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Responsive repairs Policy

VERSION NUMBER1.3

1          INTRODUCTION

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; 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 or licences. 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 managed by Genesis on behalf owned by private sector landlords 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.

2          AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


We aim 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 customers live in a safe and secure environment.

Our objectives are to:


  • 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 place to suit our customers and which deliver high standards of customer care
  • ensure customers are aware of their responsibilities for minor repairs and contractual obligations. Further details are contained in Section 5 and in the appendices
  • keep in repair the structure and exterior of our property and its fixtures
  • keep in repair and proper working order all installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity, for sanitation and for space and water heating
  • maintain all entrances, halls, lifts, stairways, passageways, rubbish chutes, lighting, door entry systems and other parts provided for common use; ensure that all fire protection systems and fighting equipment is adequate, regularly inspected and serviced
  • 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.

3.         LEGAL AND REGULATORY CONTEXT

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

4.         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.

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

Generally, we expect our customers to:

  • keep the inside of their home clean and in good condition and 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.
  • undertake minor repairs and avoid doing anything which may result in blockages to pipes and drains.

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

Our rechargeable repairs policy covers the arrangements for recovering costs from customers for works which we carry out that are not our responsibility.

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

5.         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.

Reporting repairs

All repairs can be reported by telephone through our contact centre, or in person to any member of staff during normal office hours. Reports can also be reported at anytime via our website or by email.

We encourage customers to report repairs to us as soon as they have become aware of a problem. In some schemes (for instance, hostels and sheltered accommodation) the repairs might be reported through the scheme manager or other on-site worker. 

We will operate an ‘out of hours’ emergency service every day of the year accessed via the contact centre. If the reported repair is deemed not to be an emergency then the customer will be asked to report the repair using one of the options detailed above.

Repairs appointments

All repairs, except communal repairs, will be made by appointment with the customer, or sometimes through a scheme manager. We aim to minimise the time between a request for a repair and its completion, unless the repair can be more cost effectively carried out as part of a programme of planned or cyclical works.

We will offer an appointment for the repair to be completed at the time that the repair is reported. This will be at a time and date convenient for the customer. 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 12pm and 5pm       

Customers will be informed about progress with their repairs through means that are convenient to them including telephone, text messaging and email.

We expect customers to provide us with access to carry out 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, the job order will be closed after five working days.

Similarly if we are unable to keep to a morning appointment we will inform the customer in good time and agree an alternative date.

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

Emergency access

We have procedures in place 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.

Vulnerability

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 vulnerability or need that directly impacts on their ability to carry out a repair themselves, we will assess the case on its merits, and may agree to carry out the repair on their behalf.

Decisions made by staff that divert from the responsive repairs policy will require authorisation from a Customer Service Team Leader or Manager situated in the Contact Centre.

6.         REPAIRS CATEGORIES

Repairs will be 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 or hot water failure in winter, or the property is not secure.

Make safe within 4 hours with completion 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)


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. Some communal repairs might be ‘batched’ (i.e. jobs in the same scheme/group of properties collated to be completed together). In such cases they would not be completed within the usual target of 20 working days. We will inform customers when we do this and the revised timescale for completion.  

7.         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 as defined in Appendix C.

Feedback from customers on the quality of the service received is important to us to help in the continuous improvement of this service. Regular customer satisfaction surveys will be carried out following the completion of a repair.

We will work in partnership with our customers to use this information, and other feedback, to track and improve service performance and quality and ensure we are delivering an efficient and effective service to our diverse range of customers across the whole of our geography

We operate a complaints policy for customers who wish to use this as a means of feeding back to us where our service fails to meet our standards. 

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

We will carry out a minimum of 10% of post-inspections of all jobs undertaken as part of the quality control of the service. They will be carried out on a random sample basis and priortised according to cost. They will also be carried out when a customer is dissatisfied because:

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

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 variation procedures in place to ensure the repair is completed with our target timescales (see section 6) and to the satisfaction of the customer. These procedures give us the flexibility to complete the repair in the first visit without the need to make new a appointment.

Advice and information for customers

Information on a range of basic maintenance issues will be available on request in reception areas, offices and on the Genesis website. We will provide this information in large print, Braille, audio and in different languages on request.

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 will always take action to protect our staff where such circumstances arise. In extreme circumstances this may involve police action.

8.           NEW BUILD PROPERTIES


All works carried out as part of new build or improvement contracts are covered by a defects liability period. This will start 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 will report repairs for new or improved properties to the contact centre in the normal way. These repairs will be passed to the relevant contractor which may be Genesis, where it is not a defect with the building, or the original contractor. We will 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 mitigate the impact on the customer whilst we are establishing liability and seeking recovery from the relevant party.

9.         IMPROVING THE 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, 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. 

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.

10.       EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

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 equality impact analysis has been carried out on this policy and no  issues were identified which have not already been addressed by the policy.

11.       RELATED DOCUMENTS
 

  • Environmental policy
  • No access policy and procedure
  • Communal repairs procedure
  • Aids and adaptations policy and procedure
  • Insurance policy document
  • Compensation policy and procedure
  • Voids procedure
  • Disrepair policy
  • Defects liability period policy and procedure
  • Health and safety policy and procedures
  • Gas safety procedure
  • Trees procedure
  • Pest control procedure
  • Comments, complaints and compliments policy and procedure
  • Diversity and inclusion strategy
  • Code of conduct
  • Responsive repairs procedures (various) 

This list is not exhaustive and other relevant policies, strategies, procedures, occupancy agreements and handbooks will apply.

