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Council tenants - Maintenance and repairs

Council tenants - Maintenance and repairs

Report a repair

Reports repairs or maintenance can be made throught the various channels listed in the contact us area or you can report a non urgent repair online using the iHousing portal once you have registered to use this service.

If you have an urgent problem out of hours  you may be asked to make safe the situation until the next day, for example if you have a bad water leak you may be asked to turn off the water until a plumber can get there in the morning.

When reporting a repair it is important that you provide as much information as possible. This will help us to ensure that we arrange for the right person to carry out the repair and to be able to identify the right equipment and parts required for the job. It will also help us to decide how quickly the repair needs to be carried out.

When reporting a repair you will need to provide:

  • Your name and address
  • A contact phone number
  • Access times
  • Details of the repair required

If you are calling about a repair you have already reported, please let us know the works order number.

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Rights and responsibilities

As your landlord we must, by law, keep the main structure and outside of your home in good repair so that it is safe and protected from wind, rain and so on.

We must also carry out certain essential repairs that could affect the health and security of your family. For example: heating breaking down, faulty electrics, blocked foul drains, burst pipes and doors and windows that cannot be secured properly and which, if left, would make the property insecure.

We are also responsible for most repairs to the main fixtures and fittings that we have provided inside your home and we are also required to carry out repairs in the communal areas.

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If repairs are needed because you have not looked after your home properly or someone in your home has caused damage, you are expected to get it repaired. You will have to arrange and pay for a professional, competent tradesperson to do the work. In some circumstances, a certificate will be required from your chosen tradesperson to comply with current legislation.This includes any damage done by visitors, children or pets.

Sometimes, particularly where the situation is dangerous, we may arrange for the work to be carried out, the cost of which will be invoiced back to you.

If the damage is due to criminal behaviour this should be reported to the police. When reporting these repairs to us you should also provide us with the crime reference number that the police should have provided.

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You are responsible for carrying out some repairs. For a full list refer to the tenants handbook.

Some of the most common repairs that you must do include:

  • Internal decoration – including minor plaster cracks
  • Electrical fuses and plugs to tenants’ appliances
  • Boundary fencing – except where safety is an overriding factor
  • Garden works
  • Keys – except keys which operate a door entry system, for which a charge will be made
  • Plugs and chains to baths, basins and sinks
  • Sheds and freestanding structures – unless provided by the council
  • TV aerials (including satellite dishes) – the council is responsible for communal aerial systems only
  • Any fixture or fitting provided by the tenant – except for gas appliances which, with the prior agreement of the housing and health and safety officer, may be included in the council’s gas servicing contract
  • Sweeping of chimneys and flues
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Your lease tells you who is responsible for repairing the various parts of the block and your flat.

The council is usually responsible for all repairs to shared facilities such as communal entrance doors, lighting, shared heating, the roof and structure of the building.

Repairs to areas or items within the property such as internal doors, kitchen units, bathroom suite or floor and wall surfaces are the usually responsibility of the leaseholder to maintain.

If you would like to report a repair, please contact our repairs service.

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How long will my repair take?

If you report a repair to staff outside the office it may not be acted upon until they return to the office.

To help you decide whether your repair is urgent or not, listed below are all our repairs categories:

Any emergency repair which, if not ‘made safe’ immediately, could pose a potential risk of injury to persons, or damage to property. Examples are:

  • potentially dangerous fault on electrical power or lighting circuit
  • potentially dangerous fault in gas supply pipe. (Please note: the Southern Gas Network must attend first if you smell gas – phone the Southern Gas Network on 0800 111 999)
  • insecure entrance door or ground floor window
  • burst water pipe that cannot be contained or isolated
  • Leaking soil pipe
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A repair which, if not ‘made safe’ the next working day, could pose a potential risk of injury to persons, or damage to property. Examples are:

  • no lighting or power (excluding fuses which can be renewed by tenants)
  • dangerous brickwork or dangerous structural fault
  • storm damage or other damage causing structural failure
  • blocked WC pans (only one in the dwelling)
  • blocked drains
  • fault in supply or burst pipe leading to no cooking, bathroom or toilet facilities
  • no hot water
  • blocked waste pipe to sink, bath or hand basin
  • heating (heating season only - 1 October - 30 April)
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  • Leaking roof
  • Leaking tank or internal water pipe
  • Tank overflowing
  • Underground leak
  • Broken or faulty electrical fitting including immersion heaters
  • Broken or faulty sash cords
  • Rotten or broken floorboards
  • Collapsed ceiling
  • Falling gutter, slates or tiles
  • Heating (non-heating season only - 1 May - 30 September)
  • Defective stair tread
  • Defective external door lock
  • Broken window stay or fastener
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Any other repair not included in Categories A, B, and C.

If the contractors fail to meet the target response times they could incur additional costs and/or lose the job to another contractor. The same could apply if they fail to complete the job satisfactorily.

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Handyperson service

A handyperson service is available to the council's tenants for some work which is not covered under the Council's normal repairs service or their tenancy conditions.

