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Charter Housing Association
Welcome to Charter Housing Association. This handbook is your guide to Charter and the services we provide. It will also tell you about your tenancy and your legal rights. Please keep your handbook in a safe place and if you move to another Charter home, please take it with you.
If you need this information in your own language or information on any of our other services please contact us and we will be happy to help . Welsh
Os oes arnoch angen yr wybodaeth hon, neu wybodaeth am unrhyw un o’n gwasanaethau eraill, yn eich iaith eich hun, cysylltwch â ni a byddwn yn hapus i helpu.
Haddii aad u baahan tahay in aad warbixintan ku hesho luqaddaada gaarka ah ama aad u baahan tahay warbixin ku saabsan adeeg kastoo kaloo aannu fidinno fadlan nala soo xiriir si farxad leh ayaannu kuu caawin doonnaaye
CONTACTING US 17
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU 19
YOUR TENANCY AGREEMENT EXPLAINED 29
PAYING YOUR RENT 39
LIVING IN YOUR HOME 47
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE 57
BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR 107
MOVING AND HOME OWNERSHIP OPTIONS 115
Welcome to Charter Housing Association
CUSTOMER INVOLVEMENT 123
GOLD SERVICE 129
USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS 133
Welcome to Charter Housing Association
IN THIS SECTION
07 07 09 11 11 11 12 12 13 13 How to use this handbook About the Seren Group About Charter Housing Association Share membership Equal opportunities Translation services Confidentiality Access to information we hold about you Respect for staff Our complaints procedure Welcome to Charter Housing Association. This handbook is your guide to Charter and the services we provide. It will also tell you about your tenancy and your legal rights. Please keep your handbook in a safe place and if you move to another Charter home, please take it with you.
This handbook will be regularly reviewed and from time to time we may send you updated sections to replace older versions. If you have any questions about this handbook, please contact a member of our Customer Services Team on 01633 212375.
About the Seren Group
Charter Housing Association is a member of the Seren Group. The Seren Group was formed on 1 July 2004. The Group Members cover the following services: s Seren Group Limited: Central support services such as Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities Management and Finance for Group Members. s Charter Housing Association: Homes and services for communities across South Wales. s Fairlake Properties (which incorporates Gwent Homes): Developing our properties for rent and low cost home ownership and managing our assets. s Reach (Supported Living): Care and support services for people with disabilities and other needs. s Solas Cymru: Accommodation, training and support for single homeless people.
Our purpose and values The Seren Group provides housing, support and other services which make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of individuals and communities. Underlying our purpose is a set of key values. Our values s Responsibility s Integrity s Openness s Ambition s Respect s Fairness Our commitment We are committed to being: s Straightforward, open and accountable, keeping our promises and willing to learn from others. s Keen to promote opportunities for growth and new ways of doing things whilst being prudent and conscious of the need to plan for the longer term. Socially responsible and encouraging social responsibility in everything we do. s A supporter of social enterprise. s A listening and learning organisation regularly consulting our customers, staff and stakeholders. s Efficient and effective, continuously striving to improve our service to our customers. s A good employer, providing opportunities for personal development and encouraging innovation and success. s An organisation which values diversity and promotes Equal Opportunities in all we do.
About Charter Housing Association
Charter is a Housing Association which provides high quality homes and associated services. We work with people and communities to ensure that our work has a positive impact on people’s lives, and that diversity and equality are recognised and catered for. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. Charter manages nearly 4000 homes in 4 local authority areas; Newport, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and Torfaen, and we concentrate on providing homes for people in need. We work with a number of organisations to deliver support and management services to a wide range of customers including; homeless households, people with learning disabilities, people experiencing mental ill health, people who need support to manage a tenancy, older people who need extra care or sheltered housing, women fleeing domestic violence, people with autism, sensory impairment, physical disabilities etc., as well as
families, couples and single people who cannot buy a home of their own on the open market. Working in partnership is key to being able to provide high quality homes and services to our customers, and we work with many other organisations to ensure that we get it right for people. We are constantly looking for better and more efficient ways of doing things, and are outward looking, always open to new ideas. We can and do learn much from others, and in turn we are always open to sharing our experience and knowledge with other like minded organisations.
Our overriding aim is to provide real customer excellence, in an environment where well trained, approachable staff treat everyone with respect, and as an individual, and enable customers to exercise choice where they can about what best suits them. We recognise that what we do can have a major impact on people’s lives, and we want to ensure that that impact is positive, and that our customer’s value the relationship they have with us. Our Board members Charter Housing Association has a Board made up of tenant representatives and other experienced, committed individuals who control the affairs of the Association. The Board consists of up to 15 members. Board Members have such responsibilities as setting the objectives and plans for the Association, taking key decisions and approving the budget and accounts. Election to the Board takes place annually at the AGM. Charter encourages tenants to put themselves forward for Board Membership and will give training and support to those who are selected for membership. If you think you might be interested in becoming a Board Member, please contact your Neighbourhood Manager.
Any tenant can apply for share membership of the Association. Membership costs £1. Share Members will receive a copy of the annual report and an invitation to the AGM. They have a number of responsibilities including, the appointment of Board Members and Auditors and involvement in changing of the Association’s rules. Share Membership carries no financial interest in the company. If you are interested in applying for Share Membership, please contact your Neighbourhood Manager.
We will ensure equality for ‘diverse’ groups and individuals, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation and for people who are HIV positive or have AIDS, persons who have a criminal history that is not relevant, persons who have mental health problems, carers, persons with dependants and others who may face injustice.
We are able to provide a telephone based translation service for customers who wish to talk to us in their own language. We are also able to provide face to face language and sign language interpreters. We can provide certain leaflets and documents in other languages, in Braille, large print or on tape by request. Our offices are equipped with a hearing loop system and we have a portable system for using in customer’s homes.
Charter Housing Association provides homes and services to a diverse range of customers with widely differing requirements. We are committed to providing high quality services to all of our customers, and our respect for diversity is something upon which we will not compromise. We will enable fair and equal access to homes, services and opportunities. We will treat all people respectfully, equitably and appropriately according to their individual needs and preferences.
The information we are given and hold on our files and computer systems is confidential. We will not give out any information about you to another person or agency except in the following circumstances:
Respect for staff
We have a very good relationship with the majority of our customers. However, there are a small number of occasions when a customer may be abusive or threatening to staff. If one of our customers behaves in this way, or we feel that there is a potential risk to staff when dealing with a customer, we may place special conditions upon the way in which we deal with them in future. For example, we will visit them in pairs, or only interview at our offices. If this happens, we will write to any customer explaining why we are doing this. Any customer abusing or threatening staff is in breach of their tenancy conditions and may be subject to legal action including proceedings to repossess their home.
Our complaints procedure
Our commitment to you Charter aims to provide the highest possible standards of service to our customers. The standard you can expect are explained in the ‘Tenants Guarantee’ copies of which are available upon request. We recognise, however, that there may be occasions when you will not be happy with the service you receive or a decision we have made. To be able to deal effectively with your dissatisfaction, we have a Complaints Procedure. We will always treat your complaint seriously and investigate it as quickly as possible. We will also view your complaint positively, and will learn from any mistakes that we make to ensure that our service is continually improved. What is a complaint? A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, action, or lack of action by Charter, its members of staff or contractors employed to do work on Charter’s behalf.
To Housing Benefit Departments and the DSS to help resolve your housing benefit claims or if we discover any tenant is involved in benefit fraud. To the police if they formerly request it to help detect a serious crime (or to resolve anti-social behaviour). To anyone you nominate to us in writing who you wish to deal with your affairs. Where you have signed a declaration to give us permission to disclose your personal information to another agency.
Access to information we hold about you
All tenants and applicants to Charter Housing can ask to see information about them that we keep in our files and on our computer system. If you wish to see the information that we keep about you, please put your request in writing. We have up to 40 days to comply with your request but will try to deal with it more quickly. If you require any copies of information from your file, we may charge you up to £10 to cover costs.
Who can complain? A complaint can be made by an individual, a group of people or an organisation personally affected by an action or failure to act by Charter. A complainant can allow a representative to make a complaint on their behalf. How can I complain? If your complaint is of a general nature, we will usually try to resolve it as soon as possible on an informal basis. However, if you wish to make a formal complaint then you can complain to us in writing. Alternatively, you can telephone us and ask to make a verbal complaint. If you explain the nature of your complaint to our Customer Services staff, then they will be able to put you in touch with the relevant person to deal with your complaint. If you make a verbal complaint, then your complaint will be recorded on our standard complaint form by a member of staff. What if my complaint is about racial harassment or other discriminatory harassment? We take complaints of harassment against, or by, our tenants or staff ver y seriously. We have a ‘Racial Harassment’ policy which outlines what we will do about a report of racial harassment involving our tenants. If you feel that we have not dealt with a report of harassment properly through this procedure, or you believe that you have been discriminated against by Charter or members of our staff, then you can complain to us and we will deal with your complaint as outlined in this section. What will happen next? Your complaint will be recorded on our database and given a reference number. We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within three working days, and we will tell you who is dealing with your complaint. We will investigate your complaint within seven working days, and provide you with a written explanation of the details of our investigation. If we are unable to provide you with a full response within this time, we will write to you and tell you why we need more time, and give you a revised date for a full response to your complaint. If your complaint is complex and likely to take some time to resolve, we will explain why and keep you informed of progress at two weekly intervals until the full response can be provided, e.g. if we need to involve a third party. What if my complaint is justified? If you have complained about a delay in carrying out repairs, and there is no good reason why this has happened, we will make a set payment of £25. If we do not respond to a letter or verbal communication from you within ten working days, we will make a set payment of £5. If our staff arrange an appointment with you and fail to keep it without informing you in advance, we will make a set payment of £20. If we have done something else wrong, we will apologise and do all that we can to put things right.
What if I am still not happy? If you remain dissatisfied with our response to your complaint, then you can request that your complaint be passed on to a more senior officer, who will usually be at Assistant Director or Director level. You must do this within 28 days of our initial response. You will be advised in writing who your complaint has been passed to, and will be given a date by which you should receive a response which will be within seven working days. What if I am still not happy with the Director’s response? If you remain unhappy with the outcome of our investigation into your complaint, then you can complain further, within 28 days of our second stage response, to a small panel comprising of representatives of the Association’s Board of Management. Where the issue also involves other companies within the Seren Group, or is about the Corporate Director, then the Group Chief Executive will sit on the panel. You will be able to appeal in 16 writing, or appear before the Board in person, to explain why you are dissatisfied with our response to your complaint so far and what you want us to do. The Panel will do their utmost to consider your complaint within twenty working days and will notify you of their decision, in writing, following their meeting, within seven working days. Is there anyone else I can complain to if I am still not happy? If you are still not satisfied after your appeal to the Board, you have the right to take your complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, 1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed, Bridgend CF35 5LJ. Tele: 01656 641150. They have a separate booklet available which gives details of the procedure they follow. The Ombudsman will usually, but not always, have expected you to have followed your complaint through the process outlined above.
Contacting Charter Housing Association
Our reception is open between 8:30am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday (closes at 4:30pm on Friday). Our Offices are situated in Devon Place, Newport.
Charter Housing FREEPOST CF2448, 11 Devon Place Newport, South Wales, NP20 4NP Tel: 01633 212375 (general enquiries) Tel: 01633 678511 (repairs) Fax: 01633 245930 Please use our general number for most enquiries, however, you may use the following telephone numbers for specific enquiries. If you are not sure, then phone Customer Services. s Customer Services: 01633 212375 s Emergency Repairs (out of normal office hours): 01633 214 222 s Neighbourhood Team: 01633 678539 s Nuisance Prevention Team: 01633 678552 s Customer Accounts Team: 01633 678507 s Lettings Team: 01633 678538 s Estates Maintenance: 01633 480450 18
The Sales & Property Team (for home ownership options): 01633 233876 s Charter By Choice Properties Hotline: 01633 678525 e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org (for repairs) CustomerServicesTeam@charterhousing .co.uk (for general enquiries) web: www.charterhousing.co.uk
The Seren Group Exchange House, The Old Post Office High Street, Newport, NP20 1AA Tel: 01633 679911 Fax: 01633 258509 e-mail: email@example.com web: www.seren-group.co.uk Group Member contact numbers: s Fairlake Properties Limited: 01633 679977 web: www.fairlake-properties.co.uk s REACH (Supported Living) Limited: 01633 679899 web: www.reach-support.co.uk s Solas Cymru: 01633 664045 web: www.solas-cymru.co.uk
Our Commitment To you, our Tenants
Our Commitment To You
IN THIS SECTION
21 21 21 21 22 22 22 22 22 Customer Services Team Customer Accounts Team Neighbourhood Team Nuisance Prevention Team Lettings Team Maintenance Team Estates Maintenance Team Community Initiatives Team Our service standards
Customer Services Team
Charter Housing is continually striving to deliver customer excellence. We firmly believe that you, our customers, are central to everything that we do. All enquiries are initially handled by our Customer Service Advisors. They primarily deal with requests for repairs, housing advice, information on rent payment and the provision of initial anti-social behaviour advice. They aim, where possible, to deal with your query on the spot. More complex or specialist queries are dealt with by our teams of experts. We will ensure that you are put in touch with the right person for your particular query.
demystifying the benefit system or working with you if you get behind with your rental payments, the Customer Accounts Team will be able to help.
