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Specific repairs

Glass in doors and windows

You must use safety glass in repairs of windows or doors. If you carry out a repair and do not use safety glass, at the end of your tenancy we will replace the glazing with safety glass and charge you for it.

Although you are responsible for certain repairs, we may still carry out the repair but will charge you the cost of doing so.  

Laminate flooring (glued)

If you have decided to use laminate or wood flooring as your floor covering, it may cause problems if we need to get access underneath the floor to carry out a repair.  This is likely to be difficult if the flooring is glued in place or fitted under skirting boards, as it cannot be lifted and re-laid without damage.  Check that your home and contents insurance will cover this damage before having the flooring laid. 

Alterations and improvements

If you want to carry out any alterations or improvements, you must get written permission before you start the work.  If you do not get our permission, we may have to carry out work to put things back the way they were.  We will charge you for any work involved.

You also need our permission to install satellite dishes or aerials.  We will only refuse to give our permission if we have good reason.  You may also need to get permission from the local authority’s Planning Department. If you do not get our permission, we may remove the satellite dish and charge you for the work involved.

If you have carried out work to improve your property you may be entitled to compensation when you leave the home.  See the Moving Out section of this handbook for more information.

How to report a repair

Our Customer Services 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

Emergency call-out 

If you need a repair in an emergency, and our offices are closed, you can ring 0300 323 0990. You can only use this service for repairs that need to be carried out urgently to:

  •  make your home secure (for example, by temporarily boarding up windows);
  •  make your home safe after storm or fire damage;
  •  avoid danger to life or risk of serious injury;
  •  prevent further damage (for example, from flooding, burst pipes or serious leaks); or
  •  repair complete loss of heating or power supply within the home.

These emergency repairs may only be a temporary fix, with a permanent repair being carried out later.  If you make an emergency call, you must have the following information available.

  •  The full postal address where the repair is needed
  •  Your name and the name of the tenant, if you are calling on behalf of someone else
  •  A contact phone number, your own or a neighbour’s 
  •  Any other relevant details for contact or access
  •  A brief but accurate description of the problem and what repair or tradesperson may be needed, such as a plumber, glazier or  joiner 

If you make an emergency call for work that is not an emergency, you will have to wait for the work to be started.

What happens after you report a repair 

Your report will be passed to the Customer Services team. If the housing services officer wants to inspect the problem, they will contact you to make an appointment. Otherwise, they will issue an order for the work to be carried out.

We will send you a copy of the work order.  We will include a satisfaction questionnaire with it.   When the work has been completed, please fill in the questionnaire and return it to us in the envelope provided, with any comments you may have on the work that was carried out.  This will help us to monitor the quality of our repair service.

Repairs that are not emergencies will be carried out during normal working hours, which are 8am to 5pm on weekdays.

How long repairs will take

We have set target times for completing repairs, depending on the type of work that needs to be done.

Emergency repairs

Emergency repairs will be carried out as soon as possible after they have been reported, and always within eight hours.   If a temporary repair is carried out, you will be told when you can expect the permanent repair to be completed and whether or not you will be charged for the work.

Urgent repairs 

Some urgent repairs will be carried out within one working day.  These repairs include the following.

  •  Blocked sink, bath or drain (if there are no other sinks or baths in the house)
  •  Dangerous paths and steps
  •  Repairs to toilets (if there are no other toilets in the house)

Other urgent repairs will be carried out within two working days. These are repairs where any delay of more than two working days could cause damage to your property. These repairs include the following.

  •  Floods or leaks causing damage to ceilings or walls
  •  Broken glass, doors or locks
  •  Faulty immersion heaters (if there is no other hot-water supply)
  •  Heating repairs in cold weather

Routine repairs

Most other repairs will be routine repairs and will be carried out within 10 working days.

The types of repair quoted above are intended as a guide only.  There will be situations where the time it takes us to respond to repairs will be different because of special circumstances.  We will tell you about these when you report your repair.

Right to repairs

You are entitled to have certain repairs carried out within a timescale set by The Scottish Government.  These are called qualifying repairs.  If any qualifying repair is not carried out within the timescale set, you have the right to call in another contractor to do the work.  This contractor must be on the list of approved contractors we have given you. 

You must first tell us that the repair has not been carried out within the set timescale and that you are getting in a contractor yourself.

