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Responsive repairs Policy

VERSION NUMBER 2.0

1. Purpose

This policy sets out our approach to the delivery of the responsive repairs service. The service is one of our most important functions as a landlord and we need to do it well to achieve high satisfaction ratings from our customers. The responsive repairs service complements our programmes of planned and cyclical maintenance to ensure our stock is well maintained, up to date and meets the needs of our customers.

The principles of this policy apply to all customers, regardless of tenancy type. However, the full provisions of this policy only apply to customers living in social, intermediate and affordable rented homes with assured, secure tenancies, assured short hold tenancies. The full scope of this policy does not apply to leaseholders and other customers whose management services are provided by Genesis. For clarity:

  • We will not carry out repairs for leaseholders where the terms of the lease state that such repairs are the responsibility of the leaseholder.
  • We will not carry out repairs to homes owned by private sector landlords, managed by Genesis for the purpose of providing temporary housing, where the lease explicitly states this is the landlord’s responsibility. We will, if necessary, liaise with those landlords to ensure the aims of this policy are delivered.

In cases where we manage and own the properties but have a superior landlord, that landlord may be responsible for some or all of the repairing obligations.

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • deliver an efficient, effective and value for money responsive repairs service that meets the needs of our customers
  • comply with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements and meet our contractual obligations
  • ensure that all properties are kept in good repair, and that any repair work done leaves customers in a safe and secure environment
  • ensure customers are aware of their responsibilities for minor repairs and contractual obligations
  • provide a prompt and cost effective responsive repairs service that our customers value, consistently delivering to our customer service standards
  • provide services which are easily accessible at a time and in a way to suit our customers and which deliver high standards of customer care
  • work in partnership with our customers to continuously drive service improvements
  • agree ways in which we can improve the value for money of the service including the delivery of more planned and programmed work to manage the demand for responsive repairs.

2. Customer and landlord responsibilities

Genesis tenancy and leasehold agreements set out the contractual responsibilities for Genesis and our customers. Reference should be made to individual tenancy agreements as these set out the specific contractual responsibilities for Genesis and our tenants.

Appendix A details the respective repairs responsibilities of Genesis and customers living in social, intermediate and affordable rented homes with assured, secure tenancies, assured short hold tenancies or licenses. This should be considered as the Genesis minimum standard for landlord and tenant responsibilities.

Leaseholders will have a different set of responsibilities for properties they occupy. These are set out in Appendix B.

In cases where more than 6 repairs have been reported for a single property within a 6-month period, Genesis may decide to instruct a surveyor to inspect the property prior to raising further works orders.

Where staff have reason to believe there are concerns for a customer’s wellbeing in relation to a repair call, we take appropriate action in accordance with the relevant policies, such as safeguarding and domestic abuse policies.

Where we fail to meet our repairing obligations, we may face a disrepair claim. When dealing with such claims we will follow our disrepair policy and the Government’s pre action protocol which sets out how claims should be dealt with.

3. Access to the service

Our aim is to provide our customers with easy access to our services through different routes to meet their needs and at a time and place to suit them.

3.1 Reporting repairs

All repairs can be reported by telephone through our contact centre during normal office hours. Repairs can also be reported at any time via the Genesis app, our website or by email.

We operate an ‘out of hours’ emergency service every day of the year accessed via the contact centre.

We encourage customers to report repairs to us as soon as they have become aware of a problem.

In scheme based services, where staff members are regularly present on site, repairs can be reported to a member of staff when they are on duty.

If a member of staff is made aware of a repair need, they will ensure that it is reported as soon as possible.

3.2 Repairs appointments

All repairs, except communal repairs, are made by appointment with the customer at the time they report it, or sometimes through member of staff in scheme based services. We aim to minimise the time between a request for a repair and its completion.

The repair appointment will be at a time and date convenient for the customer, in line with our appointment offer below. We offer appointments for the completion of repairs and for any inspections required. The following options will be given as arrival times (not repair completion times):

  • Morning: Between 8am and 12pm
  • Afternoon: Between 1pm and 5pm

Customers will be informed about progress with their repairs through an agreed channel convenient to them including telephone, text messaging and email.

If we are unable to keep to an appointment, we inform the customer as soon as possible and agree an alternative date.

We expect customers to provide us with access to carry out a repair at the appointed time. If the appointment cannot be kept, customers are asked to inform us at the earliest opportunity. If there is no access and no contact from the customer, and after all methods of contact have been exhausted, the job order will be closed.

Where there are concerns for a customer’s wellbeing and we can’t gain access to the property, we take the appropriate action in accordance with our no access policy – see section 3.5 below.