Striving to deliver an excellent estate management service, Neighbourhood Managers work to ensure that the neighbourhoods in which we operate are places where people want to live. The team can help you with a wide range of queries including tenancy information, customer involvement, exchanges, urgent reasons to move and the environmental appearance of the place where you live.
Nuisance Prevention Team
Specialising in resolving anti-social behaviour, this team provides a number of services, including Resolve Assessment Service, an early intervention neighbour dispute service; Outreach Support, a service supporting both complainants and perpetrators of anti-social behaviour and an Enforcement Service; ensuring 21
Customer Accounts Team
Responsible for collecting the rental charge, Customer Accounts Managers provide or signpost a range of services concerning your rent account and general money matters. Whether checking your balance, finding the most convenient way to pay, 20
proven cases of anti-social behaviour are dealt with swiftly and firmly. get involved in a range of projects and activities geared towards community involvement. To ensure that you are clear about what you can expect from us we have a number of service standards. More information on these standards can be found within the information leaflet, ‘Our commitment to you.’
Responsible for administering ‘Charter by Choice’, the Lettings Team ensure that any vacancies are advertised and let according to the Lettings Policy.
We will provide our service leaflets, tenancy agreement and tenants handbook in Braille, large print and on audio CD on request. We will ensure that customers have access to a translation service.
Ensuring that Customer Focused Maintenance is a reality, this team check the quality of repairs completed, organise bigger repair items and coordinate the delivery of the planned maintenance programme, annual gas servicing and external painting programme.
Our service standards
General standards you should expect to receive: s We will provide services that are accessible to all. s We will be honest and fair in dealing with our customers. s We will keep our promises. s We will seek the views of customers and learn from them. s We will deal with complaints openly and fairly and learn from them. s We will keep our appointments and when we can’t we will contact you to let you know why. s Staff will be trained to provide high quality advice about the services we provide and associated services provided by other agencies.
Estates Maintenance Team
Providing a grass cutting & estate maintenance service, this team work to ensure that the areas in which we operate are environmentally attractive.
The service you should expect to receive when visiting our office: s You will walk into a reception area that is accessible, clean, presentable and pleasant to use at all times. s We will greet you in a polite, friendly and welcoming manner. s You will be seen within 5 minutes of your arrival and a member of staff will assess what service you need. s You will have access to service information that is accurate and up to date. s You will have access to a child friendly play area. s You will be offered a private interview room.
The service you should expect to receive when contacting us: s We aim to answer you phone call within 20 seconds. Where we fail to achieve this you will be given the option of leaving a message and we will return your call within 90 working minutes. s Where we take a message for you, we will call you back within 24 hours. s Your letters will be responded to within 10 working days. s Your emails will be responded to within 5 working days. s We will give our name when we answer your phone call.
Community Initiatives Team
Aiming to ensure that the neighbourhoods in which we operate are places where people wish to live, this team 22
What to do if you are unhappy with one of our services: You can make a complaint by following our Complaints Procedure which is outlined in Section 1 of this Handbook. What you can do if you would like to make a comment or suggestion about one of our services: s You can fill in a comment/suggestion card and drop it into the suggestion box in our reception area. s You can submit your comment/ suggestion online. s You can telephone us and we will complete a comment/suggestion card on your behalf. In addition to our general standards, each of our service areas offers a number of further commitments. Customer Accounts When managing your rent account: s We will send you a statement four times a year. s We will offer a wide variety of payment methods s We will provide help with filling out housing benefit claims on request. s We will give you general advice on benefits, debts and money management if you want us to. s We will inform you where you can get independent advice. s We will give you four weeks notice in writing of any changes to the amount of rent or service charge you have to pay. If you fall into rent arrears we will: s Contact you to make an arrangement for repayment of your debt. s Make a repayment arrangement that we believe you can afford. s Record all agreements made with you. Lettings s Application forms will be registered and acknowledged within 10 working days. s Priority cards will be issued where agreed, the next working day after receipt of necessary supporting documentation. Anti-social behaviour When you report a case of nuisance, harassment or anti-social behaviour to us we will: s Respect your confidentiality. We won’t reveal your identity to anyone unless you say we can. s In cases of harassment we will respond within 24 hours. s In other cases, with your consent, we will refer you to Resolve Assessment Service. s Use the full range of legal and non legal remedies to assist in resolving anti-social behaviour. s Keep you informed with what we are doing by letter, by phone or by visiting you. s Explain what support we and other agencies can give you. s Work with other agencies to resolve issues. s Give you clear information on what you need to do to assist in resolving problems that you are experiencing. s Tell you if we are not able to take action and advise you of the reasons why. 25
Where you are referred to the Resolve Assessment Service we will: s Complete the case from referral to closure letter within 10 working days. s Identify the issues of concern to all those involved. s Outline the options available to address issues raised. s Agree with you the option that you wish to take. s Confirm the details of the visit and what will happen next in writing to you. Tenancy Management – when dealing with your tenancy we will: s Provide you with a tenancy agreement setting out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and Charters responsibilities as a Landlord. s If you apply to exchange (swap) homes with another tenant we will give you our decision in writing within 42 days. If we turn down your request we will explain why. s If you apply to sublet, or to let someone else have part of your home, we aim to give you our decision in writing within 28 days. 26
If you apply to use your home for a purpose other than as your only or main home, such as for business purposes, we aim to give you our decision in writing within 14 days. We will not unreasonably withhold our permission. If we do turn down your request, we will explain why. If you apply to make a change to your tenancy we will give you a decision in writing within 14 days. When we are told that a tenant has broken any term of the tenancy agreement, we will investigate and take appropriate action. This could include enforcement action. We will consult you about any housing management matters which substantially affect your tenancy and where you live. We will take your wishes into account when making a decision. We will provide a variety of ways for you to influence the services that we provide.
We are committed to maintaining the appearance of the areas in which we have homes. We will: s Inspect every estate at least twice a year. s Remove racist or offensive graffiti within 24 hours of it being reported to us. s Respond within 24 hours to reports of abandoned properties and make sure the property is safe and secure. s Investigate and respond within 5 working days to reports of abandoned vehicles. s Investigate and respond within 5 working days to reports of rubbish. s Respond within 24 hours where rubbish or other hazards represent a danger to residents. s Work in partnership with others, including the police to reduce crime and make communities safer.
Estates Maintenance Where the Estates Maintenance Service is provided, we will: s Visit your estate at least fortnightly during the summer season (midMarch to mid-October), with at least a monthly visit during the winter season. s Cut the grass to your front garden and communal open spaces, if this is necessary (i.e. if the grass has grown sufficiently since the last visit). s Regularly trim shrubs planted by Charter in front gardens and communal spaces to maintain a tidy appearance. s Clear litter and other rubbish that is not clearly any one resident’s responsibility or that does not require specialist removal (i.e. not large domestic items such as fridges, or materials containing dangerous substances such as asbestos). We will report the presence of ‘non collectable’ items to the relevant Neighbourhood Manager.
Trim grass edges, unless those edges abut gravel paths or driveways (this is for health and safety reasons). Inspect communal pathways, fences, lighting and will report any defects found to the relevant department. Maintain steep banks as far as possible, within safety guidelines. Undertake the planting up of the beds at the sheltered schemes during the appropriate season where agreed in advance with residents and incorporated into the service charge, and maintain such bedding until the end of the season, when plants will be removed.
Provide and install hanging baskets at sheltered schemes, where agreed in advance with residents and incorporated into the service charge, but watering of such baskets will be the warden/residents’ own responsibility between our regular visits. Baskets will be removed at the end of the season i.e. September/ October. Carry out regular sample surveys of customers to check satisfaction with service. Respond to complaints about the service within 48 hours of the initial complaint, and thereafter in accordance with Charter’s complaints policy.
Your Tenancy Agreement Explained
Your Tenancy Agreement Explained
IN THIS SECTION
31 31 32 33 33 34 34 35 35 36 36 37 37 38 About your Tenancy Agreement What is a starter tenancy What is a assured tenancy What is a secure tenancy Security of tenure The Tenants’ Guarantee Joint tenancies Relationship breakdown Domestic violence Passing your tenancy on to others Taking in a lodger Subletting part of your home How to end your tenancy Abandonment
Your tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and us. It sets out our and your rights and responsibilities. When you sign your tenancy agreement you agree to abide by the conditions of the tenancy agreement. The agreement protects your rights as a tenant. It is important that you keep it in a safe place.
Your tenancy agreement contains information about the type of tenancy you hold, when your tenancy starts and your rent and service charges. If you are unclear about the type of tenancy you hold and its associated rights, contact your Neighbourhood Manager.
What is a Starter Tenancy
All new tenants of the Association are issued with a Starter Tenancy for the first 12 months. Starter Tenants are not entitled to the full rights of an Assured Tenant. You do not have the right to: s Take in Lodgers. s Sublet any part of the premises. s Make improvements, alterations or additions to the premises. s Assign the tenancy (this means you will not be able to exchange). We will allow Assignment of the tenancy in certain specific circumstances where it is ordered by the Court.
This type of tenancy provides a 12 month trial period during which we monitor you to make sure you abide by the conditions of tenancy. If you break the conditions of your tenancy agreement in that time for example, by causing a nuisance to neighbours or by not paying your rent, and we have done all we can to try and resolve the issue without success, we can serve a Section 21 notice. This notice will give you 2 months to leave the property. You will have the right to appeal against this notice to a panel of three Board Members, either in writing or in person. You will be given clear guidance about the review process when the notice is served. The notice will only be withdrawn if we have not followed the correct procedure. Following service of the notice and if any appeal is unsuccessful, if you do not leave the property within two months, we have the right to ask the Court for a possession order. The Association has an automatic right to a 32 possession order as long as we can show that we have followed the procedure correctly. If you do not break the terms of the tenancy agreement within the 12 month period, your tenancy will automatically revert to an Assured Tenancy. You will then become entitled to the extra rights that this type of tenancy brings. agreement. If you do break the terms of the agreement, we may serve a notice seeking possession and take you to court to gain possession of your property. The grounds on which we can do this are explained in your tenancy agreement. As an Assured Tenant your rent will be set by us but it will be affordable to those on a low income. Certain eligible tenants will have the ‘Right to Acquire’. You will find more information on this in the section on Moving Options. There is a right for one succession to a spouse or other qualifying person. Succession is explained below. the Rent Officer Service. There is a right for one succession to a spouse, co-habitee or a family member, provided they meet the criteria. Succession is explained below.
Security of tenure for Secure and Assured Tenants
Security of Tenure means that we can only make you move out of your home if we are given a Possession Order by the Court. Before we can go to Court, we must give you 4 weeks notice by servicing a ‘Notice Seeking Possession’. The Notice will state on which grounds and under which Housing Act the notice has been issued. If you receive a Notice Seeking Possession, you will be given a chance to comply with the conditions of tenancy, for example by: s Paying off any arrears s Stop causing nuisance and annoyance to neighbours If you do comply with the terms and conditions of tenancy, no further action will be taken. If you fail to 33
What is an Assured Tenancy?
All tenancies issued after 15th January 1989 are Assured Tenancies (unless they are issued as starter tenancies – see above). An assured tenancy gives you the right to remain in your home as long as you want to unless you break the terms of your tenancy
What is a Secure Tenancy?
If you were given your tenancy before 15th January 1989 you will have a secure tenancy. As a secure tenant, you have the ‘Right to Acquire’ your property and certain tenants may have the ‘Right to Buy’. You also have the Right to Repair and the Right to Exchange. These Rights are explained in other sections of the handbook. Your rent will be set and reviewed by
comply with the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement, we can ask the Court for a Possession Order and you could lose your home.
