Residents' Handbook

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					Customers First




 Residents’ Handbook
     This handbook must remain at the property
to which it has been addressed. Please do not remove
  should you transfer or move to another property.
    Introduction
    Welcome to Moat

    In September 2007 Moat welcomed Bourne Housing Society as a new
    subsidiary. All references to Moat residents throughout this handbook
    also apply to Bourne residents.

    This handbook provides information that we hope will help you enjoy
    living in your home and in your neighbourhood.

    It outlines Moat’s services, your rights and responsibilities under your
    tenancy and some useful hints and tips.

    The handbook is a reference book which you will be able to turn to when
    you need information. It is a guide only and is not legally binding.

    If you require additional advice or information, please contact our Customer
    Service Team.Telephone numbers and email details are included in Section1.

    We would like to thank all the residents who helped in the production of
    this handbook. If you would like to contribute to the next edition, please
    contact us.


    If you have difficulty in understanding any information within

*   this handbook please ask for help. We will arrange for an
    interpreter to be made available or for information to be
    translated where needed. It can also be provided in large
    print, audio cassette, Braille or in electronic format (.pdf)
    on request.

    Moat is a member of Language Line. This is
    a 24 hour telephone interpreting service.

    If English is not your first language and you would like to
    speak to us in another, contact us on 0845 600 1006, and
    we will get an interpreter on line in minutes to help us
    respond to your query.
                                                                                   1
Contents
           1                                      3
Introduction to Moat                Repairing your home
SECTION                             SECTION



How to contact us              6    Who repairs what               30
About Moat                     7    Reporting repairs              33
Our approach to fairness and        Emergency repairs              33
diversity                      8    Repair response times          34
Working in the community       9    Appointments                   35
Our customer service vision    10   Repairs service monitoring     35
Our housing support services   11   What to expect from the
Our tenancy support services   12   contractors                    35
Continuous improvement         14   What contractors will expect
Service standards              15   from you                       36
                                    Be safe and secure             37
           2                        Emergencies                    38

Your tenancy
SECTION
                                    Maintaining and improving
                                    your home                      40
Types of tenancy               18   Gas servicing and annual
Tenancies in more than              safety check                   42
one name                       19   What if we get it wrong
Buying your home               19   on repairs?                    43
What happens if there is a
death in the household?        21                 4
                                    Money matters
                                    SECTION
Transferring your tenancy      21
Lodgers and subletting
                                    Paying rent
                               21
Moving home
                                                                   48
                                    How rents are set
                               22
Mutual exchange
                                                                   48
                                    Service charges
                               23
Moving out
                                                                   48
                                    Payment methods
                               24
Eviction
                                                                   49
                                    What will happen if I can’t
                               25
HomeBuy                        26   pay my rent?                   51
                                    Help with welfare benefits     51
                                    Energy saving tips             52
            5                                  6
Living in your home                 Getting involved -
SECTION                             SECTION



Gas and electricity            56   an invitation to residents
Water                          56   Keeping you informed             64
Council Tax                    56   Asking for your views            65
Heating and hot water          56   Residents panel                  65
Insurance                      56   Resident satisfaction survey     65
Keys                           57   Local meetings                   65
Household refuse                    Personal letters and
                                    questionnaires
                               57
Gardens
                                                                     65
                                    Board membership
                               57
Parking
                                                                     65
                                    Getting involved together
                               58
Abandoned vehicles
                                                                     66
                                    Your neighbourhood
                               58
Pets
                                                                     68
                               58
Vermin                         59
Aerials and satellite dishes
                                               7
                                    Further information
                                    SECTION
                               59
Neighbour disputes             59
Nuisance                            Keeping information about
                                    you - confidentiality
                               59
Noise
                                                                     72
                                    Our complaints policy
                               60
Racial and other harassment
                                                                     73
                                    Our approach to dealing with
                               60
Checklist for moving home
                                    anti-social behaviour and nuisance 76
                               61

                                    Useful contacts                  78
Introduction to Moat
             SECTION 1
  SECTION 1                                                                INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                       How to contact us
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                                  Moat, Mariner House, Galleon Boulevard,
                                  Crossways, Dartford, Kent DA2 6QE
                       By post:


                       Website:   www.moat.co.uk             Email:   customer@moat.co.uk
                       Our Customer Service Team provides a telephone response service to
                       all Moat customers. We aim to respond to your enquiries efficiently with
                       a service that is easy and quick for you to use.We are available between
                       9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday.
                       Our Customer Service Team works closely with your housing officers and
                       can deal with many of your queries on their behalf.

