South Ulster Housing Association

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1 South Ulster Housing Association Repairs Handbook Guidance on the repairs service provided to you by South Ulster Housing Association

2 Repairs Service We want to make it as easy as possible for you to use our repairs service, so you can enjoy living in your home and we can keep homes in good condition for the future. This handbook explains our policy for housing repairs in or around your home. We call these 'responsive repairs' or 'day-to day' repairs. We will do our best to keep your home in good condition, but you are strongly advised to take out an insurance policy. This will ensure that your furniture and belongings are protected and you are covered for any accidental damage to your home or those nearby.

3 Reporting repairs During normal office hours Carleton Street Portadown Co Armagh BT62 3EN Telephone: Fax: E Mail: Out of hours emergencies FOLD Telecare We will need Your full name and address, including your postcode Contact phone number(s) Full details of the repair needed, using this handbook Convenient times for the contractor to call We will assess the repair We will tell you if it is your responsibility to arrange the repair. If it is our responsibility, we will place an order with the appropriate contractor, or the Maintenance Officer will contact you to discuss what needs to be done. We will give you: a target date by which the repair should be finished the name of the contractor who will do the work Our contractor will contact you Our repairs contractor will phone you to agree when they will come to carry out the repair. If it is an emergency they will tell you how soon they will be at your home. For all other repairs they will try to agree a morning or afternoon on a specific date (Monday to Friday only). Please make sure we have your correct phone number. If you happen to change your contact number please inform the Association.

4 When you report a repair We may need to phone you or visit your home before ordering any repairs so we can assess exactly what work needs to be done. We will make a charge if you knowingly exaggerate the urgency of the problem to get a quicker (emergency) response. At weekends, on public holidays and after 5pm on weekdays we will only send out a repair worker if it is an emergency. Repairs Responsibility We are responsible for some of the repairs to your home, but there are some items for which you are responsible. The list overleaf is a guide to who is responsible for what. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and staff will welcome any query you might have. It is the practice of South Ulster Housing Association to pass on all costs that are the responsibility of the tenant and to ensure that these costs are recovered. An invoice will be raised for all costs deemed to be the tenant s responsibility. Remember that you have to pay for any damage caused to your home by your negligence or through any accidental or willful damage by you or any visitors. You are also responsible for any damage or repairs that are required to any improvements or modifications that you have carried out to your home. On termination the property should be left in an acceptable condition, clean and clear of all belongings and waste. The tenant will be charged for any cleaning, redecoration or repair work for which they are liable. In particular the tenant will be held liable for the cost of the removal and disposal of items left in the property at the end of the tenancy.

5 REPAIR WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? EXCEPTIONS Baths Where fault is due to misuse Boilers and hot water tanks Carbon Monoxide Alarm Tenant (where fitted) Care/upkeep of gardens Tenant and hedges Ceiling Central Heating pumps, timers etc Chains and stoppers for Tenant baths, sinks, wash hand basins etc Chimney stacks/pots and cowls Cleaning of gully traps Tenant Cleaning/repair of gutters and downpipes Coal bunkers Curtain rails Tenant Door bells Door entry systems Draught proofing Tenant Electrical wiring, sockets, switches Door hinges, locks, Lock change where the tenant has handles (external) lost/broken key Door hinges, locks, Tenant handles (internal) External stores Tenant If provided by Floor boards Floor covering (including Tenant Vinyl floor tiles and non slip sheeting adapting doors to by accommodate access) Fluorescent tubes Tenant Fuses and bulbs (internal Tenant & external) Garden paths, walls, fences, gates Gas boilers If tenant has ran out of gas Glazing Tenant will replace if Police confirm