General work

  • Hanging curtains
  • Fitting curtain rails
  • Putting up shelves
  • Putting up pictures
  • Fitting a letter basket
  • Clearing a loft
  • Repairs to gates or fencing - maximum four hours' work
  • Fitting brackets for hanging baskets

Security

  • Fit keysafe
  • Fit spyhole
  • Fit door chain
  • Fit mortice lock
  • Outside light – light to be provided by tenant

Electrical

  • Change strip light (this service is offered only to elderly people)
  • Changing plugs
  • Fitting doorbells

Plumbing

  • Plumbing in washing machine

Gardening

  • General clearance of overgrown gardens
  • Grass cutting
  • Weeding
  • General maintenance e.g. edging or sweeping leaves, clearing paths
    • Note: an additional charge of £15 will be made for rubbish removal
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Labour for the service will be free for four hours for tenants in receipt of housing benefit. Work will be limited to four hours a year, although an exception for a maximum of two additional hours may be made for gardening work at an additional cost of £10 per hour plus £15 for any waste removal. If you wish the council to supply materials for the work these will be charged for. 

Where a charge is to be made for the service we will provide you with a quotation. Payment must be made before the work is done. The reason for this is to avoid the Council being left with debts to chase which would add to our costs. In order to keep the ordering system as simple as possible, we will be able to take credit/debit card payments over the phone. If you do not have a credit/debit card you may be able to order the work via someone who does. Alternatively payment can be made by cash or cheque at a post office, although this may delay commencement of the work.

All work is raised on a 20 working day priority and there is a 2% charge for card transactions.

Please note that the handyperson service is not an emergency service.

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Applying for permission to make alterations to your home

Under Section 97 of the Housing Act 1985, tenants must seek the landlord's consent before undertaking any alterations to the property.

If you would like to make alterations to your council home, please contact us.

Adapting your home

Wiltshire Council can provide assistance with adaptations and facilities to improve access and facilities in council owned homes; for registered disabled tenants or members of their household. A factsheet is available on the council tenant and leaseholders factsheets page.

We will arrange for an Occupational Therapist to visit you at your home to carry out an assessment of your needs. This will identify if any adaptations or facilities are required and will provide details of the work that is necessary.

Examples of some of the adaptations that we can provide include:

  • Lever Taps
  • Hand / grab rails for baths, showers, stairs and front access points
  • Stair lifts
  • Walk-in shower
  • Access ramps to replace front steps
  • Raising the height of sockets

These are just a few examples. The Occupational Therapist will provide advice on the adaptations that would be appropriate to meet your needs.

When considering requests for adaptations we will consider all available options. This may include providing assistance with re-housing to a more suitable property. We will also have to take into account the suitability of your home for the works being recommended by the Occupational Therapist, the cost of the works and any ongoing maintenance costs.  

The options will be discussed with you and you will be advised in writing of our decision.

We will keep you advised of all decisions made. We will also arrange for any agreed works to be carried out by our approved contractor.

Sometimes general aids are not enough to carry out day-to-day activities and the ability to live independently should be reflected and acknowledged within our policies thus ensuring that we are striving for equality for all our tenants in terms of accessibility.

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Enquiries should be made to Social Care Helpdesk for adults 0300 456 0111.

Enquiries for supporting children to live at home contact 01722 327551.

Help and advice will be given by a customer coordinator and, if needed, a referral will be made to an occupational therapist (OT) who will visit you and discuss the various options for supporting you to live at home.

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Planned works - maintaining the housing stock

The ‘Decent Homes Standard’ is a target that has been set by the government for all council housing. This standard requires homes to be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities.

There are four requirements that all have to be met:

1) It has to be fit to live in.

2) It must be in a reasonable state of repair. This includes the basic elements of a well maintained home such as good windows, roofs, and electrical wiring.

3) It must have reasonably modern facilities

Homes that fail to meet these criteria are those that lack three or more of the following:

  • a reasonably modern kitchen (20 years old or less)
  • a kitchen with adequate space and layout
  • a reasonably modern bathroom (30 years old or less)
  • an appropriately located bathroom or wc
  • adequate insulation against external noise where noise is a problem
  • adequate size and layout of common areas for blocks of flats.

4) It must have a reasonable degree of thermal comfort. This would include good insulation and upgrading or provision of central heating.

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To help us develop a planned programme of repairs we carry out stock condition surveys and use the information from these surveys to develop programmes of planned works.

A new up-to-date survey is now required, which we are in the process of organising. Once this has been completed we will work with tenants and leaseholders to develop a new planned programme of works. If you have any queries about planned works, please contact us.

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Annual gas servicing and gas safety

Gas servicing is a free service undertaken for council tenants for the safety of you and your family. It is a legal requirement, as your landlord, that we service your gas appliances every year.

You, as the tenant, are required by the terms of your tenancy agreement to allow us access to carry out this servicing.