                       Customer Service Team:                           0845 600 1006
                       Emergency repairs
                       For emergency repairs outside these hours please call the number above,
                       listen carefully to the recorded message and follow the instructions.
                       Non-emergencies should be notified to us during office hours.

                       Housing support services
                       For enquiries relating to our housing support services please call our
                       Customer Service Team (as above).

                       Low cost home ownership / HomeBuy
                       For new enquiries relating to HomeBuy, please visit our website at
                       www.moat.co.uk or call 0845 600 1006.

                       HomeBuy is a government-led scheme which enables people to part
                       buy/part rent their own home on an affordable basis. Further details of
                       options available through this programme are available on our web site
                       www.moat.co.uk and within this handbook.

                       Home ownership services for existing shared ownership residents
                       If you are an existing shared ownership resident or a resident wishing to
                       enquire about Right to Buy or Right to Acquire please call 0845 600 1006.

                       Internet
                       We offer a range of online services that are available to you 24 hours a day,
                       seven days a week at www.moat.co.uk.We are expanding our online services
                       and are always pleased to receive feedback from residents. Please use the
                       ‘contact us’ feature at www.moat.co.uk to share your views with us.

  6
    INTRODUCTION TO MOAT                                                         SECTION 1




    About Moat




                                                                                       INTRODUCTION TO MOAT
    Moat is a leading housing association working in the south east, providing
    high quality, affordable homes and services, including support services to
    people who need assistance to live independently.

I   We involve our customers and provide them with high standards of service.
    We are the leading providers of housing solutions for key workers in the
    south east of England.We strive to make a positive difference to the
    neighbourhoods where we work. We own and manage nearly 18,000 homes.

I   We are developing around 700 new homes a year.

I   Moat is the government’s appointed agent for HomeBuy in Essex,
    Kent and Sussex.

I   Housing associations, like Moat, provide affordable housing and services to
    meet local needs.There are over 1,500 associations in England, with around
    2 million homes.We work in partnership with local authorities and others
    to house people in need, build new homes for rent and for shared
    ownership. We contribute to community regeneration, as well as providing
    a range of services.

I   All registered housing associations, including Moat, are regulated by
    The Housing Corporation, a government body that also invests in
    new housing projects.

I   We are governed by a board of management which includes residents,
    with a range of professional skills and local knowledge.

I   Moat Homes Limited is a charitable organisation. Our financial surpluses are
    re-invested to provide additional affordable homes and services for people
    in need.




                                                                                          7
  SECTION 1                                                                      INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                           Our approach to fairness and diversity
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                       I   We will make sure our services, facilities and resources are available and
                           useful to all individuals and neighbourhoods.

                       I   We will do all we can to make sure that we remove all forms of unfair and
                           unjustifiable treatment.

                       I   We will not unfairly discriminate, or treat any individual less favourably than
                           others are or would be treated on the grounds of race, gender, disability,
                           religion, marital status, nationality, ethnic origin, age, or sexual orientation.

                           Providing services
                       I   We will provide all of our services sensitively and aim to meet the needs of
                           everyone we deal with

                       I   We will take action to get rid of harassment and anti-social behaviour and
                           will provide support to the victims

                       I   We will make sure all residents have a say in how we design our services

                       I   We will provide homes which reflect the needs of the local neighbourhood
                           and will pay particular attention to where we build new homes, their
                           design, and size.

                           Contractors, consultants and suppliers
                       I   We will promote equal opportunities by only employing and supporting
                           contractors, consultants, and suppliers and partners who:

                       I   Mirror our commitment to equal opportunities

                       I   Value the different and diverse make up of our neighbourhoods.




  8
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT                                                        SECTION 1




Working in the community




                                                                                  INTRODUCTION TO MOAT
How we are governed
We will encourage people of different backgrounds to become members
of boards, committees, residents’ associations and working groups and try
to make sure these groups reflect the neighbourhoods they serve.

Communication
We will provide accessible information for everyone.We will provide
information in ways that reflect the needs of local neighbourhoods.We will
provide translated, Braille, and large print versions of printed leaflets or
interpreter services to help customers gain information about our services
in a form which suits their needs.