In cases where a repair can be more cost effectively carried out as part of a programme of planned or cyclical works, we will consider this option and inform customers accordingly.

3.3 Communal repairs

Communal repairs are carried out to entrances, halls, lifts, stairways, passageways, rubbish chutes, lighting, door entry systems and other parts provided for common use. They may also be carried out on fencing and to other external structures which are the responsibility of Genesis as the landlord. In supported housing schemes, this will also include any fixtures, fittings or facilities provided to residents as part of the service contract.

Some communal repairs in the same scheme/group of properties might be collated to be completed together (i.e. ‘batched’). In such cases they would not be completed within the usual target. We will inform customers when we do this and the revised timescale for completion.

3.4 Inspection visits

Some jobs, including communal repairs, may require an inspection visit before the repair is arranged. These include:

  • where investigations to identify the problem are required
  • where previous repairs have not resolved the problem
  • where there are boundary or ownership issues
  • where there are potential policy implications (e.g. where a generic problem has been identified)
  • Inspections may also be necessary in other cases (for instance, as part of a stock condition survey).
  • 3.5 Emergency access

    We have a no access policy and procedure in place which will be followed when we require emergency access to a property. This may be in order to carry out essential emergency repairs, to remedy a serious health and safety risk, or where there is reason to believe the customer is incapacitated or has died in the property.

    3.6 Exceptions to policy

    Genesis staff are required to follow this policy when assessing all requests for repairs to be completed. However, where it has been identified that a customer has a need that directly impacts on their ability to carry out a repair themselves, or if there are circumstances, conditions or risks that would require a quicker response, we will assess the case on its merits, and may agree to carry out the repair on their behalf or as an emergency.

    Decisions to divert from the responsive repairs policy in these cases requires authorisation from a Customer Service Team Leader, a Contact Centre Business Manager or the duty on-call manager.

    4. Repairs categories

    Repairs are categorised as follows:

    Category

    Response time

     

    Emergency repairs (E24) - where there is an immediate danger to life or limb, major damage to the property, flooding, major electrical fault, heating (during October to March only) or hot water failure, or the property is not secure.

     

    Make safe within 4 hours (for life threatening emergencies);

     All repairs completed within 24 hours

    Routine repairs (R20) – non urgent work where the repair does not cause immediate inconvenience or pose any danger to occupants or the public.

     

    20 working days from

    the date of report (excluding joinery, new windows and specialist works)

     

     

  • 5. Service quality

    We aim to consistently deliver our responsive repairs services to our published customer service standards. We operate a quality assurance framework to test compliance.

    All staff delivering our repairs service whether employed or not by Genesis will be identified as Genesis and are expected to work in accordance with this policy. All our repairs staff will demonstrate strong customer care skills.

    Our complaints policy allows customers to raise a complaint with us where our service fails to meet our standards.

    5.1 Inspections carried out on completion of work (post- inspections)

    We carry out a minimum of 10% of post-inspections of all jobs undertaken as part of the quality control of the service. They are carried out on a random sample basis and prioritised according to cost.

    They are also carried out when a customer is dissatisfied because they believe:

    • the repair carried out has not rectified the problem;
    • the quality of workmanship is not acceptable.

    5.2 Completing repairs on the first visit

    We aim to complete repairs on the first visit and will monitor our performance against this measure. Sometimes, during the course of a repair, additional works might be required. We have procedures in place to ensure the repair is completed with our target timescales (see 4.0) and to the satisfaction of the customer. These procedures give us the flexibility to complete the repair in the first visit where possible without the need to make a new appointment.

    5.3 Code of conduct

    Genesis operates a code of conduct for our own operatives and external contractors who carry out repairs on our behalf. In addition we take seriously any action by customers who harass or threaten to harass or use or threaten violence towards Genesis staff, agents or contractors. We always take action to protect our staff where such circumstances arise. In extreme circumstances this may involve police action.

    5.4 Improving the service

    Feedback from customers on the quality of the service received is important to us to help in the continuous improvement of this service.

    We are committed to working in partnership with our customers to achieve improvements in service delivery and performance. We will do this by tracking and analysing the performance of the repairs service, and by working with customers through a range of involvement initiatives for instance, mystery shopping, regional committees, satisfaction surveys, repairs and maintenance forums etc. to identify areas for improvement and monitor the delivery of action plans. We will consult customers and external stakeholders on any revisions to this policy. Regular customer satisfaction surveys will be carried out following the completion of a repair.