Your annual gas service check makes sure your gas appliances are working efficiently and, as well as keeping you safe, this can also save you money on your heating bills.

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There is an annual cyclical program of servicing undertaken on our behalf by British Gas and they will send you a letter with details of the date and time of your appointment.

If this date and / or time are not convenient for you there will be details on the letter so you can re-arrange your appointment for a time and date that is convenient for you.

Please note: It is necessary that you or another adult is at home when we visit to do your annual gas servicing appointment.

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If you miss your first appointment, you will be sent a second letter from British Gas, giving you a new appointment.

If you miss or cannot make an appointment, you can call to re-arrange any appointment, by ringing British Gas on 0845 8500047 or free on 0800 1077009 (if you are calling from a landline). 

It is very important that gas servicing is done regularly and that you allow us access to do this servicing. Carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty appliances can kill and it is a condition of your tenancy that you must let us in.

If the contractor is unable to gain access after two attempts the Council will employ its “Access Procedure” in accordance with the gas servicing procedure.

If you continually miss appointments or don't allow us to do the work, we will apply to take court action against you in order to gain access to your property and service your gas appliances. Once an application has been made to the court, you will be liable to pay all costs, a sum that will be no less that £450 – even if you arrange an appointment prior to attending court.

You will also be in breach of your tenancy conditions.

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Gas meters are the responsibility of your gas supplier. If you have a problem with your gas meter, please contact your gas supplier. Your neighbourhood officer can show you how to turn off your gas meter.

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Water supply

In the case of an emergency contact the repairs service without delay.

You should find out where the main stopcock is so that you can turn it off quickly in an emergency. There is normally one inside the property and one situated externally.

When your water supply has been turned off you will not be able to draw off any hot water once your tank is empty. You should, therefore, damp down or turn off the boiler straightaway to prevent damage to the cylinder and boiler.

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To stop water flowing from a burst pipe, shut the main stopcock and open all taps to run off water from the pipes and tank.

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If you have a back boiler and hear it bubbling or boiling, damp down the fire and let it go out. You should telephone the housing department immediately.

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Over-tightening of taps causes the washer to wear out more quickly than necessary. Remember to turn the water supply off at the appropriate stopcock before replacing the washer.

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Energy efficiency

Turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10% and save you around £40 per year. 

Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat shouldn't need to be set higher than 60°C/140°F.

Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Don't leave appliances such as TVs and stereos on standby and remember not to leave appliances on charge unnecessarily. 

Switch off your computer and monitor when they're not being used.

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Boil only as much water as you need, but remember to cover the elements if you're using an electric kettle.

Use the kettle to boil water for cooking, instead of heating a pan on the stove. This is more efficient and takes less time too!

When cooking choose the right sized pan for the food and the cooker, cut food into smaller pieces and put lids on pans as the food will then cook a lot quicker.

If you are defrosting food, or just warming things up, then microwave ovens are ideal as they use much less electricity than conventional ovens.

Use a toaster rather than a grill for making toast.

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Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.

Recycle anything you are able to such as newspapers, bottle and cans, recycling saves energy.

Elements in kettles and washing machines that are coated with limescale are inefficient and use more energy. To remove limescale leave a cup full of vinegar in your kettle overnight. Every two months run your washing machine on a 60 degree cycle with no clothes and 200ml of white vinegar.

Replace your light bulbs with energy saving recommended ones: just one can reduce your lighting costs by up to £100 over the lifetime of the bulb and they last up to 12 times longer than ordinary light bulbs.

Seal up any draughts in doors and windows using draught excluders. For small draughts use stick-on draft excluding tape which is available from most DIY stores.

Put aluminium foil behind any radiators fitted to outside walls with the shiny side facing the radiator. Ordinary kitchen foil will do, or you can buy specially designed panels from DIY stores.

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Cheap and simple energy measures for your home

A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath and so fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off.

Have a five minute shower instead of a bath it saves water and energy.

Only use dishwashers and washing machines with full loads and if you can't, use a half load or economy programme.

Always use the low temperature (40°C) programme as modern detergents work just as effectively at this temperature and use much less energy.

Wash dishes by hand when you can.

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Let hot food cool down before putting it in the fridge or freezer.

Don't leave the door open for longer than necessary as cold air escapes. 

If you do not have a frost free freezer, defrost it regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply as those filled with frost work harder to stay cold.

Keep your fridge and freezer well stocked as they need less energy than empty ones.

If your freezer frosts up quickly, check the door seals.

Replace an old fridge freezer with a modern rated one which will use two and a half times less energy. 

Look out for the energy saving recommended logo.

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Other useful numbers


Telephone number
Enquiry
0800 980 8476
General enquiries


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Telephone number
Enquiry
0800 111 999
Emergencies
0844 381 0733
Customer Services


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Telephone number
Enquiry
0345 600 3600
General enquiries
0345 600 4600
Water supply and sewerage issues


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Last updated: 21 September 2017 | Last reviewed: 21 September 2017