The Tenants’ Guarantee
This is issued by the Welsh Assembly Government and contains safeguards for Assured Tenants. The Tenants’ Guarantee required the Association to inform tenants of its obligations and also the way in which it deals with certain issues. You will receive a copy of the Guarantee when you sign your tenancy agreement.
A joint tenancy can be ended by one or both parties giving four weeks notice in writing. If you are left in the home after your joint tenant leaves and ends the tenancy, we will consider granting you the tenancy in your sole name but it is not an automatic right. In making a decision we will consider the conduct of the tenancy and whether the size of the home is suitable for your needs. If your joint tenant has left and not ended the tenancy we are not able to consider putting the tenancy into your sole name without written notice from the other tenant. If you are a sole tenant and would like to become a joint tenant with someone who lives with you, you should put your request in writing to your Neighbourhood Manager who will advise you of the implications. It may not be in your best interests to do this. We will not unreasonably withhold consent, but we will consider whether the person who wishes to be a joint tenant owes us any money or whether
there has been a previous succession to the tenancy. We will also consider the length of time you have lived together which should be over 12 months. If you ask for a joint tenancy to be created on marriage, we will ask to see a copy of your marriage certificate.
If you are joint tenants who are married and your relationship breaks down, you should make sure that the tenancy is resolved by your solicitor as part of the divorce proceedings. If you are remaining in the home, you can apply for a property adjustment order to put the tenancy into your sole name. You may also be able to get a sole tenancy transferred into your name if you remain in the home and your partner leaves.
support or find you alternative accommodation if that’s what you want. If you have to leave your home because of domestic violence and your partner remains, you should speak to your Neighbourhood Manager before taking any action to end the tenancy. You should consult a solicitor who may be able to get an injunction to protect you. For advice you can telephone the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000247 or Women’s Aid on 0808 8010800.
Joint tenants are jointly responsible for keeping to the terms of the tenancy agreement. If one joint tenant leaves the home, they continue to be responsible. For example, if the remaining person did not pay the rent, both tenants would be subject to legal action that could be taken as a result. Leaving the home does not end your interest in the tenancy.
If you are suffering from domestic violence, you should speak in confidence to a member of staff. We can help you by contacting specialist agencies who will give you advice and 35
Passing your tenancy on to others
Succession If you are the tenant and you die, your tenancy may pass to another close family member, such as a spouse or child, if they have been living with you twelve months prior to your death and are old enough to take the tenancy. The Association recognises gay and lesbian partners as spouses. This is known as a succession. The right of succession applies only once. If you are a joint tenant and your partner dies, you will automatically become the sole tenant of the property. This counts as a succession. It is possible we may ask a successor to move out of the home if it is too large for their needs or the property has been designed or adapted for someone with special needs and the successor does not need this type of housing. If this happens we will arrange alternative accommodation. Assignment An assignment is when you transfer the tenancy to someone else. This will happen if you exchange your tenancy with someone else or in certain other circumstances provided you request permission and we agree. If you would like to assign your tenancy to someone else, contact your Neighbourhood Manager who will consider your request. You cannot assign your tenancy without permission. like laundry. If you take in a lodger you should notify us with the name and age of the person so we can make sure that your property does not become overcrowded. You should also remember that taking in a lodger may alter your entitlement to Housing Benefit. You should seek advice from the Local Authority Housing Benefit Department. home and move out yourself you will lose your security of tenure and we could ask the Court to evict you and the person living in your home form the property.
Sub-letting part of your home
You have the right to sub-let part of your home to another person but you must ask The Association for permission first. We will not withhold permission provided your request is reasonable and there is no over crowding created. The person to whom you sub-let becomes a sub-tenant and he or she should have their own room and will look after themselves. You do not have the right to sub-let part of your home if you are a Starter Tenant. Please contact your Neighbourhood Manager for all enquiries about sub-letting. You are only able to sub-let part of your home. If you sub-let all of your
How to end your tenancy
To end your tenancy you must give us four weeks notice in writing. Your notice must run from a Monday and be received by us on or before the Monday from which the four week notice period starts. If you are thinking of ending your tenancy contact your Neighbourhood Manager who will be able to send you a standard notice form to complete. It is advisable to 37
Taking in a lodger
You have the right to take in a lodger without asking for permission. A Lodger is someone who normally ‘lives with the family’ and does not have exclusive use of part of the house or flat. You may provide some services 36
give us a forwarding address so we send any mail to you or we can get in touch if we need to. You should continue to pay your rent during the notice period. On the Monday your tenancy ends, you must return your keys to us by midday. If you do not do this, you may be charged an additional weeks rent and if we have to change the locks because you do not return keys to us, we may re-charge you for the expense incurred. You should leave your home in a clean and tidy condition. If you leave any unwanted furniture or rubbish behind we may re-charge you for its removal. If you leave your property in a good condition and are a Gold Service Member, you may be entitled to receive a ‘Golden Handshake Payment’. See the section on Gold Service.
If you appear to have left your home without giving us notice or returning the keys, we will do everything we can to contact you and will investigate to determine whether you still have an interest in the property. If our investigation concludes that you have abandoned the property, we will serve a Notice to Quit giving you 4 weeks to give up possession of the property. If after the expiry date of the Notice, you have not contacted us, we will take action to repossess the property.
Paying Your Rent
Paying Your Rent
IN THIS SECTION
41 41 43 44 44 45 45 46 46 46 How your rent is set Service charges How to pay your rent About your rent statement What to do if you have difficulty in paying your rent About Housing Benefit How to claim Housing Benefit SHELTER CYMRU advice service Joint tenancies How to help us improve this service
How your rent is set
Secure Tenants If your tenancy started before 15th January 1989 you have a Secure Tenancy and the rent on your home is decided by the Rent Officer who is independent of the Association. Rents are fixed for a two-year period. Before your rent is changed you will be consulted by the Rent Officer and if your do not agree with the new rent, then you can appeal to the Rent Assessment Committee. You have 28 days in which to do this. This Committee has the power to increase/decrease or confirm the rent. When a new rent is fixed, you will be given 4 weeks’ notice by the Association of any increase. Assured Tenants If your tenancy started after 15 January 1989 you have an Assured tenancy and your rent is set by the Association. The level of rents the Association can charge is regulated by the Welsh Assembly Government. Your rent is reviewed by the Association every April and you will be given 4 weeks’ notice of any change in your
rent. If you feel that the rent set is unreasonable, you may appeal to the Rent Assessment Committee. We aim to keep rents at a level that our tenants can afford whilst making sure that they cover the costs of the building, its management and maintenance. The address of the Rent Assessment Committee is: 1st Floor, West Wing, Southgate House, Wood Street, Cardiff CF1 1JJ
Your rent may include a charge for services that we provide. This can include: s Caretaking or Scheme Co-ordinator services s Garden services s Lighting in communal areas s Communal television aerials s Cleaning of communal areas
The charges are based on the actual costs of providing the service. The service charges (if applicable) are detailed at the back of your Tenancy Agreement. Service charges are reviewed with your rent. The Association sets variable service charges and although we only review them on a yearly basis, we may have to make an increase in the middle of the year if we receive a sudden increase in costs, for example, an increase in the electricity being paid to support landlord’s lighting. You will be given 4 weeks notice of any change in your service charges. If you are unhappy with the level of the service charge, you can complain to the Association, following the complaints procedure. Having your say If we plan to make certain amendments to your property or the scheme in which you live we may have to recover the costs by increasing your service charge. Where the costs are more than £50 42 per unit or £1000 per scheme, then we have to consult you by law. We would have to give you one month’s notice of our intention to carry out work and give you any opportunity to respond to our request. Reimbursement You have the right to claim reimbursement if you feel that you have not received a service for which you have paid a service charge, or you are unhappy with the quality of the service. Please contact your Customer Accounts Manager if you feel you are entitled to a refund on your service charge. Water charges We do not generally collect your water rates. However, in some Sheltered Housing Schemes, or where there is a metered supply, we do collect rates on behalf of the water company. Details of any water charges will be shown in your Tenancy Agreement.
How to pay your rent
Rent is charged to your account every Monday and your rent is payable every Monday in advance for that week. This is a condition of your Tenancy Agreement. If you pay rent after Monday your payment may not show on your account for that week and your account will show in arrears. There are several ways of paying your rent: s In person at Charter ’s offices at 11 Devon Place, Newpor t During office hours, we accept cash or cheque (made payable to ‘Charter Housing Association’). s By Direct Debit These can be set up on a weekly, 2 weekly, 4 weekly or calendar monthly basis. Forms are available from your Customer Account Manager. If you cancel your direct debit please inform your Customer Account Manager immediately and make new arrangements for paying your rent.
By Standing Order You can set up a Standing Order to pay your rent. Forms are available from your Customer Account Manager. By post We will accept payments by cheque through the post only. Please DO NOT send cash. Please include your name, address and rent account number on the back of the cheque. At any location displaying the Paypoint or Payzone sign You can pay by cash or cheque at a number of local shops and garages that display these signs using your Charter Payment Card. Please check your receipt and keep it in a safe place so that you can check your payments against your rent statement. At any Post Office in the UK You can use your Charter Payment Card to pay by cash or cheque, made payable to ‘Post Office Counters’. Please check your receipt before you leave the Post Office and keep it in a safe place so that you can check your payments against your rent statement.
By telephone You can pay over the telephone through the Allpay.net IVR call centre with your debit or credit card and Charter Payment Card. Ring 0870 243 6040 and follow the online instructions. Pay online Pay online at www.allpayments.net, following the online instructions. You will need your Charter Payment Card. In person to your Customer Account Manager Your Customer Account Manager can take rent on behalf of the Association if he or she is visiting you. You will be given a receipt for your payment.
arrears and your account will show up to 4 weeks in arrears until the payment is received. If you have any concerns about your rent statement, please talk to your Customer Account Manager.
you pay your rent and arrears but we cannot accept persistent arrears and if you fail to keep to any agreements made, we will start legal proceedings against you which could lead to the loss of your home. Your Customer Account Manager will explain the legal steps we can take if you do not maintain an up to date rent account or fail to maintain an agreement made to clear your arrears. It is important that you seek immediate independent advice. Community Legal Service Direct 0845 2454245 will provide you with telephone advice, or you can find out where SHELTER CYMRU operate their local drop-in advice centres by telephoning 02920 556120.
How to claim Housing Benefit
To claim Housing Benefit you should apply to your local Council. Your Customer Account Manager will be able to help with this. Our SHELTER advice worker will also be able to give you any advice about claiming. Please remember that it is your responsibility to follow up any claim for Housing Benefit and that payment of rent is your responsibility. If for any reason your local Council does not pay your rent, you will be expected to pay. It is very important that you respond to any letters or enquiries from your Council straight away. If you have any problems, please contact your Customer Account Manager or SHELTER advice worker.
What to do if you have difficulty in paying your rent
One of your main obligations under the terms of your Tenancy Agreement is to ensure that your rent is paid on time, even if it is paid by your Council via Housing Benefit. Don’t be afraid to tell your customer accounts manager immediately if you have difficulty paying your rent. They will be understanding and helpful. They will be able to advise you about the possibility of claiming benefits or other ways to get help. Your Customer Account Manager can also make an arrangement with you to clear the debt by an affordable payment plan if you fall into arrears. We will do everything we can to help
About your Rent Statement
You will receive a rent statement every 3 months. This will show the weekly rent charged and any payments you have made. It will also show if your rent account is in credit or arrears. If your rent is paid to us by Housing Benefit from your Council, this payment is usually made every 4 weeks in 44
About Housing Benefit
If you receive any benefits or are in receipt of a low income, you may be entitled to claim housing benefit from your local Council to help to pay your rent. If only part of your rent is paid by Housing Benefit, you will have to make up the difference yourself.
SHELTER Advice Service
SHELTER CYMRU, the housing and homelessness charity, runs an advice project at our offices at 11 Devon Place, Newport. SHELTER can offer FREE, impartial and independent advice on Housing Benefit, welfare benefits and dealing with rent arrears. Please do not hesitate to use this FREE service if you need any assistance with your benefits or need general debt advice. The SHELTER adviser is in our office on Tuesday 12:30 – 3:30pm and on Thursday and Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm. The adviser can be contacted on 01633 212375. Appointments may not be necessary. Please call for availability and to make sure the times of the service have not changed.