You will then be eligible for a payment from us to make up for the delay.  You will receive a standard £15 plus £3 for every working day over the set timescale during which the repair was not completed.  These payments do not come into force until the timescales given below have passed and the repair is still not done. 

For example, if you lose some of your electricity supply on a Monday, and you report it to us that day, we will have three days to fix it.  If we have not fixed it by Thursday you can contact us to ask us to appoint another contractor to carry out the repair, or you can arrange another contractor yourself.  We will then give you £15 plus £3 for every working day until the repair is completed.  This £3 a day will not start until the Thursday and will end on the day the repair is completed.  The most any tenant can claim is £100.

Qualifying repairs and timescales

Repairs that should be carried out within one working day of the repair being reported

  •  Blocked flue to an open fire or boiler
  •  Blocked or leaking soil stack or toilet pan (if there is no other toilet in the home)
  •  Blocked sink, bath or drain
  •  Total loss of electric power, unless it is a power cut or has been cut off at the mains
  •  Insecure window or door on the outside of the property
  •  Unsafe path or step to the property
  •  Leaks or flooding from water or heating pipes, tanks and cisterns
  •  Loss or partial loss of gas supply
  •  Toilet not flushing (if there is no other toilet in the property)
  •  Unsafe power or lighting socket, or electrical fitting
  •  Loss of water supply within the home, unless it has been turned off at the mains

Repairs that should be carried out within three working days of the repair being reported

  •  Partial loss of electric power
  •  Partial loss of water supply
  •  Loose or detached banister or handrail
  •  Unsafe wooden flooring or stairs

Repairs that should be carried out within seven working days of the repair being reported

  •  Mechanical extractor fan in kitchen or bathroom not working 

For more information, phone our Customer Services Team and ask for a copy of the ‘Right to Repair’ leaflet. 

Planned maintenance

We have a programme of planned maintenance each year. This usually results from an inspection visit. Some work is programmed to deal with the natural ageing of your home.  This means that on a planned and regular basis we upgrade, repair and replace certain parts of properties.  For example, we generally redecorate the outside of all homes every five years and replace kitchens every 15 years (if the board agrees). 

Sometimes we may delay carrying out a routine repair if the item is due to be replaced under our programme of planned maintenance quite soon.  We will tell you about this when you report the repair. 

Sometimes after major repairs or maintenance work we will provide redecoration vouchers.  

Repairs to your property when you have applied to buy your home

Until your purchase is completed, we must keep the structure and outside of your home in good repair. We will not carry out any major replacements or improvements after you have applied to buy your home.

Circuit breakers

Houses are fitted with current breakers or circuit breakers to cut off the electricity if there is a problem.  These provide extra safety but are very sensitive to faulty appliances. Before reporting a fault with your power supply you should reset the circuit breaker and make sure that it is not a faulty appliance which is causing the circuit breaker to 'trip'. If the fault is caused by an applicance we will charge you.

For more information, phone the Customer Services Team.

Gas servicing

If you have gas central heating or a gas fire provided by us, by law we must inspect and service it once a year.  If the inspection shows that a repair or replacement is needed, we will carry out the work within the appropriate timescales.  You will have to let our contractor in to carry out the inspection and any further work.  If we have to force our way into your property to carry out the work you will have to pay any associated costs.   We will give you a copy of the inspection report.  If the report highlights a problem with one of your own appliances, you will be responsible for arranging and paying for any necessary repair or replacement.

When you move in we will give you a copy of the most recent gas-safety report for your home. 

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out contents insurance to cover your belongings and decoration in your home against damage caused by theft, fire or accident.  You might be liable to replace broken glass in windows, or damaged sinks, baths or toilets, so you should include accidental cover in your household insurance.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has negotiated special rates for housing association tenants.  If you want more details, phone the Customer Services team and ask for a leaflet about Diamond Insurance Cover.

You do not need to insure the building itself.  This is our responsibility.

You may want to keep a list of your valuable possessions.  Take a note of serial numbers on equipment and include any details such as distinguishing features, jewellery hallmarks or imperfections.  You might also want to take photographs of any unusual items.  If items are stolen, the list and photos will help you and the police confirm what has been stolen and identify anything that is recovered. 

Condensation 

Condensation affects millions of homes in the UK.  It is closely related to how well the home is heated, ventilated, insulated and draught-proofed. There are simple things you can do to help cut down the problem. 

Condensation, like all dampness, causes a particular problem because damp homes are harder to heat.

