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Tenants’ Handbook

Charter Housing Association

Charter Housing
Association
Translation Service

Welcome to Charter Housing If you need this information in your own language or information
on any of our other services please contact us and we will be
Association. This handbook is your happy to help .
guide to Charter and the services we Welsh
Os oes arnoch angen yr wybodaeth hon, neu wybodaeth am unrhyw un o’n
provide. It will also tell you about your gwasanaethau eraill, yn eich iaith eich hun, cysylltwch â ni a byddwn yn hapus i
helpu.
tenancy and your legal rights. Please
Chinese (Cantonese)
keep your handbook in a safe place
and if you move to another Charter
Arabic
home, please take it with you.

Bengali

Somali
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

Urdu
CONTENTS
Section 01
INTRODUCTION 06
Section 02
CONTACTING US 17
Section 03
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU 19
Section 04
YOUR TENANCY AGREEMENT EXPLAINED 29
Section 05
PAYING YOUR RENT 39
Section 06
LIVING IN YOUR HOME 47
Section 07
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE 57
Section 08
BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR 107
Section 09
MOVING AND HOME OWNERSHIP OPTIONS 115
Welcome to
Section 10 Charter Housing Association
CUSTOMER INVOLVEMENT 123
Section 11
GOLD SERVICE 129
Section 12
USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS 133
01
Welcome to
Charter Housing Association

IN THIS SECTION Welcome to Charter Housing About the Seren Group


Association. This handbook is Charter Housing Association is a
member of the Seren Group. The Seren
07 How to use this handbook your guide to Charter and the
Group was formed on 1 July 2004.
services we provide. It will also The Group Members cover the
07 About the Seren Group
tell you about your tenancy and following services:
09 About Charter Housing Association your legal rights. Please keep ■ Seren Group Limited: Central

11 Share membership support services such as Human


your handbook in a safe place
Resources, Information Technology,
11 Equal opportunities and if you move to another Facilities Management and Finance
Charter home, please take it for Group Members.
11 Translation services
with you. ■ Charter Housing Association:
12 Confidentiality Homes and services for
This handbook will be regularly communities across South Wales.
12 Access to information we hold about you
reviewed and from time to time we ■ Fairlake Properties (which
13 Respect for staff may send you updated sections to incorporates Gwent Homes):
replace older versions. Developing our properties for rent
13 Our complaints procedure
and low cost home ownership and
If you have any questions about this managing our assets.
handbook, please contact a member ■ Reach (Supported Living): Care

of our Customer Services Team on and support services for people


01633 212375. with disabilities and other needs.
■ Solas Cymru: Accommodation,
training and support for single
homeless people.

06 07
01
Our purpose and values Our commitment About Charter Housing families, couples and single people
The Seren Group provides housing, We are committed to being: Association who cannot buy a home of their own
support and other services which ■ Straightforward, open and Charter is a Housing Association on the open market.
make a positive contribution to the accountable, keeping our promises which provides high quality homes and
wellbeing of individuals and and willing to learn from others. associated services. We work with Working in partnership is key to being
communities. Underlying our purpose ■ Keen to promote opportunities for people and communities to ensure able to provide high quality homes and
is a set of key values. growth and new ways of doing that our work has a positive impact on services to our customers, and we
things whilst being prudent and people’s lives, and that diversity and work with many other organisations to
Our values conscious of the need to plan for equality are recognised and catered ensure that we get it right for people.
■ Responsibility the longer term. Socially responsible for. Our customers are at the heart of
■ Integrity and encouraging social responsibility everything we do. We are constantly looking for better
■ Openness in everything we do. and more efficient ways of doing
■ Ambition ■ A supporter of social enterprise. Charter manages nearly 4000 homes things, and are outward looking,
■ Respect ■ A listening and learning in 4 local authority areas; Newport, always open to new ideas. We can
■ Fairness organisation regularly consulting Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and and do learn much from others, and in
our customers, staff and Torfaen, and we concentrate on turn we are always open to sharing our
stakeholders. providing homes for people in need. experience and knowledge with other
■ Efficient and effective, continuously We work with a number of like minded organisations.
striving to improve our service to organisations to deliver support and
our customers. management services to a wide range
■ A good employer, providing of customers including; homeless
opportunities for personal households, people with learning
development and encouraging disabilities, people experiencing mental
innovation and success. ill health, people who need support to
■ An organisation which values manage a tenancy, older people who
diversity and promotes Equal need extra care or sheltered housing,
Opportunities in all we do. women fleeing domestic violence,
people with autism, sensory impairment,
physical disabilities etc., as well as

08 09
01
Our overriding aim is to provide real Our Board members Share membership We will ensure equality for ‘diverse’
customer excellence, in an environment Charter Housing Association has a Any tenant can apply for share groups and individuals, regardless of
where well trained, approachable staff Board made up of tenant representatives membership of the Association. race, religion, gender, age, disability or
treat everyone with respect, and as an and other experienced, committed Membership costs £1. Share Members sexual orientation and for people who
individual, and enable customers to individuals who control the affairs of will receive a copy of the annual report are HIV positive or have AIDS, persons
the Association. The Board consists of and an invitation to the AGM. They
exercise choice where they can about who have a criminal history that is not
up to 15 members. Board Members have a number of responsibilities
what best suits them. We recognise relevant, persons who have mental
have such responsibilities as setting including, the appointment of Board
that what we do can have a major health problems, carers, persons with
the objectives and plans for the Members and Auditors and involvement
impact on people’s lives, and we want Association, taking key decisions and dependants and others who may face
in changing of the Association’s rules.
to ensure that that impact is positive, approving the budget and accounts. injustice.
Share Membership carries no financial
and that our customer’s value the Election to the Board takes place interest in the company. If you are
relationship they have with us. annually at the AGM. interested in applying for Share Translation services
Membership, please contact your We are able to provide a telephone
Charter encourages tenants to put Neighbourhood Manager. based translation service for customers
themselves forward for Board who wish to talk to us in their own
Membership and will give training and Equal opportunities language. We are also able to provide
support to those who are selected for face to face language and sign
Charter Housing Association provides
membership. If you think you might be
homes and services to a diverse range language interpreters. We can provide
interested in becoming a Board
of customers with widely differing certain leaflets and documents in other
Member, please contact your
requirements. We are committed to languages, in Braille, large print or on
Neighbourhood Manager.
providing high quality services to all of tape by request. Our offices are
our customers, and our respect for equipped with a hearing loop system
diversity is something upon which we and we have a portable system for
will not compromise. We will enable using in customer’s homes.
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.

10
01
Confidentiality Respect for staff Our complaints procedure
The information we are given and hold We have a very good relationship with Our commitment to you
on our files and computer systems is the majority of our customers. However, Charter aims to provide the highest
confidential. We will not give out any there are a small number of occasions possible standards of service to our
information about you to another when a customer may be abusive or customers. The standard you can
person or agency except in the threatening to staff. If one of our expect are explained in the ‘Tenants
following circumstances: customers behaves in this way, or we Guarantee’ copies of which are
feel that there is a potential risk to staff available upon request. We recognise,
■ To Housing Benefit Departments when dealing with a customer, we may however, that there may be occasions
and the DSS to help resolve your place special conditions upon the way when you will not be happy with the
housing benefit claims or if we in which we deal with them in future. service you receive or a decision we
discover any tenant is involved in For example, we will visit them in have made. To be able to deal
benefit fraud. Access to information we hold pairs, or only interview at our offices. If effectively with your dissatisfaction, we
■ To the police if they formerly about you this happens, we will write to any have a Complaints Procedure. We will
request it to help detect a serious All tenants and applicants to Charter customer explaining why we are doing always treat your complaint seriously
crime (or to resolve anti-social Housing can ask to see information this. Any customer abusing or and investigate it as quickly as possible.
behaviour). about them that we keep in our files threatening staff is in breach of their We will also view your complaint
■ To anyone you nominate to us in and on our computer system. If you tenancy conditions and may be positively, and will learn from any
writing who you wish to deal with wish to see the information that we subject to legal action including mistakes that we make to ensure that
your affairs. keep about you, please put your proceedings to repossess their home. our service is continually improved.
■ Where you have signed a request in writing. We have up to 40
declaration to give us permission to days to comply with your request but What is a complaint?
disclose your personal information will try to deal with it more quickly. If A complaint is an expression of
to another agency. you require any copies of information dissatisfaction about the standard of
from your file, we may charge you up service, action, or lack of action by
to £10 to cover costs. Charter, its members of staff or
contractors employed to do work on
Charter’s behalf.

12
01
Who can complain? What if my complaint is about racial What will happen next? What if my complaint is justified?
A complaint can be made by an harassment or other discriminatory Your complaint will be recorded on our If you have complained about a delay
individual, a group of people or an harassment? database and given a reference in carrying out repairs, and there is no
organisation personally affected by an We take complaints of harassment number. We will acknowledge your good reason why this has happened,
action or failure to act by Charter. A against, or by, our tenants or staff ver y complaint in writing within three we will make a set payment of £25. If
complainant can allow a representative seriously. We have a ‘Racial Harassment’ working days, and we will tell you who we do not respond to a letter or verbal
to make a complaint on their behalf. policy which outlines what we will do is dealing with your complaint. communication from you within ten
about a report of racial harassment working days, we will make a set
How can I complain? involving our tenants. If you feel that We will investigate your complaint payment of £5. If our staff arrange an
If your complaint is of a general we have not dealt with a report of within seven working days, and appointment with you and fail to keep
nature, we will usually try to resolve it harassment properly through this provide you with a written explanation it without informing you in advance,
as soon as possible on an informal procedure, or you believe that you of the details of our investigation. we will make a set payment of £20. If
basis. However, if you wish to make a have been discriminated against by If we are unable to provide you with a we have done something else wrong,
formal complaint then you can complain Charter or members of our staff, then full response within this time, we will we will apologise and do all that we
to us in writing. Alternatively, you can you can complain to us and we will write to you and tell you why we need can to put things right.
telephone us and ask to make a verbal deal with your complaint as outlined in more time, and give you a revised date
complaint. If you explain the nature of this section. for a full response to your complaint.
your complaint to our Customer If your complaint is complex and likely
Services staff, then they will be able to to take some time to resolve, we will
put you in touch with the relevant explain why and keep you informed of
person to deal with your complaint. progress at two weekly intervals until
If you make a verbal complaint, then the full response can be provided, e.g.
your complaint will be recorded on our if we need to involve a third party.
standard complaint form by a member
of staff.

14
01
What if I am still not happy? writing, or appear before the Board in
If you remain dissatisfied with our person, to explain why you are
response to your complaint, then you dissatisfied with our response to your
can request that your complaint be complaint so far and what you want us
passed on to a more senior officer, to do.
who will usually be at Assistant
Director or Director level. You must do The Panel will do their utmost to
this within 28 days of our initial consider your complaint within twenty
response. You will be advised in working days and will notify you of
writing who your complaint has been their decision, in writing, following their
passed to, and will be given a date by meeting, within seven working days.
which you should receive a response
which will be within seven working Is there anyone else I can complain
days. to if I am still not happy?
If you are still not satisfied after your
What if I am still not happy with the appeal to the Board, you have the
Director’s response? right to take your complaint to the
If you remain unhappy with the
outcome of our investigation into your
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales,
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed, Contacting
complaint, then you can complain Bridgend CF35 5LJ.
further, within 28 days of our second
stage response, to a small panel
Tele: 01656 641150. They have a
separate booklet available which gives
Charter Housing Association
comprising of representatives of the details of the procedure they follow.
Association’s Board of Management. The Ombudsman will usually, but not
Where the issue also involves other always, have expected you to have

02
companies within the Seren Group, or followed your complaint through the
is about the Corporate Director, then process outlined above.
the Group Chief Executive will sit on
the panel. You will be able to appeal in

16
Contacting Us

Our reception is open between ■ The Sales & Property Team (for
8:30am and 5:00pm Monday to home ownership options):
01633 233876
Friday (closes at 4:30pm on ■ Charter By Choice Properties
Friday). Our Offices are situated Hotline: 01633 678525
in Devon Place, Newport. e-mail: contact@charterhousing.co.uk
maintenance@charterhousing.co.uk (for
Charter Housing repairs)
FREEPOST CF2448, 11 Devon Place CustomerServicesTeam@charterhousing
Newport, South Wales, NP20 4NP .co.uk (for general enquiries)
Tel: 01633 212375 (general enquiries) web: www.charterhousing.co.uk
Tel: 01633 678511 (repairs)
Fax: 01633 245930 The Seren Group
Exchange House, The Old Post Office
Please use our general number for High Street, Newport, NP20 1AA
most enquiries, however, you may use Tel: 01633 679911
the following telephone numbers for Fax: 01633 258509
specific enquiries. If you are not sure,
then phone Customer Services.
e-mail: contact@seren-group.co.uk
web: www.seren-group.co.uk Our Commitment
■ Customer Services: 01633 212375
■ Emergency Repairs (out of normal
office hours): 01633 214 222
Group Member contact numbers:
■ Fairlake Properties Limited:
To you, our Tenants
■ Neighbourhood Team: 01633 678539 01633 679977
■ Nuisance Prevention Team: web: www.fairlake-properties.co.uk
01633 678552 ■ REACH (Supported Living)

03
■ Customer Accounts Team: Limited: 01633 679899
01633 678507 web: www.reach-support.co.uk
■ Lettings Team: 01633 678538 ■ Solas Cymru: 01633 664045
■ Estates Maintenance: 01633 480450 web: www.solas-cymru.co.uk

18
Our Commitment To You

Customer Services Team demystifying the benefit system or


IN THIS SECTION working with you if you get behind
Charter Housing is continually striving
to deliver customer excellence. We with your rental payments, the
21 Customer Services Team firmly believe that you, our customers, Customer Accounts Team will be able
21 Customer Accounts Team are central to everything that we do. to help.

