Compensation Policy. 1. Aim of policy. Version Number: 2.0 UNCONTROLLED IF PRINTED

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1 Compensation Policy Policy Ref: POL-BA-COMPEN Version Number: 2.0 Policy Owner Customer Insight Lead UNCONTROLLED IF PRINTED 1. Aim of policy 1.1. City West Housing Trust (City West) is constantly striving to improve our services. We welcome customer feedback and will: ensure that we comply with statutory compensation laws for Registered Social Landlords handle discretionary compensation fairly and consistently and to ensure that service failure doesn t leave customers out of pocket, and comply with any recommendations from the Housing Ombudsman Service to award compensation Compensation will be paid under the following circumstances: Statutory Required by law: Right to Repair Right to Compensation for Improvements, and Home Loss and Disturbance Payments Discretionary Discretion of City West: Service Failure The Policy applies to City West tenants, leaseholders or applicants for housing via City West s choice based letting scheme. The term tenant or leaseholder includes all those who occupy property by way of a secure, assured or assured short-hold tenancy / lease. The policy does not apply to other members of the public with whom City West has no contractual relationship. Page 1 of 6

2 2. The policy 2.1. Statutory Compensation 2.2. Right to Repair A qualifying repair must meet the following criteria: it must be categorised as an Emergency (24 hours), Urgent (3 working days) Non Urgent (7 working days) the repair must not cost more than 250 to complete, and the response time must take into the account the individual needs of the tenant or leaseholder including their health, safety or security City West and its contractors are responsible for carrying out repairs within specified time limits. If original timescales are not kept, they will advise customers of a second appointment time and attend within the timescales If the repair is still not completed within the revised timescales, the customer is entitled to claim compensation of 10 plus 2 per day for every day the repair remains outstanding up to a maximum of None of the above timescales or payments are applicable if the customer refuses or does not provide access to the contractor Right to Compensation for Improvements The Right to Compensation for Improvements applies to tenants at the end of their tenancy and does not apply to leaseholders This is the right for tenants to claim compensation for improvements to their home that they have carried out following written consent of City West following an agreed estimate (out of three provided by the customer). The minimum value of any single improvement where compensation is payable will be 50. Any claim below this figure will not qualify. The maximum compensation that can be paid for any single improvement is The customer will not be entitled to this form of compensation if they have transferred, applied to purchase their property under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire or if they have been served with a repossession order Where the tenancy is terminated through a possession claim based on the customer s breach of obligations, the customer will not normally be entitled to compensation. Page 2 of 6

3 Customers should make a claim for such compensation either up to 28 days before the tenancy ends and 14 days after the end of the tenancy. Customers need to provide details of: the improvements made how much each improvement cost the date the improvements began and finished, and a copy of the invoice to show how much the work cost City West may pay compensation for improvements if it is below the notional Life. The below table details qualifying improvements and the associated notional life: Qualifying Improvement Notional Life (Years) 1. Bath or shower Wash-hand basin Toilet Kitchen sink Storage cupboards in bathroom or kitchen Work surfaces for food preparation Central heating or water heating Thermostatic radiator valves Insulation of pipes, water tank or cylinder Loft insulation Cavity wall insulation Draught proofing of external doors or windows Double glazing or other external window replacement or secondary glazing Rewiring or the provision of power and lighting or other electrical fittings (including smoke detectors) Any object which improves the security of the dwellinghouse, but excluding burglar alarms Home loss The Home Loss payment applies to tenants who are required by City West to move permanently from their home if it is due to be redeveloped, improved or demolished Home Loss is also payable if a customer s property is redeveloped to a point as to lose its identity. This would occur if the property was for example a three bedroom flat that was refurbished and became a one bedroom flat with larger living area and relocated bathroom Home Loss payments are set by statute and will only apply where the tenant has been living at the property over the last twelve months and can be claimed up to six years after the tenant has moved. The current rate for Home Loss payments is 4,700. Page 3 of 6