    We aim to deliver an efficient and effective business, demonstrating value for money to our customers with a high standard of service delivery provided at reasonable cost. We have a range of mechanisms in place to demonstrate and improve our service delivery, including benchmarking cost and performance data; market testing of the responsive repairs service against other housing associations and external providers; and undertaking internal business reviews.

    6. Insurance

    We are responsible for insuring the properties which we own. Any works that Genesis is obliged to carry out as the landlord may be covered by the buildings insurance.

    Customers, both tenants and leaseholders, are responsible for insuring their own contents.

    Additionally, leaseholders are responsible for submitting a claim to Genesis for the rectification of any damage to their residential property which is covered by the buildings insurance policy.

    Leaseholders are further responsible for submitting a claim for any works that Genesis is obliged to carry out as the landlord but may be covered by the buildings insurance.

    7. New build properties

    All works carried out as part of new build or improvement contracts are covered by a defects liability period. This starts from the date of completion. Usually the defects liability period is:

    • 6 to 12 months for building repairs (including electrical or mechanical works)
    • 24 months for some special components

    Customers should report repairs for new or improved properties to the contact centre in the normal way. These repairs are passed to the relevant contractor which may be Genesis, where it is not a defect with the building, or the original contractor. We monitor for completion, ensuring that urgent defects are prioritised by following our defect reporting procedure.

    Some defects, such as design, product failure or workmanship faults happen after the liability period but within a 6 or 12 year limitation period. Where we can prove that it is a latent defect, the original contractor may be liable to carry out remedial works or exercise warranties offered by the NHBC (National House Building Council) to carry out works for some elements. We will ensure that the impact on the customer is as minimal as possible whilst we are establishing liability and seeking recovery from the relevant party.

    8. Background Legislation

    This policy is written in the context of the legal and regulatory requirements Genesis is required to work within.

    The main legislation is as follows:

    • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985: This Act imposes on landlords an obligation to carry out basic repairs, covering the structure and exterior of the property and installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity, and for sanitation and space heating and heating water. There is also an implied covenant to maintain the property in good order.
    • Defective Premises Act 1972: Section 4 of this Act places a duty on landlords to take reasonable care to ensure that anyone who might be expected to be affected by defects in a property is reasonably safe from injury or damage to their property.
    • Environmental Protection Act 1990: This Act makes provision for the control of premises which are considered to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. This legislation means Genesis may become liable for damages and compensation to customers and their families who suffer as a result of failure to maintain properties so as not to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.

    We comply with provisions in other legislation, including:

    • Localism Act 2011
    • Equalities Act 2010
    • Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002
    • Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996
    • Party Wall Act 1996
    • Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
    • Housing Acts 1985,1988 and 2004
    • Building Regulations Act 1984
    • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Sections 2, 3 and 4
    • Occupiers Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984.

    We comply with relevant statutory regulations covering construction, asbestos, water hygiene, electrics, gas safety and health and safety more generally. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System, introduced under the Housing Act 2004, is an important part of the regulatory framework governing our responsive repairs service.

    We make sure that our homes comply with the Decent Homes Standard (as a minimum). This Standard was introduced by the Government in 2000 and updated following the Housing Act 2004. To meet the standard, homes must have modern facilities, be in a reasonable state of repair and be warm and weather proof. We will therefore seek to replace and/or improve components and/or services to ensure properties continue to meet the Decent Homes Standard when we undertake responsive repairs on them. The standard does not apply to leasehold and shared ownership properties.

    We comply with the Housing Regulator’s Home Standard as set out in “The Regulatory Framework for Social Housing in England from April 2012”.

    9. Diversity and Inclusion

    We are committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination against customers. We will design and deliver our repairs service to remove barriers and meet the individual requirements of customers, for instance those who are vulnerable or living in care and support schemes.

    An analysis of the profiles of customers that have had repair requests showed a clear match with the Genesis population as a whole. There were a couple of anomalies, but none that have a clear statistical significance. No change to policy was suggested by the analysis.

    10. Customer engagement and impact

    Customer feedback was gathered from customer experience workshops held in 2016, and was used to ensure that emphasis remains on promises that can be kept and consistent service delivery.

    11. Other useful links

    • No access policy and procedure
    • Adaptations policy and procedure
    • Compensation policy and procedure
    • Disrepair policy
    • Health and safety policy and procedures
    • Gas safety procedure
    • Pest control procedure
    • Comments, complaints and compliments policy and procedure
    • Diversity and inclusion policy
    • Code of conduct
    • Preventing unacceptable behaviour, harassment and violence towards staff policy and procedure
    • 12. APPENDIX A – Repair responsibilities for rental tenants

      The responsibilities contained in this section generally apply to tenants living in rented properties, and should be considered as the Genesis minimum standard for landlord and tenant responsibilities. . However, reference should be made to individual tenancy agreements as these set out the specific contractual responsibilities for Genesis and our tenants. Specifically, customers who still have tenancy agreements from previous associations (such as Springboard HA and PCHA), might have provisions for extended landlord responsibilities.