21 Neighbourhood Team All enquiries are initially handled by our Neighbourhood Team
Customer Service Advisors. They Striving to deliver an excellent estate
21 Nuisance Prevention Team
primarily deal with requests for repairs, management service, Neighbourhood
22 Lettings Team housing advice, information on rent Managers work to ensure that the
payment and the provision of initial neighbourhoods in which we operate
22 Maintenance Team
anti-social behaviour advice. They aim, are places where people want to live.
22 Estates Maintenance Team where possible, to deal with your The team can help you with a wide
query on the spot. range of queries including tenancy
22 Community Initiatives Team information, customer involvement,
22 Our service standards More complex or specialist queries are exchanges, urgent reasons to move
dealt with by our teams of experts. We and the environmental appearance of
will ensure that you are put in touch the place where you live.
with the right person for your particular
query. Nuisance Prevention Team
Specialising in resolving anti-social
Customer Accounts Team behaviour, this team provides a
Responsible for collecting the rental number of services, including Resolve
charge, Customer Accounts Managers Assessment Service, an early
provide or signpost a range of services intervention neighbour dispute service;
concerning your rent account and Outreach Support, a service
general money matters. Whether supporting both complainants and
checking your balance, finding the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour
most convenient way to pay, and an Enforcement Service; ensuring

20 21
03
proven cases of anti-social behaviour get involved in a range of projects and ■ We will provide our service leaflets, The service you should expect to
are dealt with swiftly and firmly. activities geared towards community tenancy agreement and tenants receive when contacting us:
involvement. handbook in Braille, large print and ■ We aim to answer you phone call
Lettings Team on audio CD on request. within 20 seconds. Where we fail to
Responsible for administering ‘Charter To ensure that you are clear about ■ We will ensure that customers have achieve this you will be given the
by Choice’, the Lettings Team ensure what you can expect from us we have access to a translation service. option of leaving a message and
that any vacancies are advertised and a number of service standards. More we will return your call within 90
let according to the Lettings Policy. information on these standards can be The service you should expect to working minutes.
found within the information leaflet, receive when visiting our office: ■ Where we take a message for you,
Maintenance Team ‘Our commitment to you.’ ■ You will walk into a reception area we will call you back within 24
Ensuring that Customer Focused that is accessible, clean, hours.
Maintenance is a reality, this team Our service standards presentable and pleasant to use at ■ Your letters will be responded to
check the quality of repairs completed, General standards you should all times. within 10 working days.
organise bigger repair items and co- expect to receive: ■ We will greet you in a polite, ■ Your emails will be responded to
ordinate the delivery of the planned ■ We will provide services that are friendly and welcoming manner. within 5 working days.
maintenance programme, annual gas accessible to all. ■ You will be seen within 5 minutes of ■ We will give our name when we
servicing and external painting ■ We will be honest and fair in your arrival and a member of staff answer your phone call.
programme. dealing with our customers. will assess what service you need.
■ We will keep our promises. ■ You will have access to service
Estates Maintenance Team ■ We will seek the views of information that is accurate and up
Providing a grass cutting & estate customers and learn from them. to date.
maintenance service, this team work ■ We will deal with complaints openly ■ You will have access to a child
to ensure that the areas in which we and fairly and learn from them. friendly play area.
operate are environmentally attractive. ■ We will keep our appointments and ■ You will be offered a private
when we can’t we will contact you interview room.
Community Initiatives Team to let you know why.
Aiming to ensure that the neighbour- ■ Staff will be trained to provide high
hoods in which we operate are places quality advice about the services
where people wish to live, this team we provide and associated services
provided by other agencies.
22 23
03
What to do if you are unhappy with In addition to our general standards, If you fall into rent arrears we will: Anti-social behaviour
one of our services: each of our service areas offers a ■ Contact you to make an When you report a case of nuisance,
You can make a complaint by number of further commitments. arrangement for repayment of your harassment or anti-social behaviour
following our Complaints Procedure debt. to us we will:
which is outlined in Section 1 of this Customer Accounts ■ Make a repayment arrangement ■ Respect your confidentiality. We
Handbook. When managing your rent account: that we believe you can afford. won’t reveal your identity to anyone
■ We will send you a statement four ■ Record all agreements made with unless you say we can.
What you can do if you would like to times a year. you. ■ In cases of harassment we will
make a comment or suggestion ■ We will offer a wide variety of respond within 24 hours.
about one of our services: payment methods Lettings ■ In other cases, with your consent,
■ You can fill in a comment/suggestion ■ We will provide help with filling out ■ Application forms will be registered we will refer you to Resolve
card and drop it into the suggestion housing benefit claims on request. and acknowledged within 10 Assessment Service.
box in our reception area. ■ We will give you general advice on working days. ■ Use the full range of legal and non
■ You can submit your comment/ benefits, debts and money ■ Priority cards will be issued where legal remedies to assist in resolving
suggestion online. management if you want us to. agreed, the next working day after anti-social behaviour.
■ You can telephone us and we will ■ We will inform you where you can receipt of necessary supporting ■ Keep you informed with what we
complete a comment/suggestion get independent advice. documentation. are doing by letter, by phone or by
card on your behalf. ■ We will give you four weeks notice visiting you.
in writing of any changes to the ■ Explain what support we and other
amount of rent or service charge agencies can give you.
you have to pay. ■ Work with other agencies to resolve
issues.
■ Give you clear information on what
you need to do to assist in
resolving problems that you are
experiencing.
■ Tell you if we are not able to take
action and advise you of the
reasons why.

24 25
03
Where you are referred to the ■ If you apply to use your home for a We are committed to maintaining Estates Maintenance
Resolve Assessment Service we will: purpose other than as your only or the appearance of the areas in Where the Estates Maintenance
■ Complete the case from referral to main home, such as for business which we have homes. Service is provided, we will:
closure letter within 10 working days. purposes, we aim to give you our We will: ■ Visit your estate at least fortnightly
■ Identify the issues of concern to all decision in writing within 14 days. ■ Inspect every estate at least twice a during the summer season (mid-
those involved. We will not unreasonably withhold year. March to mid-October), with at
■ Outline the options available to our permission. If we do turn down ■ Remove racist or offensive graffiti least a monthly visit during the
address issues raised. your request, we will explain why. within 24 hours of it being reported winter season.
■ Agree with you the option that you ■ If you apply to make a change to to us. ■ Cut the grass to your front garden
wish to take. your tenancy we will give you a ■ Respond within 24 hours to reports and communal open spaces, if this
■ Confirm the details of the visit and decision in writing within 14 days. of abandoned properties and make is necessary (i.e. if the grass has
what will happen next in writing to ■ When we are told that a tenant has sure the property is safe and grown sufficiently since the last
you. broken any term of the tenancy secure. visit).
agreement, we will investigate and ■ Investigate and respond within 5 ■ Regularly trim shrubs planted by
Tenancy Management – when take appropriate action. This could working days to reports of Charter in front gardens and
dealing with your tenancy we will: include enforcement action. abandoned vehicles. communal spaces to maintain a
■ Provide you with a tenancy ■ We will consult you about any ■ Investigate and respond within 5 tidy appearance.
agreement setting out your rights housing management matters working days to reports of rubbish. ■ Clear litter and other rubbish that is
and responsibilities as a tenant and which substantially affect your ■ Respond within 24 hours where not clearly any one resident’s
Charters responsibilities as a tenancy and where you live. We will rubbish or other hazards represent responsibility or that does not
Landlord. take your wishes into account when a danger to residents. require specialist removal (i.e. not
■ If you apply to exchange (swap) making a decision. ■ Work in partnership with others, large domestic items such as
homes with another tenant we will ■ We will provide a variety of ways for including the police to reduce crime fridges, or materials containing
give you our decision in writing you to influence the services that and make communities safer. dangerous substances such as
within 42 days. If we turn down we provide. asbestos). We will report the
your request we will explain why. presence of ‘non collectable’ items
■ If you apply to sublet, or to let to the relevant Neighbourhood
someone else have part of your Manager.
home, we aim to give you our
decision in writing within 28 days.
26 27
03
■ 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
■ Provide and install hanging baskets
beds at the sheltered schemes
at sheltered schemes, where agreed
during the appropriate season
in advance with residents and
where agreed in advance with
incorporated into the service charge,
residents and incorporated into the
but watering of such baskets will
service charge, and maintain such
be the warden/residents’ own
bedding until the end of the season,
responsibility between our regular
when plants will be removed.
visits. Baskets will be removed at the
end of the season i.e. September/
Your Tenancy

October.
Carry out regular sample surveys of
Agreement Explained
customers to check satisfaction
with service.
■ Respond to complaints about the

04
service within 48 hours of the initial
complaint, and thereafter in
accordance with Charter’s
complaints policy.

28
Your Tenancy Agreement Explained

IN THIS SECTION Your tenancy agreement is a What is a Starter Tenancy


legal contract between you All new tenants of the Association are
issued with a Starter Tenancy for the
31 About your Tenancy Agreement and us. It sets out our and your
first 12 months. Starter Tenants are not
rights and responsibilities. entitled to the full rights of an Assured
31 What is a starter tenancy
When you sign your tenancy Tenant. You do not have the right to:
32 What is a assured tenancy agreement you agree to abide ■ Take in Lodgers.
■ Sublet any part of the premises.
33 What is a secure tenancy by the conditions of the
■ Make improvements, alterations or
33 Security of tenure tenancy agreement. The additions to the premises.
agreement protects your rights ■ Assign the tenancy (this means you
34 The Tenants’ Guarantee
as a tenant. It is important that will not be able to exchange).
34 Joint tenancies you keep it in a safe place.
We will allow Assignment of the tenancy
35 Relationship breakdown
Your tenancy agreement contains in certain specific circumstances
35 Domestic violence information about the type of tenancy where it is ordered by the Court.
36 Passing your tenancy on to others you hold, when your tenancy starts
and your rent and service charges.
36 Taking in a lodger
37 Subletting part of your home If you are unclear about the type of
tenancy you hold and its associated
37 How to end your tenancy rights, contact your Neighbourhood
38 Abandonment Manager.

30 31
04
This type of tenancy provides a 12 possession order as long as we can agreement. If you do break the terms the Rent Officer Service. There is a
month trial period during which we show that we have followed the of the agreement, we may serve a right for one succession to a spouse,
monitor you to make sure you abide procedure correctly. notice seeking possession and take co-habitee or a family member,
by the conditions of tenancy. If you you to court to gain possession of provided they meet the criteria.
break the conditions of your tenancy If you do not break the terms of the your property. The grounds on which Succession is explained below.
agreement in that time for example, by tenancy agreement within the 12 we can do this are explained in your
causing a nuisance to neighbours or month period, your tenancy will tenancy agreement. Security of tenure for Secure
by not paying your rent, and we have automatically revert to an Assured and Assured Tenants
done all we can to try and resolve the Tenancy. You will then become entitled As an Assured Tenant your rent will be Security of Tenure means that we can
issue without success, we can serve a to the extra rights that this type of set by us but it will be affordable to only make you move out of your home
Section 21 notice. tenancy brings. those on a low income. Certain eligible if we are given a Possession Order by
tenants will have the ‘Right to Acquire’. the Court. Before we can go to Court,
This notice will give you 2 months to What is an Assured Tenancy? You will find more information on this we must give you 4 weeks notice by
leave the property. You will have the All tenancies issued after 15th January in the section on Moving Options. servicing a ‘Notice Seeking Possession’.
right to appeal against this notice to a 1989 are Assured Tenancies (unless There is a right for one succession to a The Notice will state on which grounds
panel of three Board Members, either they are issued as starter tenancies – spouse or other qualifying person. and under which Housing Act the
in writing or in person. You will be see above). An assured tenancy gives Succession is explained below. notice has been issued.
given clear guidance about the review you the right to remain in your home
process when the notice is served. as long as you want to unless you What is a Secure Tenancy? If you receive a Notice Seeking
The notice will only be withdrawn if we break the terms of your tenancy If you were given your tenancy before Possession, you will be given a
have not followed the correct 15th January 1989 you will have a chance to comply with the conditions
procedure. secure tenancy. As a secure tenant, of tenancy, for example by:
you have the ‘Right to Acquire’ your ■ Paying off any arrears
Following service of the notice and if property and certain tenants may have ■ Stop causing nuisance and
any appeal is unsuccessful, if you do the ‘Right to Buy’. You also have the annoyance to neighbours
not leave the property within two Right to Repair and the Right to
months, we have the right to ask the Exchange. These Rights are explained If you do comply with the terms and
Court for a possession order. The in other sections of the handbook. conditions of tenancy, no further
Association has an automatic right to a Your rent will be set and reviewed by action will be taken. If you fail to