                                                                                     9
  SECTION 1                                                                   INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                            “
                           Our customer service vision:
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                                 We want to be a leading housing association
                                 providing high quality homes and services, including
                                 support services to people who need assistance to
                                 live independently.We want to:
                                 involve our customers and provide them with the
                                 highest standard of service; lead the sector in




                                                        ”
                                 delivering housing solutions for key workers and
                                 make a positive difference to the communities
                                 where we work.

                           To deliver the vision we will:
                       I   Achieve an ongoing and positive partnership with our customers

                       I   Communicate clearly and transparently our ability to meet customer
                           expectation, and always strive to do better

                       I   Put our customers’ needs at the very heart of our service delivery structures

                       I   Be committed to finding solutions to address our customers’ needs

                       I   Create an environment where both staff and customers feel positive about
                           being part of Moat

                           Implementing the vision – an agenda for change
                           We are committed to involving customers and staff in all aspects of policy
                           and service development and will seek to support and enable this to happen
                           across all activities.




  10
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT                                                         SECTION 1




Our Housing Support Services




                                                                                   INTRODUCTION TO MOAT
Our Housing Support Services team offers a range of high quality homes
and support to help more vulnerable people reach their full potential within
their local neighbourhood.

We have over 15 years experience and expertise in providing homes and
support for people with diverse housing needs. Our services include:

Housing support services for people with learning disabilities, physical
disabilities and mental health problems

Extra care housing for older people with additional support needs

Tenancy support services to help people maintain their tenancies

Short term accommodation and specialist support for single homeless people

Our Housing Support Services team provides a professional service, often
working closely with specialist agencies to improve the quality of support
available to residents in their homes.

We aim to involve residents in decisions affecting how their homes and
support packages are developed and managed, and we use a variety of
methods to achieve this, including a residents’ involvement group.




                                                                                  11
  SECTION 1                                                                    INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                           Our Tenancy Support Services
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                           Who can we help?
                           We help most people who need additional support in order to maintain
                           their tenancy. This includes single people and families, and people with
                           serious and longer-term needs, as well as those who need a little extra
                           help. Generally we can help most people, but especially:
                       I   People with learning disabilities
                       I   People with mental health problems
                       I   Physically disabled people
                       I   Homeless people
                       I   People with drug and alcohol abuse problems
                       I   Young people leaving care
                       I   Ex-offenders.

                           How does this work?
                           Our Tenancy Support Services are provided free to people who need them.
                           They are not means tested. We receive government funding through county
                           councils and local authorities (through the local Supporting People
                           administering authorities). This enables us to provide these valuable services.

                           Our tenancy support services include:

                           Help moving into a new home

                           Help with maintaining your home and your tenancy

                           Help with money advice

                           Help with life skills


                           Help with other matters
                           Depending on the needs of the individual, we offer access to a range of
                           additional services through other agencies.These could include other care
                           and support services, counselling services, education, health, employment,
                           social and leisure, or religious or cultural agencies.


  12
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT                                                       SECTION 1




We can help with completing an application for housing, dealing with the




                                                                                 INTRODUCTION TO MOAT
police and other agencies and assist with most matters relating to the
practicalities of day to day living.

What do I need to do to receive the service?
You should contact us on 0845 600 1006 in the first instance.

Our service does not include care services as these are normally provided
by social services teams.




                                                                                13
  SECTION 1                                                                   INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                           Continuous improvement
INTRODUCTION TO MOAT




                           We are developing a culture of continuous improvement and undertaking
                           comprehensive reviews of all our services to residents.

                           We aim to:
                       I   Strengthen the influence of residents in the design and delivery of the
                           services we provide for you

                       I   Make sure that the services we provide are cost effective and of high quality

                       I   Continually review our services to reflect what you want

                           During each review, we examine our services through the following four
                           criteria:
                           C HALLENGE - asking fundamental questions about whether we are best placed
                           to be providing the service and if it is provided in the most effective way

                           C OMPARE - comparing our level and type of service with other housing
                           associations and private companies to seek out best practice

                           C ONSULT - asking you to be involved effectively to influence the way the
                           reviews are conducted

                           C OMPETE - considering whether to tender each service competitively and
                           whether we deliver it ourselves or offer it to others

                           Residents’ panels, with residents representing all tenures, have been set up
                           and these groups help to:
                       I   Plan and monitor each service review
                       I   Review recommendations for change

                       I   Make recommendations to our Boards on new service standards, and the
                           planning and reporting of our performance

                       I   Review performance plans and performance reports.