6 Immersion heaters Internal and External doors and frames Internal plaster cracks on walls glass broken as result of vandalism. Where the fault is due to misuse Tenant Large cracks in new properties, repaired by at end of defects period Tenant Where fault is due to misuse Internal decoration Kitchen cupboards and worktops Letterboxes Maintenance of communal landscape areas Mould as a result of Tenant condensation Oil Boilers Airlocks caused by tenant running out of oil or damage caused by tank being tipped Pest control Tenant Pipes Radiators Bleeding air locked radiators Repair to walls Repairs to electrical Tenant appliances not installed by Repairs to solid fuel fires Replacement of glass panels and fire bars Replacement of bins Tenant (even if stolen) will replace at commencement of tenancy, if missing or damaged Replacement of fireplace Tenant tiles Replacement of rotary Tenant dryers Replacement of toilet Tenant seats Roof repairs Showers Where fault is due to misuse Sinks Where fault is due to misuse Skirting boards Smoke detectors (mains operated only) Smoke alarm batteries (if Tenant will replace at tenancy fitted) commencement

7 Stair cases Stair rails Sweeping chimney Tenant Blocked flues causing fire hazard Taps Replacement of dripping tap washers Toilet bowl and cistern Where fault is due to misuse TV aerials Tenant Communal TV aerials on block of flats Unblocking drains, will recover cost from tenant if sewers, waste pipes blocking is due to misuse Wall tiling Wash hand basins Where fault is due to misuse Washing lines Tenant Replacement of posts Window sills Window frame, handles, hinges etc Where fault is due to misuse Appointments We offer appointments for non-urgent repairs (am or pm) We will discuss arrangements for this when you call to report the repair. Please make sure that you keep appointments or let us know in advance if you are unable to. Repairs service monitoring We monitor the performance of all our contractors to ensure they are providing a good service. Your feedback on repairs is very important to us. We will send you a tenant satisfaction form. Please fill in and return the form once the work is complete. What to expect from contractors All contractors employed by us will be required to work within an agreed code of conduct. Our contractors will: show respect for you and your home at all times arrange a morning or afternoon appointment, and to work only between 8 am and 5 pm on Mondays to Fridays, unless you agree a different time show their identity cards explain clearly what the work will involve, when it will be done, and how long it will expect to take show consideration to the needs of disabled and vulnerable tenants avoid making excessive visits to your home be careful about security be responsible with using scaffolding

8 keep work tools and dangerous substances out of the reach of children not smoke, drink alcohol or play music in your home not move your belongings without permission and without you being present not use the following without your permission: - any of your belongings, such as ladders or chairs - your telephone - your WC, or kitchen - your bathroom or kitchen to clean equipment (if you do give permission, the rooms must be left clean and tidy) use dustsheets where required where a repair cannot be completed immediately, to ensure your home is left wind and weather proof, with all possible services left on, and to warn you of any hazards tell you when the work is finished, to remove all rubbish, and to leave your home tidy treat all details about you in confidence in accordance with Data Protection 1998 legislation What contractors will expect from you To be co-operative about making appointments and to give at least 24 hours notice if you cancel an appointment To clear the work area of any of your belongings To keep your children and pets away from the work area and from the contractors tools To allow contractors to have reasonable use of your electricity and water if necessary. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our repairs service, please tell us. We need your views to help us improve our services. Priority of Repairs Emergency We will respond to your request and attend within 24 hours. Examples of emergency repairs include: Major Plumbing Leaks Complete Heating Failure (in cold weather) Breakdown of Lifts Where there is a possible risk of damage to buildings or injury to persons Fire Damage Gas Leaks Please note that some emergency repairs may only make safe a fault at the first visit, with remedial work completed on a second visit.

9 Urgent We will respond to your request and undertake the repair within four working days. Examples of an urgent repair would include: Insecure external windows Faulty door locks or door entry systems Leaking Roofs Blocked drains/sinks Routine We will respond to your request and undertake the repair within 20 working days. Examples of routine repairs would include: Clearing out blocked gutters Easing doors and windows Internal plaster finishes Repairing kitchen units and cupboards Planned We carry out a programme of planned works to maintain and improve our properties. We need to ensure that they are in good repair, easy to maintain, and economical to run. This work can include: external decoration replacement kitchens new roofs modernisation, e.g. central heating system improvements to energy efficiency replacement windows You will be consulted before any works are carried out in or near your home and we will tell you when the work is to be carried out. We aim to cause you as little inconvenience as possible. Where practical, you will have a choice of colours or finishes for the paint and fittings. Right to Repair The Right to Repair Scheme covers small, urgent repairs costing up to 250 which if not carried out within a prescribed period of time could jeopardise your health or safety. We endeavour to ensure that all repairs that are our responsibility are completed within this prescribed timescale. If these repairs are not done within the specified time limit, you have the right to ask