32 33
04
comply with the terms and conditions A joint tenancy can be ended by one there has been a previous succession support or find you alternative
of your tenancy agreement, we can or both parties giving four weeks to the tenancy. We will also consider accommodation if that’s what you want.
ask the Court for a Possession Order notice in writing. If you are left in the the length of time you have lived If you have to leave your home because
and you could lose your home. home after your joint tenant leaves and together which should be over 12 of domestic violence and your partner
ends the tenancy, we will consider months. If you ask for a joint tenancy remains, you should speak to your
The Tenants’ Guarantee granting you the tenancy in your sole to be created on marriage, we will ask Neighbourhood Manager before taking
This is issued by the Welsh Assembly name but it is not an automatic right. to see a copy of your marriage any action to end the tenancy. You
Government and contains safeguards In making a decision we will consider certificate. should consult a solicitor who may be
for Assured Tenants. The Tenants’ the conduct of the tenancy and able to get an injunction to protect you.
Guarantee required the Association to whether the size of the home is Relationship breakdown For advice you can telephone the
inform tenants of its obligations and suitable for your needs. If you are joint tenants who are married National Domestic Violence Helpline
also the way in which it deals with and your relationship breaks down, on 0808 2000247 or Women’s Aid on
certain issues. You will receive a copy If your joint tenant has left and not you should make sure that the tenancy 0808 8010800.
of the Guarantee when you sign your ended the tenancy we are not able to is resolved by your solicitor as part of
tenancy agreement. consider putting the tenancy into your the divorce proceedings. If you are
sole name without written notice from remaining in the home, you can apply
Joint tenancies the other tenant. for a property adjustment order to put
Joint tenants are jointly responsible for the tenancy into your sole name. You
keeping to the terms of the tenancy If you are a sole tenant and would like may also be able to get a sole tenancy
agreement. If one joint tenant leaves to become a joint tenant with someone transferred into your name if you
the home, they continue to be who lives with you, you should put remain in the home and your partner
responsible. For example, if the your request in writing to your leaves.
remaining person did not pay the rent, Neighbourhood Manager who will
both tenants would be subject to legal advise you of the implications. It may Domestic violence
action that could be taken as a result. not be in your best interests to do this. If you are suffering from domestic
Leaving the home does not end your We will not unreasonably withhold violence, you should speak in
interest in the tenancy. consent, but we will consider whether confidence to a member of staff. We
the person who wishes to be a joint can help you by contacting specialist
tenant owes us any money or whether agencies who will give you advice and

34 35
04
Passing your tenancy on to It is possible we may ask a successor like laundry. If you take in a lodger you home and move out yourself you will
others to move out of the home if it is too should notify us with the name and lose your security of tenure and we
Succession large for their needs or the property age of the person so we can make could ask the Court to evict you and
If you are the tenant and you die, your has been designed or adapted for sure that your property does not the person living in your home form
tenancy may pass to another close someone with special needs and the become overcrowded. You should also the property.
family member, such as a spouse or successor does not need this type of remember that taking in a lodger may
child, if they have been living with you housing. If this happens we will alter your entitlement to Housing
twelve months prior to your death and arrange alternative accommodation. Benefit. You should seek advice from
are old enough to take the tenancy. the Local Authority Housing Benefit
The Association recognises gay and Assignment Department.
lesbian partners as spouses. This is An assignment is when you transfer
known as a succession. The right of the tenancy to someone else. This will Sub-letting part of your home
succession applies only once. happen if you exchange your tenancy You have the right to sub-let part of
with someone else or in certain other your home to another person but you
If you are a joint tenant and your circumstances provided you request must ask The Association for permission
partner dies, you will automatically permission and we agree. If you would first. We will not withhold permission
become the sole tenant of the like to assign your tenancy to someone provided your request is reasonable
property. This counts as a succession. else, contact your Neighbourhood and there is no over crowding created.
Manager who will consider your The person to whom you sub-let How to end your tenancy
request. You cannot assign your becomes a sub-tenant and he or she To end your tenancy you must give us
tenancy without permission. should have their own room and will four weeks notice in writing. Your
look after themselves. You do not have notice must run from a Monday and be
Taking in a lodger the right to sub-let part of your home if received by us on or before the
You have the right to take in a lodger you are a Starter Tenant. Please Monday from which the four week
without asking for permission. A contact your Neighbourhood Manager notice period starts. If you are thinking
Lodger is someone who normally ‘lives for all enquiries about sub-letting. of ending your tenancy contact your
with the family’ and does not have Neighbourhood Manager who will be
exclusive use of part of the house or You are only able to sub-let part of able to send you a standard notice
flat. You may provide some services your home. If you sub-let all of your form to complete. It is advisable to

36 37
04
give us a forwarding address so we Abandonment
send any mail to you or we can get in If you appear to have left your home
touch if we need to. You should without giving us notice or returning
continue to pay your rent during the the keys, we will do everything we can
notice period. to contact you and will investigate to
determine whether you still have an
On the Monday your tenancy ends, interest in the property. If our
you must return your keys to us by investigation concludes that you have
midday. If you do not do this, you may abandoned the property, we will serve
be charged an additional weeks rent a Notice to Quit giving you 4 weeks to
and if we have to change the locks give up possession of the property.
because you do not return keys to us,
we may re-charge you for the expense If after the expiry date of the Notice,
incurred. You should leave your home you have not contacted us, we will
in a clean and tidy condition. If you take action to repossess the property.
leave any unwanted furniture or
rubbish behind we may re-charge you
for its removal.
Paying
If you leave your property in a good
condition and are a Gold Service
Member, you may be entitled to
Your Rent
receive a ‘Golden Handshake
Payment’. See the section on Gold
Service.

38
05
Paying Your Rent

How your rent is set rent. If you feel that the rent set is
IN THIS SECTION unreasonable, you may appeal to the
Secure Tenants
If your tenancy started before 15th Rent Assessment Committee.
41 How your rent is set January 1989 you have a Secure
41 Service charges Tenancy and the rent on your home is We aim to keep rents at a level that
decided by the Rent Officer who is our tenants can afford whilst making
43 How to pay your rent independent of the Association. Rents sure that they cover the costs of the
are fixed for a two-year period. Before building, its management and
44 About your rent statement
your rent is changed you will be maintenance.
44 What to do if you have difficulty in paying your rent consulted by the Rent Officer and if
your do not agree with the new rent, The address of the Rent Assessment
45 About Housing Benefit
then you can appeal to the Rent Committee is:
45 How to claim Housing Benefit Assessment Committee. You have 28 1st Floor, West Wing, Southgate
days in which to do this. This Committee House, Wood Street, Cardiff CF1 1JJ
46 SHELTER CYMRU advice service
has the power to increase/decrease or
46 Joint tenancies confirm the rent. When a new rent is Service charges
fixed, you will be given 4 weeks’ notice Your rent may include a charge for
46 How to help us improve this service services that we provide. This can
by the Association of any increase.
include:
Assured Tenants ■ Caretaking or Scheme Co-ordinator

If your tenancy started after 15 services


January 1989 you have an Assured ■ Garden services

tenancy and your rent is set by the ■ Lighting in communal areas

Association. The level of rents the ■ Communal television aerials

Association can charge is regulated by ■ Cleaning of communal areas

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

40
05
The charges are based on the actual per unit or £1000 per scheme, then we How to pay your rent ■ By Standing Order
costs of providing the service. The have to consult you by law. We would Rent is charged to your account every You can set up a Standing Order to
service charges (if applicable) are have to give you one month’s notice of Monday and your rent is payable every pay your rent. Forms are available
detailed at the back of your Tenancy our intention to carry out work and Monday in advance for that week. from your Customer Account
Agreement. Service charges are give you any opportunity to respond to This is a condition of your Tenancy Manager.
reviewed with your rent. our request. Agreement. If you pay rent after ■ By post
Monday your payment may not show We will accept payments by cheque
The Association sets variable service Reimbursement on your account for that week and through the post only. Please DO
charges and although we only review You have the right to claim your account will show in arrears. NOT send cash. Please include your
them on a yearly basis, we may have reimbursement if you feel that you have name, address and rent account
to make an increase in the middle of not received a service for which you There are several ways of paying number on the back of the cheque.
the year if we receive a sudden increase have paid a service charge, or you are your rent: ■ At any location displaying the
in costs, for example, an increase in unhappy with the quality of the service. ■ In person at Charter ’s offices at Paypoint or Payzone sign
the electricity being paid to support Please contact your Customer Accounts 11 Devon Place, Newpor t You can pay by cash or cheque at
landlord’s lighting. You will be given 4 Manager if you feel you are entitled to During office hours, we accept cash a number of local shops and
weeks notice of any change in your a refund on your service charge. or cheque (made payable to ‘Charter garages that display these signs
service charges. Housing Association’). using your Charter Payment Card.
Water charges ■ By Direct Debit Please check your receipt and keep
If you are unhappy with the level of the We do not generally collect your water These can be set up on a weekly, 2 it in a safe place so that you can
service charge, you can complain to the rates. However, in some Sheltered weekly, 4 weekly or calendar monthly check your payments against your
Association, following the complaints Housing Schemes, or where there is a basis. Forms are available from rent statement.
procedure. metered supply, we do collect rates on your Customer Account Manager. ■ At any Post Office in the UK
behalf of the water company. Details If you cancel your direct debit please You can use your Charter Payment
Having your say of any water charges will be shown in inform your Customer Account Card to pay by cash or cheque, made
If we plan to make certain amendments your Tenancy Agreement. Manager immediately and make new payable to ‘Post Office Counters’.
to your property or the scheme in which arrangements for paying your rent. Please check your receipt before
you live we may have to recover the you leave the Post Office and keep
costs by increasing your service charge. it in a safe place so that you can
Where the costs are more than £50 check your payments against your
rent statement.
42
05
■ By telephone arrears and your account will show up you pay your rent and arrears but we How to claim Housing Benefit
You can pay over the telephone to 4 weeks in arrears until the payment cannot accept persistent arrears and if To claim Housing Benefit you should
through the Allpay.net IVR call is received. you fail to keep to any agreements apply to your local Council. Your
centre with your debit or credit card made, we will start legal proceedings Customer Account Manager will be
and Charter Payment Card. Ring If you have any concerns about your against you which could lead to the able to help with this. Our SHELTER
0870 243 6040 and follow the rent statement, please talk to your loss of your home. advice worker will also be able to give
online instructions. Customer Account Manager. you any advice about claiming.
■ Pay online Your Customer Account Manager will
Pay online at www.allpayments.net, What to do if you have explain the legal steps we can take if Please remember that it is your
following the online instructions. difficulty in paying your rent you do not maintain an up to date rent responsibility to follow up any claim for
You will need your Charter Payment One of your main obligations under the account or fail to maintain an Housing Benefit and that payment of
Card. terms of your Tenancy Agreement is to agreement made to clear your arrears. rent is your responsibility.
■ In person to your Customer ensure that your rent is paid on time,
Account Manager even if it is paid by your Council via It is important that you seek immediate If for any reason your local Council
Your Customer Account Manager Housing Benefit. independent advice. Community Legal does not pay your rent, you will be
can take rent on behalf of the Service Direct 0845 2454245 will provide expected to pay. It is very important
Association if he or she is visiting Don’t be afraid to tell your customer you with telephone advice, or you can that you respond to any letters or
you. You will be given a receipt for accounts manager immediately if you find out where SHELTER CYMRU enquiries from your Council straight
your payment. have difficulty paying your rent. They operate their local drop-in advice away. If you have any problems,
will be understanding and helpful. centres by telephoning 02920 556120. please contact your Customer Account
About your Rent Statement They will be able to advise you about Manager or SHELTER advice worker.
You will receive a rent statement every the possibility of claiming benefits or About Housing Benefit
3 months. This will show the weekly other ways to get help. If you receive any benefits or are in
rent charged and any payments you receipt of a low income, you may be
have made. It will also show if your Your Customer Account Manager can entitled to claim housing benefit from
rent account is in credit or arrears. also make an arrangement with you to your local Council to help to pay your
If your rent is paid to us by Housing clear the debt by an affordable rent. If only part of your rent is paid by
Benefit from your Council, this payment payment plan if you fall into arrears. Housing Benefit, you will have to make
is usually made every 4 weeks in We will do everything we can to help up the difference yourself.

44
05
SHELTER Advice Service Joint tenancies
SHELTER CYMRU, the housing and Joint tenants have equal responsibility
homelessness charity, runs an advice for rent and any arrears. It is important
project at our offices at 11 Devon Place, therefore that you are both aware of
Newport. your rent account balance. If you feel
you have no control over the rent
SHELTER can offer FREE, impartial payments or your partner leaves the
and independent advice on Housing property, please contact your Customer
Benefit, welfare benefits and dealing Account Manager who will be able to
with rent arrears. advise you.