Joint tenants have equal responsibility for rent and any arrears. It is important therefore that you are both aware of your rent account balance. If you feel you have no control over the rent payments or your partner leaves the property, please contact your Customer Account Manager who will be able to advise you.
Help us improve this service
If you think you can help us improve the way in which we deal with your rent account or tackle rent arrears, please contact your Customer Account Manager who will be able to advise you about how you can influence the service. You can also complete a customer comments form in our reception and place it in the suggestion box or make a comment or suggestion in person or on the phone to any member of staff. Please Read the Chapter on Customer Involvement in this Handbook for more ways in which you can become involved.
Living In Your Home
Living In Your Home
IN THIS SECTION
49 49 49 50 50 52 52 52 53 53 54 54 54 Moving into your new home Insuring your belongings Keeping your keys safe Decorating Improvements & alterations Laying flooring Fencing & hedges Installing satellite dishes, Aerials or Cable TV Adapting your home if you have a disability Car parking & car repairs Caravans & trailers Maintaining your garden Rubbish storage & removal
When you move into your new home, it is important that you: 55 55 55 55 56 56 Keeping pets Running a business from home Unwanted pests Living in a flat Door entry systems Communal stairs & landings
Insuring your belongings
We are responsible for insuring the structure of your home and its fixtures and fittings but not your personal belongings. If a pipe in your home bursts because it freezes in cold weather or a sink or your washing machine overflows, we are not responsible for damage caused to your own or another person’s belongings. We strongly recommend that you take out Insurance to cover loss or damage caused to your personal possessions or those in neighbouring properties. Make sure that your insurance policy covers you for damage caused by fire, flood and frost and for other damage such as accidentally broken windows. Ask your Neighbourhood Manager about specialist insurance policies for tenanted properties.
Tell relevant people your new address. Contact your chosen supplier for gas and electricity. You should take meter readings on the day you move in. Arrange an appointment to have your heating system commissioned by the Association. Your gas and electricity supply must be connected for this to be carried out. You must not use your heating system until the checks are carried out and you should make sure you are provided with a copy of the Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate. Locate your electricity fuse box, gas mains and stop tap so that you can quickly shut off the supplies if there is a problem. Check that your smoke detector is working. Let us know about any repairs that you think should have been done before you moved in. Arrange contents insurance for your belongings.
Keeping your keys safe
Please keep your keys safe. We do not keep any spare keys for you and if you lose your keys, it is your responsibility to arrange for the locks to be changed. We advise you to keep a spare key 49
with a trusted relative or friend. Never hide a key outside your home. You must return your keys at the end of your tenancy. If you live in sheltered housing you may have a special type of door lock which should not be changed without our permission. Contact your Scheme Co-ordinator or Neighbourhood Manager if you need to change your lock for any reason. for someone else to decorate if you should leave. For example, you should not put gloss paint, carpet or cladding on walls and avoid very strong colours that may be difficult to cover over. If in doubt, please ask for advice. If you do not keep you home decorated to a good standard, you may be charged for decoration when you move out or you may be prevented from transferring or exchanging until you redecorate. You should not put artex on walls and if you are removing artex from walls or ceilings, you should contact your Maintenance Surveyor for advice first. or alterations, you will need to contact the Maintenance Surveyor for your area first for permission and advice. We may want to consult plans and drawings prior to written approval being given, and certain alterations or improvements may need planning or building control approval from the Council. There may be fees payable in such cases. Inspections will always be required for structural works such as the removal of a wall or the addition of a conservatory. We will not refuse permission for alterations or improvements unless there is a good reason. If you do not obtain the necessary permission, you may be required to reinstate the property to its original condition on termination of your tenancy or you may be recharged for any work which is unsafe or which does not meet required standards for rented properties. You may also find yourself in breach of your ‘Conditions of Tenancy’ and your home may be at risk. Any works to gas services or appliances must be carried out by a CORGI registered person – always ask for proof, and if in doubt, ask your Maintenance Surveyor for guidance. If you are considering the installation of new light fittings, extra wall sockets, garden lights, wiring to sheds or pond features etc., please make sure you employ a qualified electrician. Ask for proof that they are registered with ‘NIC EIC’. These are the initials of the organisation with which reputable and qualified electricians will be registered. Again, if in doubt, please check with your Maintenance Surveyor. If you wish to install a shower in your bathroom, contact your Maintenance Surveyor for advice first. Take care not to remove important fire doors in your property. This is particularly important if you live in a flat. Contact your Maintenance Surveyor for advice first before removing or replacing any door.
When you move into your home, we will ensure it is in a clean and tidy condition and decorated to an acceptable standard. If the quality of decoration is not up to standard, you may be offered a decoration voucher which can be spent in a local DIY store. You are able to decorate the inside of your home to your own taste, and this is your responsibility. It is important that you make sure this is done to a good standard and that you do not do anything which would make it difficult 50
Improvements & alterations to your home
We want you to enjoy living in your Charter property, and we recognise that many people want to ‘personalise’ their property to suit their tastes and lifestyles. It is an important part of making it your ‘home’. We encourage you to make improvements to your home. However, if you are planning any improvements
If you are fitting shelving, cupboards or pictures etc, to walls, remember to fill in any holes or cracks if you are leaving your home. Make sure you know where the gas, water pipes etc are embedded in the wall before knocking nails in. flooring. You should not cover this with another type of flooring. If you are unsure whether you have this type of flooring, contact your Maintenance Surveyor for advice.
Adapting your home if you have a disability
If you have a disability or are less mobile as you have become older, we may be able to help you adapt your home to help you retain your independence. If you need small adaptations such as a handrail or grab-rail, we may be able to arrange this for you quickly. If you need larger adaptations, such as a walk in shower, wheelchair ramps or a stair lift, we may be able to help get a grant to do this work for you subject to an assessment by an occupational therapist.
Fencing & hedges Laying flooring
If you live in a house or ground floor flat you may lay laminate flooring in your property provided it is properly insulated with acoustic underlay of at least 2mm thick. This minimises the level of noise from walking on laminate floors which may cause a nuisance to neighbours. The flooring must be properly laid and finished with appropriate edgings. You are responsible for lifting and relaying the laminate flooring in case of repairs being required to the flooring, pipework etc, beneath. If you live in an above ground flat, we regret that you are not permitted to lay laminate flooring, because of the noise nuisance this can cause to others living beneath you. The flooring in your kitchen and bathroom may be specialist anti-slip 52 There are planning regulations which restrict the height of boundary fences and hedges around your home. Before you consider putting up a fence or allowing a hedge to grow above a reasonable height, you should contact your Maintenance Surveyor for advice first.
We can also advise you about emergency alarm systems which are connected to a 24 hour local authority call centre. These can enable you to summon help in an emergency or if you feel unwell. Please contact your Neighbourhood Manager for advice on all types of adaptations.
Car parking & car repairs
If you have a drive or parking space provided with your home, please use it for parking rather than using the road. This will help to keep the highways free and prevent accidents. Where general parking spaces are provided, these are for the use of all residents and their visitors. If parked on the road or in a parking space, your vehicle should be taxed and roadworthy otherwise it may be towed away by the local Council and disposed of. Please do not carry out major car repairs at your home as this may cause annoyance to your neighbours.
Installing satellite dishes, aerials or Cable TV
You must ask for permission from our Maintenance Team before erecting a satellite dish or TV or radio aerial on your property or installing cable TV. If you live in a flat, it is possible due to planning laws, that you may not be able to have a satellite dish installed. Some of our properties have a shared aerial. Your Neighbourhood Manager will be able to advise you if this is the case.
Parking caravans & trailers
It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you should not keep a caravan or trailer on you drive or on the road outside your house. You should not park caravans or trailers in parking bays or on estate roads. Surveyor for advice first. You may be asked to re-fill a pond should you leave your home, as they can be dangerous for young children. If you have young children yourself, we would advise against putting a pond in. If you are a keen gardener, ask your Neighbourhood Manager about our annual Charter in Bloom Gardening Competition.
You can keep small caged animals in your home without permission but you must have our written permission to keep all other animals, including dogs and cats or any potentially dangerous animal. Permission will not be given for pets to be kept in homes, such as a flat, where there is an access via a communal area, shared with other neighbours. You may not be able to keep a pet where you share a garden. If permission is granted, you will be asked to sign an agreement which says that you will look after your pet responsibly. Please remember that we may withdraw permission if at any time your pet annoys your neighbours.
Running a business from home
It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you should not run a business from home without our written consent. We will give permission if the business is appropriate for the size and location of your home and we are sure that no nuisance or potential hazard will be caused to your neighbours.
Maintaining or improving your garden
It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that your gardens are kept in a clean and tidy condition. Most front gardens are maintained by our Estate Maintenance Service for a small service charge. For them to cut your grass, you should keep your garden clear of obstructions, such as toys or vehicles. If you have a communal garden, it is usually the responsibility of our Estates Maintenance Team to maintain it but if you would like to take care of part of the garden, please speak to your Neighbourhood Manager about this. If you are planning to put a pond in your garden, ask your Maintenance 54
If you have a problem with rats, mice, squirrels, wasps, bees, fleas or any others pests or vermin in your home, you should contact the Environmental Health Officer at your local Council for advice and assistance. The Association is unable to help with the removal of pests.
Rubbish storage & removal
If rubbish is not stored properly it can look unsightly and attract pests and vermin. It is your responsibility to dispose of your rubbish in the bin provided and to keep bin areas clean and tidy. For large or bulky items, such as fridges cookers and sofas, telephone your local council for their low cost special collection service. Please do not dump these items, they can cause a fire hazard or a danger to children. If we discover that you have dumped rubbish or bulky items we will recharge you for the costs of removing it and you may be subject to legal action or a fine imposed by the Environmental Health Department.
Living in a flat
Living in a flat can mean that you are closer to your neighbours than if you live in a house and it is inevitable that you will hear some noise from adjoining homes. Please take care not to cause excessive noise and if you feel that the noise from your neighbour is 55
unreasonable, such as loud music or a very loud television, it is best to approach them informally in the first instance. If the noise continues, you can approach the Environmental Health Officer or our Nuisance Prevention Team. You can minimise noise by making sure that your floors are carpeted with a good, thick underlay, that you do not use you washing machine or hoover late at night and that you keep your music and television at a reasonable level.
Communal stairs & landings
Some stairways and landings in blocks of flats are cleaned by the Association’s mobile cleaning service for a small service charge. Each stairway is cleaned approximately every three weeks. For information or comment about this service, contact your Neighbourhood Manager. Please do not store any items such as bikes, prams or rubbish in the communal area as they could cause a hazard to your neighbours or block an escape route in the event of a fire. Please contact Customer Services to report any lighting that is faulty in the communal area.
Door entry systems
If you live in a block of flats you will have a secure door entry system with an intercom. You will be given keys to the door. To maintain security for yourself and your neighbours, you should make sure that the communal door is always shut and that you do not let anyone you don’t know through the door. The door entry system will be on a timer to allow deliveries such as papers and milk in the morning. If you and your neighbours do not feel the timer is set correctly for you, please contact us and we will set it at a time which you agree. 56
Repairs & Maintenance
Repairs & Maintenance
IN THIS SECTION
59 60 62 64 65 67 69 70 Report a repair Our service Our responsibilities Your responsibilities Our response times Service standards The right to repair Basic repairs and your responsibilities:
Baths & Basins, Doors & Locks, Drains & Wastes, Electrics, Fences & Gates, Floors & Stairs, Garages, Gutters, Heating, Kitchen Fittings, Pipes & Taps, Roofs & Chimneys, Toilets, Walls & Ceilings, Windows, Cleaning blocked waste, Resetting a trip switch, Condensation
Reporting a Repair
Before you ring us or call at our office about a repair, please identify the problem using this Section. Our staff have similar books with the same drawings, so they can talk the problem through with you. Always remember to give us a phone number where you can be contacted. You can report a repair in whichever way suits you s Phone us: Repairs Hotline: 01633 678511 Out-of-hours emergencies: 01633 214222 (Calls are handled by a special control centre. You should be aware that your call may be recorded). Gas leaks: 0800 111999 (Use a phone outside your home – using one inside could spark an explosion. This number connects you directly to National Grid – Gas). s Write to us or visit us: 11 Devon Place, Newport, South Wales, NP20 4NP s Fax us: 01633 256271
E-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org (Only use e-mail for routine or nonurgent repairs. Please give a contact phone number.) If you live in sheltered accommodation, you can report your repair to the Scheme Coordinator or directly to the Repairs Hotline.
