advised otherwise.
Satellite dishes: You must not install a satellite dish at any Council property without first asking our permission.
It is your responsibility to purchase a TV licence if you need one. Find out more on the TV Licensing website.
- You will be given an energy performance certificate (EPC), which shows the energy rating of your home.
- You can view your home’s EPC on the Government website.
We are working hard to improve energy efficiency across our housing stock. We aim to have 90 per cent of our homes with a B energy rating by 2030, in line with our commitment to ensure our housing stock is net zero by 2050.
- Any mobility aids and adaptations left in the property will be clean and in good condition. You must not remove them, even if they were for someone living in your household but you no longer require them. This includes over-bath showers.
- Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the property will be secure and working.
- You must not remove or tamper with any alarms in the property at any time.
- If you have any concerns regarding safe operation or faults with alarms, please contact the call centre on 0800 0186050.
- Any asbestos in the property will be safe.
- We are responsible for removing and managing asbestos.
- If there is any asbestos in your home, it is safe if left undisturbed and in good condition.
- Do not attempt to repair, rub down or sand any textured coated surfaces within the property as these may contain asbestos.
- You can find more information about where you may find asbestos in your home and how to avoid the risks of coming into contact with airborne asbestos in our Tenants' Handbook.
- If you do wish to carry out any work to these materials, please contact our Compliance team, Property Services. They will provide you with all relevant information and advise whether it is safe to do so.
- Any fire doors will meet fire safety regulations. (In flats, the front door of the property will also meet fire-safety regulations).
- All hard floors will have been swept and vacuumed
- All tiled, concrete and hard floors will have been swept and mopped, and will be dry, ready for you to fit your own floor covering
- You must not lay laminate flooring to any area above the ground floor without our permission.
- (See your Repairs Handbook for further details.)
- Any built-in storage cupboard will have been swept out and mopped
- All fixtures, fittings, window sills and ledges, radiators, pipes, door frames, door handles, picture rails, skirting boards will have been wiped clean
- Cobwebs will have been removed from walls, ceilings and cupboards
- Sticky tape, drawing pins, chewing gum, Blu Tack and labels will have been removed
- The inside and outside of kitchen cupboards and drawers will have been washed
- Kitchen sinks, taps, plugs, worktops, wall tiles (including grouting and sealant) will have been washed
- The shower, bath, wash basin, taps, toilet and pipes will have been cleaned.
Gas, electricity and water supply
- You must take meter readings on the day you move in and inform your supplier
- We will pay for any services that were used during the time that your home was empty before you moved in
- You can check which water company supplies your home on the Water UK website (Most homes in Dacorum are supplied by Affinity Water, but parts of Tring and some outlying villages are supplied by Thames Water.)
- You cannot currently choose your water company
- If you wish to switch your electricity or gas supplier, you are free to do so, but you must wait 28 days from the start of your new tenancy. You can find more information about how to do this on the Ofgem website.
Outside your home
- There will be no damaged paving slabs or concrete areas that lead to the property and could cause someone to trip.
- Roofs, walls, gutters and downpipes will be safe.
- Any wooden garden sheds left at the property will be in a good condition. (You will be responsible for maintaining or replacing any shed left at the property during your tenancy.)
- Brick sheds at the property will be in a safe condition and - where possible - will have a lock fitted.
- Any greenhouse left by the previous tenant will have been removed.
- Ponds will have been filled in.
- We will remove any conservatory before you move in.
- Gardens - including hedges, shrubs and trees - will be left a manageable condition for you to look after and will be your responsibility for maintaining during your tenancy.
- We don’t decorate properties, except those in sheltered housing schemes. We will give you a decorating pack that contains paint brushes, rollers, roller trays and dust sheets.
Waste and recycling collections
- Waste and recycling is not handled by the housing service. Find out more on our bins and recycling page.
Work that may be carried out after you have moved in
Windows and doors
- Replacing cracked or broken glass. (This will have been left safe when you moved in.)
- Replacing damaged UPVC windows or double-glazed units.
- Any clearances of former tenants' belongings to lofts, sheds and gardens that has been missed during the repair works should be reported within the first two weeks of your tenancy start date and we will arrange a collection.
- Making roofs, walls, gutters and downpipes safe
- Marking of the boundary in the front and rear gardens between properties will be by a single wire marker where applicable. Fencing to a rear garden when this backs onto a road, public footpath or garage block will be close-boarded fencing
- Repairing gutters and downpipes
- Programmed works.
Future maintenance and replacement of fencing between gardens is the tenant's responsibility. For more information see the Fencing information in our Tenants’ Handbook.
When you sign up for your new home we will let you know whether it is on our works programme for planned maintenance, such as new kitchen, bathroom, windows or doors (including shed doors).