  14
    INTRODUCTION TO MOAT                                                           SECTION 1




    Service standards




                                                                                         INTRODUCTION TO MOAT
    We are committed to providing a quality service to all our residents in
    a friendly and efficient way. We treat anyone who contacts us fairly and
    equally. We involve our residents and other agencies in decisions that
    affect them. To help us achieve this, we have developed a set of
    comprehensive service standards for all our residents; and also specific
    service standards for:

I   residents in sheltered housing
I   the welfare benefits service.

    Details of the standards are published in leaflets that are displayed in our
    reception areas and on our website. Please contact us if you wish to
    receive a copy by post or email.




                                                                                        15
Your tenancy
      SECTION 2
 SECTION 2                                                                         YOUR TENANCY




                   Your tenancy
YOUR TENANCY




                   When you became a resident of Moat, you would have signed a written
                   tenancy agreement. A copy of the agreement would have been given to
                   you for your records.This sets out your tenancy rights and responsibilities
                   and those of Moat.

                   Your tenancy agreement is a legal document and you should keep it in a
                   safe place to make sure it is available when needed.

                   Types of tenancy
                   There are different types of tenancy, each with different rights:
               I   If your tenancy started before 15 January 1989, it is likely to be a
                   secure tenancy
               I   If your tenancy started after 15 January 1989, it is likely to be an
                   assured tenancy
               I   If your tenancy is for a short or fixed period of time, it is likely to be an
                   assured shorthold tenancy
               I   Some new residents may have starter (or probationary) tenancies.This
                   type of tenancy converts to an assured shorthold tenancy after one year
                   without any tenancy breaches eg rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
                   To confirm which tenancy you hold either check your own copy or
                   contact us.




 18
    YOUR TENANCY                                                                    SECTION 2




                                                                                          YOUR TENANCY
    Tenancies in more than one name
    If you have a joint tenancy, you are both responsible for all the obligations
    of the tenancy.This includes paying your rent. If one person moves out,
    tell us without delay. If both joint tenants agree, you may be able to revert
    to a sole tenancy in this situation.

    Buying your home – Right to Buy
    To qualify to have a ‘Right to Buy’ you must:
I   Have held a tenancy with Maldon District Council but transferred to Moat
    in 1995 or
I   Have held a tenancy with Merton Borough Council but transferred to
    Moat in 1998 or
I   Have held a tenancy with Moat Housing Society prior to 15 January 1989.
    You will only be able to purchase under the scheme if your house or flat is
    a separate home and is your only home.




                                                                                         19
 SECTION 2                                                                   YOUR TENANCY




               You may have the ‘Right to Acquire’ if you have been a tenant in social
YOUR TENANCY




               housing for two years prior to 18 January 2005. If your tenancy began
               after 18 January 2005 you may have the ‘Right to Acquire’ after five years.
               However, you can only purchase your home if it was built or purchased by
               us after 1 April 1997 and funded by social housing grant.

               In certain circumstances, you may not be able to buy your home if a court
               makes a suspended or full possession order, which says that you must leave
               your home. You cannot buy your home if you are an undischarged bankrupt,
               have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or have made a formal
               arrangement with creditors (people you owe money to) under the
               Insolvency Acts and you still owe them the money.

               You may be able to exercise the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire jointly
               with members of your family who have lived with you for the past 12
               months, or with someone who is a joint tenant with you.

               Any land let together with your home (for example, gardens and
               occasionally garages) will usually be treated as part of your home.

               Some properties are excluded – for example homes adapted for people
               with a physical disability, sheltered accommodation or some housing in
               rural areas.

               Housing association tenants are awarded priority for Moat's HomeBuy
               programme of low cost home ownership. For more information please read
               the HomeBuy section on page 26 of this handbook or visit www.moat.co.uk
               where you can apply for low cost home ownership online.

               For further information regarding ‘Right to Buy’ or ‘Right to Acquire’, please
               contact us.




 20
    YOUR TENANCY                                                                     SECTION 2




                                                                                           YOUR TENANCY
    What happens when there is a death in the household?
    If a resident dies, the tenancy may pass to the partner if they are living
    together at the time of death. If there is no partner, the tenancy can pass
    to an adult member of the family providing the adult has lived with the
    resident for the year immediately before death. Contact us for assistance
    in this situation. It is the responsibility of the resident’s estate to remove
    personal property and pay for any damage to the property if a resident
    dies. Full rent will also be payable until the keys are returned.