106 Repair and maintenance numbers
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You should be aware that: s we may need to inspect your repair problem before it can be passed to a contractor s outside office hours we will only respond to emergency problems s if you have exaggerated the urgency of the problem to get an emergency response, you will be charged for the call-out fee s you may be charged for the cost of repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family, or a visitor.
When you contact us Please let us know: s your name, address and phone number s details of the item that needs repairing. We will inform you We will discuss the problem with you. We will let you know whether an order will be placed immediately with the contractor or whether an inspection by an Area Surveyor is needed to assess exactly what needs to be done. In some cases the repair will be passed to an estate caretaker. If it is an order, we will tell you the response time category your repair falls into and the target date by which it should be completed. See Response times on page 65. The repair is recorded and acknowledged The details of your repair will be entered onto our computer system. You will receive an acknowledgement of your repair request by post. This will give an outline of the repair that has been ordered and the target date by which the repair should be completed. Appointments We will discuss when it is convenient for the contractor to call. We will agree a morning or afternoon for a specific day and the contractor may call you nearer the time to say exactly when you can expect him or her to arrive. Satisfaction survey We enclose a postage paid ‘satisfaction’ card with your repair acknowledgement. After the work has been completed please let us know what you think about the service by filling in the card and posting it back to us. See Win a Prize! Win a Prize! If you return your satisfaction card with comments about your repair, your name will be entered into our monthly draw for a cash prize. A small reward but a real treat! What repairs are carried out by Charter? We are responsible for the outside of your property, the main structure and any fittings and appliances we have provided. We are also responsible for maintenance of communal areas. You are responsible for taking care of the inside of your property and for certain repairs. See Responsibilities page 64. If you are elderly, infirm or disabled and have no able-bodied adult to help you, we may be able to advise you what help you can get. Do I have to pay for any repairs? If you request a repair caused by damage done by you, a member of your family or a visitor, we will normally expect you to repair it yourself or pay for it to be done. We will always carry out work to make your home safe, but we will have to charge you for the cost of doing so unless the problem is the result of a break-in or vandalism and you can supply us with a Police Crime Report Number (not an Incident Number). If we have to charge you, we will let you know how much we are going to charge before we carry out the work. Can I claim for accidental damage? You are responsible for your own possessions, carpets, fittings, etc and for internal decorations. You are strongly advised to take out household contents insurance. This will enable you to claim for the cost of accidental damage which we are not obliged to do or pay for. We have a low cost scheme you can join. Please ask our staff for details.
What about general maintenance? All our properties are included in a rolling programme of painting. This covers the outside of individual homes based on a 5 year cycle, and internal communal areas every 3 years. We also have a programme of carrying out ‘condition’ surveys to identify repairs needed to the inside and outside of each property. You will be consulted when this programme reaches your area. What if I need adaptations to my home? You need to contact your local Council and ask for an assessment by an occupational therapist, who will recommend what changes should be made. They will also advise you on how to apply for grants to cover the cost of the work. We are responsible for any communal facilities including any gardens or open areas. Outside your home we are responsible for features that were originally provided by us, or were present when the association bought the property. These will include: s boundary fences, walls or hedges where they form a boundary with a public space s in certain circumstances steps, paths and any paved areas s brick outhouses and timber sheds. Joint responsibility for gas safety s We are responsible for carrying out an annual boiler service in every property with a gas supply. You should let us know if, for any reason, you have not had such a check in the last 12 months. s You must allow us entry to your home to carry out the annual service. If you do not allow us in, you are in breach of your Tenancy Agreement. If necessary we will take court action to gain access or arrange for the gas supply to your home to be cut off. You will be liable for all costs. s If your annual service is overdue because you have not made arrangements with us to do it, we will only do emergency or health and safety related work to your system until you allow us to carry out a full service. s You must ensure that air vents do not become blocked outside or inside.
We are responsible for repairing and maintaining the structure of the property you live in. This includes all the external parts and any internal fixtures and fittings originally provided by us but not those that are listed as, or we have told you are, your responsibility. Our responsibilities also cover all pipes, wiring, fixtures and fittings for heating, drainage, power and lighting, and any smoke detectors fitted by us.
You are responsible for certain tasks: s replacing keys when broken or lost, or when locked out s getting broken or cracked glass replaced s resetting trip switches s replacing light bulbs and fluorescent tubes s trying to clear blockages in wastes, toilets or gullies s repairing minor cracks or holes in walls or ceilings s repairing minor fittings: curtain tracks, roller blinds, shelves etc. s replacing toilet seats and lids s replacing clothes lines or restringing rotary driers (unless shared with others) s testing and maintaining any smoke detectors you have fitted s taking action to prevent condensation s adjusting doors when new carpets are fitted s fitting bells or additional locks to doors s keeping gullies clear of leaves s replacing plugs and chains on baths, sinks or basins 64 fitting wastes and supply valves for dishwashers and tumbledriers (if not already provided) s repairing any appliance, fitting, fixture or outside feature you have installed. You also have certain general responsibilities: s to keep your property clean and in good decorative order, and your garden tidy s to allow us access to your home to enable us to do any repair work or carry out any inspections that are necessary s to take reasonable precautions to prevent damage once a repair fault has been identified s moving any furniture or lifting any floor covering you have put down eg carpets, tiles or wood effect flooring to allow repair work to be done and putting these back after work is completed s to report any criminal damage or vandalism to the Police and get a Police Crime Report Number (not an Incident Number).
Our response times
When you report a repair to us we assess the nature of the problem and tell you what response time category it falls into. The times are measured from the date you report the problem to us. s Emergency: we will respond within 24 hours to remove immediate danger to people, avoid serious damage to the property, to make the property secure, or to restore failure of essential services such as sanitation, water or electrical supply. We will always make the situation safe. Sometimes follow up work will need to be done at a later date. s Urgent: we will respond within 5 working days for work that needs to be carried out quickly, to overcome serious inconvenience to the tenant, or to prevent more damage to the property. s Routine: we will respond within 20 working days for repair problems inside the home that do not cause particular inconvenience or danger to occupants or the public and for general repairs to the outside of the
property, that are unlikely to deteriorate provided they are attended to within a reasonable time. Inspections Some repairs will need to be inspected before repair work can be ordered. You can ask for the Maintenance Surveyor to visit on a specific morning or afternoon, otherwise you may receive a letter or phone call to say when he or she will be in your area. If the repair is particularly complicated or likely to take longer than normal, we may need to agree on a longer timescale with the contractor. We will keep you informed. In some of these cases the Maintenance Surveyor may decide to put the work into a major works or planned programme already scheduled for your area.
How long will it take? When you request a repair, we will put the work into a response time category (see above). Each response category has a maximum time allowed for the work to be done. If necessary, we will arrange for the work to be inspected first by a Maintenance Surveyor. If a repair is not done within the time given please contact us and we will investigate the matter. The target date for completion will be confirmed on the repair acknowledgement which we send to you by post. The work will be carried out by a local contractor. What if I can only be in at certain times? When you report a repair let us know what times are convenient for the contractor or caretaker to call. You can ask for a morning or afternoon appointment on a specific day and we will do our best to arrange this for you. If you find you are unable to keep an appointment you need to contact us to arrange another appointment. What if I am not in when the contractor calls? The contractor will leave a card giving a date when he or she will call again. If this is not convenient you should phone us or the contractor to arrange another date. If you are not at home a second time the job will be cancelled and you will have to report the repair again. What if it is an emergency? We treat repairs as emergencies if they are necessary to avoid danger or risk to the health of the occupants, or serious damage to the property. Outside normal office hours we only handle emergency repairs. These should be reported on our Out-of-hours Emergency number given at the beginning of this section. We expect you to report urgent or routine repairs on our Repairs Hotline number during working hours on the next working day. If you call us out and you are not in or we find the repair is not a genuine emergency, we will charge you for the contractor's time.
Contractors working in your home must: s introduce themselves and show you identification before entering your home s explain what they are going to do and how this will affect you, and to keep you informed about the progress of the work s take care of your property and possessions, protecting them from dust and paint s keep your home secure at all times s make sure materials and tools do not cause danger to you or your visitors s clear up rubbish and remove it at the end of each working day s make good any damage to decorations caused by repair work in your home s make sure essential services are connected at the end of each day and when the repair is completed s tell you, or a neighbour if you are out, when starting any outside work.
Contractors are not allowed to: s smoke in your home without your consent s play radios in or near your home. You should be aware: s contractors cannot be left alone in your home or with children only present (under 16). If you leave the home the contractor will have to leave the property and wait for you to return s you should not leave your key hidden somewhere, or with someone else, for a contractor to pick up and let themselves into your home s in bad weather contractors cannot, for their own safety, work at height, e.g. on ladders or scaffolding, or on the roof s you are expected to allow contractors to get on with their work by keeping children and pets out of their way s if any furniture or floor coverings need to be moved before repair work can be done, you must get this done before contractors start work. They may be willing to help but can accept no responsibility for any damage caused in the process.
What standard of service can I expect? We will respond to repair problems in an efficient and helpful way. All repairs are carried out by contractors we have selected carefully. The name of the contractor will be given on your repairs acknowledgement. Our contractors must follow certain rules of behaviour when working in or around your home, detailed above. What if the work is not done on time? We will have put your repair into a response time category. See Response times page 65. If the repair is not done within that response time let us know and we will follow it up immediately. What if I am not satisfied with the quality of work? If the repair was not completed within the time allowed or if you are not satisfied with the work that has been done or the service provided please let us know. We will investigate all complaints thoroughly to make sure that work is done to a good standard 68 without further delay. If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint you should write to the Maintenance Manager or follow our complaints procedure detailed in this handbook. Do Charter check up on the quality of workmanship? We send a postage paid ‘satisfaction’ card with your repair acknowledgement. Please fill this in once the repair is completed to let us know what you think of our service and then post it back to us. We run a monthly draw of all cards returned... you could win a cash prize! We carry out regular quality control visits to make sure that our contractors work to high standards. These visits are done by picking out completed repairs on a random basis.
The Right To Repair
As a Housing Association Tenant you have the ‘Right to Repair’. This is designed to ensure that certain repairs, known as ‘qualifying repairs’ are completed on time. If our contractor does not complete the repair on time, you can ask us to hire someone else. If the repairs are still not done, you can make a claim for compensation. Qualifying repairs are those which cost less than £250 and include: s unsafe power or lighting sockets or electrical fittings s blocked flues or fires or boilers s leaking roofs s toilets that won't flush s blocked sinks, baths or basins s leaking or flooding from pipes, tanks or cisterns s loose or broken banisters or handrails For more information on the Right to Repair, contact your Maintenance Surveyor
Baths and Basins
Your responsibilities s Cleaning baths, sinks and basins and shower heads. s Trying to clear blocked wastepipes. See Handy hints page 100. s Repairing any items you have installed yourself, eg shower, extra tiles. s Replacing plugs and chains on baths, basins and sinks. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s For water leaks or tap problems, see Pipes·Taps page 90. s You should always try to clear any blocked wastepipes. See Handy hints page 100. Do not use a bath, basin or sink if the wastepipe is blocked; wait until it has been cleared. s If a blockage is caused by unusual items such as toys etc, we will charge you if we have to clear it for you.
If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. We cannot guarantee a colour match when replacing bathroom fittings. We cannot replace a bath or basin because it is stained or chipped. This will only be done if your home is included in an upgrading programme.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: bathroom fittings loose or broken; wastepipe leaking or blocked; splashback wall tiles cracked or broken? s If tiles: how many are affected? What size, colour or pattern are they? s If a bath panel: is it the side or the end? What is it made of: plastic, metal or hardboard? s If a bath or basin: what is it made of: plastic, metal or porcelain?
Doors and Locks
Your responsibilities s Replacing keys or locks if you lose keys or get locked out. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. s Providing any additional locks and latches and maintaining them once they are fitted. s Fitting and maintaining doorbells where we have not provided one. s Adjusting doors when new carpets are fitted. Advice s If the problem has been caused by vandalism or a break-in you should report the incident to the Police and get a Crime Report Number (not an Incident Number), otherwise we will have to charge you for the repair. s If you lock yourself out and you need us to make a forced entry, we will charge you for the cost of doing so and for any related repair work.
If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. In an emergency, eg you can't lock an external door, we will only be able to make the property safe and secure. The complete repair will be done at a later date.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: lock stiff or not fitting properly into the keep; lock or handle broken; door sticking, ill-fitting or damaged? s Which door is it: front, back, or side? s What is the door made of: wood, plastic or metal? s What type of lock or latch is it: cylinder mortice, cylinder rim nightlatch, mortice lock? s Is the property still secure?