      Additionally, in cases where we manage and own the properties but have a superior landlord, that landlord may be responsible for some or all of the repairing obligations.

      12.1 Landlord responsibilities - Structure and exterior of a property

      We are responsible for keeping in repair the structure and exterior of a customer’s home and the building in which it is situated.

      This includes:

      Exterior property

      • Foundations
      • Roof
      • Outside walls and doors
      • Window sills
      • Window catches
      • Repair or renewal of window fasteners on windows (both uPVC and timber)
      • Repair or renewal of window locks on windows (both uPVC and timber)
      • Sash cords
      • Glazing putties
      • Window frames
      • Glass including necessary painting, for instance to frames (we will only replace glass if it is as a result of a crime and there is a crime reference number)
      • Drains
      • Gutters
      • External pipes
      • Chimneys
      • Pathways, steps or other means of access
      • Fence panels connected to a communal area or public right of way
      • Garages and stores that are part of the property

      Internal property and structure

      • Internal walls
      • Skirting boards
      • Internal kitchen and bathroom doors and door frames, if there is a risk to health and safety
      • Internal fire doors
      • Catches for kitchen units
      • Door jambs
      • Thresholds
      • Heated towel rails
      • First three rows of wall tiles, including fire surrounds, grouting and mastic
      • Post boxes (in a block of flats)
      • Floors (but not floor coverings)
      • Ceilings and plasterwork (excluding minor cracks, painting and decorating)
      • Overhauling leaking or dripping taps (including mixers) to wash hand basin, bath and kitchen sink
      • Pests. Where point of entry has been proven to be as a result of a design fault or damage to the exterior of the property
      • Pests. Where an ‘Environmental Health Notice' has been threatened or issued to Genesis
      • Pests in communal areas

      Gas, water and electricity

      We are responsible for repairing all leaks, and will make good any damage in the surrounding area caused by a leak as part of the repair, including minor decorations if damaged. We are responsible for keeping in repair and working order installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity.

      This includes:

      • Basins
      • Sinks
      • Baths
      • Toilets
      • Flushing systems and waste pipes
      • Taps and washers
      • Electrical wiring
      • Gas and water pipes and taps
      • Re-lighting boilers
      • Water and space heaters
      • Fireplaces
      • Fitted fires
      • Sockets
      • Provision of additional electrical sockets
      • Sealed LED lights
      • Light fittings.

      Communal areas

      We will ensure that the communal areas are kept in reasonable repair, and are fit for use. This includes keeping communal area lighting and entry phones in working order.

      12.2 Tenant responsibilities - General provisions

      We expect our tenants to:

      • keep the inside of their home clean and in good condition.
      • keep gardens and communal areas clean and tidy. This includes maintaining grass, plants and tree branches within the property boundaries so as not to cause a nuisance to other customers. It also includes not using communal corridors, hallways or cupboards for storing personal items or dumping unwanted items.
      • undertake minor repairs and avoid doing anything which may result in blockages to pipes and drains (e.g. disposing of fat, oil, sanitary ware, nappies etc. down toilets or in sinks)
      • take responsibility for pest control, including vermin removal (rats or mice in the dwelling), wasp/bees nests, bed bugs and disinfestation, except where point of entry has been proven to be as a result of a design fault or damage to the exterior of the property.
      • make lifestyle changes to resolve instances of condensation. Where condensation is the likely cause of any reported dampness, Genesis will advise tenants of the action they needs to take to deal with the problem and prevent further incidences.

      Interior and exterior of a property

      Door furniture

      • Door locks and keys (we will only replace front door locks if the damage is the result of a crime, crime reference number must be provided)
      • Fitting extra locks and catches
      • Replacing damaged locks and the keys if you lose them
      • House numbers, letter plates, letter boxes (to individual properties) and door knockers
      • Draught exclusion, provided doors/windows fit reasonably
      • Adapting doors to accommodate carpets
      • Ease and adjust, and overhauling internal doors

      Interior fittings

      • Cupboard and wardrobe catches, hinges and doors
      • Fitting extra catches and safety devices
      • Kitchen units, unit doors, , hinges, drawers and runners
      • Internal painting and decorating
      • Internal window glass (unless it is a hazard to children or it is Genesis’ responsibility under fire regulations)
      • Shelving, coat and hat rails
      • Minor gaps between skirting and floors
      • Plumbing in washing machines or dishwashers
      • Maintenance of customer installed smoke detectors