4 2.5. Disturbance Payments City West will also consider all reasonable requests for disturbance payments where a tenant s home is redeveloped, improved or demolished to cover out of pocket expenses associated with the move. Tenants will be required to produce written estimates from reputable contractors and can include, but is not limited to payment for removals, disconnection / reconnection charges and refitting of carpets City West will also consider requests for disturbance payments where tenants are required to move out of their homes on temporary basis for redevelopment or improvement purposes When considering disturbance, City West will consider the needs of vulnerable customers as they may need greater assistance No disturbance payments will be made if the tenant is on a transfer list and takes the opportunity to secure a permanent move Wherever possible, City West will arrange and pay for services directly rather than compensating the tenants Discretionary Compensation City West will operate a general compensation policy that will apply on a discretionary basis where service failure has been identified that causes exceptional inconvenience, stress, disturbance or annoyance Requests for discretionary compensation will be dealt with under the Compliments, Comments and Complaints Policy Compensation should be used not because something went wrong, but for the failure to put it right The following table indicates the levels of compensation that will be considered: Level of impact to tenant or leaseholder Low Medium High Inconvenience Caused Service user is caused mild inconvenience on one occasion as a direct result of City West actions or failure to act. Service failure on more than one occasion in succession and / or failure to remedy the problem within a reasonable timescale. Serious or prolonged service failure resulting in severe stress, disruption, inconvenience or loss of income to the tenant or leaseholder. Amount Payable between Over 100 Page 4 of 6

5 Consideration for compensation under this general category will only be given where City West have been notified of within 12 months of the service failure occurring Any offers City West make to pay discretionary compensation will be made on the basis that it does not constitute an admission of legal liability Compensation payments to customers Statutory compensation owed to City West customers will be offset against any arrears owed to City West, including rent arrears. Following the offset, any balance remaining will be paid direct to the customer City West will not use compensation to pay arrears if the compensation is meant to be used for a specific purpose (e.g. to replace a damaged item, reimburse for minor costs that were more than would routinely be required for pursuing a complaint). However, if discretionary compensation is awarded (i.e. for inconvenience, stress, disturbance or annoyance), City West may use this to offset against the arrears Appeals Appeals can not be made against discretionary compensation offers Appeals can not be made against statutory compensation offers. If a customer has not been made an offer of statutory compensation and feels they should have been they can appeal by contacting City West. The decision will be reviewed by a more senior manager not involved in the original decision. This decision will be final Insurance Claims Tenants and leaseholders are expected to take out contents insurance. There are numerous insurance providers including City West who offer a low cost contents insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders If a customer reports any of the following concerns, City West reserves the right to refer the claim o its solicitors or insurers for investigation: the customer suggests that they or a member of their household, have suffered a personal injury as a result of something City West or its agents / contractors has done or not done, or the customer feels that they have suffered a loss of reputation as a result of something City West or its agents / contractors has done or not done, or damage to personal belongings. Page 5 of 6

6 3. Legislation, Regulation & Standards 3.1. The following legislation, regulation & standards underpin the policy: Right to Repair (introduced as part of the Citizens Charter Scheme 1st April 1994) - The Secure Tenants of Local Housing Authorities (Right to Repair) Regulations Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 133 Right to Compensation for Improvements (introduced as part of the Citizens Charter Scheme 1st April 1994) - The Secure Tenants of Local Housing Authorities (Compensation for Improvements) Regulations Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 613 Housing Corporation Circular 94 / 33 revised 2002 Home Loss and Disturbance Payments (Under the terms of the Land compensation Act 1973 as amended by the Planning Act 1991), and The Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations Delivery and Monitoring 4.1. The Business Assurance Department will have responsibility for monitoring this policy. 5. Equality and Diversity 5.1. An Equality Analysis has been completed on this policy and identified no potential negative impacts. This has been reviewed and refreshed as part of the review of this policy. 6. Related procedures 6.1. The following procedures need to be followed to implement the policy: Compensation Procedure Compliments, Comments & Complaints Procedure, and Decant (Temporary Relocation) Procedure. 7. Related policies 7.1. The following policies have been used to inform the development of this policy and are related: Compliments, Comments & Complaints Policy Decant (Temporary Relocation) Policy Repairs & Maintenance Policy Tenancy Sustainability and Vulnerable Customers Strategy, and Equality & Diversity Policy. Page 6 of 6

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