Drains and Wastes
Your responsibilities s Trying to clear blocked wastepipes. See Handy hints page 100. s Clearing leaves and rubbish from gullies. s Clearing blockages in washing machine or dishwasher outlets. Advice s You should always try to clear any blocked wastepipes. See Handy hints page 100. Do not use the bath, basin or sink if the wastepipe is blocked; wait until it has been cleared. s Do not put into toilets products that do not break down easily, for example paper hand towels or kitchen roll. They easily cause blockages. s If a blockage is caused by unusual items such as nappies or toys etc, we will charge you if we have to clear it for you. s We will maintain your kitchen fittings to a useable standard. When they reach their expected lifespan we will include them in a replacement programme. 74 We need to know s What is the problem, eg: wastepipe blocked or leaking; drain smelling or blocked; gully blocked or grid missing? s If a wastepipe, which is it: bath, basin, sink, shower or toilet? Is more than one fitting blocked? s If the drain is blocked: is it overflowing?
Your responsibilities s Resetting trip switches and, if necessary, turning off the mains supply. See Handy hints page 102. s Replacing light bulbs and fluorescent tubes (except in communal areas). s Ensuring that your electricity bill has been paid and that your meter does not run out. s Testing and replacing batteries in smoke detectors you have installed. s Arranging repairs to your own electrical appliances. Advice s DO NOT TOUCH bare wires and DO NOT TOUCH sockets or switches with wet hands. s Make sure that you know where the trip switches are located in your home and understand how to reset them. See Handy hints page 102. s To check whether a problem has been caused by a fault in one of your appliances try a different appliance in the socket.
If you cause any damage or a problem is caused by a fault in one of your appliances we will charge you for the cost of calling out a contractor and for any repair work. If water is leaking onto an electrical fitting or a fitting is dangerous, do not touch it. Isolate the circuit by switching off the trip switch or the main switch. See Handy hints page 102.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: no lights or power in part of or throughout the property; light or light switch not working; socket loose or broken? s What type of fitting or socket is it? s Are other buildings affected? s Are there any other connected problems?
Fences and Gates
Your responsibilities s Maintaining any fences, walls or hedges between neighbouring properties which you or a previous tenant put up. See Advice. s Replacing lines and restringing rotary driers (unless shared with others). s Maintaining any garden paths, patios, sheds or other outside features that you or a previous tenant installed. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. s If you want to put up your own fence, for example to increase your privacy or to enclose a pet, you must write to us giving us full details: type of material, where it will be put up, what height it will be, etc. You must not go ahead with the work until we have given our permission. 78 We need to know s What is the problem, eg: fence loose or broken; gate sticking; gate catch missing; path cracked, uneven or damaged. s If a fence, what type is it, eg: wooden (what type) or chain link? What length is it? s If a gate, what type is it, eg: wooden or metal? s If a post, what type is it, eg: wooden, metal or concrete? s If a fence, post or gate what height is it (approximately)?
Floors and Stairs
Your responsibilities s Repairing or renewing floor tiles or vinyl flooring not originally provided by us. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. s Lifting any floor coverings you have put down eg carpets, tiles or wood effect flooring before we do work to floors and stairs, and putting these back after work is completed. See Advice. Advice s Contractors may be willing to lift any floor covering and loosely relay it on your behalf but will accept no responsibility for any damage caused to the floor covering in the process. s If you want to put down your own wood effect flooring you must write to us for permission. We will not agree to it being used in flats except on the ground floor, as it causes noise which affects other flats.
We can fit extra handrails to help disabled or elderly tenants. If you cause any damage we will charge you for the cost of repair work.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: floorboard or skirting board loose, rotten or damaged; tread or riser broken; handrail loose or broken; floor covering lifting or damaged? s What type of floor covering is it, eg: floorboards, chipboard, plywood, quarry tiles, plastic tiles, vinyl sheeting, or wood block flooring? s How many boards or tiles are affected? s Is it in a communal area?
Your responsibilities s Replacing keys or locks to garage doors if your keys are lost or locked inside. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s If a problem has been caused by vandalism you should report the incident to the Police and get a Crime Report Number (not an Incident Number), otherwise we will have to charge you for the repair. s If your garage is separate from your home you need to make arrangements for the contractor to find it and get into it. s If you want to put up a shed, leanto or conservatory, you must write to the maintenance department for permission. You need to give us full details of what you are planning. s If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. We need to know s If a garage, what type of door is it, eg: up-and-over, side-hung? Is the car stuck inside? s If a garage roof, what type is it, eg: corrugated metal, cement panel, felt, asphalt or tiles? s What is the problem, eg: garage door jammed; key lost or stolen; frame damaged; roof damaged?
Your responsibilities s Clearing leaves and rubbish from gullies. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family, or a visitor. Advice s We may need to put up scaffolding if the repair is above two storeys high. s In bad weather conditions contractors cannot work at height, eg on ladders or scaffolding, or on the roof. We need to know s What is the problem, eg: gutter or downpipe loose, leaking or blocked; bracket, joint or shoe loose or broken? s Which gutter or downpipe is it: front, back or side? s What shape is it: half round, square or ogee? s What is the gutter or downpipe made of: metal or plastic?
How many storeys high is the building? Are there any other connected problems?
Your responsibilities s If you suspect a gas leak, call National Grid (Gas) immediately use a phone OUTSIDE your home - 0800 111999 (using a phone inside could spark an explosion). s Also turn off the gas at the mains and open windows. Do not smoke, light a match, use a lighter, or switch anything electrical on or off until the problem is fixed. s Checking that your heating controls (room thermostat, timer or programmer) are set correctly and so using heat effectively. See Advice. s Allowing us into your home once a year to carry out a boiler service. If you do not do this we will take legal action to gain access to your home. Advice s You will have a timeclock or digital programmer on your boiler. This automatically turns the heating and hot water on and off at the times you set. You can set them to come on once, twice or stay on all the time, as you require. 86
During freezing spells, keep some background heat on all the time. You will have a room thermostat in certain rooms. This keeps the heating in that room at a set temperature. Turn the dial so that the arrow or marker is against the temperature setting you want. A comfortable and economic temperature is between 15°C and 20°C.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: smell of gas; central heating not working; radiator leaking or not getting warm; no hot water? s What type of heating is it: gas, electric, wood or coal? s What type of system is it: wallmounted boiler or a front fire with a back boiler? s Have you any other form of heating? s Are there any other connected problems?
Your responsibilities s Installing washing machines, dishwashers or tumble driers and providing wastes and supply pipes for tumble driers and dishwashers. See Advice. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. s Repairing any extra units you have installed. Advice s If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. s We cannot guarantee a colour or style match if we have to replace kitchen units or parts of the unit, such as worktop, drawer, or door. s If you install either a dishwasher or tumble drier, you are responsible for providing any supply and waste connections needed for them.
We will maintain your kitchen fittings to a useable standard. When they reach the end of their expected lifespan we will include them in a replacement programme.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: wall or floor unit loose or damaged; worktop loose or broken; cupboard door or drawer damaged; cupboard door hinge or catch broken? s What type of unit is it: wall or floor? s Are there any other connected problems?
Pipes and Taps
Your responsibilities s Taking steps to prevent water in pipes and taps freezing. See Advice. s Turning off your water supply at the main stoptap if a water pipe has burst, and then turning on all taps to allow remaining water to flow out. See Advice. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s You should know where the main stoptap is in order to turn the water off in an emergency. Normally it is under the kitchen sink or near the front door. s If water is leaking onto an electrical fitting, do not touch it. Isolate the circuit by switching off the trip switch or the mains switch. See Handy hints on page 102. s In very cold weather keep heating on a low setting, even if you are not at home, to prevent pipes from freezing.
If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. If the damage is caused by water leaking, you may be able to make an insurance claim on your own contents insurance. We can recommend a reasonable insurance scheme to you. Please ask our staff for details.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: water pipe frozen or burst; overflow running or broken; tap dripping or faulty? s If water is leaking into your property: is it coming from the flat above? What is the address? s If a tap: what type is it? s Are there any other connected problems?
Roofs and Chimneys
Your responsibilities s Putting up television or radio aerials or satellite dishes on the outside of the property. However, you must get our permission in writing before you do this. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s We may need to put up scaffolding if the repair is above two storeys high. s In bad weather conditions contractors cannot work at height, eg on ladders or scaffolding, or on the roof. s If the roof is leaking and electrical fittings are getting wet, do not touch them. Isolate the circuit by switching off the trip switch or the mains switch. See Handy hints on page 102. s If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. We need to know s What is the problem, eg: roof leaking; tiles or slates loose or broken; chimney pot or cowl fallen or loose; chimney stack crumbling? s What type of tiles or slates are they, eg: plain, ridge, interlocking, hip? s How many storeys high is the property? s Is the chimney shared with another property? What is the address?
Your responsibilities s Cleaning toilet pans. s Trying to clear blocked toilets. See Handy hints on page 100. s Replacing toilet seats and lids. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s You should always try to clear any blockages. See Handy hints on page 102. s If a blockage is caused by unusual items such as nappies, toys etc, we will charge you if we have to clear it for you. s Do not put into toilets products that do not break down easily, for example paper hand towels or kitchen roll. They easily cause blockages. s We cannot replace a toilet because it is stained or chipped. This will only be done if your home is included in an upgrading programme.
If you cause any damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: toilet blocked; overflow running; cistern leaking; seat broken; pan cracked or leaking; flush handle broken? s What type of cistern is it: standard or close-coupled? s What type of handle is it: lever handle, push down knob or chain?
Walls and Ceilings
Your responsibilities s Decorating walls and ceilings inside your home. See Advice. s Repairing minor cracks or holes in walls and ceilings. s Repairing minor fixtures and fittings: curtain tracks, roller blinds, shelves etc. s Putting up television or radio aerials or satellite dishes on the outside of the property. However, you must get our permission in writing before you do this. s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. Advice s Try to keep condensation to a minimum to prevent damp and mould on the walls or ceiling. See Handy hints on page 104 for advice on controlling condensation. s If you cause damage, we will charge you for the cost of repair work. If it is caused by water leaking, you may be able to claim on your contents insurance. 96
In newly built or recently renovated homes plaster needs time to fully dry out. Cracks may appear. These and other decorative defects will be repaired for the first six months by the contractor who built the home. You should not carry out additional decorating until the end of the six month period.
We need to know s What is the problem, eg: wall plaster loose or crumbling; ceiling plaster bulging; condensation or mould on walls or ceiling? s Is there any damage caused by water leaking: from a burst pipe, a leaking radiator or a leak in the roof? s What is the extent of the problem? s Are there any other connected problems?
Your responsibilities s Repairing any damage caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor. s Getting broken or cracked glass replaced unless it was the result of a criminal action and you have got a Police Crime Report Number. s Fitting additional security locks to windows. Advice s Windows that have been installed recently may still be covered by a guarantee. s Wherever possible, we will maintain windows until they reach the end of their expected lifespan. We will include them in a replacement programme. s If the problem has been caused by vandalism or a break-in, you should report the incident to the Police and get a Crime Report Number (not an Incident Number), otherwise we will have to charge you for the repair. We need to know s What is the problem, eg: glass cracked or broken; frame loose or jammed; stay or fastener broken? s What type of frame is it: wooden, plastic or metal? s What type of glass is it, eg: plain, obscure, wired cast? Is it double glazed? s Are there any other connected problems?
Clearing a blocked waste
General advice s Blockages are usually caused by the build-up of waste in the trap: fat, tea leaves, hair etc. It is a good idea to clear wastepipes and traps at least once a month, preferably with a suitable product available from DIY stores. s The trap is under the fitting (bath, basin or sink). It always holds some water in it which stops smells coming up the drain. However, waste can build up and become stuck in it. s If more than one fitting (bath, basin etc) is blocked, the blockage may be in the soil stack or main drain. This will need to be cleared by a plumber. If this is the case, contact us. What to do You need: s bowl, jug or cup, rag or dishcloth, plunger, rubber gloves. To unblock a bath, basin or sink: s bale out most of the water s hold the rag tightly over the overflow opening 100
s s s
place the plunger over the plug hole and pump up and down rapidly after clearing the blockage unscrew the trap and clean it out thoroughly wash your hands and all equipment after you have finished.
