Renting a property

Looking for a new home, you’ve come to the right place.  We have just over 8,000 rented properties across the North East, catering for a wide range of age groups and family sizes.

If you want to find out more about our properties and make an enquiry about applying click here.

If you want to check out our current vacancies click here.

To give yourself the best chance of renting from Bernicia Homes you should also register with your local authority Choice Based Lettings Scheme.

For North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead visit:

For Northumberland visit:

For Durham visit:

For Sunderland visit:

*Sunderland City Council do not operate a Choice Based Lettings Scheme but do have nomination rights for Bernicia Homes vacancies.

 

You may also be interested in the homes provided by our sister company

Four Housing who have a range of homes across the North East, with a special focus in the Berwick, Teesside and Durham areas

Rent Collection

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It is important that we are successful in collecting rents to meet our current and future business and financial commitments.

To do this, we will seek to maximise the collection of rent and service charges by ensuring that you receive the appropriate support and advice to enable you to deal with your financial affairs.

We will:

  • Adopt a sympathetic but firm approach when dealing with you if you are experiencing difficulty in paying your rent, and display flexibility in dealing with you as an individual, whilst having regard to the overall rent recovery procedure
  • Visit you if you are experiencing difficulty in paying rent at an early stage as we believe personal contact with you is an important part of the rent recovery process
  • Work with other agencies, including relevant local authorities to ensure that necessary support is given to you where available

  • Take action to repossess the property as the ultimate sanction against those in arrears. However, we will only consider this action when we are satisfied that all possible steps to avoid this have been taken
  • Continually publicise all the payment methods available and seek to implement new rent payment methods as they are developed
  • Send you a statement of your account on a regular basis or upon request

Aids and Adaptations

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We aim to support you or members of your household, who suffer from a health condition or have a disability and who need an aid or an adaptation to help live more comfortably in your home.

Our aim is to deliver a good quality aids and adaptations service that will be quick and responsive in meeting the needs of you or members of your household. The following sets out the service standards of what you can expect when you use the service.

To deliver the service, we will:

  • Make a budget available each year
  • Provide aids and adaptations of a minor nature,usually works up to the value of £500
  • Incorporate major adaptations into programmed improvement works
  • Arrange qualified professionals to help identify or position the aid or adaptation which is right for your needs.

Applying for adaptations, we will:

  • Provide you with a range of ways to request an aid or adaptation
  • Aim to give you a decision in 7 days on whether the aid or adaptation can be done
  • Aim to complete agreed works within 28 days of the decision
  • Keep you informed of any changes such as delays in ordering specialist equipment or materials
  • Arrange a convenient appointment when your aid or adaptation will be installed
  • Make sure we take into account any needs you may have

Anti-Social Behaviour

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Everyone has the right to enjoy their home and to live the way that they choose, providing it does not affect the quality of life of others.

Bernicia aims to ensure that our estates are peaceful and secure places for residents to enjoy and we recognise the disruption and misery that anti-social behaviour can cause. The following information highlights our approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and what you can expect from us.

We are committed to the prevention of anti-social behaviour and to tackle problems swiftly and effectively, we will do this by:

  • Responding to complaints quickly and sensitively in the strictest of confidence
  • Delivering flexible and proportionate responses to anti-social behaviour
  • Working with residents, the local community and other agencies including the police
  • Providing support to people reporting incidents of anti social behaviour

Stop Abuse

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Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear, abuse or neglect. Some groups of people need help to keep themselves safe.

It is your responsibility to know what you can do about it!

What is abuse?

Abuse is any behaviour towards a person that deliberately or unknowingly causes him or her harm, endangers life or violates their rights. Abuse may be:

  • Physical: hitting or kicking
  • Sexual: assault or exposure
  • Psychological: being made to feel unhappy or devalued
  • Financial or Material: stealing or denying access to money or possessions
  • Neglect: deliberate withholding or unintentional failures to provide appropriate and adequate care and support
  • Discrimination: abuse motivated by discriminatory attitudes
  • Domestic Violence: Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence
  • Modern Slavery: Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment
  • Self Neglect: This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding

If you or someone you know is experiencing Domestic Abuse

(Download our Guide – Domestic Abuse-link to leaflet).
Download our guide

Your Starter Tenancy

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As a new tenant, you have been given a starter tenancy (also known as an assured shorthold tenancy). Starter tenancies offer tenants a reduced set of rights for an initial period of 12 months.