Please do not hesitate to use this Help us improve this service


FREE service if you need any If you think you can help us improve
assistance with your benefits or need the way in which we deal with your
general debt advice. rent account or tackle rent arrears,
please contact your Customer
The SHELTER adviser is in our office Account Manager who will be able to
on Tuesday 12:30 – 3:30pm and on
Thursday and Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm.
advise you about how you can
influence the service. You can also Living In
The adviser can be contacted on
01633 212375.
complete a customer comments form
in our reception and place it in the
suggestion box or make a comment or
Your Home
Appointments may not be necessary. suggestion in person or on the phone
Please call for availability and to make to any member of staff. Please Read

06
sure the times of the service have not the Chapter on Customer Involvement
changed. in this Handbook for more ways in
which you can become involved.

46
Living In Your Home

IN THIS SECTION When you move into your new Insuring your belongings
home, it is important that you: We are responsible for insuring the
■ Tell relevant people your new structure of your home and its fixtures
49 Moving into your new home 55 Keeping pets and fittings but not your personal
address.
49 Insuring your belongings 55 Running a business from ■ Contact your chosen supplier for belongings. If a pipe in your home
gas and electricity. You should take bursts because it freezes in cold
49 Keeping your keys safe home weather or a sink or your washing
meter readings on the day you
50 Decorating 55 Unwanted pests move in. machine overflows, we are not
■ Arrange an appointment to have responsible for damage caused to
50 Improvements & 55 Living in a flat your heating system commissioned your own or another person’s
alterations 56 Door entry systems by the Association. Your gas and belongings. We strongly recommend
electricity supply must be connected that you take out Insurance to cover
52 Laying flooring 56 Communal stairs & for this to be carried out. You must loss or damage caused to your
not use your heating system until personal possessions or those in
52 Fencing & hedges landings
the checks are carried out and you neighbouring properties. Make sure
52 Installing satellite dishes, should make sure you are provided that your insurance policy covers you
with a copy of the Landlord’s Gas for damage caused by fire, flood and
Aerials or Cable TV
Safety Certificate. frost and for other damage such as
53 Adapting your home if ■ Locate your electricity fuse box, accidentally broken windows. Ask your
gas mains and stop tap so that you Neighbourhood Manager about
you have a disability specialist insurance policies for
can quickly shut off the supplies if
53 Car parking & car repairs there is a problem. tenanted properties.
■ Check that your smoke detector is
54 Caravans & trailers Keeping your keys safe
working.
54 Maintaining your garden ■ Let us know about any repairs that Please keep your keys safe. We do not
you think should have been done keep any spare keys for you and if you
54 Rubbish storage & lose your keys, it is your responsibility
before you moved in.
removal ■ Arrange contents insurance for your to arrange for the locks to be changed.
belongings. We advise you to keep a spare key

48 49
06
with a trusted relative or friend. Never for someone else to decorate if you or alterations, you will need to contact Any works to gas services or
hide a key outside your home. You should leave. For example, you should the Maintenance Surveyor for your area appliances must be carried out by a
must return your keys at the end of not put gloss paint, carpet or cladding first for permission and advice. We may CORGI registered person – always ask
your tenancy. on walls and avoid very strong colours want to consult plans and drawings for proof, and if in doubt, ask your
that may be difficult to cover over. If in prior to written approval being given, Maintenance Surveyor for guidance.
If you live in sheltered housing you doubt, please ask for advice. If you do and certain alterations or improvements
may have a special type of door lock not keep you home decorated to a may need planning or building control If you are considering the installation
which should not be changed without good standard, you may be charged approval from the Council. There may of new light fittings, extra wall sockets,
our permission. Contact your Scheme for decoration when you move out or be fees payable in such cases. garden lights, wiring to sheds or pond
Co-ordinator or Neighbourhood you may be prevented from transferring features etc., please make sure you
Manager if you need to change your or exchanging until you redecorate. Inspections will always be required for employ a qualified electrician. Ask for
lock for any reason. structural works such as the removal of proof that they are registered with
You should not put artex on walls and a wall or the addition of a conservatory. ‘NIC EIC’. These are the initials of the
Decorating if you are removing artex from walls or We will not refuse permission for organisation with which reputable and
When you move into your home, we ceilings, you should contact your alterations or improvements unless qualified electricians will be registered.
will ensure it is in a clean and tidy Maintenance Surveyor for advice first. there is a good reason. Again, if in doubt, please check with
condition and decorated to an your Maintenance Surveyor.
acceptable standard. If the quality of Improvements & alterations to If you do not obtain the necessary
decoration is not up to standard, you your home permission, you may be required to If you wish to install a shower in your
may be offered a decoration voucher We want you to enjoy living in your reinstate the property to its original bathroom, contact your Maintenance
which can be spent in a local DIY Charter property, and we recognise condition on termination of your Surveyor for advice first.
store. that many people want to ‘personalise’ tenancy or you may be recharged for
their property to suit their tastes and any work which is unsafe or which does Take care not to remove important fire
You are able to decorate the inside of lifestyles. It is an important part of not meet required standards for rented doors in your property. This is particularly
your home to your own taste, and this making it your ‘home’. properties. You may also find yourself important if you live in a flat. Contact
is your responsibility. It is important in breach of your ‘Conditions of Tenancy’ your Maintenance Surveyor for advice
that you make sure this is done to a We encourage you to make and your home may be at risk. first before removing or replacing any
good standard and that you do not do improvements to your home. However, door.
anything which would make it difficult if you are planning any improvements

50 51
06
If you are fitting shelving, cupboards or flooring. You should not cover this with Adapting your home if you We can also advise you about
pictures etc, to walls, remember to fill another type of flooring. If you are have a disability emergency alarm systems which are
in any holes or cracks if you are leaving unsure whether you have this type of If you have a disability or are less mobile connected to a 24 hour local authority
your home. Make sure you know where flooring, contact your Maintenance as you have become older, we may be call centre. These can enable you to
the gas, water pipes etc are embedded Surveyor for advice. able to help you adapt your home to summon help in an emergency or if
in the wall before knocking nails in. help you retain your independence. If you feel unwell. Please contact your
Fencing & hedges you need small adaptations such as a Neighbourhood Manager for advice on
Laying flooring There are planning regulations which handrail or grab-rail, we may be able all types of adaptations.
If you live in a house or ground floor restrict the height of boundary fences to arrange this for you quickly. If you
flat you may lay laminate flooring in and hedges around your home. Before need larger adaptations, such as a Car parking & car repairs
your property provided it is properly you consider putting up a fence or walk in shower, wheelchair ramps or a If you have a drive or parking space
insulated with acoustic underlay of at allowing a hedge to grow above a stair lift, we may be able to help get a provided with your home, please use it
least 2mm thick. This minimises the reasonable height, you should contact grant to do this work for you subject to for parking rather than using the road.
level of noise from walking on laminate your Maintenance Surveyor for advice an assessment by an occupational This will help to keep the highways
floors which may cause a nuisance to first. therapist. free and prevent accidents. Where
neighbours. The flooring must be general parking spaces are provided,
properly laid and finished with Installing satellite dishes, these are for the use of all residents
appropriate edgings. You are responsible aerials or Cable TV and their visitors. If parked on the road
for lifting and relaying the laminate You must ask for permission from our or in a parking space, your vehicle
flooring in case of repairs being required Maintenance Team before erecting a should be taxed and roadworthy
to the flooring, pipework etc, beneath. satellite dish or TV or radio aerial on otherwise it may be towed away by
If you live in an above ground flat, we your property or installing cable TV. If the local Council and disposed of.
regret that you are not permitted to lay you live in a flat, it is possible due to Please do not carry out major car
laminate flooring, because of the noise planning laws, that you may not be repairs at your home as this may
nuisance this can cause to others able to have a satellite dish installed. cause annoyance to your neighbours.
living beneath you. Some of our properties have a shared
aerial. Your Neighbourhood Manager
The flooring in your kitchen and will be able to advise you if this is the
bathroom may be specialist anti-slip case.

52 53
06
Parking caravans & trailers Surveyor for advice first. You may be Keeping pets Running a business from
It is a condition of your tenancy asked to re-fill a pond should you You can keep small caged animals in home
agreement that you should not keep a leave your home, as they can be your home without permission but you It is a condition of your tenancy
caravan or trailer on you drive or on dangerous for young children. If you must have our written permission to agreement that you should not run a
the road outside your house. You should have young children yourself, we would keep all other animals, including dogs business from home without our written
not park caravans or trailers in parking advise against putting a pond in. and cats or any potentially dangerous consent. We will give permission if the
bays or on estate roads. animal. Permission will not be given for business is appropriate for the size and
If you are a keen gardener, ask your pets to be kept in homes, such as a location of your home and we are sure
Maintaining or improving your Neighbourhood Manager about our flat, where there is an access via a that no nuisance or potential hazard
garden annual Charter in Bloom Gardening communal area, shared with other will be caused to your neighbours.
It is a condition of your tenancy Competition. neighbours. You may not be able to
agreement that your gardens are kept keep a pet where you share a garden. Unwanted pests
in a clean and tidy condition. Most Rubbish storage & removal If permission is granted, you will be If you have a problem with rats, mice,
front gardens are maintained by our If rubbish is not stored properly it can asked to sign an agreement which squirrels, wasps, bees, fleas or any
Estate Maintenance Service for a small look unsightly and attract pests and says that you will look after your pet others pests or vermin in your home,
service charge. For them to cut your vermin. It is your responsibility to dispose responsibly. Please remember that we you should contact the Environmental
grass, you should keep your garden of your rubbish in the bin provided and may withdraw permission if at any time Health Officer at your local Council for
clear of obstructions, such as toys or to keep bin areas clean and tidy. For your pet annoys your neighbours. advice and assistance. The Association
vehicles. large or bulky items, such as fridges is unable to help with the removal of
cookers and sofas, telephone your pests.
If you have a communal garden, it is local council for their low cost special
usually the responsibility of our Estates collection service. Please do not dump Living in a flat
Maintenance Team to maintain it but if these items, they can cause a fire hazard Living in a flat can mean that you are
you would like to take care of part of or a danger to children. If we discover closer to your neighbours than if you
the garden, please speak to your that you have dumped rubbish or bulky live in a house and it is inevitable that
Neighbourhood Manager about this. items we will recharge you for the costs you will hear some noise from adjoining
of removing it and you may be subject homes. Please take care not to cause
If you are planning to put a pond in to legal action or a fine imposed by excessive noise and if you feel that the
your garden, ask your Maintenance the Environmental Health Department. noise from your neighbour is

54 55
06
unreasonable, such as loud music or a Communal stairs & landings
very loud television, it is best to Some stairways and landings in blocks
approach them informally in the first of flats are cleaned by the Association’s
instance. If the noise continues, you mobile cleaning service for a small
can approach the Environmental Health service charge. Each stairway is cleaned
Officer or our Nuisance Prevention approximately every three weeks. For
Team. You can minimise noise by information or comment about this
making sure that your floors are service, contact your Neighbourhood
carpeted with a good, thick underlay, Manager.
that you do not use you washing
machine or hoover late at night and that Please do not store any items such as
you keep your music and television at bikes, prams or rubbish in the communal
a reasonable level. area as they could cause a hazard to
your neighbours or block an escape
Door entry systems route in the event of a fire.
If you live in a block of flats you will
have a secure door entry system with Please contact Customer Services to
an intercom. You will be given keys to
the door. To maintain security for
report any lighting that is faulty in the
communal area. Repairs
yourself and your neighbours, you
should make sure that the communal
door is always shut and that you do
& Maintenance
not let anyone you don’t know through
the door. The door entry system will be
on a timer to allow deliveries such as

07
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

Reporting a Repair E-mail us:


IN THIS SECTION ■
repairs@charterhousing.co.uk
Before you ring us or call at our office
about a repair, please identify the (Only use e-mail for routine or non-
59 Report a repair problem using this Section. Our staff urgent repairs. Please give a contact
60 Our service have similar books with the same phone number.)
drawings, so they can talk the problem ■ If you live in sheltered
62 Our responsibilities through with you. Always remember to accommodation, you can report
give us a phone number where you your repair to the Scheme Co-
64 Your responsibilities
can be contacted. ordinator or directly to the Repairs
65 Our response times Hotline.
67 Service standards You can report a repair in whichever
way suits you You should be aware that:
69 The right to repair ■ Phone us: ■ we may need to inspect your repair

Repairs Hotline: 01633 678511 problem before it can be passed to


70 Basic repairs and your responsibilities:
Out-of-hours emergencies: a contractor
Baths & Basins, Doors & Locks, Drains & Wastes, Electrics,
01633 214222 ■ outside office hours we will only
Fences & Gates, Floors & Stairs, Garages, Gutters, Heating, respond to emergency problems
(Calls are handled by a special
Kitchen Fittings, Pipes & Taps, Roofs & Chimneys, Toilets, control centre. You should be aware ■ if you have exaggerated the
Walls & Ceilings, Windows, Cleaning blocked waste, that your call may be recorded). urgency of the problem to get an
Resetting a trip switch, Condensation Gas leaks: 0800 111999 emergency response, you will be
(Use a phone outside your home – charged for the call-out fee
106 Repair and maintenance numbers
using one inside could spark an ■ you may be charged for the cost of

explosion. This number connects repairing any damage caused by


you directly to National Grid – Gas). you, a member of your family, or a
The text and illustrations in this section have been developed by ■ Write to us or visit us: visitor.
Omfax Systems Ltd, 21 Causeway, Bicester, OX 26 6AN. Omfax
illustrations must not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or 11 Devon Place, Newport, South
by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, Wales, NP20 4NP
recording or by any information storage or retrieval system without
■ Fax us: 01633 256271
prior written permission from Omfax Ltd.