To unblock a toilet: s if the pan is already full, remove some of the water into a bucket using some form of scoop, eg a jug or bowl s push the brush or plunger to the bottom of the pan s pump it up and down vigorously about 10 times. This creates a vacuum and pressure which may shift the blockage s flush the toilet to see whether the blockage has gone s you may need to repeat this process several times before the toilet flushes normally. If there is no improvement after a couple of attempts you should contact us s thoroughly wash your hands and all equipment after you have finished.
Resetting a trip switch
General advice s Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If a fault develops, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken. s The trip switches are at the consumer unit. The consumer unit may be next to the electricity meter (unless the meter is in an outside cupboard). s Trip switches usually operate because: - there are too many fittings or appliances on a circuit and it has been overloaded - an appliance has been misused or has developed a fault - a lead to an appliance such as a TV, hair drier, or kettle has become loose or has been badly connected - water has leaked into a circuit - a light bulb has blown. s If an appliance has developed a fault, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it. 102
Make sure your hands are dry when you touch electrical fittings. Never touch the electricity company's fuse and seals.
What to do To reset a trip switch: s open the cover on the consumer unit to show the trip switches s check which switches have tripped to the OFF position s put these switches back to the ON position. If the trip goes again: It is probably being caused by a fault in an appliance. You need to identify which circuit is being affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem. To identify the problem appliance: s check all the rooms in the house and note which set of lights or sockets is not working s unplug all appliances on that problem circuit and switch off the immersion heater
switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the ON position plug in the appliances one at a time do not use double adaptors when testing appliances. Test one appliance per socket, until the trip goes again.
What is condensation? s It starts as moisture that is produced by cooking, washing and using gas. s This moist air condenses on cool surfaces such as walls, mir rors, wall tiles and windows, and even some clothes. s When the moist air is warm it rises and often ends up on ceilings and in upstairs rooms. It then forms mould. Preventing condensation Condensation can occur in any home. You can take steps to prevent it. Control excess moisture: s close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into other colder rooms s open kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking or washing so that steam can escape s open some windows in other rooms for a while each day to allow a change of air s do not use bottled gas heaters
s s s
wipe down surfaces where moisture settles to prevent mould forming do not block air vents use your extractor fan or ventilation unit (if one is fitted). Both fans and ventilation units are usually controlled by automatic humidistats that respond to the level of moisture in the air. They are very cheap to run (approx 10p for 60 hours continuous use).
Produce less moisture: s dry clothes outdoors whenever possible, otherwise use well ventilated rooms s cover pans when cooking s vent any tumble driers to the outside. Keep your house warm: s take steps to prevent heat loss s maintain low background heat.
For repairs or estates maintenance, please contact us on our dedicated repairs lines below.
Tel: s Repairs (8:30am – 5:00pm): 01633 678511 s Emergency Repairs (out of normal office hours): 01633 214222 s Estates Maintenance: 01633 480450 e-mail: email@example.com web: www.charterhousing.co.uk
Being a Good Neighbour
Being A Good Neighbour
IN THIS SECTION
109 110 111 112 112 112 112 114 114 114 114 How to be a considerate neighbour What action you can take if your neighbour is anti-social Being realistic and working together Support for witnesses How we deal with drug misuse Abuse, threat or violence towards staff How we deal with hate crime How we deal with harassment Neighbourhood Watch Confidentiality Help us improve this service
The Association wants all its tenants to develop good relationships with their neighbours. It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you do not cause nuisance and annoyance to your neighbours. If we do find that you or your neighbours are causing a nuisance, we will investigate and where appropriate, take legal action to stop the nuisance occurring.
Our intention is to deal firmly but fairly with anti-social behaviour (ASB), to deter such behaviour and enable others to act as witnesses. All options available to deal with ASB will be considered, in order to comply with the 1996 Housing Act and to ensure the rights of residents to the quiet enjoyment of their home.
How to be a considerate neighbour
You can be a good neighbour by: s Getting to know your neighbour and agreeing that you will talk to each other about any problems in a reasonable manner. s Keeping noise levels as low as possible, especially when you live in a flat where noise may travel through the floor or ceiling to adjoining properties. Keep the volume of your TV or music system to a reasonable level and check with your neighbours to make sure they are happy with the level of noise coming from your home. Do not play music late at night. s Informing your neighbours in advance if you have a party. s Keeping your pets under control. For example, make sure your dog does not bark when you are out and do not let your dog out on its own. s Carrying out DIY at a reasonable hour. s Keeping your garden and any communal areas in a clean and tidy condition. 109
Making sure your visitors are respectful of your neighbours. You are responsible for the actions of your visitors under your tenancy agreement. Driving and parking responsibly in your community. Accepting that neighbours’ children playing in the street is not itself anti-social behaviour. Only if the children are directly (and knowingly) causing you distress, harassment or annoyance can their behaviour possibly be considered as antisocial.
What action can you take if your neighbour is being antisocial?
If you have a complaint about your neighbour, you should discuss it with them first, approaching them calmly and without anger. They may not know that they are causing a nuisance. This often produces the best results. If your complaint is about a noise nuisance, such as loud music, your Environmental Health Officer from
your local Council may be able to help. They have noise monitoring equipment and are able to serve legal notices to stop noise or confiscate equipment. If you are unable to resolve the problem yourself and the nuisance continues, report the problem to our specialist Nuisance Prevention Team. Initially complaints will be referred to the Resolve Assessment Service who will visit you and your neighbour to discuss your complaint and the range of options available to resolve it. The Resolve Assessment Service will complete their procedures within 10 working days. Where the nuisance continues further investigations will be carried out. We will work with you to gather evidence by asking you to note details and timings of the nuisance in a nuisance diary. Where appropriate, we will ask the police or other agencies to provide evidence.
These investigations may result in legal remedies such as an injunction, (a Court Order), demotion of tenancy or possession proceedings. You may be required to give evidence in court, either in person or through a written statement, for these actions to be successful. Wherever possible, non-legal remedies will be sought such as mediation. Mediation allows you the opportunity to agree a solution to the problem being experienced using the expertise of a third-party who will help you through the process. We will respond to complaints of ASB received in writing, within 10 working days and serious complaints (violence, threats of violence) will be responded to within one working day, and if necessary, immediate legal action can be taken
Being realistic and working together
Our Nuisance Prevention Team is very successful at dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour. However, it is not a matter for us as landlord alone but is a responsibility shared with those affected. Complainants who refuse to be witnesses and/or who do not want their names disclosed make it difficult for us to take legal action to protect them. We have to convince a judge that legal action is necessary to stop the nuisance and provide evidence to the Court to support such action. The best evidence is to have witnesses at Court telling the judge what has happened. In all our successful cases we have worked in partnership with the tenants affected. Also, complaints about, for example, children playing in the street, bullying other children etc, may not be suitable issues for us to get involved in. We expect people to accept responsibility as parents for incidents involving their children and to deal with such matters responsibly. 111
Support for witnesses
We will give as much support to witnesses or complainants of antisocial behaviour as we can, particularly if they have to attend court. We will talk to complainants, give advice and draw up action and support plans to include additional security measures where appropriate. These might include an emergency alarm, additional lighting or surveillance cameras. We will maintain regular contact with witnesses and complainants and refer them to other support services where appropriate. We will offer interpreter facilities where necessary. supply from their property. Any crime can be confidentially reported through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111. Where reports lead to a conviction there is sometimes a reward to be claimed. words and behaviour, damage to property, graffiti and physical attacks. It may be a one-off incident or it may be ongoing harassment and/or intimidation. Charter Housing Association will not tolerate any form of hate crime against its customers or staff. If you have been the subject of a hate crime, speak to a member of staff. We will respond in a sensitive way and agree together what action to take. We are committed to tackling hate crime. If you are a victim, we have a better chance of helping you if you give us the information we need to take action. You should keep a note of all incidents so we have a record of everything that has happened. You should tell the police if you are the victim of a hate crime. A hate crime is a criminal offence so the police will investigate and offer advice and support. Each case is different so we will tell you about the options available to you and work jointly with you to help stop the hate crime. We will not give information you tell us to anyone else, without first asking your permission. We can offer you help and support and also put you in touch with other specialist support groups. There are a range of actions we can take against the person or group causing the hate crime, e.g., we can issue formal warnings if a tenant breaks their tenancy agreement, use Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, get an injunction or go to court to repossess the property if the behaviour is serious. We work with other organisations, such as the police, local Community Safety Partnerships and your local authority, to stop the hate crime.
Abuse, threat or violence towards staff
The Association will not tolerate abuse or violence against staff and will always consider legal action to prevent this. It is a condition of your tenancy that you are not abusive or violent to staff. If you display this kind of behaviour, we may ban you from our offices and refuse to visit you in your home or we may take additional security measures when visiting you.
How we deal with drug misuse
If you suspect that your neighbour is using or dealing drugs you should report this to the local police and the Nuisance Prevention Team. We will consider taking legal action against any tenant convicted of drug use or 112
How we will we deal with hate crime
A hate crime is a crime committed against a person which they believe is because of their colour, race, ethnic origin, nationality, age, disability, gender sexuality or political/religious beliefs. A hate crime can take many forms. It may involve threatening
How we will deal with harassment
Harassment is where a person believes they have been verbally or physically abused for a specific reason, for example, because of their race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age. It can also include attacks on property rather than a person. If we receive a complaint of harassment, we will respond within 24 hours. If you are being harassed, we will respect your wishes with your consent, involve other agencies where appropriate. We will provide additional security at your home or if requested, we will try to arrange alternative accommodation where possible.
Any information given to us will be stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Help us improve this service
If you think you could help us improve the way we deal with Anti-Social Behaviour, contact the Nuisance Prevention Team who can advise you about how you can influence the service. You can also complete a customer comments form in our reception and place it in the suggestion box or make a comment or suggestion in person or on the phone to any member of staff. We listen to all comments made by customers. Please Read the chapter on Customer Involvement in this handbook for more ways in which you can become involved.
A good way to work with your community to tackle crime and ASB is to form a Neighbourhood Watch Group. Contact your Local Crime and Disorder Police Officer or your Neighbourhood Manager. You could also log on to the Neighbourhood Watch Web Site at www.neighbourhoodwatch.uk.com. 114
Moving & Home Ownership Options
Options for Moving or Buying a Home
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117 117 118 118 119 119 120 120 121 121 121 122 How to register for a transfer How to look for a new home Getting help with the process What if I need to move urgently? What if I want to move to a smaller or larger home? Exchanging your home with another tenant Will an exchange affect my tenancy agreement Moving to another part of the country Help with buying a home Shared ownership Homebuy Help us to improve the service How to register for a transfer
Any existing tenant can register to move to any area where we have properties. You will need to fill out an application form for Charter by Choice, which is the name the way we let our homes. You can also register online at www.charterbychoice.co.uk. or by telephoning us and answering a few basic questions about you and your household. You will then receive confirmation of your registration banding and your registration date which will be the date that your current tenancy started. There are three priority bands for transfer applicants. The first is Urgent Priority for those with an urgent reason to move, the second is Gold Service Members and the third is Non Gold 116
You may want to move for a variety of reasons. This section outlines the options available for people wishing to move from their current home with Charter Housing Association.
Service Members. You will be categorised into one of these bands when you make an application to transfer. For information on how to apply for Gold Service Membership see the Gold Service Section in this handbook. If you feel you have been placed in the wrong band you will be able to appeal and have the decision reviewed by a panel of Charter staff.
How to look for a new home
To obtain a new home, you will need to ‘bid’ for any advertised properties in which you are interested. All available properties are advertised on the web site or in the community e.g, at libraries, community centres and Local Authority Offices. The Charter Housing reception at Devon Place has a screen which will enable you to view all the available properties. You can also telephone our Hotline on 01633 678525 for a recorded message detailing all available properties. Each property has specific criteria attached. You can place a bid through the website or by phoning the Hotline. Bids must be received before the closing
date. We look at all the bids received for a particular property and then list them in order of priority categories and date of registration, discounting anyone who does not meet the criteria for the property. A property will be offered to the person with the highest priority band who has the longest registration date. Applicants wishing to transfer will receive priority over people seeking their first home with us for properties advertised as ‘preference transfer’. Properties advertised as ‘preference homeseeker’ are not available to transfer applicants unless no homeseekers apply. We let 20% of our properties to transfer applicants. It is important to remember that your request to transfer will be refused if you have rent arrears, a rechargeable debt (for court costs or repairs) or if we are taking action against you for a breach of your tenancy agreement. Your property will also need to be of a good decorative standard and in good repair before you will be allowed to move. You will be asked to allow your 118 home to be inspected before you transfer and you will have to attend an interview to check the details of your application before a firm offer is made to you. If you are offered a transfer to another home you may refuse the offer any time up until the tenancy agreement is signed. You will only be able to refuse three offers of transfer. and placed in the urgent priority band which will enable you to transfer more quickly. You should contact your Neighbourhood Manager to find out if you are eligible. They will need to take details from you and obtain supporting evidence from other agencies, such as the police, if appropriate. Priority is given in exceptional circumstances and is limited to 13 weeks Your Neighbourhood Manager will advise you of the rules for using a priority card.