It is important to realise that condensation can arise in rooms some distance away from the source of moisture.  Warm moist air naturally moves to colder areas and will condense on cold surfaces.  For example, a common problem in homes that are not centrally heated is that moisture in the air moves to unheated rooms (often bedrooms) and causes condensation.

What condensation is

If warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, the moisture in the air becomes water droplets on the surface.  This effect can be seen on a bathroom mirror when you have a hot bath or on a glass containing a cold drink.

Why condensation is a problem

  •  Condensation causes staining and mould growth and can damage wallpaper, walls and window frames as well as furniture and clothing.
  •  The black mould that is a familiar sight when there are severe condensation problems can cause health problems in some people.
  •  Condensation, like all other forms of dampness, makes houses difficult to keep warm. This is because wet building materials lose heat more quickly than dry ones, and some of the heat is being used to dry out the home.

Where you find condensation

  •  Cold surfaces such as mirrors, single-glazed windows and metal-framed windows
  •  Kitchens and bathrooms (where moist air is produced through washing, cooking and so on)
  •  Walls of unheated rooms
  •  Cold corners of rooms
  •  Wardrobes, cupboards (particularly built-in cupboards) and behind furniture against an outside wall

How to reduce the risk of condensation

To reduce condensation one or more of the following factors should be considered.

  •  The amount of moisture produced
  •  Ventilation
  •  Heating
  •  Insulation

The amount of moisture produced 

Moisture is produced in the course of normal day-to-day activities, but there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce the amount of moisture produced. 

  •  Keep lids on saucepans when cooking.
  •  Do not soak clothes for longer than necessary.
  •  Have your tumble dryer vented to the outside.
  •  Do not use bottled-gas or paraffin heaters.
  •  If the kitchen or bathroom is steamy, open the window and close the door.  
  •  Leave cupboard and wardrobe doors open from time to time, or have louvre doors.
  •  Make sure clothes are totally dry before you put them in your wardrobe.

Ventilation 

However, too much ventilation makes a house draughty.  Getting the balance right can be difficult.

Background ventilation can be given by trickle ventilators fitted to window frames, or by air bricks and ventilators.  Some of these are adjustable, but they should never be blocked.  

In kitchens and bathrooms, extractor fans are a very good idea. Some ventilators switch themselves on and off according to the moisture in the air.

If you are getting condensation on furniture (commonly a bed pushed against an outside wall or a sofa in a bay window), move the furniture away from the wall a few inches to make sure air can circulate around the cold area.

Never seal openings or vents in a room that has a gas or solid-fuel fire in it.

Heating 

Condensation is most likely to be a problem in a home that is not heated enough.  The home may not be heated well enough because the heating system is not good enough, or because it is too expensive to heat the home. You should not use bottled-gas and paraffin heaters as these are likely to make any condensation problem worse.  Remember also that peak-rate electricity is expensive, and it may be false economy to switch off your central heating and use electric bar fires or fan heaters instead.

Insulation 

Insulation is important in treating condensation.

  •  It warms up the surface of walls, ceiling and windows, so moisture doesn’t condense on them.
  •  It generally warms up the home.
  •  It can reduce heating bills, so people can afford to heat their homes effectively.

Dealing with mould 

For some people, black mould causes a health risk. Remove mould using a solution of bleach and water.  If mould is particularly bad, wear a face mask when removing it.  The cleaned area may be painted with anti-mould paint, or covered with special wallpaper paste before you redecorate.  However, if you do not treat the cause of the mould, it will return.

The most effective way to get rid of mould in the long term is to reduce condensation. 

Adaptations

If any member of your household has a physical disability or an ongoing medical problem that makes living in your home difficult, we will try to help you.  There are two ways you may be able to get help.

  •  Social services can provide aids such as grab rails.
  •  We may be able to arrange for adaptations such as replacing a bath with a shower or changing the height of worktops or kitchen units.

If you think you need an adaptation we will arrange for a suitably qualified specialist, usually an occupational therapist, to carry out a formal assessment.  They will give us a written report telling us what changes need to be made to your home, and give a priority for the work to be done.   We will work out the cost of the work. If we have the funding available we will arrange to have the work carried out for you. 

If we do not have the funding you may be able to arrange and pay for the work yourself.  You must have our written permission to carry out any work on your home.  For more information, phone our Customer Services Team.  

There are details of occupational therapists and social services in Your contacts and notes.

Handbook Contents

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