APPENDIX A – REPAIR RESPONSIBILITIES FOR TENANTS

The responsibilities contained in this section generally apply to tenants living in rented properties. However, reference should be made to individual tenancy agreements as these set out the specific contractual responsibilities for Genesis and our tenants.

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

1.    Our responsibilities as a landlord

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:

  • Foundations
  • Roof outside walls and doors
  • Window sills
  • Window catches
  • Repair or renewal of window fasteners on uPVC windows
  • Repair or renewal of window locks on uPVC windows
  • 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)
  • Internal walls
  • Skirting boards
  • External doors and door frames
  • Door jambs
  • Thresholds
  • Post boxes (in a block of flats)
  • Floors (but not floor coverings)
  • Ceilings and plasterwork (excluding minor cracks,painting and decorating)
  • Drains
  • Gutters
  • Overhauling leaking or dripping taps (including mixers) to wash hand basin, bath and kitchen sink
  • External pipes
  • Chimneys
  • Pathways, steps or other means of access
  • Garages and stores that are part of the property
  • 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. We are responsible for keeping in repair and working order installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity. These include:

  • Basins
  • Sinks
  • Baths
  • Toilets
  • Flushing systems and waste pipes
  • Taps and washers
  • Electrical wiring
  • Gas and water pipes and taps
  • Water and space heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Fitted fires
  • Sockets
  • 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. It is our responsibility to keep the exterior of homes and any communal parts decorated.

Insurance

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

 

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. 
  • undertake minor repairs and avoid doing anything which may result in blockages to pipes and drains (eg 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 an 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 issues such as condensation. Where condensation is the likely cause of any reported dampness, Genesis will advise tenants of the action they need to take to deal with the problem and prevent further incidences (1).

(1) We recognise that we have obligations under the Housing Act 2004 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with certain cases of condensation and damp, these will be addressed following completion of a surveyor's inspection. 

Interior and exterior of a property

  • Tenant floor coverings. Where any floor covering needs to be removed where access is required to access pipework or other repair work, the customer must arrange for this to be removed, lifted and or relayed
  • Provision of additional electrical sockets
  • Maintenance of customer installed smoke detectors
  • 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 keys if you lose them
  • House numbers, letter plates, letter boxes (to individual properties) and door knockers
  • Cupboard and wardrobe catches, hinges and doors
  • Fitting extra catches and safety devices
  • Kitchen units, unit doors, catches, hinges, drawers and runners
  • Bath panels
  • Wall tiles, including fire surrounds, grouting and mastic
  • Shower heads
  • Clear blockage located on residnet’s side of waste pipework before entry to stack
  • Renewal of sealant around bath, wash hand basin, kitchen sink and showers
  • Repair or renewal of window fasteners on timber windows
  • Repair or renewal of window locks on timber windows
  • 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)
  • Bath and basin plugs, chains and handles
  • Bathroom cabinets, towel rails, toilet roll holders
  • Mirrors
  • Toilet seats and lids
  • Clothes lines, posts, tidy-dryers and rotary dryers
  • Curtain rails
  • Provision/replacement of dustbins
  • Minor cracks to wall or ceiling plaster
  • Clearing blocked sinks, basins, bath or shower waste pipes – unless a shared pipe
  • Cleaning and descaling of toilets, wash basins, baths and showers
  • General fixtures and fittings
  • 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
  • Re-lighting boilers and setting heating controls
  • Bleeding radiators
  • Internal painting and decorating
  • Draught exclusion, provided doors/windows fit reasonably
  • Supplying and fitting cylinder jackets
  • Fitting TV aerials
  • Adapting doors to accommodate carpets
  • Easing and adjusting internal doors
  • Minor gaps between skirting and floors
  • Plumbing in washing machines or dishwashers
  • Plugs, lamps and tenant’s own light fittings
  • Changing light bulbs, tubes and fuses
  • Internal window glass (unless it is a hazard to children or it is Genesis’ responsibility under fire regulations)
  • Shelving, coat and hat rails
  • Pest control, e.g. vermin removal (rats or mice in the dwelling), wasp/bees nests, disinfestation (refer to general provisions above)
  • Doorbells, batteries and bulbs (except in communal areas and entry phones)
  • 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)
  • Cleaning of communal parts, except where specified as part of a service charge
  • Chimney sweeping
  • Replace or repair any items (such as white goods, gas or electrical appliances) gifted to the tenant

Insurance

Tenants are responsible for insuring their own contents.

 


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.

  1. Landlords responsibilities

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

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

 

  • Roof
  • Outside walls, window frames and most outside doors
  • Gutters and outside pipes
  • Drains and gullies
  • Some 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
  • Pumped sewage systems

 

  • Maintaining and repairing the communal land

 

  1. Leaseholder responsibilities

Leaseholders living in flats or in a converted house

Leaseholders living in a house

Leaseholders living in flats or converted houses are responsible for all repairs, maintenance and replacements to the inside of their homes, plus the following services and utilities that apply to 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 that sublet are responsible to ensure that they have a valid Gas safety certificate

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

Insurance

  • Leaseholders are responsible for insuring their own contents.
  • Leaseholders are responsible for submitting a claim to Genesis for the rectification of any damage to their residential property which is covered by the building's insurance policy.
  • Leaseholders are responsible for submitting a claim for any works that Genesis is obliged to carry out as the landlord but may be covered by the building's insurance.

 

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