    Transferring your tenancy
    This is the signing over of a tenancy from one named person to another.
    The new resident takes over the rights and obligations set out in the
    tenancy agreement, for example through mutual exchange.This can only be
    done with the written permission of Moat.

    Lodgers and sub-letting
    You may take in lodgers as long as this does not result in the overcrowding
    of your home. A lodger would live as part of your household. If you receive
    Housing Benefit, you must inform the Housing Benefit department at your
    local council office.

    You may sub-let part of your home providing that:

I   You have written permission from us and this does not result in overcrowding
I   You do not sub-let your entire home.




                                                                                          21
 SECTION 2                                                                      YOUR TENANCY




                   Moving home
YOUR TENANCY




                   Transfers
                   If you feel your home is no longer suitable for your needs, you can apply
                   to transfer to another of our properties by completing an application to
                   go on our waiting list.

                   Before an offer of accommodation is made, you must comply with your
                   tenancy agreement.You will be required to:

               I   Clear any rent arrears completely

               I   Carry out any repairs which are your responsibility

               I   Complete a minimum of 12 months satisfactory tenancy

                   Your application will be awarded points depending on your need for
                   re-housing. Our waiting list is reviewed annually at which time you will
                   be contacted to see if your requirements are still the same. If your
                   circumstances change please tell us.

                   False information
                   You will be asked to sign a statement declaring that the information you
                   give us is correct. If you give false information:

               I   Your application will be removed from our waiting list immediately

               I   You risk losing your home if you provide false information to obtain housing.




 22
YOUR TENANCY                                                              SECTION 2




                                                                                YOUR TENANCY
Swapping your home with HomeSwapper
You may be eligible for the HomeSwapper scheme. This enables you to
move to another area if you wish to do so.

If you would like further information on how this works, you can either
contact us or HomeSwapper.co.uk.

Mutual exchange
You can apply to exchange your home by mutually swapping tenancy
agreements with another Moat resident, or another housing association or
council tenant.

You must first gain permission and complete some documentation.
Permission to exchange may be refused in certain circumstances, for example
rent arrears, overcrowding, under-occupation or any other breach of the
tenancy agreement.

The Moat resident signs to say they will put their existing property into
good order and accepts the new property on the “taken as seen” principle,
unless there is an item which needs to be done for reasons of health and
safety. This should be identified at the time of inspection, before the
mutual exchange occurs. Only gas and electricity checks will be done.
The new resident will be informed of any “gifted” items (e.g. conservatory,
shed, shower) for which the resident will be responsible.




                                                                               23
 SECTION 2                                                                          YOUR TENANCY
YOUR TENANCY



                   Moving out
                   If you decide to give up your tenancy, you must give us at least four weeks
                   notice in writing, expiring on a Sunday.You must also ensure that your
                   property is left in good, re-lettable condition.We will carry out an inspection
                   of your property before you move out.

                   Before you leave
                   Read the gas and electricity meters and inform the utilities companies that
                   you are moving;

               I   Make sure that the property is secure – windows shut, doors locked, etc

               I   Make sure that all taps are turned off and not dripping

               I   Turn off the main supplies, gas etc
                   (If you remove any gas appliances that are your property, you must ensure that the
                   pipework is left in a safe condition and capped off by a CORGI registered fitter).

                   When you leave the property you should remove all items and leave it
                   clean throughout. If you do not do this, we will assume that you do not
                   want the items you have left behind and we will dispose of them. We will
                   charge you for this and any outstanding repairs that are your responsibility.

                   On or before the last Monday of your notice period, please return the
                   keys to us before 12 noon. If you do not return your keys you will either
                   be charged the cost of changing the locks, or the extra rent due until the
                   keys are returned.




 24
YOUR TENANCY                                                                  SECTION 2




                                                                                    YOUR TENANCY
Eviction
We want to help you in times of difficulty, therefore you must tell us
immediately if you have difficulties maintaining your responsibilities as a
tenant.Your tenancy agreement sets out your obligations. If these are not
adhered to, we will have to take action.We will visit you or write to you.
We will try to help you, but this may not always be possible, especially if
you leave it too late before you alert us to any difficulties.

If eviction from your home is inevitable, a "notice of our intention to seek
possession" (NOSP) will be served. Either an injunction or an order for
possession will follow this from the County Court. It is imperative that you
talk to us as early as possible so that we can help you avoid this situation.




