What is a defect?
A defect is a fault that arises in your property or the development after the date we take it over from the building contractor. The defects liability period lasts for 12 months after that date (not the date you got the tenancy or bought the home)..
A defect is not a repair needed due to damage, neglect or general wear and tear.
How to report a defect
You should report any defects to our Customer Services Team. Our staff are split into North and South teams. Please contact them as follows:
If you live in the North (areas north of, but not including, Inverness) please call our lo-call number: 0300 323 0990
If you live in the South (areas south of, and including, Inverness) please call our lo-call number: 0300 323 0991
If your defect is out of office hours and is an emergency, your call will be redirected to our out-of-hours service.
When you report your defect you may be asked a number of questions. It is important that you try to provide as much information as possible so we can make sure that what you are reporting is a defect and not a repair needed because of damage or mis-use. If we send the contractor out and the problem is not a defect, we will charged you for the call-out. We may need to inspect the property before we call the contractor out.
Timescales for dealing with a defect
The contractor will come out to deal with a reported defect within the following timescales.
Emergency work – eight hours
Emergency work is work to prevent further damage, such as:
- flooding, burst pipes and serious leaks in the roof; and
- complete loss of heating and power supply within the home – one day.
Urgent repairs – one day
Urgent repairs include:
- a blocked sink, bath or drain (if there are other sinks and baths in the house); and
- repairs to a toilet and cistern (if there is no other toilet in the house)
Other repairs – two days
- repairs to heating; and
- water penetration causing damage to ceilings or walls.
Please note that the contractor does not need to come out to minor or
non-urgent defects within these timescales. For example, minor faults in woodwork may only be dealt with once there are a number of reports from properties in your development. In this case, some faults may not be corrected until after the 12-month defects liability period ends.
We strongly recommend that you do not paint or decorate your home for the first year. Plaster will be drying out and minor cracks and nail heads may appear. The contractor will put this right at the end of the defects liability period, but will only touch up the affected area with paint, and not be expected to touch up any paint you have used.
We will have to carry out an end-of-defects inspection on your home before the 12-month defects liability period ends. We will tell you when we will carry out this inspection. Please make sure that you have a note of any faults to tell us during the inspection visit.
The contractor will then arrange for the work to be carried out within a reasonable timescale.
It is really important that you give us access to your property for the inspection and for the work to be carried out. We realise that the time or date we give you for the inspection may not be convenient. If so, contact our Development Department as soon as possible to re-arrange the inspection. But if you do not let us in for the inspection or the work to be carried out, we will write to you to tell you that you will have to accept full responsibility for any defects.
What will happen if a defect arises after the end-of-defects inspection?
If a fault arises after the defects liability period because the building work or material that does not meet the requirements of the building contract, this is a ‘latent defect’.
If you are a tenant you need to report the fault to us and we will investigate further. If the fault can be classed as a latent defect, we will ask the contractor to carry out the repair. If you are an owner, please refer to the NHBC section below.
If you have bought a LIFT or Homestake property your home will be covered by a 10-year NHBC Buildmark guarantee or an Architects Professional Indemnity Certificate. If a latent defect arises in your property, you must take this matter up with the organisation specified in the relevant guarantee or certificate your solicitor gave you when you bought your home.
We will set a service charge that you must pay us every month. The service charge covers the maintenance of all the shared areas within the development. The amount of the charge depends on the particular services we provide on the development. The possible services are listed below.
- Gritting paths in the winter
- Lighting, cleaning and painting stairways
- Providing washing lines
- Cleaning windows in shared areas
- Maintaining a TV aerial we have provided for all residents in the development
- Maintaining door-entry systems in blocks of flats
- Cleaning gutters on blocks of flats
- Painting the outside of properties
- Providing wheelie bins
- Cleaning and maintaining bin stores
- Servicing heating servicing
When we work out the total service charge we include an administration fee. We then divide this total by the number of properties who will benefit from the services. And so, it may be that you live in a landscaped scheme with 100 properties and you still have to pay your share of the service charge for the landscaping, even if that landscaping is not next to your home.
If you are a tenant, details of your service charge will be given in your tenancy agreement. If you are an owner, your solicitor will have told you how much the service charge is.
Deed of conditions
If you have bought a LIFT or Homestake property, your solicitor should have gone through the details of the deed of conditions and your obligations under it. The deed of conditions confirms that as the owner of the property, you share responsibility to meet the cost of maintaining all shared areas along with every other owner in the development.
A factor (service manager) is appointed to oversee the maintenance of these areas, and to collect the payments due from each household. In most cases we are the factors, but a private agent may be appointed.
If you have any concerns about the maintenance of shared areas you must contact the factor.