58
07
Our service Win a Prize! If you return your of doing so unless the problem is the
satisfaction card with comments about result of a break-in or vandalism and
When you contact us The repair is recorded and your repair, your name will be entered you can supply us with a Police Crime
Please let us know: acknowledged into our monthly draw for a cash prize. Report Number (not an Incident
■ your name, address and phone The details of your repair will be entered A small reward but a real treat! Number). If we have to charge you,
number onto our computer system. You will we will let you know how much we are
■ details of the item that needs receive an acknowledgement of your What repairs are carried out by going to charge before we carry out
repairing. repair request by post. This will give Charter? the work.
an outline of the repair that has been We are responsible for the outside of
ordered and the target date by which your property, the main structure and Can I claim for accidental damage?
We will inform you any fittings and appliances we have You are responsible for your own
the repair should be completed.
We will discuss the problem with you. provided. We are also responsible for possessions, carpets, fittings, etc and
We will let you know whether an order maintenance of communal areas. You for internal decorations. You are strongly
will be placed immediately with the Appointments are responsible for taking care of the advised to take out household contents
contractor or whether an inspection by We will discuss when it is convenient inside of your property and for certain insurance. This will enable you to claim
an Area Surveyor is needed to assess for the contractor to call. We will agree repairs. See Responsibilities page 64. for the cost of accidental damage which
exactly what needs to be done. In a morning or afternoon for a specific If you are elderly, infirm or disabled we are not obliged to do or pay for.
some cases the repair will be passed day and the contractor may call you and have no able-bodied adult to help We have a low cost scheme you can
to an estate caretaker. nearer the time to say exactly when you, we may be able to advise you join. Please ask our staff for details.
you can expect him or her to arrive. what help you can get.
If it is an order, we will tell you the
response time category your repair Do I have to pay for any repairs?
Satisfaction survey
falls into and the target date by which If you request a repair caused by
We enclose a postage paid ‘satisfaction’
it should be completed. See Response damage done by you, a member of
card with your repair acknowledgement.
times on page 65. your family or a visitor, we will normally
After the work has been completed
please let us know what you think about expect you to repair it yourself or pay
the service by filling in the card and for it to be done. We will always carry
posting it back to us. See Win a Prize! out work to make your home safe, but
we will have to charge you for the cost

60
07
What about general maintenance? We are responsible for any communal Joint responsibility for gas safety
All our properties are included in a facilities including any gardens or open ■ We are responsible for carrying out
rolling programme of painting. This areas. Outside your home we are an annual boiler service in every
covers the outside of individual homes responsible for features that were property with a gas supply. You
based on a 5 year cycle, and internal originally provided by us, or were should let us know if, for any
communal areas every 3 years. We present when the association bought reason, you have not had such a
also have a programme of carrying out the property. These will include: check in the last 12 months.
‘condition’ surveys to identify repairs ■ boundary fences, walls or hedges ■ You must allow us entry to your
needed to the inside and outside of where they form a boundary with a home to carry out the annual
each property. You will be consulted public space service. If you do not allow us in,
when this programme reaches your area. ■ in certain circumstances steps, you are in breach of your Tenancy
paths and any paved areas Agreement. If necessary we will
What if I need adaptations to my ■ brick outhouses and timber sheds. take court action to gain access or
home? arrange for the gas supply to your
You need to contact your local Council Our responsiblities home to be cut off. You will be
and ask for an assessment by an We are responsible for repairing and liable for all costs.
occupational therapist, who will maintaining the structure of the ■ If your annual service is overdue
recommend what changes should be property you live in. This includes all because you have not made
made. They will also advise you on how the external parts and any internal arrangements with us to do it, we
to apply for grants to cover the cost of fixtures and fittings originally provided will only do emergency or health
the work. by us but not those that are listed as, and safety related work to your
or we have told you are, your system until you allow us to carry
responsibility. out a full service.
■ You must ensure that air vents do
Our responsibilities also cover all not become blocked outside or
pipes, wiring, fixtures and fittings for inside.
heating, drainage, power and lighting,
and any smoke detectors fitted by us.

62
07
Your responsibilities ■ fitting wastes and supply valves for Our response times property, that are unlikely to
You are responsible for certain tasks: dishwashers and tumbledriers (if not When you report a repair to us we deteriorate provided they are
■ replacing keys when broken or lost, already provided) assess the nature of the problem and attended to within a reasonable time.
or when locked out ■ repairing any appliance, fitting, tell you what response time category it
■ getting broken or cracked glass fixture or outside feature you have falls into. The times are measured from Inspections
replaced installed. the date you report the problem to us. Some repairs will need to be inspected
■ resetting trip switches You also have certain general ■ Emergency: we will respond within before repair work can be ordered. You
■ replacing light bulbs and fluorescent responsibilities: 24 hours to remove immediate can ask for the Maintenance Surveyor
tubes ■ to keep your property clean and in danger to people, avoid serious to visit on a specific morning or
■ trying to clear blockages in wastes, good decorative order, and your damage to the property, to make afternoon, otherwise you may receive
toilets or gullies garden tidy the property secure, or to restore a letter or phone call to say when he
■ repairing minor cracks or holes in ■ to allow us access to your home to failure of essential services such as or she will be in your area.
walls or ceilings enable us to do any repair work or sanitation, water or electrical supply.
■ repairing minor fittings: curtain carry out any inspections that are We will always make the situation If the repair is particularly complicated
tracks, roller blinds, shelves etc. necessary safe. Sometimes follow up work will or likely to take longer than normal, we
■ replacing toilet seats and lids ■ to take reasonable precautions to need to be done at a later date. may need to agree on a longer timescale
■ replacing clothes lines or restringing prevent damage once a repair fault ■ Urgent: we will respond within 5 with the contractor. We will keep you
rotary driers (unless shared with has been identified working days for work that needs informed. In some of these cases the
others) ■ moving any furniture or lifting any to be carried out quickly, to overcome Maintenance Surveyor may decide to
■ testing and maintaining any smoke floor covering you have put down serious inconvenience to the tenant, put the work into a major works or
detectors you have fitted eg carpets, tiles or wood effect or to prevent more damage to the planned programme already scheduled
■ taking action to prevent condensation flooring to allow repair work to be property. for your area.
■ adjusting doors when new carpets done and putting these back after ■ Routine: we will respond within 20
are fitted work is completed working days for repair problems
■ fitting bells or additional locks to ■ to report any criminal damage or inside the home that do not cause
doors vandalism to the Police and get a particular inconvenience or danger
■ keeping gullies clear of leaves Police Crime Report Number (not to occupants or the public and for
■ replacing plugs and chains on baths, an Incident Number). general repairs to the outside of the
sinks or basins

64
07
How long will it take? What if I am not in when the Service standards Contractors are not allowed to:
When you request a repair, we will put contractor calls? Contractors working in your home ■ smoke in your home without your
the work into a response time category The contractor will leave a card giving must: consent
(see above). Each response category a date when he or she will call again. If ■ introduce themselves and show ■ play radios in or near your home.
has a maximum time allowed for the this is not convenient you should phone you identification before entering
work to be done. If necessary, we will us or the contractor to arrange another your home You should be aware:
arrange for the work to be inspected date. If you are not at home a second ■ explain what they are going to do ■ contractors cannot be left alone in
first by a Maintenance Surveyor. If a time the job will be cancelled and you and how this will affect you, and to your home or with children only
repair is not done within the time given will have to report the repair again. keep you informed about the present (under 16). If you leave the
please contact us and we will progress of the work home the contractor will have to
investigate the matter. The target date What if it is an emergency? ■ take care of your property and leave the property and wait for you
for completion will be confirmed on We treat repairs as emergencies if they possessions, protecting them from to return
the repair acknowledgement which we are necessary to avoid danger or risk dust and paint ■ you should not leave your key hidden
send to you by post. The work will be to the health of the occupants, or ■ keep your home secure at all times somewhere, or with someone else,
carried out by a local contractor. serious damage to the property. Outside ■ make sure materials and tools do for a contractor to pick up and let
normal office hours we only handle not cause danger to you or your themselves into your home
What if I can only be in at certain emergency repairs. These should be visitors ■ in bad weather contractors cannot,
times? reported on our Out-of-hours Emergency ■ clear up rubbish and remove it at for their own safety, work at height,
When you report a repair let us know number given at the beginning of this the end of each working day e.g. on ladders or scaffolding, or on
what times are convenient for the section. We expect you to report urgent ■ make good any damage to the roof
contractor or caretaker to call. You can or routine repairs on our Repairs Hotline decorations caused by repair work ■ you are expected to allow contractors
ask for a morning or afternoon number during working hours on the in your home to get on with their work by keeping
appointment on a specific day and we next working day. If you call us out ■ make sure essential services are children and pets out of their way
will do our best to arrange this for you. and you are not in or we find the repair connected at the end of each day ■ if any furniture or floor coverings
If you find you are unable to keep an is not a genuine emergency, we will and when the repair is completed need to be moved before repair
appointment you need to contact us to charge you for the contractor's time. ■ tell you, or a neighbour if you are work can be done, you must get
arrange another appointment. out, when starting any outside this done before contractors start
work. work. They may be willing to help
but can accept no responsibility for
any damage caused in the process.
66
07
What standard of service can I without further delay. If you are not The Right To Repair
expect? satisfied with our response to your As a Housing Association Tenant you
We will respond to repair problems in complaint you should write to the have the ‘Right to Repair’. This is
an efficient and helpful way. All repairs Maintenance Manager or follow our designed to ensure that certain repairs,
are carried out by contractors we have complaints procedure detailed in this known as ‘qualifying repairs’ are
selected carefully. The name of the handbook. completed on time. If our contractor
contractor will be given on your repairs does not complete the repair on time,
acknowledgement. Our contractors Do Charter check up on the quality you can ask us to hire someone else.
must follow certain rules of behaviour of workmanship? If the repairs are still not done, you can
when working in or around your home, We send a postage paid ‘satisfaction’ make a claim for compensation.
detailed above. card with your repair acknowledgement.
Please fill this in once the repair is Qualifying repairs are those which
What if the work is not done on completed to let us know what you cost less than £250 and include:
time? think of our service and then post it ■ unsafe power or lighting sockets or
We will have put your repair into a back to us. We run a monthly draw of electrical fittings
response time category. See Response all cards returned... you could win a ■ blocked flues or fires or boilers
times page 65. If the repair is not done cash prize! ■ leaking roofs
within that response time let us know ■ toilets that won't flush
and we will follow it up immediately. We carry out regular quality control ■ blocked sinks, baths or basins
visits to make sure that our contractors ■ leaking or flooding from pipes,
What if I am not satisfied with the work to high standards. These visits tanks or cisterns
quality of work? are done by picking out completed ■ loose or broken banisters or
If the repair was not completed within repairs on a random basis. handrails
the time allowed or if you are not
satisfied with the work that has been For more information on the Right to
done or the service provided please let Repair, contact your Maintenance
us know. We will investigate all Surveyor
complaints thoroughly to make sure
that work is done to a good standard

68
07
Baths and Basins ■ If you cause any damage, we will
Your responsibilities charge you for the cost of repair
■ Cleaning baths, sinks and basins work.
and shower heads. ■ We cannot guarantee a colour
■ Trying to clear blocked wastepipes. match when replacing bathroom
See Handy hints page 100. fittings.
■ Repairing any items you have ■ We cannot replace a bath or basin
installed yourself, eg shower, extra because it is stained or chipped.
tiles. This will only be done if your home
■ Replacing plugs and chains on is included in an upgrading
baths, basins and sinks. programme.
■ Repairing any damage caused by
you, a member of your family or a We need to know
visitor. ■ What is the problem, eg: bathroom
fittings loose or broken; wastepipe
Advice leaking or blocked; splashback wall
■ For water leaks or tap problems, tiles cracked or broken?
see Pipes·Taps page 90. ■ If tiles: how many are affected?

■ You should always try to clear any What size, colour or pattern are
blocked wastepipes. See Handy they?
hints page 100. Do not use a bath, ■ If a bath panel: is it the side or the

basin or sink if the wastepipe is end? What is it made of: plastic,


blocked; wait until it has been metal or hardboard?
cleared. ■ If a bath or basin: what is it made

■ If a blockage is caused by unusual of: plastic, metal or porcelain?


items such as toys etc, we will charge
you if we have to clear it for you.

70
07
Doors and Locks ■ If you cause any damage, we will
Your responsibilities charge you for the cost of repair
■ Replacing keys or locks if you lose work.
keys or get locked out. ■ In an emergency, eg you can't lock
■ Repairing any damage caused by an external door, we will only be
you, a member of your family or a able to make the property safe and
visitor. secure. The complete repair will be
■ Providing any additional locks and done at a later date.
latches and maintaining them once
they are fitted. We need to know
■ Fitting and maintaining doorbells ■ What is the problem, eg: lock stiff

where we have not provided one. or not fitting properly into the keep;
■ Adjusting doors when new carpets lock or handle broken; door sticking,
are fitted. ill-fitting or damaged?
■ Which door is it: front, back, or

Advice side?
■ If the problem has been caused by ■ What is the door made of: wood,

vandalism or a break-in you should plastic or metal?


report the incident to the Police ■ What type of lock or latch is it:

and get a Crime Report Number cylinder mortice, cylinder rim


(not an Incident Number), otherwise nightlatch, mortice lock?
we will have to charge you for the ■ Is the property still secure?

repair.
■ 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.