10 us to get a second contractor to do them. If they are not done within the extra time allowed for the second contractor, you may be entitled to compensation. This is 10, plus 2 a day for every day that the repair is not finished, up to a maximum of 50. We can increase the time we take to do repairs in some situations, including if a gas, water or electricity supply is interrupted by a utility company or if the repair is more complex and needs an inspection visit. Repairs qualifying under the Right to Repair Scheme include the following: Total or partial loss of electrical power Unsafe power, lighting socket or water supply Total or partial loss of water supply Blocked flue to fire or boiler Total or partial loss of space or water heating Blocked or leaking foul drain, soil stack or toilet pan (if only one WC) Blocked sink, bath or basin Tap which cannot be turned off Leaking water or heating pipe Leaking roof Insecure external window, door or lock Loose or detached banister or handrail Rotten timber flooring or tread Door entry phone not working Mechanical extractor fan in internal kitchen or bathroom not working The scheme does not apply in the following circumstances: If reasonable access is not provided for either an inspection or a repair If the repair reported is neither an emergency or urgent repair If the repair is the tenant s responsibility If the repair is for a communal area If the Association is advised the repair is no longer necessary Altering and improving your home You have the right to carry out alterations or improvements to your home, but you must have our permission in writing first. We will not refuse permission without a good reason however permission will not be granted if the alterations: Make the dwelling less safe Reduce the value of the property Do not comply with current Building Regulations or Planning Requirements

11 Increase maintenance costs for the Association The proposed improvement could create unacceptable annoyance or nuisance to neighbours The proposed improvement could create future letting problems Your right to compensation for improvements you carry out You have the right to claim compensation for certain listed improvements which you make to your home. We pay this compensation when your tenancy ends. You must have our permission to carry out the improvements and must meet any reasonable standards we set. We will only pay the compensation at the end of your tenancy. If you owe us any amount at that time, we may put the compensation towards your debts to us. If you break the conditions of your tenancy agreement and we end your tenancy, you will not normally be entitled to any compensation for improvements you have carried out. If you have made alterations or improvements without our agreement and they are found to be unsafe, we will arrange for them to be made safe immediately. We will charge you for this work. We will tell you and confirm it in writing. Where you have given notice to end your tenancy, we will do a pre-termination inspection. We will tell you about any repairs that are your responsibility and give you the opportunity to do the work yourself or arrange for it to be done at your own expense. Discretionary repairs These are repairs we will do if you have recognised special needs that prevent you from getting the repair done. We know that tenants have different needs and we are committed to giving people equal and fair access to our services, with extra help if it is needed. We will do some repairs that are normally your responsibility without recharging, on a discretionary basis. Gas Servicing has a statutory duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and gas pipe work installed by are services and a gas safety check is carried out annually in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 2004 and the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive. will take all reasonable steps to comply with the requirements by appointing GAS SAFE registered contractors to carry out annual gas servicing. carries out annual servicing and safety checks to all of its properties with gas central heating. The servicing is carried out to an agreed programme. A notification letter is sent to all tenants informing them of the date of the gas service and the importance of allowing the contractor access to the property

