What to do, and what is likely to happen when the flat needs repairs done.
You move into the bare flat and are concerned about the state, safety and correct usages of the electrical mishmash on the living room wall.
The boxes were hanging loose, the wires deformed.
What should you do, who should you talk to about this?
First, you consult the handbook given you and find that:
All emergency repairs must be reported on our Repair line 0115 915 2222. Difficult when your deaf? If something in your home needs repairing you can:
- Call us on 0115 915 2222
- Report your repair online (not available on mobile phones/tablets)
- Email us
However you get in touch, we’ll need to know your name and address, your ‘phone number and details about the repair – remember, the more you tell us, the quicker we can help – as well as what time is good for us to come and see you about the repair, and whether you have any hearing difficulties or need some time to get to the door. We’ll then tell you whether the repair is our responsibility or yours.
If it’s ours, we’ll give you a reference number and arrange an appointment. Repair requests are put into groups according to how urgent the repair is.
We charge for some kinds of repairs – we’ll let you know if you’ll be charged when you report your repair.
What’s your repair?
Emergency repairs are those that need doing because there’s a real risk of injury or death if they’re not carried out – for example if a property isn’t secure, if it’s been significantly damaged, or if there’s a total loss of heating in winter.
We’ll always get to an emergency repair callout within 24 hours, if not immediately. Any follow-up work will be completed soon after the initial emergency situation has been resolved.
We know that when something needs fixing, it can seem like an emergency – but please use your common sense, and use the list below as a guide.
Please make sure you’re at home when we come out to your emergency repair. If you’re not in and the repair that you’ve reported isn’t an emergency, the job will be cancelled, and financial charges imposed. You may lose your Tenancy Status:
If you haven’t been a council tenant before, you’ll get an introductory tenancy. It means that you have fewer rights than a secure tenant, and it’s easier for us to evict you if we need to.
Introductory tenancies last for a year and automatically become secure tenancies after that unless you’ve breached any of your tenancy conditions. If there has been a breach, the introductory tenancy may be extended by another six months.
Breaches of an introductory tenancy include anti-social behaviour and may result in eviction if the breach of tenancy is very severe.
We’ll always explain the action that we take, and you have the right to ask for a review of any of our decisions.
If you’ve successfully completed the one-year (or longer if it’s been extended) introductory tenancy, you’ll then get a secure tenancy.
A secure tenancy gives you more rights, including the exclusive right to live in your home, and the right to buy it. You can’t be evicted unless we can prove there are grounds for us to do so, such as continued anti-social behaviour – and, of course, you still need to keep to all your tenancy conditions.
Your tenancy will be demoted if you’ve seriously breached the conditions of your secure tenancy. You’ll have fewer rights, similar to those of an introductory tenant.
A demoted tenancy lasts for 12 months unless we decide to evict you during that period.
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This list should help you to decide if your repair is an emergency or not.
We will respond within four hours and complete within three working days of you reporting any of these issues:
- Total loss of electric power or partial loss where serious inconvenience is caused
- Unsafe electrics
- Total loss of water supply
- Total or partial loss of gas supply
- Blocked flue to open fire or boiler
- Total loss of water/heating
- Partial loss of water/heating (November to March only)
- Blocked or leaking foul drain, soil stack or toilet ball valve/overflow
- Toilet not flushing
- Leak from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern
- Leaking roof
- Insecure external doors or windows
- Blocked toilet
- Unsafe floorboards, stair tread, banister or handrail
- Exposed survey chamber
We will complete routine repairs within 15 working days of you reporting it to us. Routine repairs are repairs that are not deemed to be an emergency or programmed work.
Repairs that we charge for:
Unfortunately, some people damage their home, either deliberately or accidentally. When repairs are needed as a result of this kind of damage, you may have to pay.
Most people treat their homes with care and respect because they want to live somewhere pleasant and comfortable.
Unfortunately, some people damage their home, either deliberately or accidentally.
When repairs are needed as a result of this kind of damage, you may have to pay after your financial viability has been checked.
If we think that someone has damaged their home or their visitors have caused the damage, we’ll ask them to explain what’s happened.
Anyone who causes damage will have to pay to put it right. We ask for payment from people who have caused damage whether they still live in the property, or whether they’ve moved out.
Typical damage of this kind includes accidental damage to fixtures and fittings caused by attempting DIY, damage resulting from anti-social behaviour such as fighting, and damage caused by the police if they’ve had to enter your home forcibly with a warrant.