                                                                                   25
SECTION 2                                                                     YOUR TENANCY




                 HomeBuy
  YOUR TENANCY




                 HomeBuy is a government funded initiative to provide low cost, affordable
                 homes. It offers a range of schemes to help people who wish to buy a
                 property but are unable to raise a mortgage large enough to do so.
                 HomeBuy can also help people who wish to rent a property but cannot
                 afford to pay market rents.

                 Most people who apply for HomeBuy are first time buyers but we can also
                 help you if:

          I      You need to buy a property because your household has outgrown the
                 existing arrangements

          I      You have separated from a partner and need a new home of your own.


                 Options available:

                 Open Market HomeBuy – enables people to buy a home on the open
                 market by allowing access to additional money in the form of equity loans to
                 supplement a mortgage.Applicants typically raise a mortgage for 75% of the
                 property's value and equity loans are available to fund the remaining share

                 Priority is given to key workers, council and housing association tenants.
                 We can also help other first time buyers; additional criteria will apply.

                 New Build HomeBuy – brand new houses and apartments available to
                 purchase on a part buy/part rent basis.You purchase a share in the property,
                 typically 50% (although this can vary between 25% and 75%) and pay a
                 subsidised rent on the remaining share.

                 Resales – when any of our existing part buy/part rent homes become
                 available for resale, you can buy the share from its current owner.The share
                 available depends on how much is already owned by the existing shared
                 owner.A subsidised rent is payable on the remaining share.

                 New Build Discounted Rent – new homes available at a discounted rent,
                 normally 80% of ordinary market rents for homes of similar size and
                 specification in the surrounding areas.This scheme is predominantly available
                 to public sector key workers.


26
YOUR TENANCY                                                                SECTION 2




Social HomeBuy – this option gives the opportunity for housing




                                                                                  YOUR TENANCY
association tenants to purchase a share in their home. For further
information please contact 0845 600 1006 as eligibility is based on
your landlord's approval and participation in the scheme.

First Time Buyers' Initiative – the scheme applies to new build homes
only - you buy your brand new home with an affordable mortgage with
additional assistance from the government.You will need to take out an
affordable mortgage for a minimum of 50% of the full purchase price through
an FSA regulated lender.The government then provides additional assistance
to buy up to the full purchase price.


How to apply
The easiest way to apply is through our website at www.moat.co.uk.
Please ensure you read the accompanying information contained within
our booklet Am I eligible? to ensure that you are eligible to apply.

Alternatively call us for an application pack and we will put one in the post
to you.We are available to help you from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.
For more information call us on 0845 600 1006 or visit our website at
www.moat.co.uk.

We will consider your application depending on your household need,
affordability and other criteria.

Should you wish to view properties available from all housing associations
developing in Kent, Sussex and Essex you can also visit www.homebuy.co.uk

Homes for 100% sale
Moat also offer homes for 100% sale at market price.There is no eligibility
criteria required to buy these properties other than the ability to finance
the purchase.




                                                                                 27
Repairing your home
             SECTION 3
 SECTION 3                                                                  REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                      Repairing your home
REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                      We are responsible for some of the repairs to your home, but there are
                      some items for which you are responsible. For information on reporting
                      repairs to newly built properties, please turn to page 33. The table below
                      and overleaf is a guide to who is responsible for what:

                      Remember that you have to pay for any damage caused to your home by
                      your negligence or through wilful damage by you or any visitors. Residents
                      can purchase their own home contents insurance which may cover broken
                      glass, accidental damage and sink blockages etc.

                      Who repairs what?
                      ITEM                             MOAT   RESIDENT   EXCEPTIONS
                      Boiler                            *
                      Banister                          
                      Basin, blockages                                  Sheltered housing schemes
                      Baths                             
                      Bin stores                        
                      Brickwork,                                         When not built by Moat
                      internal and external
                                                        

                      Carports                                          When not built by Moat
                      Ceilings                          
                      Central heating system            *
                      Chimney sweeping                                  Some exceptions
                      Cisterns                          
                      Coal bunkers                      
                      Cookers                                            Some sheltered/supported
                                                                         housing schemes
                                                                 

                      Communal areas to flats           
                      Curtain rails                              
                      Damp proof courses                
                      Decoration, internal                               Some sheltered housing
                                                                         schemes
                                                                 