12 Contractors carry GAS SAFE identity cards. The work is only issued to GAS SAFE registered contractors who will: Ensure that all installed gas appliances, flues and gas pipe work are maintained and operate in a safe condition Ensure that an annual gas service is carried out on all gas appliances, flues and gas pipe work installed by. If the appliances are new then they will be checked within twelve months of their installation date. Ensure that a record is kept of each annual service. Ensure that and the tenant receive a copy of the GAS SAFE Certificate within 28 days of the service being completed. Ensure that if the appliance is faulty and cannot be repaired at the time then and the tenant will be instructed not to use it until remedial work is completed. It is a Condition of Tenancy that reasonable access must be permitted to enable to undertake the annual service (and any repairs). If the tenant fails to provide reasonable access then it may result in legal proceedings commencing under the Grounds for Possession (Ground 1) in order to obtain access or end the tenancy. Aids and Adaptations is committed to ensuring that it provides a service which is responsive to the needs of all tenants. It is particularly concerned that the needs of people with disabilities are recognised and met. The responsibility for assessing and advising on the housing needs of people with disabilities lies with the Occupational Therapy Departments of the Health and Social Care Trusts. The Occupational Therapist will provide aids and recommend any adaptations to be made.

13 Advice on maintaining your home Condensation What is condensation? Condensation is caused by water forming on a cold surface from damp air. Everyday activities such as breathing, cooking, washing, and drying clothes are all things that put water into the air in your home. An average family makes about 20 pints of water vapour in just one day. This vapour stays in the air in warm rooms but condenses back into water when it touches cold surfaces like windows or bathroom walls. Condensation or Damp? It s important to be able to tell the difference between damp caused by condensation, and damp caused by other factors such as rising damp, rainwater, plumbing problems or poor drainage. Condensation tends to get worse in cold weather. The other types of damp (apart from plumbing leaks) tend to get worse in wet weather. Condensation tends to form patches of mould with blurred soft edges rather than a stain mark. Condensation occurs when the air and / or surfaces are cold when the moisture content of the air is high. Why is condensation a problem? The water formed by condensation can be damaging to your home and your health. Moisture encourages rot in wooden objects like doors and window frames and spoils decorations. It can provide ideal conditions for mould especially mildew which causes black patches on walls and fabric. Some mould spores (the microscopic dust given off as a kind of seed) can also be bad for your lungs. What do I do if I have condensation? If there is condensation in your home there are a number of things you can do: Wipe down walls and windows regularly Provide a constant low heat in all rooms during cold weather Make sure windows are opened to allow fresh air into the room Do not block air vents or air bricks Keep internal doors closed

14 If your windows have trickle vents at the top, open them Use extractor fans where they are provided in kitchens when boiling saucepans and kettles Burst or Frozen pipes Here you will find useful information on what emergency action to take if your pipes freeze or burst. Remember to report the repair to. Why do my pipes burst? Once the water in the pipes, (such as heating pipes) stops flowing and the temperature has reached freezing level, the water will freeze. As the water freezes it will expand. Due to the copper pipes being rigid they cannot expand to accommodate the expansion of the freezing water. This will result in a section or sections of the pipe work bursting. Once the water then begins to thaw the water will leak out of the pipe. How can I prevent this? There are a number of ways in which this can be prevented. The vast majority of pipes in your property are located in the roof space and under the sink in the kitchen. It is important that the temperatures in these areas are kept above freezing. The following suggestions will help you to do this: Turn the boiler thermostat down and run the heating constantly. This will keep the water flowing through the pipes and prevent them from freezing. With the thermostat turned down you will not use a large amount of oil / gas. Only using the heating sporadically will increase the chance of your boiler / pipes freezing! Lift the trap door from the roof space to allow the warmer air in the house to pass into the loft. This will help keep the temperature above freezing.

15 Turn the light in the loft on if you have one. A standard light bulb will emit heat into the loft, please note that this alone will not stop pipes from freezing but will help Open the cupboard doors under the sink to allow the warm air to pass around the pipes and help keep them above freezing level Open the internal doors in your property to allow the warm air to circulate each room. Some rooms may have pipes located within the walls that may be susceptible to freezing should the heat in that room not be on Ensure that all radiators are turned on. Please ensure that you have adequate oil / gas credit to get through the winter months. Ensure you have a form of temporary heating available should you require additional heat in your property. I have taken all of the preventative measures but still have a burst pipe in my house, what should I do? In order to minimise any damage from burst pipes you need to locate your stop cock and turn it off. By doing this you will turn off the cold water supply to your property. You should then run the taps in the kitchen and bathroom to drain the water from the system thereby minimising the amount of water being leaked into your property. This may take a few minutes to complete. The stop cock is usually found in the cupboard under the sink or in some cases can be found in the front or back hall. Please ensure that you are familiar with the location of your stopcock. Please note that once the water system has been drained you must not use the immersion heater as the hot water tanks will be empty which could cause damage to the heater element and or cylinder. If possible you should also try to contain the leaking water if the burst pipe can be located. Please note this may not always be possible. If the water has come into contact with any electrical fittings then the electricity should be turned off at the mains. Stopcock