72
07
Drains and Wastes We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ What is the problem, eg:

■ Trying to clear blocked wastepipes. wastepipe blocked or leaking; drain


See Handy hints page 100. smelling or blocked; gully blocked
■ Clearing leaves and rubbish from or grid missing?
gullies. ■ If a wastepipe, which is it: bath,

■ Clearing blockages in washing basin, sink, shower or toilet? Is


machine or dishwasher outlets. more than one fitting blocked?
■ If the drain is blocked: is it

Advice overflowing?
■ 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.
■ Do not put into toilets products that
do not break down easily, for example
paper hand towels or kitchen roll.
They easily cause blockages.
■ 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.
■ 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
07
Electrics ■ If you cause any damage or a
Your responsibilities problem is caused by a fault in one
■ Resetting trip switches and, if of your appliances we will charge
necessary, turning off the mains you for the cost of calling out a
supply. See Handy hints page 102. contractor and for any repair work.
■ Replacing light bulbs and fluorescent ■ If water is leaking onto an electrical
tubes (except in communal areas). fitting or a fitting is dangerous, do
■ Ensuring that your electricity bill not touch it. Isolate the circuit by
has been paid and that your meter switching off the trip switch or the
does not run out. main switch. See Handy hints
■ Testing and replacing batteries in page 102.
smoke detectors you have installed.
■ Arranging repairs to your own We need to know
electrical appliances. ■ What is the problem, eg: no lights
or power in part of or throughout
Advice the property; light or light switch
■ DO NOT TOUCH bare wires and not working; socket loose or
DO NOT TOUCH sockets or broken?
switches with wet hands. ■ What type of fitting or socket is it?

■ Make sure that you know where the ■ Are other buildings affected?

trip switches are located in your ■ Are there any other connected

home and understand how to reset problems?


them. See Handy hints page 102.
■ To check whether a problem has
been caused by a fault in one of
your appliances try a different
appliance in the socket.

76
07
Fences and Gates We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ What is the problem, eg: fence

■ Maintaining any fences, walls or loose or broken; gate sticking; gate


hedges between neighbouring catch missing; path cracked,
properties which you or a previous uneven or damaged.
tenant put up. See Advice. ■ If a fence, what type is it, eg:

■ Replacing lines and restringing rotary wooden (what type) or chain link?
driers (unless shared with others). What length is it?
■ Maintaining any garden paths, ■ If a gate, what type is it, eg:

patios, sheds or other outside wooden or metal?


features that you or a previous ■ If a post, what type is it, eg:

tenant installed. wooden, metal or concrete?


■ Repairing any damage caused by ■ If a fence, post or gate what

you, a member of your family or a height is it (approximately)?


visitor.

Advice
■ If you cause any damage, we will
charge you for the cost of repair
work.
■ 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
07
Floors and Stairs ■ We can fit extra handrails to help
Your responsibilities disabled or elderly tenants.
■ Repairing or renewing floor tiles or ■ If you cause any damage we will
vinyl flooring not originally provided charge you for the cost of repair
by us. work.
■ Repairing any damage caused by
you, a member of your family or a We need to know
visitor. ■ What is the problem, eg: floorboard

■ Lifting any floor coverings you have or skirting board loose, rotten or
put down eg carpets, tiles or wood damaged; tread or riser broken;
effect flooring before we do work to handrail loose or broken; floor
floors and stairs, and putting these covering lifting or damaged?
back after work is completed. See ■ What type of floor covering is it, eg:

Advice. floorboards, chipboard, plywood,


quarry tiles, plastic tiles, vinyl
Advice sheeting, or wood block flooring?
■ Contractors may be willing to lift ■ How many boards or tiles are

any floor covering and loosely relay affected?


it on your behalf but will accept no ■ Is it in a communal area?

responsibility for any damage


caused to the floor covering in the
process.
■ 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.

80
07
Garages We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ If a garage, what type of door is it,

■ Replacing keys or locks to garage eg: up-and-over, side-hung? Is the


doors if your keys are lost or locked car stuck inside?
inside. ■ If a garage roof, what type is it, eg:

■ Repairing any damage caused by corrugated metal, cement panel,


you, a member of your family or a felt, asphalt or tiles?
visitor. ■ What is the problem, eg: garage
door jammed; key lost or stolen;
Advice frame damaged; roof damaged?
■ 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.
■ If your garage is separate from your
home you need to make
arrangements for the contractor to
find it and get into it.
■ If you want to put up a shed, lean-
to or conservatory, you must write
to the maintenance department for
permission. You need to give us full
details of what you are planning.
■ If you cause any damage, we will
charge you for the cost of repair
work.

82
07
Gutters We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ What is the problem, eg: gutter or

■ Clearing leaves and rubbish from downpipe loose, leaking or blocked;


gullies. bracket, joint or shoe loose or
■ Repairing any damage caused by broken?
you, a member of your family, or a ■ Which gutter or downpipe is it:

visitor. front, back or side?


■ What shape is it: half round, square

Advice or ogee?
■ We may need to put up scaffolding ■ What is the gutter or downpipe

if the repair is above two storeys made of: metal or plastic?


high.
■ In bad weather conditions ■ How many storeys high is the
contractors cannot work at height, building?
eg on ladders or scaffolding, or on ■ Are there any other connected
the roof. problems?

84
07
Heating ■ During freezing spells, keep some
Your responsibilities background heat on all the time.
■ If you suspect a gas leak, call ■ You will have a room thermostat in
National Grid (Gas) immediately - certain rooms. This keeps the heating
use a phone OUTSIDE your home in that room at a set temperature.
- 0800 111999 (using a phone Turn the dial so that the arrow or
inside could spark an explosion). marker is against the temperature
■ Also turn off the gas at the mains setting you want. A comfortable
and open windows. Do not smoke, and economic temperature is
light a match, use a lighter, or between 15°C and 20°C.
switch anything electrical on or off
until the problem is fixed. We need to know
■ Checking that your heating controls ■ What is the problem, eg: smell of

(room thermostat, timer or gas; central heating not working;


programmer) are set correctly and radiator leaking or not getting
so using heat effectively. See Advice. warm; no hot water?
■ Allowing us into your home once a ■ What type of heating is it: gas,

year to carry out a boiler service. If electric, wood or coal?


you do not do this we will take legal ■ What type of system is it: wall-

action to gain access to your home. mounted boiler or a front fire with a
back boiler?
Advice ■ Have you any other form of heating?

■ You will have a timeclock or digital ■ Are there any other connected

programmer on your boiler. This problems?


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
07
Kitchen fittings ■ We will maintain your kitchen
Your responsibilities fittings to a useable standard.
■ Installing washing machines, When they reach the end of their
dishwashers or tumble driers and expected lifespan we will include
providing wastes and supply pipes them in a replacement programme.
for tumble driers and dishwashers.
See Advice. We need to know
■ Repairing any damage caused by ■ What is the problem, eg: wall or

you, a member of your family or a floor unit loose or damaged;


visitor. worktop loose or broken; cupboard
■ Repairing any extra units you have door or drawer damaged; cupboard
installed. door hinge or catch broken?
■ What type of unit is it: wall or floor?

Advice ■ Are there any other connected

■ If you cause any damage, we will problems?


charge you for the cost of repair
work.
■ 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.
■ If you install either a dishwasher or
tumble drier, you are responsible
for providing any supply and waste
connections needed for them.

88
07
Pipes and Taps ■ If you cause any damage, we will
Your responsibilities charge you for the cost of repair
■ Taking steps to prevent water in work. If the damage is caused by
pipes and taps freezing. See Advice. water leaking, you may be able to
■ Turning off your water supply at the make an insurance claim on your
main stoptap if a water pipe has own contents insurance. We can
burst, and then turning on all taps recommend a reasonable insurance
to allow remaining water to flow scheme to you. Please ask our staff
out. See Advice. for details.
■ Repairing any damage caused by
you, a member of your family or a We need to know
visitor. ■ What is the problem, eg: water
pipe frozen or burst; overflow
Advice running or broken; tap dripping or
■ You should know where the main faulty?
stoptap is in order to turn the water ■ If water is leaking into your

off in an emergency. Normally it is property: is it coming from the flat


under the kitchen sink or near the above? What is the address?
front door. ■ If a tap: what type is it?

■ If water is leaking onto an electrical ■ Are there any other connected

fitting, do not touch it. Isolate the problems?


circuit by switching off the trip
switch or the mains switch. See
Handy hints on page 102.
■ In very cold weather keep heating
on a low setting, even if you are not
at home, to prevent pipes from
freezing.

90
07
Roofs and Chimneys We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ What is the problem, eg: roof

■ Putting up television or radio aerials leaking; tiles or slates loose or


or satellite dishes on the outside of broken; chimney pot or cowl fallen
the property. However, you must or loose; chimney stack crumbling?
get our permission in writing before ■ What type of tiles or slates are

you do this. they, eg: plain, ridge, interlocking,


■ Repairing any damage caused by hip?
you, a member of your family or a ■ How many storeys high is the

visitor. property?
■ Is the chimney shared with another

Advice property? What is the address?


■ We may need to put up scaffolding
if the repair is above two storeys
high.
■ In bad weather conditions
contractors cannot work at height,
eg on ladders or scaffolding, or on
the roof.
■ 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.
■ If you cause any damage, we will
charge you for the cost of repair
work.

92
07
Toilets ■ If you cause any damage, we will
Your responsibilities charge you for the cost of repair
■ Cleaning toilet pans. work.
■ Trying to clear blocked toilets. See
Handy hints on page 100. We need to know
■ Replacing toilet seats and lids. ■ What is the problem, eg: toilet

■ Repairing any damage caused by blocked; overflow running; cistern


you, a member of your family or a leaking; seat broken; pan cracked
visitor. or leaking; flush handle broken?
■ What type of cistern is it: standard

Advice or close-coupled?
■ You should always try to clear any ■ What type of handle is it: lever

blockages. See Handy hints on handle, push down knob or chain?


page 102.
■ 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.
■ Do not put into toilets products that
do not break down easily, for
example paper hand towels or
kitchen roll. They easily cause
blockages.
■ 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.

94
07
Walls and Ceilings ■ In newly built or recently renovated
Your responsibilities homes plaster needs time to fully
■ Decorating walls and ceilings inside dry out. Cracks may appear. These
your home. See Advice. and other decorative defects will be
■ Repairing minor cracks or holes in repaired for the first six months by
walls and ceilings. the contractor who built the home.
■ Repairing minor fixtures and You should not carry out additional
fittings: curtain tracks, roller blinds, decorating until the end of the six
shelves etc. month period.
■ Putting up television or radio aerials
or satellite dishes on the outside of We need to know
the property. However, you must ■ What is the problem, eg: wall

get our permission in writing before plaster loose or crumbling; ceiling


you do this. plaster bulging; condensation or
■ Repairing any damage caused by mould on walls or ceiling?
you, a member of your family or a ■ Is there any damage caused by

visitor. water leaking: from a burst pipe, a


leaking radiator or a leak in the
Advice roof?
■ Try to keep condensation to a ■ What is the extent of the problem?

minimum to prevent damp and ■ Are there any other connected

mould on the walls or ceiling. See problems?


Handy hints on page 104 for advice
on controlling condensation.
■ 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
07
Windows We need to know
Your responsibilities ■ What is the problem, eg: glass

■ Repairing any damage caused by cracked or broken; frame loose or


you, a member of your family or a jammed; stay or fastener broken?
visitor. ■ What type of frame is it: wooden,

■ Getting broken or cracked glass plastic or metal?


replaced unless it was the result of ■ What type of glass is it, eg: plain,

a criminal action and you have got obscure, wired cast? Is it double
a Police Crime Report Number. glazed?
■ Fitting additional security locks to ■ Are there any other connected

windows. problems?

Advice
■ Windows that have been installed
recently may still be covered by a
guarantee.
■ Wherever possible, we will maintain
windows until they reach the end of
their expected lifespan. We will
include them in a replacement
programme.
■ 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.