If there’s work that needs doing to your home when you move out, or furniture and belongings left behind, we will send you a bill to cover the cost of repairs and removal.
If you damage your home and don’t pay the repair costs, you won’t be eligible for your £100 Responsible Tenant Reward.
Repairs that are your responsibility:
Under the terms of your tenancy agreement, you have to carry out some minor repairs and pay for them yourself.
These are repairs to:
Letterboxes, door knockers and doorbells
latches and bolts
kitchen cupboard and drawer handles, knobs, catches and hinges
sink, basin and bath plugs and chains
blocked pipes to sinks, basins, baths and toilets
toilet seats and pull chains
tiles and splash-backs, including fireplace tiles
window catches and fasteners on wooden windows in houses, but not flats
plaster cracks caused by shrinkage
If you lose your keys, it’s your responsibility to get the lock changed and new keys cut. We can do the repair and charge you if you prefer. If the lock has seized up, we will do the repair.
A blocked waste pipe to a bath, shower or basin is not an emergency and we expect you to repair this yourself.
We have some advice and tips to help you look after the repairs that are your responsibility.
Condensation is the most common cause of damp. It’s mainly caused by poor ventilation. This is because all air contains some water vapour. The warmer the air, the more water vapour it holds. Condensation is caused by warm air coming into contact with a cool surface – that’s why the bathroom mirror steams up after a shower.
Your home has a fuse box. Fuse boxes are sometimes called consumer units
The most effective thing you can do to stop pipes getting blocked is to watch what you put down them.
Frozen and burst pipes
If a water pipe freezes, turn off the water at the main stop tap and let pipes thaw out naturally. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main stop tap, put a bowl under the leak, switch off your central heating or immersion, turn on all the taps to drain the system (this can take about 15 minutes), then, when they’ve run dry, turn them off.
You will be held responsible for any faults, damage or disfigurement caused by any outside contractor. If you use and pay for the Nottingham City Homes Repair Division to carry out these or any repair works, it is your obligation to ensure the work is satisfactory and carried out to your satisfaction, by signing the standard contentment with work performed, on your tenanted residence.
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At this stage, weary, thoroughly confused, and having missed your doctors appointment studying the mind-boggling gumph, you stop reading the pamphlet and put away the other twenty-four of them and make yourself a much-needed cup of tea.
You go to see the flats coordinator to ask for advice and you meet other tenants on the way. They tell you to ring ‘1’ on the intercom, and you’ll get straight through and can tell them the problem.
So you return to the flat and do that. You can’t hear what the person is saying on the other end of the line, though.
So you return down the lift to go to see one of the Coordinators again.
You bump into the caretaker, who returns with you back to your flat to have a look at the electrical mishmash for you. “You’ll ‘ave to give em a ring mate!”
So you press on and arrive at the Coordinators Wooden Hut, to find they have both gone home. Then discover from another tenant that they do not work weekends but will be back Monday at 0900hrs.
You return to the flat, and sort through all the Nottingham City Homes letters, advertisements, advisory notices etc. and find an email address, so you set about creating an understandable email explaining your worries about the wiring and plugs. This takes an hour or so of your reading it back to yourself to make sure it is understandable to the recipient. You send it off, and make another cuppa, wishing it were alcoholic.
Then, return to the laptop to find the email has been bounced back to you!
You get ready, and go to catch the bus into town, so you can call at the NCH offices and talk to someone about it.
You get on the wrong bus, drop off and wait to catch another one. Eventually, you will arrive at the office very late on in the day but find they are helpful – they can’t provide any advice or answers mind, but they will pass on your request to the appropriate department.
With so many other worries, things to get done and concerns with moving to the flat, three months later you realise nothing has been done.
You mention this to the coordinator, and she kindly rings them and informs you they had sent me a letter telling me someone was calling on a certain day, and I was not in when they called. It transpired that either you or they had got the number of the flat wrong!
They assured her, once she had given the correct flat number to them that I would be receiving another appointment.
You manage to forget this for another month or two, due to the pressing worries of the leaking, cracked and unopenable kitchen window farce: But that’ll be explained in Part Two of “Nottingham City Homes; Repairs Guide for New Senior Citizens in Indepedendant Living flats”… if the flat doesn’t burn down in the meanwhile?