16 Once you have turned the water off phone the Association on during working hours (9:00am 5:00pm Mon-Fri), for calls outside working hours please call our out of hours emergency line on Please be advised that this number is only for emergency cases which require immediate attention. I don t appear to have any burst pipes but my water is not working, what should I do? Most frozen pipes are found in the attic or below the sink (please note above recommendations to carry out in order to prevent this). If you believe the pipes in your property are frozen and affecting your water supply you can use a thick towel soaked in warm water to put over the pipe to help it thaw. Do not use naked flames on the pipes and do not heat them too quickly as this may cause the pipe to burst. If the problem with your water supply is to do with the main supply you should call NI water on Help your neighbour The Association understands that extreme weather conditions may be a difficult time for those who are vulnerable. If you know some one who may be elderly, disabled or housebound it would be much appreciated if you could call with them from time to time to help them prevent the possibility of pipes bursting in they re home by showing them how to help prevent the pipes freezing. I am leaving to go on holiday during the winter months, what can I do to ensure my pipes do not burst? The Association understands that some tenants may head off on holiday during the winter months. Unfortunately with no heat on in the property during this time the possibility of pipes bursting in your home will increase significantly. If you plan to go away on holiday during the winter months please contact the Association and we can arrange for the water systems in your

17 property to be drained. Upon your return we can then arrange for the water systems to be refilled and balanced. Abandoned homes If you know of a property belonging to the Association which has been abandoned or not being used please contact the office with details. Carbon Monoxide Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless and odourless gas, making its presence difficult to detect. It is formed when domestic fuels such as gas, coal, wood and charcoal are burned and by petrol engines. When fuel burns in an enclosed room, the oxygen in the room is gradually used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide builds up in the air, the fuel is prevented from burning fully and starts releasing carbon monoxide instead. Prevention of Carbon Monoxide poisoning Don'ts Do not use poorly maintained appliances that burn gas or other fossil fuels Do not burn charcoal in an enclosed space Do not operate petrol-powered engines indoors or in enclosed spaces Do not use gas appliances if they produce yellow flames and deposit soot on walls Do not use unflued appliances in small closed-up rooms Do not use gas cookers for heating rooms Do not sleep in a bedroom with a paraffin heater or an unflued gas fire Dos Do ensure contractors gain access to your home to carry out an annual boiler service Do fit a carbon monoxide alarm that meets British or European Standards Do make sure chimneys and flues are clean and not blocked Do make sure that all rooms are well ventilated when an appliance is being used Do use extractor fan in your kitchen Energy Efficiency is committed to Energy Efficiency and reducing our Carbon footprint. Below are some examples that will not only help you be energy efficient, but will also save you money.

18 Don t overheat your home - by turning your heating down by just one degree you can reduce your fuel bill by 10 percent! If you have a water-filled radiator against an outside wall, attach a reflective panel or kitchen foil to the wall behind it Put a shelf over a radiator to help distribute heat into the room Use a shower instead of a bath - it s five times cheaper! If you have a hot water cylinder thermostat, don t set it higher than 60 degrees centigrade When you buy something like a washing machine look for the energy label - choose the most efficient model to cut your bills Try to use a full load in your washing machine Don t overfill the kettle - just put in the amount of water you need Put lids on saucepans and use just enough water to cover the food Defrost your freezer regularly, so it doesn t have to work so hard

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