98
07
Clearing a blocked waste ■ place the plunger over the plug
General advice hole and pump up and down
■ Blockages are usually caused by rapidly
the build-up of waste in the trap: ■ after clearing the blockage unscrew
fat, tea leaves, hair etc. It is a good the trap and clean it out
idea to clear wastepipes and traps ■ thoroughly wash your hands and all
at least once a month, preferably equipment after you have finished.
with a suitable product available
from DIY stores. To unblock a toilet:
■ The trap is under the fitting (bath, ■ if the pan is already full, remove

basin or sink). It always holds some some of the water into a bucket
water in it which stops smells coming using some form of scoop, eg a jug
up the drain. However, waste can or bowl
build up and become stuck in it. ■ push the brush or plunger to the

■ If more than one fitting (bath, basin bottom of the pan


etc) is blocked, the blockage may be ■ pump it up and down vigorously

in the soil stack or main drain. This about 10 times. This creates a
will need to be cleared by a plumber. vacuum and pressure which may
If this is the case, contact us. shift the blockage
■ flush the toilet to see whether the

What to do blockage has gone


You need: ■ you may need to repeat this

■ bowl, jug or cup, rag or dishcloth, process several times before the
plunger, rubber gloves. toilet flushes normally. If there is no
improvement after a couple of
To unblock a bath, basin or sink: attempts you should contact us
■ bale out most of the water ■ thoroughly wash your hands and all

■ hold the rag tightly over the equipment after you have finished.
overflow opening

100
07
Resetting a trip switch ■ Make sure your hands are dry ■ switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the
General advice when you touch electrical fittings. ON position
■ Modern electric circuits are fitted ■ Never touch the electricity ■ plug in the appliances one at a time
with circuit breakers called trip company's fuse and seals. ■ do not use double adaptors when
switches. If a fault develops, a testing appliances. Test one
switch is tripped and the circuit is What to do appliance per socket, until the trip
broken. To reset a trip switch: goes again.
■ The trip switches are at the ■ open the cover on the consumer

consumer unit. The consumer unit unit to show the trip switches
may be next to the electricity meter ■ check which switches have tripped

(unless the meter is in an outside to the OFF position


cupboard). ■ put these switches back to the ON

■ Trip switches usually operate position.


because:
- there are too many fittings or If the trip goes again:
appliances on a circuit and it It is probably being caused by a fault
has been overloaded in an appliance. You need to identify
- an appliance has been misused which circuit is being affected and
or has developed a fault which appliance on that circuit is
- a lead to an appliance such as a causing the problem.
TV, hair drier, or kettle has
become loose or has been badly To identify the problem appliance:
connected ■ check all the rooms in the house

- water has leaked into a circuit and note which set of lights or
- a light bulb has blown. sockets is not working
■ If an appliance has developed a ■ unplug all appliances on that

fault, leave it unplugged and get a problem circuit and switch off the
qualified electrician or service immersion heater
engineer to check it.

102
07
Condensation ■ wipe down surfaces where
What is condensation? moisture settles to prevent mould
■ It starts as moisture that is produced forming
by cooking, washing and using gas. ■ do not block air vents
■ This moist air condenses on cool ■ use your extractor fan or ventilation
surfaces such as walls, mir rors, unit (if one is fitted). Both fans and
wall tiles and windows, and even ventilation units are usually controlled
some clothes. by automatic humidistats that
■ When the moist air is warm it rises respond to the level of moisture in
and often ends up on ceilings and the air. They are very cheap to run
in upstairs rooms. It then forms (approx 10p for 60 hours
mould. continuous use).

Preventing condensation Produce less moisture:


Condensation can occur in any home. ■ dry clothes outdoors whenever

You can take steps to prevent it. possible, otherwise use well
ventilated rooms
Control excess moisture: ■ cover pans when cooking

■ close kitchen and bathroom doors ■ vent any tumble driers to the outside.

to prevent steam going into other


colder rooms Keep your house warm:
■ open kitchen and bathroom windows ■ take steps to prevent heat loss

when cooking or washing so that ■ maintain low background heat.

steam can escape


■ open some windows in other rooms
for a while each day to allow a
change of air
■ do not use bottled gas heaters

104
07
For repairs or estates
maintenance, please contact
us on our dedicated repairs
lines below.

Tel:
■ Repairs (8:30am – 5:00pm):
01633 678511
■ Emergency Repairs (out of normal
office hours): 01633 214222
■ Estates Maintenance: 01633 480450

e-mail:
maintenance@charterhousing.co.uk
web: www.charterhousing.co.uk

Being a
Good Neighbour

106
08
Being A Good Neighbour

IN THIS SECTION The Association wants all its How to be a considerate


tenants to develop good neighbour
You can be a good neighbour by:
109 How to be a considerate neighbour relationships with their
■ Getting to know your neighbour
neighbours. It is a condition of and agreeing that you will talk to
110 What action you can take if your neighbour is anti-social
your tenancy agreement that each other about any problems in a
111 Being realistic and working together you do not cause nuisance and reasonable manner.
■ Keeping noise levels as low as
112 Support for witnesses annoyance to your neighbours.
possible, especially when you live
112 How we deal with drug misuse If we do find that you or your in a flat where noise may travel
neighbours are causing a through the floor or ceiling to
112 Abuse, threat or violence towards staff
nuisance, we will investigate adjoining properties. Keep the
112 How we deal with hate crime and where appropriate, take volume of your TV or music system
to a reasonable level and check
114 How we deal with harassment legal action to stop the with your neighbours to make sure
114 Neighbourhood Watch nuisance occurring. they are happy with the level of
noise coming from your home. Do
114 Confidentiality Our intention is to deal firmly but fairly not play music late at night.
114 Help us improve this service with anti-social behaviour (ASB), to ■ Informing your neighbours in
deter such behaviour and enable advance if you have a party.
others to act as witnesses. All options ■ Keeping your pets under control.
available to deal with ASB will be For example, make sure your dog
considered, in order to comply with does not bark when you are out
the 1996 Housing Act and to ensure and do not let your dog out on its
the rights of residents to the quiet own.
enjoyment of their home. ■ Carrying out DIY at a reasonable
hour.
■ Keeping your garden and any
communal areas in a clean and tidy
condition.
108 109
08
■ Making sure your visitors are your local Council may be able to ■ These investigations may result in Being realistic and working
respectful of your neighbours. You help. They have noise monitoring legal remedies such as an injunction, together
are responsible for the actions of equipment and are able to serve (a Court Order), demotion of tenancy Our Nuisance Prevention Team is very
your visitors under your tenancy legal notices to stop noise or or possession proceedings. You successful at dealing with Anti-Social
agreement. confiscate equipment. may be required to give evidence in Behaviour. However, it is not a matter
■ Driving and parking responsibly in ■ If you are unable to resolve the court, either in person or through a for us as landlord alone but is a
your community. problem yourself and the nuisance written statement, for these actions responsibility shared with those
■ Accepting that neighbours’ children continues, report the problem to to be successful. affected. Complainants who refuse to
playing in the street is not itself our specialist Nuisance Prevention ■ Wherever possible, non-legal be witnesses and/or who do not want
anti-social behaviour. Only if the Team. Initially complaints will be remedies will be sought such as their names disclosed make it difficult
children are directly (and knowingly) referred to the Resolve Assessment mediation. Mediation allows you for us to take legal action to protect
causing you distress, harassment Service who will visit you and your the opportunity to agree a solution them. We have to convince a judge
or annoyance can their behaviour neighbour to discuss your complaint to the problem being experienced that legal action is necessary to stop
possibly be considered as anti- and the range of options available using the expertise of a third-party the nuisance and provide evidence to
social. to resolve it. The Resolve who will help you through the the Court to support such action. The
Assessment Service will complete process. best evidence is to have witnesses at
What action can you take if their procedures within 10 working ■ We will respond to complaints of Court telling the judge what has
your neighbour is being anti- days. ASB received in writing, within 10 happened. In all our successful cases
social? ■ Where the nuisance continues working days and serious complaints we have worked in partnership with
■ If you have a complaint about your further investigations will be carried (violence, threats of violence) will the tenants affected.
neighbour, you should discuss it out. be responded to within one
with them first, approaching them ■ We will work with you to gather working day, and if necessary, Also, complaints about, for example,
calmly and without anger. They may evidence by asking you to note immediate legal action can be taken children playing in the street, bullying
not know that they are causing a details and timings of the nuisance other children etc, may not be suitable
nuisance. This often produces the in a nuisance diary. Where issues for us to get involved in. We
best results. appropriate, we will ask the police expect people to accept responsibility
■ If your complaint is about a noise or other agencies to provide as parents for incidents involving their
nuisance, such as loud music, your evidence. children and to deal with such matters
Environmental Health Officer from responsibly.

110 111
08
Support for witnesses supply from their property. Any crime words and behaviour, damage to Each case is different so we will tell
We will give as much support to can be confidentially reported through property, graffiti and physical attacks. you about the options available to you
witnesses or complainants of anti- Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111. It may be a one-off incident or it may and work jointly with you to help stop
social behaviour as we can, Where reports lead to a conviction be ongoing harassment and/or the hate crime.
particularly if they have to attend there is sometimes a reward to be intimidation.
court. claimed. We will not give information you tell us
Charter Housing Association will not to anyone else, without first asking
We will talk to complainants, give Abuse, threat or violence tolerate any form of hate crime against your permission.
advice and draw up action and towards staff its customers or staff.
support plans to include additional The Association will not tolerate abuse We can offer you help and support and
security measures where appropriate. or violence against staff and will If you have been the subject of a hate also put you in touch with other
These might include an emergency always consider legal action to prevent crime, speak to a member of staff. We specialist support groups.
alarm, additional lighting or this. It is a condition of your tenancy will respond in a sensitive way and
surveillance cameras. that you are not abusive or violent to agree together what action to take. We There are a range of actions we can
staff. If you display this kind of are committed to tackling hate crime. take against the person or group
We will maintain regular contact with behaviour, we may ban you from our If you are a victim, we have a better causing the hate crime, e.g., we can
witnesses and complainants and refer offices and refuse to visit you in your chance of helping you if you give us issue formal warnings if a tenant
them to other support services where home or we may take additional the information we need to take breaks their tenancy agreement, use
appropriate. We will offer interpreter security measures when visiting you. action. You should keep a note of all Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, get
facilities where necessary. incidents so we have a record of an injunction or go to court to
How we will we deal with hate everything that has happened. repossess the property if the
How we deal with drug crime behaviour is serious. We work with
misuse A hate crime is a crime committed You should tell the police if you are the other organisations, such as the
If you suspect that your neighbour is against a person which they believe is victim of a hate crime. A hate crime is police, local Community Safety
using or dealing drugs you should because of their colour, race, ethnic a criminal offence so the police will Partnerships and your local authority,
report this to the local police and the origin, nationality, age, disability, investigate and offer advice and to stop the hate crime.
Nuisance Prevention Team. We will gender sexuality or political/religious support.
consider taking legal action against beliefs. A hate crime can take many
any tenant convicted of drug use or forms. It may involve threatening

112 113
08
How we will deal with Confidentiality
harassment Any information given to us will be
Harassment is where a person believes stored in accordance with the Data
they have been verbally or physically Protection Act 1998.
abused for a specific reason, for
example, because of their race, colour, Help us improve this service
religion, gender, sexual orientation or If you think you could help us improve
age. It can also include attacks on the way we deal with Anti-Social
property rather than a person. Behaviour, contact the Nuisance
Prevention Team who can advise you
If we receive a complaint of harassment, about how you can influence the
we will respond within 24 hours. If you service. You can also complete a
are being harassed, we will respect customer comments form in our
your wishes with your consent, involve reception and place it in the suggestion
other agencies where appropriate. We box or make a comment or suggestion
will provide additional security at your in person or on the phone to any
home or if requested, we will try to member of staff. We listen to all
arrange alternative accommodation
where possible.
comments made by customers. Please
Read the chapter on Customer Moving &
Neighbourhood Watch
A good way to work with your
Involvement in this handbook for more
ways in which you can become
involved.
Home Ownership Options
community to tackle crime and ASB is
to form a Neighbourhood Watch Group.

09
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
Options for Moving or
Buying a Home

You may want to move for a Service Members. You will be


IN THIS SECTION categorised into one of these bands
variety of reasons. This section
when you make an application to
117 How to register for a transfer outlines the options available transfer. For information on how to
for people wishing to move apply for Gold Service Membership
117 How to look for a new home
from their current home with see the Gold Service Section in this
118 Getting help with the process Charter Housing Association. handbook. If you feel you have been
placed in the wrong band you will be
118 What if I need to move urgently?
How to register for a transfer able to appeal and have the decision
119 What if I want to move to a smaller or larger home? Any existing tenant can register to reviewed by a panel of Charter staff.
119 Exchanging your home with another tenant move to any area where we have
properties. You will need to fill out an How to look for a new home
120 Will an exchange affect my tenancy agreement application form for Charter by Choice, To obtain a new home, you will need
which is the name the way we let our to ‘bid’ for any advertised properties in
120 Moving to another part of the country
homes. You can also register online at which you are interested. All available
121 Help with buying a home www.charterbychoice.co.uk. or by properties are advertised on the web
telephoning us and answering a few site or in the community e.g, at libraries,
121 Shared ownership community centres and Local Authority
basic questions about you and your
121 Homebuy household. You will then receive Offices. The Charter Housing reception
confirmation of your registration banding at Devon Place has a screen which will
122 Help us to improve the service enable you to view all the available
and your registration date which will
be the date that your current tenancy properties. You can also telephone our
started. Hotline on 01633 678525 for a recorded
message detailing all available properties.
There are three priority bands for
transfer applicants. The first is Urgent Each property has specific criteria
Priority for those with an urgent reason attached. You can place a bid through
to move, the second is Gold Service the website or by phoning the Hotline.
Members and the third is Non Gold Bids must be received before the closing