                      Doorbell                                   
                      Doors to common area              
                      Doors/door fittings (external)    
                      Doors/door fittings                                Sheltered housing
                      & hinges (internal)
                                                                 


  30
REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                             SECTION 3




                                                                                      REPAIRING YOUR HOME
ITEM                            MOAT   RESIDENT   EXCEPTIONS
Door locks                                        Unless resident has caused
                                                  damage or lost their keys
                                 

Downpipes, rain and soil       
Drainage (including blockages)                   Unless caused by resident
Driveways                      
Drying areas                   
Electric heaters supplied
by Moat                        
Electric plugs                            
Electric wiring, sockets
and switches                   
Entry systems                  
Fences                                           When not provided by Moat
Fire grates and surrounds                        When not provided by Moat
Fireplace tiles                
Floor tiles                                      When not provided by Moat
Floor coverings                                   Unless provided by Moat
                                                  e.g. carpet, vinyl
                                          

Floorboards                      
Foundations                      
Fuseboard/fuses                  
Fuse to plug                              
Garages                          
Gas piping                       
Greenhouses                               
Handrails, external and internal                 Grab rails provided by Moat
Hatch to loft                    
Immersion heaters                
Keys (replacement)                                Sheltered housing (may be
                                                  recharged)
                                          

Kitchen fittings and worktops    
Light bulbs                                       Fluorescent tubes to
                                                  kitchen - sheltered housing
                                          

Light pendants and roses                          Unless resident has
                                                  own fitting.
                                 

Outbuildings                                      Some exceptions, if attached
                                                  to property
                                          

Overflow pipes                   
Painting, external               
Painting, internal                               Sheltered housing

                                                                                     31
 SECTION 3                                                                                  REPAIRING YOUR HOME
REPAIRING YOUR HOME



                      ITEM                                 MOAT       RESIDENT         EXCEPTIONS
                      Parking area                           
                      Paths                                  
                      Plaster and plasterboard                                        Small nicks or cracks
                      Porch                                  
                      Roof – tiles/slates and
                      roof-lights                            
                      Ropes for sash and cord windows        
                      Ropes for clothes drying                                        Unless communal
                      Rotary clothes dryers                                           Unless communal
                      Shower unit                                                     Where provided by Moat
                      Sink – bowl/drainer                    
                      Sink – blockage                                                 Sheltered housing
                      Skirting boards                                                  Decoration is
                                                                                       resident’s responsibility
                                                             

                      Smoke detectors (mains)                                          Resident to carry out
                                                                                       monthly test and notify
                                                             

                                                                                       customer service centre
                                                                                       of any problems
                      Smoke detectors (battery)                                       Sheltered housing
                      Stairs                                 
                      Stair-lighting                         
                      Steps                                  
                      Taps                                   
                      Tap washers                                                     Sheltered housing
                      TV aerials, sockets and cables                                  Unless a communal aerial
                      Waste plugs and chains                                          Sheltered housing
                      Water heating (gas boiler)             *
                      Water heating (immersion
                      or any other electric system)          
                      Water supply                           
                      WC                                     
                      WC – blockages                                                  Sheltered housing
                      WC – seats                                                      Sheltered housing
                      Windows frames (not glazing)           
                      Windows, glazing                                                Sheltered housing
                      Windows, painting (external)           
                      Windows, painting (internal)                         
                      * We appoint a specialist contractor to maintain and repair boilers and central heating systems on
                        our behalf.



  32
    REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                             SECTION 3




                                                                                          REPAIRING YOUR HOME
    Reporting repairs
    To report a repair contact our Customer Service Team.To help us provide
    you with an efficient service, please have as much information as possible
    ready before you phone.

I   You will be asked to describe the problem precisely. For example, if the
    toilet is leaking, please tell us if the leak is from the pipe at the back of the
    toilet, or from the cistern

I   Please also tell us when it will be convenient for the contractor to visit to
    inspect or carry out the repair. Please be as flexible as possible

I   Please tell us how we can contact you during the day.

    We will tell you which contractor will carry out the work, and when the
    repair is due to be completed.

I   You can also report your repair on-line at moat.co.uk.

    Emergencies
    Repairs are designated as "emergency" where there is either a risk to
    someone’s life, a risk of serious injury or where serious damage will occur
    if not repaired immediately.