      Bathroom

      • Bath panels
      • Any wall tiling above the first three rows, including fire surrounds, grouting and mastic
      • Shower heads
      • Renewal of sealant around bath, wash hand basin, kitchen sink and showers
      • Bath and basin plugs, chains and handles
      • Bathroom cabinets, towel rails, toilet roll holders
      • Mirrors
      • Toilet seats and lids
      • Cleaning and descaling of toilets, wash basins, baths and showers
      • Clearing blocked sinks, basins, bath or shower waste pipes – unless a shared pipe
      • Clear blockage located on tenant’s side of waste pipework before entry to stack

      Property maintenance

      • Clothes lines, posts, tidy-dryers and rotary dryers
      • Curtain rails
      • Provision/replacement of dustbins
      • Minor cracks to wall or ceiling plaster
      • Tenant floor coverings. Where any floor covering needs to be removed when access is required to access pipework or other repair works, the customer must arrange for this to be removed, lifted and/or relayed
      • General fixtures and fittings
      • Pest control, e.g. vermin removal (rats or mice in the dwelling), wasp/bees nests, disinfestation (refer to general provisions above)
      • Replace or repair any items (such as white goods, gas or electrical appliances) gifted to the tenant
      • Cleaning of communal parts, except where specified as part of a service charge

      Heating

      • Maintenance of any fixtures and appliances not fitted by Genesis
      • Maintenance of any gas appliances not fitted by Genesis
      • Any tenant’s fittings/appliances e.g. gas cooker, washing machine
      • Setting heating controls on boilers
      • Bleeding radiators
      • Supplying and fitting cylinder jackets

      Electrics

      • Fitting TV aerials
      • Plugs, lamps and tenant’s own light fittings
      • Changing light bulbs, tubes and fuses, unless sealed LED lights.
      • Doorbells, doorbell wiring, batteries and bulbs (except in communal areas and entry phones)

      Garden/exterior

      • Drain gratings
      • Gates, hinges and latches to gates serving individual dwellings
      • Rubbish clearance
      • Tenants own fences and sheds
      • Cleaning basements and front areas
      • Gardening at individual properties
      • Garden maintenance including tree branches, hedges and lawn cutting (for individual properties)
      • Refixing or replacing any type of fence panel to existing post and/or gravel board (except where the fence panel is connected to a communal area or public right of way)
      • Chimney sweeping

      13. APPENDIX B – Repair responsibilities for leaseholders

      The responsibilities contained in this section generally apply to leaseholders. However, reference should be made to individual leasehold agreements as these set out the specific contractual responsibilities for Genesis and our customers.

      Additionally leaseholders that sublet are responsible for ensuring that they have a valid Gas safety certificate at all times.

      13.1 Landlord responsibilities

      For leaseholders living in flats or in a converted house Genesis is responsible for:

      • Roof
      • Outside walls
      • Window frames
      • Most outside doors
      • Gutters and outside pipes
      • Drains and gullies
      • Shared boundary walls and fences, unless these are the leaseholder’s responsibility under the terms of their lease
      • Shared pathways and steps
      • Shared areas inside the building
      • Shared TV and entryphone equipment
      • Shared alarm and fire safety equipment
      • Lifts
      • Pumped water systems to the block
      • sewage systems

      For leaseholders living in a house, Genesis (or the Freeholder if different to Genesis) is responsible for:

      • Maintaining and repairing the communal land.

      13.2 Leaseholder responsibilities

      Leaseholders living in flats or in a converted house

      Leaseholders living in flats or converted houses are responsible for all repairs, maintenance and replacements to the inside of their home, plus the following services and utilities that within their flat only:

      • Central heating (including the thermostat and programmer, boiler, pump, radiators and pipework)
      • Water tanks
      • Inside walls and ceilings (for example the plaster finish and decoration), and the floors (including the floorboards and floor coverings)
      • Joinery (for example, doors and door frames, door hinges, skirting boards, staircases and banisters)
      • Locks, latches, handles and window catches, sash cords and locks
      • Glass in windows and doors
      • Chimney flues (including sweeping)
      • Plasterwork
      • Decoration
      • Kitchen units and worktops
      • Appliances such as cooker hoods, hobs, ovens, gas and electric fires, and night storage radiators
      • Leaks from pipes within the leaseholder’s home

      Leaseholders living in a house

      Leaseholders living in a house are responsible for all repairs to the inside and outside of their property.

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