116
09
date. We look at all the bids received home to be inspected before you transfer and placed in the urgent priority band Exchanging your home with
for a particular property and then list and you will have to attend an interview which will enable you to transfer more another tenant
them in order of priority categories and to check the details of your application quickly. You should contact your You have the right to exchange (swap)
date of registration, discounting anyone before a firm offer is made to you. Neighbourhood Manager to find out if your home with another Charter tenant
who does not meet the criteria for the you are eligible. They will need to take or with the tenant of another council or
property. A property will be offered to If you are offered a transfer to another details from you and obtain supporting housing association. If you have a
the person with the highest priority band home you may refuse the offer any evidence from other agencies, such as Starter Tenancy you will not have this
who has the longest registration date. time up until the tenancy agreement is the police, if appropriate. Priority is right during the first 12 months. Charter
signed. You will only be able to refuse given in exceptional circumstances Housing Association and most other
Applicants wishing to transfer will three offers of transfer. and is limited to 13 weeks Your landlords have lists of people wanting
receive priority over people seeking Neighbourhood Manager will advise to swap. You can look at any of the
their first home with us for properties Getting help with the process you of the rules for using a priority card. lists to see if anyone has a property in
advertised as ‘preference transfer’. We aim to make sure everyone has fair the area you are looking for and you
Properties advertised as ‘preference and equal access to the Charter By What if I want to move to a can put your name on these lists so
homeseeker’ are not available to transfer Choice system. If you feel you need smaller or larger home? other people can contact you.
applicants unless no homeseekers help with obtaining a transfer, for If you are under occupying your home
apply. We let 20% of our properties to example, if you find it difficult to and do not need to use at least two
transfer applicants. understand the process, or cannot bedrooms, you may be entitled to a
access the internet or telephone service priority card to help you move to a
It is important to remember that your to view properties or make bids, let us smaller home. If your property is too
request to transfer will be refused if know and we will be able to help you. small for you and you need at least
you have rent arrears, a rechargeable two more bedrooms to meet your
debt (for court costs or repairs) or if What if I need to move family’s needs, you may be entitled to
we are taking action against you for a urgently? a priority card to help you move to a
breach of your tenancy agreement. If you have an urgent reason to move, larger home.
Your property will also need to be of a for example, due to mobility problems,
good decorative standard and in good or because you are suffering from
repair before you will be allowed to domestic violence or harassment, you
move. You will be asked to allow your may be eligible to be awarded priority

118
09
If you find someone to swap with, both Your Neighbourhood Manager will co- or register online at www.moveuk.com. The scheme allows you to buy a share
tenants must fill out exchange forms ordinate the exchange process for Once you are registered, you can search in a property e.g 40% by obtaining a
and wait for permission before moving. you. We do have up to 42 days to for properties online or else browse mortgage or placing a deposit to cover
Permission will not be unreasonably confirm if the exchange can go ahead. through the available properties at any the share on offer. You would then be
withheld, but consent may be delayed This is usually done sooner as long as council or housing association office. granted a lease agreement, and pay
or refused if: we have received the relevant For advice on moving to another part rent on the share that is owned by us.
■ you owe rent arrears information from the other landlord. of the country, please contact the
■ you have not looked after your home Lettings Team. We do not buy any new Shared
and it is in a poor state of repair Will an exchange affect my ownership properties. We can only
■ the property is larger or smaller tenancy agreement? Help with buying a home offer a Shared Ownership property to
than required If you have an Assured tenancy and There are a number of home ownership those on our enquiry list when an
■ the property has adaptations which you exchange with a Council tenant initiatives available to help you into existing shared owner decides to sell
will not be required you will take on their Secure Tenancy. home ownership. If your property was their share in their home. This process
■ you have breached your tenancy This means that you have additional built after 1st April 1997, you may have is called Lease Assigning.
agreement rights – for example to take in lodgers the Right to Acquire it with a discount
■ possession action has been and the right to buy. If you exchange of up to £16,000. There are certain Shared Owners are able to purchase
commenced with another Charter tenant your criteria which apply and not all properties further shares in the property after
registration date for Charter by Choice are included within the scheme, for living in the property for one year, but
When you exchange, both tenants will be changed to the date you moved example properties designed solely for you do not have to. You may live in the
must accept the other property as it is into your new house. occupation by the elderly or disabled property as long as you like without
and take responsibility for outstanding are exempt. Please contact our Sales owning more than the initial share.
repairs to the home that are the tenant’s Moving to another part of the and Property Team to find out if the
own responsibility. Your property will country Right to Acquire applies to your home. Homebuy
be inspected before agreement is If you want to move to another part of Homebuy is a Government backed
given for you to move and you will be the country, you can register for a Shared Ownership scheme operated by Registered Social
given a list of any repairs that need scheme called HOMESWAP which is a Shared Ownership is a part rent, part Landlords throughout Wales. It is
doing by you. You will not normally be national mutual exchange scheme buy scheme. We have a small stock of supervised by the Welsh Assembly
allowed to exchange until these repairs supported by the government. You existing Shared Ownership properties Government.
have been completed. need to complete a Homeswap form which are spread across 4 Boroughs.

120
09
Homebuy aims to help people on Help us to improve the service
lower incomes to become homeowners. If you think you could help us improve
It is available to people who cannot the way we let our properties or deal
afford to buy a suitable property on the with exchanges, contact the Lettings
open market but who have sufficient Team who can advise you about how
income or savings to be able to afford you can influence the service. We have
70% of the purchase price. The a Lettings Panel which you are welcome
remaining 30%, is met through a loan to join. You can also complete a
made available by Fairlake. customer comments form in our
reception and place it in the suggestion
The 30% loan is secured as a legal box, or make a suggestion in person
charge, and would have to be re-paid or on the phone to a member of staff.
when the property is sold or voluntary We listen to all comments made by
payment can be made after one year customers. Please read the section on
of living in the property. There is no fixed Customer Involvement in this handbook
interest on the loan and the amount to for more ways in which you can
be repaid will depend on the property become involved.
value at the time of re-payment.
Customer
There are various Homebuy schemes
available at different times depending
on the availability of funding. There are
Involvement
also eligibility criteria to be met. For
more information about Homebuy
schemes ask for our information leaflet

10
or contact the Sales and Property
Team at Fairlake.

122
Customer Involvement –
Help us to Help You

IN THIS SECTION Placing customers at the What help and support can
heart of everything we do you expect?
For Charter, it is fundamental that our We can support you to get involved by
125 Placing customers at the heart of everything we do customers have a real influence in the ■ paying travel expenses and child

125 Why is it important for you to be involved? design and delivery of our services. care costs to help you attend
We carry out surveys and use regular meetings,
125 What help and support can you expect? feedback from customers to tell us ■ covering the cost of all postage for

126 Ways to get involved what people think of what we do, and the return of questionnaires,
we have a menu of opportunities for ■ offering rewards and incentives for
126 Tell us what you think our customers to become involved in any time you give us, providing
whatever way, and at whatever level, training to give you the skills,
suits them. confidence and knowledge you
need to be involved,
Our aim is to make sure we listen to ■ helping tenants to organise
customers’ views and act upon them, meetings, type and print letters or
and that we actively create opportunities posters, raise funds and keep their
for people to have their say in a friendly accounts in order.
and supportive environment, so that
we can make sure that our services
reflect customer requirements.

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
10
Ways to get involved Tell us what you think feedback how you input has organise repairs and maintenance, let
Our aim is to offer you a range of From time to time we send out surveys influenced our services. Tenants’ Voice our properties or manage rent arrears,
options to get involved. You can do as to our customers. These are a quick meet regularly and everyone is we have a number of forums set up to
much or as little as you like. The and easy way for us to get you views welcome. Look out for details of let you have your say about your
options below explain how you can and are very important to help us to meetings in Contact Magazine or on experiences
have your say: keep up to date with what you want the website.
from us. Speak up at an Area Panel
Read our newsletters or log on Attend Charter Seniors By the end of 2006 we will have set up
We have a number of newsletters. You can also tell us what you think by If you are over 55 you can join our an Area Panel in each of our four Local
We’ve got Contact Magazine which is filling in one of our tenant satisfaction Charter Seniors’ Group who meet Authority Areas. These will enable
sent to you three times a year, The cards, using our complaints and regularly to socialise and talk about individuals to come along and talk to
Zone, which is for young people, The compliments procedure, by chatting to issues that affect them. Contact your Charter staff about local issues. Watch
BAG, a benefits advice guide and The a member of staff, giving us a ring, Neighbourhood Manager for details. out for details in Contact Magazine or
Window, for our older tenants. You can sending us a text or dropping us a on our website.
also get information and make line. We make a note of all your Join our Customer 100 Panel
comments through our website at comments and use them to improve This is a group of about 100 tenants Volunteer to become a Key Tenant
www.charterhousing.co.uk. our service to you. whom we regularly consult about We would like to identify ‘key tenants’
changes to our services or policies. in each of our communities to act as a
Come along to a Tenants’ Voice We send questionnaires for completion local representative and join us in
Meeting or conduct quick telephone surveys. regular meetings on site to inspect the
Tenants’ Voice is an independent There are often rewards such as high environment and suggest ways in
group, chaired and run by tenants, street vouchers or a prize draw for which we could improve things. Let us
which co-ordinates and supports all getting involved. know if you would like to be that
customer involvement in Charter. It person.
serves all tenants, encouraging Work with us to improve specific
involvement, focussing on issues that services
directly affect customers, relaying your If you have a particular interest in an
comments to Senior Management and aspect of our service such as how we
the Board and ensuring that we deal with anti-social behaviour,

126 127
10
Ask about joining or forming a contact your Neighbourhood Manager
Tenants’ Association or Resident who will be able to tell you more.
Group.
Some of our tenants have come What do you do if you are interested
together to form a Tenants’ Association in getting involved?
or Residents’ Group for their area, to Contact your Neighbourhood Manager
have a collective voice about a wide for more information.
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 Gold
for improving the environment and
services in your community. Service
Become a Tenant Board Member
We welcome tenants who want to join
our Board and ensure that a

11
customer’s perspective is part of
decision making at Charter. If you
would like to know more about
becoming a Board Member, please

128
Gold Service

handyman service and priority for Application Form


IN THIS SECTION some transfers. Rewards may change
from time to time. Name ...........................................................................
130 About Gold Service
130 The criteria for Gold Please contact the Customer Address ......................................................................
Accounts Team for the latest rewards
Service package available. ..........................................................................................

130 How to join


The criteria for Gold Service ..........................................................................................

■ You must have a clear rent account


About Gold Service for six weeks or you must have Telephone Number .............................................

Charter believes that it is extremely maintained a rent arrears


important to say ‘thank you’ to those agreement for 12 weeks.
customers who keep to their ■ You must have no rechargeable I wish to apply for Gold Service
contractual obligations as tenants. debt or you must be reducing your Membership
Charter’s Gold Service is available to rechargeable debt. How to join
You must have kept your annual Membership is completely free and
the vast majority of customers who ■
gas servicing up to date. it is easy to qualify for Gold Service.
ask very little of us in terms of
You must have no legal action Even if you have rent arrears or other Signed ........................................................................
management time, and is Charter’s ■
taken against you in the last 12 debts, you can still qualify if you set
way of recognising and rewarding our
months for a breach of your up and keep to an easy and
valued customers. Our rewards
tenancy agreement. affordable repayment plan. We can Please return to the FREEPOST
package provides benefits such as
You, or a member of your tailor this to meet your circumstances. address on the reverse of this slip
reduced price goods, priority for ■
household, must not have acted in Simply complete the application (No stamp required).
planned maintenance upgrades, a
a threatening or a violent manner form opposite and send it to us
‘Golden Handshake’ payment of £150
towards a member of staff. FREEPOST.
if you leave your home in good
condition, entry into monthly ■ Your property and garden must
competitions for prizes like room have been maintained to a
makeovers, holidays etc, access to a reasonable condition.
Charter Housing
Association
130
Useful
Contact Numbers

12
Other Useful Contacts

Help and Support Shelter Cymru UK National Drugs Helpline


Free adviceline: 0808 800 4444 O800 776600
Newport City Council www.sheltercymru.org.uk www.talktofrank.com
Contact Centre for all enquiries:
01633 656656 Citizens’ Advice Bureau Alcoholics Anonymous
www.newport.gov.uk www.citizensadvice.org.uk National Helpline
0845 769 7555
Torfaen County Borough Council South East Wales Race Equality www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
Contact Centre for all enquiries: Council (SEWREC)
01495 762200 All Enquiries: 01633 250006 Relate Relationship Guidance
www.torfaen.gov.uk www.sewrec.org.uk 0845 130 4016
www.relate.org
Monmouthshire County Council Disability Wales
Contact Centre for all enquiries: 0292 088 7325 The Samaritans
01633 644644 www.disabilitywales.org 0845 790 9090
www.monmouthshire.gov.uk www.samaritans.org.uk
NHS Direct
Caerphilly County Borough Council 0845 4647 Tenant Participation Advisory
Contact Centre for all enquiries: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk Service (Cymru)
01495 226622 02920 237303
www.caerphilly.gov.uk Childline www.tpascymru.org.uk
for children and young people
Gwent Police 0800 1111 Welsh Tenants’ Federation
All Enquiries: 01633 244999 www.childline.org.uk 01685 723922
www.welshtenantsfed.org.uk
Crimestoppers NSPCC
0800 555111 24 hour Child Protection Helpline
0808 800 5000
www.nspcc.org.uk

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