Guide for new council tenants

1. Becoming a new tenant

There are certain things that you need to do when you become a council tenant. This includes sending us proof of your identity and letting us know about your change of circumstances so we can update our records.

2. Proof of your identity

Before you can become a tenant we need to see some proof of your identity (ID).

You must take the following to our Citizen Service Point:

  • personal ID such as a passport, driving licence or birth certificate
  • proof of current address such as a utility bill, phone bill, bank statement or benefits letter which is less than three months old
  • if you claim child benefit then we need to see a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, a bank statement and the birth certificate of your children
  • if you’re not a British Citizen then we need to see proof that you have the right to remain in the UK, there should be a note in your passport
  • if you’re from the EU then we need to see proof that you’re working, such as a contract of employment or your last three months’ payslips

3. Housing benefit and council tax

Housing benefit and council tax reduction

If you’re already claiming housing benefit, or a reduction to your council tax, you’ll need to tell us about your change of circumstances so we can update our benefits records.

Find out if you can claim benefits with our benefits calculator. If you’re eligible, you can apply for benefits online.

If you have any questions call us on 0117 922 2300.

Council tax

You'll also need to tell us that you're moving home so we can update our council tax records.

4. Ending your previous tenancy

If you currently live in rented accommodation you must tell your landlord that you'll be leaving and that you want to end your tenancy.

To do this, you usually have to give written notice to your landlord, normally at least four weeks or a calendar month. Check your tenancy agreement for rules about ending your tenancy.

You may be able to claim Housing Benefit for both addresses during the notice period. However, you must move into your new home as soon as the tenancy starts.

5. Before you move in

Before you move in we'll:

  • show you around the property and answer any of your questions 
  • give you a copy of our letting standard: it tells you about the work we do to your home before you move in
  • give you a copy of your tenancy agreement and make sure you understand it
  • confirm the amount of rent you'll have to pay and explain the ways you can pay:  see paying your rent or other housing payment
  • tell you which repairs are our responsibility, which are yours, and how to report a repair
  • help you apply for housing and council tax benefit if you need it
  • give you a copy of your gas safety certificate (pdf, 62k) (opens new window)

You'll also be photographed when you sign up.

We strongly advise that you get home contents insurance for your new home.

6. What to bring when you sign up

When you sign up for your tenancy you'll need to bring:

  • a completed direct debit or standing order form if you wish to pay in this way: if you bring your bank details we can help you with this form
  • your completed client information form if you're moving into a Supported Housing for Older People Scheme

7. After you move in

We'll visit you within four to six weeks to check that you've settled in. We'll arrange this visit when you sign up.

When we visit, we'll tell you about:

If you've moved into a block of flats with a caretaking service, the Site Coordinator will arrange to visit you.

When the Site Coordinator visits they'll tell you about:

  • getting rid of of your rubbish.
  • arranging your laundry time, if your block has a laundry
  • any parking restrictions, like designated parking
  • contacting Caretaking Services

8. Check your rent online

You can sign up for a Bristol Account and see your rent payments and other housing charges online.

9. Tenant's handbook

You can find all this information and more in our Tenant's handbook (pdf, 1.9MB) (opens new window)