Exchanging your home with another tenant
You have the right to exchange (swap) your home with another Charter tenant or with the tenant of another council or housing association. If you have a Starter Tenancy you will not have this right during the first 12 months. Charter Housing Association and most other landlords have lists of people wanting to swap. You can look at any of the lists to see if anyone has a property in the area you are looking for and you can put your name on these lists so other people can contact you.
Getting help with the process
We aim to make sure everyone has fair and equal access to the Charter By Choice system. If you feel you need help with obtaining a transfer, for example, if you find it difficult to understand the process, or cannot access the internet or telephone service to view properties or make bids, let us know and we will be able to help you.
What if I want to move to a smaller or larger home?
If you are under occupying your home and do not need to use at least two bedrooms, you may be entitled to a priority card to help you move to a smaller home. If your property is too small for you and you need at least two more bedrooms to meet your family’s needs, you may be entitled to a priority card to help you move to a larger home.
What if I need to move urgently?
If you have an urgent reason to move, for example, due to mobility problems, or because you are suffering from domestic violence or harassment, you may be eligible to be awarded priority
If you find someone to swap with, both tenants must fill out exchange forms and wait for permission before moving. Permission will not be unreasonably withheld, but consent may be delayed or refused if: s you owe rent arrears s you have not looked after your home and it is in a poor state of repair s the property is larger or smaller than required s the property has adaptations which will not be required s you have breached your tenancy agreement s possession action has been commenced When you exchange, both tenants must accept the other property as it is and take responsibility for outstanding repairs to the home that are the tenant’s own responsibility. Your property will be inspected before agreement is given for you to move and you will be given a list of any repairs that need doing by you. You will not normally be allowed to exchange until these repairs have been completed. 120 Your Neighbourhood Manager will coordinate the exchange process for you. We do have up to 42 days to confirm if the exchange can go ahead. This is usually done sooner as long as we have received the relevant information from the other landlord. or register online at www.moveuk.com. Once you are registered, you can search for properties online or else browse through the available properties at any council or housing association office. For advice on moving to another part of the country, please contact the Lettings Team. The scheme allows you to buy a share in a property e.g 40% by obtaining a mortgage or placing a deposit to cover the share on offer. You would then be granted a lease agreement, and pay rent on the share that is owned by us. We do not buy any new Shared ownership properties. We can only offer a Shared Ownership property to those on our enquiry list when an existing shared owner decides to sell their share in their home. This process is called Lease Assigning. Shared Owners are able to purchase further shares in the property after living in the property for one year, but you do not have to. You may live in the property as long as you like without owning more than the initial share.
Will an exchange affect my tenancy agreement?
If you have an Assured tenancy and you exchange with a Council tenant you will take on their Secure Tenancy. This means that you have additional rights – for example to take in lodgers and the right to buy. If you exchange with another Charter tenant your registration date for Charter by Choice will be changed to the date you moved into your new house.
Help with buying a home
There are a number of home ownership initiatives available to help you into home ownership. If your property was built after 1st April 1997, you may have the Right to Acquire it with a discount of up to £16,000. There are certain criteria which apply and not all properties are included within the scheme, for example properties designed solely for occupation by the elderly or disabled are exempt. Please contact our Sales and Property Team to find out if the Right to Acquire applies to your home.
Moving to another part of the country
If you want to move to another part of the country, you can register for a scheme called HOMESWAP which is a national mutual exchange scheme supported by the government. You need to complete a Homeswap form
Homebuy is a Government backed scheme operated by Registered Social Landlords throughout Wales. It is supervised by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Shared Ownership is a part rent, part buy scheme. We have a small stock of existing Shared Ownership properties which are spread across 4 Boroughs.
Homebuy aims to help people on lower incomes to become homeowners. It is available to people who cannot afford to buy a suitable property on the open market but who have sufficient income or savings to be able to afford 70% of the purchase price. The remaining 30%, is met through a loan made available by Fairlake. The 30% loan is secured as a legal charge, and would have to be re-paid when the property is sold or voluntary payment can be made after one year of living in the property. There is no fixed interest on the loan and the amount to be repaid will depend on the property value at the time of re-payment. There are various Homebuy schemes available at different times depending on the availability of funding. There are also eligibility criteria to be met. For more information about Homebuy schemes ask for our information leaflet or contact the Sales and Property Team at Fairlake.
Help us to improve the service
If you think you could help us improve the way we let our properties or deal with exchanges, contact the Lettings Team who can advise you about how you can influence the service. We have a Lettings Panel which you are welcome to join. You can also complete a customer comments form in our reception and place it in the suggestion box, or make a suggestion in person or on the phone to a member of staff. We listen to all comments made by customers. Please read the section on Customer Involvement in this handbook for more ways in which you can become involved.
Customer Involvement – Help us to Help You
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125 125 125 126 126 Placing customers at the heart of everything we do Why is it important for you to be involved? What help and support can you expect? Ways to get involved Tell us what you think Placing customers at the heart of everything we do
For Charter, it is fundamental that our customers have a real influence in the design and delivery of our services. We carry out surveys and use regular feedback from customers to tell us what people think of what we do, and we have a menu of opportunities for our customers to become involved in whatever way, and at whatever level, suits them. Our aim is to make sure we listen to customers’ views and act upon them, and that we actively create opportunities for people to have their say in a friendly and supportive environment, so that we can make sure that our services reflect customer requirements.
What help and support can you expect?
We can support you to get involved by s paying travel expenses and child care costs to help you attend meetings, s covering the cost of all postage for the return of questionnaires, s offering rewards and incentives for any time you give us, providing training to give you the skills, confidence and knowledge you need to be involved, s helping tenants to organise meetings, type and print letters or posters, raise funds and keep their accounts in order.
Why is it important for you to be involved?
It’s important to Charter that our customers have real influence in the design and delivery of our services. That means we need to hear from you. With your input we can provide the services that you want and need. 124 125
Ways to get involved
Our aim is to offer you a range of options to get involved. You can do as much or as little as you like. The options below explain how you can have your say: Read our newsletters or log on We have a number of newsletters. We’ve got Contact Magazine which is sent to you three times a year, The Zone, which is for young people, The BAG, a benefits advice guide and The Window, for our older tenants. You can also get information and make comments through our website at www.charterhousing.co.uk.
Tell us what you think
From time to time we send out surveys to our customers. These are a quick and easy way for us to get you views and are very important to help us to keep up to date with what you want from us. You can also tell us what you think by filling in one of our tenant satisfaction cards, using our complaints and compliments procedure, by chatting to a member of staff, giving us a ring, sending us a text or dropping us a line. We make a note of all your comments and use them to improve our service to you. Come along to a Tenants’ Voice Meeting Tenants’ Voice is an independent group, chaired and run by tenants, which co-ordinates and supports all customer involvement in Charter. It serves all tenants, encouraging involvement, focussing on issues that directly affect customers, relaying your comments to Senior Management and the Board and ensuring that we
feedback how you input has influenced our services. Tenants’ Voice meet regularly and everyone is welcome. Look out for details of meetings in Contact Magazine or on the website. Attend Charter Seniors If you are over 55 you can join our Charter Seniors’ Group who meet regularly to socialise and talk about issues that affect them. Contact your Neighbourhood Manager for details. Join our Customer 100 Panel This is a group of about 100 tenants whom we regularly consult about changes to our services or policies. We send questionnaires for completion or conduct quick telephone surveys. There are often rewards such as high street vouchers or a prize draw for getting involved. Work with us to improve specific services If you have a particular interest in an aspect of our service such as how we deal with anti-social behaviour,
organise repairs and maintenance, let our properties or manage rent arrears, we have a number of forums set up to let you have your say about your experiences Speak up at an Area Panel By the end of 2006 we will have set up an Area Panel in each of our four Local Authority Areas. These will enable individuals to come along and talk to Charter staff about local issues. Watch out for details in Contact Magazine or on our website. Volunteer to become a Key Tenant We would like to identify ‘key tenants’ in each of our communities to act as a local representative and join us in regular meetings on site to inspect the environment and suggest ways in which we could improve things. Let us know if you would like to be that person.
Ask about joining or forming a Tenants’ Association or Resident Group. Some of our tenants have come together to form a Tenants’ Association or Residents’ Group for their area, to have a collective voice about a wide range of issues or just to arrange trips and events for their community. Contact your Neighbourhood Manager to find out more. We offer start up grants and some funding to cover the running costs of Associations, as well as advice, support and training if you need it. With our support, many groups apply for their own funding to organise events in their community. We work with organised groups of tenants to develop shared objectives for improving the environment and services in your community. Become a Tenant Board Member We welcome tenants who want to join our Board and ensure that a customer’s perspective is part of decision making at Charter. If you would like to know more about becoming a Board Member, please 128 contact your Neighbourhood Manager who will be able to tell you more. What do you do if you are interested in getting involved? Contact your Neighbourhood Manager for more information.
IN THIS SECTION
130 130 130 About Gold Service The criteria for Gold Service How to join
handyman service and priority for some transfers. Rewards may change from time to time. Please contact the Customer Accounts Team for the latest rewards package available.
The criteria for Gold Service
About Gold Service
Charter believes that it is extremely important to say ‘thank you’ to those customers who keep to their contractual obligations as tenants. Charter’s Gold Service is available to the vast majority of customers who ask very little of us in terms of management time, and is Charter’s way of recognising and rewarding our valued customers. Our rewards package provides benefits such as reduced price goods, priority for planned maintenance upgrades, a ‘Golden Handshake’ payment of £150 if you leave your home in good condition, entry into monthly competitions for prizes like room makeovers, holidays etc, access to a 130
You must have a clear rent account for six weeks or you must have maintained a rent arrears agreement for 12 weeks. You must have no rechargeable debt or you must be reducing your rechargeable debt. You must have kept your annual gas servicing up to date. You must have no legal action taken against you in the last 12 months for a breach of your tenancy agreement. You, or a member of your household, must not have acted in a threatening or a violent manner towards a member of staff. Your property and garden must have been maintained to a reasonable condition.
How to join
Membership is completely free and it is easy to qualify for Gold Service. Even if you have rent arrears or other debts, you can still qualify if you set up and keep to an easy and affordable repayment plan. We can tailor this to meet your circumstances. Simply complete the application form opposite and send it to us FREEPOST.
I wish to apply for Gold Service Membership
Please return to the FREEPOST address on the reverse of this slip (No stamp required).
Charter Housing Association
Useful Contact Numbers
Other Useful Contacts
Help and Support
Newport City Council Contact Centre for all enquiries: 01633 656656 www.newport.gov.uk Torfaen County Borough Council Contact Centre for all enquiries: 01495 762200 www.torfaen.gov.uk Monmouthshire County Council Contact Centre for all enquiries: 01633 644644 www.monmouthshire.gov.uk Caerphilly County Borough Council Contact Centre for all enquiries: 01495 226622 www.caerphilly.gov.uk Gwent Police All Enquiries: 01633 244999 Crimestoppers 0800 555111
Shelter Cymru Free adviceline: 0808 800 4444 www.sheltercymru.org.uk Citizens’ Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk South East Wales Race Equality Council (SEWREC) All Enquiries: 01633 250006 www.sewrec.org.uk Disability Wales 0292 088 7325 www.disabilitywales.org NHS Direct 0845 4647 www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk Childline for children and young people 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk NSPCC 24 hour Child Protection Helpline 0808 800 5000 www.nspcc.org.uk
UK National Drugs Helpline O800 776600 www.talktofrank.com Alcoholics Anonymous National Helpline 0845 769 7555 www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk Relate Relationship Guidance 0845 130 4016 www.relate.org The Samaritans 0845 790 9090 www.samaritans.org.uk Tenant Participation Advisory Service (Cymru) 02920 237303 www.tpascymru.org.uk Welsh Tenants’ Federation 01685 723922 www.welshtenantsfed.org.uk
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