It is your responsibility to know what you can do about it!

For example, this means you can’t:

  • Take in lodgers
  • Make improvements to the property
  • Exchange properties with another tenant
  • Exercise a Right to Acquire your property (although the 12 month probationary period will count towards any entitlement once your tenancy converts to a full assured tenancy)

You also have less security of tenure under a starter tenancy than an assured tenancy. A starter tenancy can be terminated by giving 2 months notice and then applying to court for a possession order, without having to show any particular grounds under the Housing Act 1988 which we would need to do for an assured tenancy.

If the tenancy is conducted satisfactorily for this period it will usually be converted into a full assured tenancy (also known as an assured non shorthold tenancy) by us serving a “conversion notice” on you. If your tenancy is converted into an assured tenancy you would then have additional rights as a tenant.

We have the same responsibilities to starter tenants as we do to our other existing tenants. This means we have a responsibility to keep your home in reasonable repair and to consult with you on tenancy related issues.

Your Right to Repair

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This guide explains about ‘Your Right To Repair’ – a scheme to ensure certain small urgent repairs which may affect your health, safety or security are done quickly and easily.

The guide explains what repairs are covered, how you can report them, how long we have to complete the work and what you can do if we don’t manage to undertake the work in time.

How can I get my repairs done?

You need to tell us what repairs you need done. We may need to send someone to your home to check the problem first.

If the repair comes under The Right to Repair scheme we will do the work in the set timescale and will send you a copy of the repair notice.

This notice will show information that will include:

  • Confirmation of who is doing the repair and how to contact them.
    (Usually it will be Bernicia Homes but occasionally it may be a contractor)
  • The arrangements made for whoever is doing the repair to attend
  • What the repair is
  • When the repair should be done by

You can register non-urgent repair requests through the Report a repair link on this website.  You will be contacted by a member of staff when our offices reopen to arrange to carry out your repair.

Please read/download our repairs guide.

Community Alarm Services

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Bernicia’s community alarm service provides monitoring of alarms by our Contact Centre 24 hours a day, so you can be safe in the knowledge that should you need help in an emergency someone’s always there.

The benefits include:

  • Help and advice at the touch of a button
  • Peace of mind for you and your family
  • Greater independence
  • 24-hour service

Beating The Freeze

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With another cold winter forecast, let’s be a little better prepared. Here are a few hints, tips and facts to help keep you and your home safe and warm during the cold weather.

    • Our heating appliances are serviced every year, but if you have missed your appointment…
    • Make sure you know where your stopcock is located and that it’s working, if not…
    • Test your smoke alarm to check it’s working, if not…

Damp, Condensation and Mould

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Condensation is probably the biggest cause of dampness in homes, therefore a lot of information and advice is included in this booklet to help you identify and reduce condensation as well as treating the mould growth often associated with it.

There are four main types of dampness that could affect your home. It is important to understand the difference between them so that you know what to do about the problem.

Rising damp

This is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. The water gets through or round a broken damp proof course (DPC) or passes through the natural brickwork if your home was built without a DPC.

Penetrating dampness

This type of dampness will only be found on external walls or in the case of roof leaks, on ceilings.

Defective plumbing

Leaks from water and waste pipes, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, are relatively common. They can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings.

Condensation

This is by far the most common cause of dampness experienced by tenants, resulting in a large number of enquiries or reports to Bernicia.

Five steps to reducing condensation and black mould growth

less_moistureProduce less moisture
excess_moistureRemove excess moisture
ventilateVentilate to remove moisture
heatHeat your home a little bit more
mouldDeal with black mould growth

warningRemember…

Dealing with condensation is not easy. Only carrying out one or two of the above steps may not solve your problem. You need to do as many as possible every day, so that it becomes part of your routine and lifestyle.

Retirement housing

We have a range of housing options available to you as you approach retirement along with services to help you maintain your independence.

If you are over 55 and looking to plan for your future why not contact us to discuss the options available. Whether it’s a bungalow or a flat for added security and peace of mind we can help you plan your next move. If you want to have a look at what properties are currently available you will find these in our find a home section.

Housing with Support

  • Learning Disability – if you are looking for a home either by yourself or to share we have a range of options to help you to achieve independent living. Contact us to speak to a specialist officer who can discuss your options with you.
  • Physical Disability – if you are looking for a home that has facilities that can help you live independently we may be able to help you.
  • Homelessness – do you live in Sunderland and are homeless or are at risk of homelessness? Our Homeless Project in Sunderland provides temporary accommodation with support to help you to secure and sustain long term, independent accommodation. If you are at risk of losing your current accommodation our Floating Support Service can help to provide you with the support that you need so that you do not lose your home. Contact us confidentially for advice on how we can help. Download our guide to find out more.
  • Intensive Housing Management – do you live in a Bernicia Property? Are you struggling to manage your accommodation? We can offer practical housing related support to help you avoid losing your home. Contact us confidentially to discuss how we may be able to help you.

Compliments and Complaints

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Please download our full guide for advice on how to give complaints or compliments.

We really value positive feedback. It helps us recognise good things we do and is really motivating for the individual and teams concerned.

If an employee, a team, or anyone who deals with you on our behalf impresses you in some way, please make sure you tell us.

All you need to do is let us know who was involved and what happened. We will then make sure they find out.

Making a Complaint

We always try our very best to deliver services to the satisfaction of customers but occasionally things can go wrong.

We often don’t know there is a problem unless you tell us. In most cases, issues can be resolved quickly if you talk to staff about your concerns. They will be happy to try and put things right.

We value complaints as a really good way to learn how we can improve our services to you.

However, if you feel that things have not been dealt with properly or we have not provided you with the service you expect then you can make a formal complaint.

Energy Saving

Our ‘Affordable Warmth Strategy’ sets out our commitment to improving financial well-being amongst our residents and providing practical advice that will reduce fuel costs and put money back into tenant’s pockets.

Reducing Energy Costs – Handy Hints and Tips

Energy prices are increasing and with over 38% of the UK population worried about heating costs we have provided some handy hints and tips on how to reduce costs:

  • Heating
    Turn down your thermostat by just 1˚C and you will cut your fuel bills by up to 10%.
  • Lighting
    Use energy saving light bulbs, they last 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and using one can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb.
  • Washing
    Washing at 30˚C uses 40% less electricity than at higher temperatures.
  • Taps
    A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so make sure any repairs are reported and taps are fully turned off.
  • Curtains
    Closing curtains, especially lined ones, will stop heat escaping through your windows.
    Find more energy saving tips in our booklets ‘Beating the Freeze’ and ‘Keep your home free from damp, condensation and mould’.

More help is available…
If you would like more information on how to reduce your energy usage please contact one of the following organisations for free and impartial advice:

  • Home Heat helpline – 0800 33 66 99
  • Citizen Advice Consumer Service – 08454 04 05 06
  • Energy Saving Trust – 0300 123 1234

Alternatively contact us for more information on:
T: 0344 800 3800
E: mail.enquiries@bernicia.com

E-learning

Bernicia have teamed up with Housing e-Academy, a division of Virtual College to offer 18 free courses to all Bernicia residents.

The 18 courses cover four main topics which users can complete at their own pace.

Around the Home

  • Basic Home Maintenance
  • Saving Energy to Reduce Bills
  • Pest Awareness
  • Feeding a family on a budget
  • What is Telehealth?

Using the internet

  • Starting out on the internet
  • Internet safety
  • The power of the internet
  • Getting started with social media

Social Issues

  • Hate crime
  • Anti-Social behavior
  • Issues surrounding drugs
  • Issues surrounding alcohol
  • Preparing for interviews

Community

  • Gypsy and traveler culture
  • Building a community
  • Cultural awareness respect

Residents wishing to sign up to e-learning will need to have access to a computer. This can be either at home or a local library and you must be a Bernicia tenant.

Log on using the following website details

Universal Credit

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Please download our guide for a simple explanation of Universal Credit, including when it is coming in, who it applies to and where to find further support and information.

Can I Buy My Home?

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Please download our guide for information and advice on how you might be able to buy your home under either “The Right to Buy” or “The Right to Acquire” scheme.

Managing Money Problems

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Good money management can mean many things – from living within your means to saving for short and long term goals, to having a realistic plan to pay off your debts. There are also many problems an individual can face relating to money and finances. We are committed to helping all tenants to make the most of their money and deal with any difficulties they may face.

Please download our guide, or contact us on 0344 800 3800 for advice on managing money problems.

It is important to be aware that your home may contain asbestos, but as long as it is not damaged, flaking or producing dust, it is unlikely to cause you problems.

Please read our guidance on Asbestos in our information leaflet.  If you still have any concerns about asbestos in your property, please contact our Technical Services Team who will be happy to talk to you.