    The contractor who visits you may only do the minimum work necessary
    to make your home safe.This may mean that a follow-up visit is necessary
    on another day to finish the repair. If you call out a contractor for
    non-emergency repairs you may be recharged if those repairs are not
    deemed an "emergency".

    Remember that the emergency service is only for reporting
    emergency repairs!

    Non-emergencies should be notified to us during office hours.




                                                                                         33
 SECTION 3                                                                   REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                                                                                             9
REPAIRING YOUR HOME



                      Repair response times
                      We attempt to carry out repairs as quickly as possible. Due to the wide
                      range of repair requests we receive, we allocate them into categories, each
                      with a different target time for response. We monitor how well we do in
                      meeting these targets. Here is a guide as to how quickly we aim to
                      complete your repair:

                           JOB PRIORITY                  TARGET FOR
                                                                           EXAMPLE OF REPAIR
                                                         COMPLETION


                                 1: Emergency                         Serious pipe leaks.
                                                           WITHIN

                                                            24
                      PRIORITY
                                                                      Blockage causing raw sewage to
                      This is for repairs where there
                                                                      enter or remain in home.
                      is a threat to life and limb or
                                                           HOURS      Electrical repairs where there is
                      the likelihood of serious damage                a danger of fire or injury.
                      being caused to the property.                   Dangerous structures.


                                 2 : 7 calendar days                  Repairs to leaking pipes.
                                                           WITHIN
                      PRIORITY
                                                                      Renewal of broken toilet pans

                                                             7
                      This is for works which do
                                                                      (where there are two toilets in
                      not fall into the emergency                     the home).
                      category, but which could cause     CALENDAR    Replacement of door or
                      distress or possible danger if                  window fitting where security
                                                            DAYS
                      not remedied swiftly.                           is threatened.
                                                                      Blocked drains.


                                 3: 30 calendar days                  Repairs to taps, ball valves,
                                                           WITHIN

                                                            30
                                                                      wash basins.
                      PRIORITY

                      This is for non-urgent repairs
                                                                      Repairs to doors and windows
                      that might become dangerous.                    (not including glass).
                                                         CALENDAR
                                                                      Repairs to cracked and broken
                                                           DAYS       roof tiles.
                                                                      Repairs to internal walls and
                                                                      ceilings.
                                                                      Fencing repairs




  34
    REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                         SECTION 3




                                                                                      REPAIRING YOUR HOME
    Appointments
    When you report a repair to the Customer Service Team, in most cases
    you will be offered an appointment to carry out the repair. Appointments
    can be made for morning, afternoon or to miss the "school run". We are
    not able to offer timed appointments.We text confirmation appointments
    to mobiles and landlines if the resident so wishes.

    The contractor will contact you to make an appointment to carry out the
    repair. If you are unable to keep the appointment, contact the contractor
    to arrange an alternative. Please give us as much information as possible
    about your availability when you report the repair.

    Contractors charge us for unsuccessful visits and we have to pass
    these costs on to residents. Please make sure that you are available
    for any appointments that are made.

    Repairs service monitoring
    We monitor the performance of all our contractors to ensure they are
    providing a good service.Your feedback on repairs is very important to us.

    We expect our contractors to show respect for you and your home, and
    to observe the following code of practice:




                                                                        f
    What to expect from contractors
    All contractors employed by us will be required to work within an agreed
    code of conduct. Our contractors should:

I   Show respect for you and your home at all times

I   Arrange a morning or afternoon appointment, and to work only between
    8 am and 5.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays, unless you agree a different time

I   Show their identity cards

I   Explain clearly what the work will involve, when it will be done, and how
    long it will take

I   Show special consideration to disabled and vulnerable residents

I   Avoid making excessive visits to your home

I   Be careful about security

                                                                                     35
 SECTION 3                                                                        REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                          Be responsible with using scaffolding
REPAIRING YOUR HOME



                      I

                      I   Keep work tools and dangerous substances out of the reach of children

                      I   Not smoke, drink alcohol or play radios or cassettes in your home

                      I   Not move your belongings without permission and without you being present

                      I   Not use the following without your permission:
                           I   Any of your belongings, such as ladders or chairs
                           I   Your telephone
                           I   Your WC, or kitchen (for example, to make tea)
                           I   Your bathroom or kitchen to clean equipment (if you do give
                               permission, the rooms must be left clean and tidy)
                           I   To keep your home clean and tidy, using dustsheets

                          Where a repair cannot be completed immediately, to ensure your home is




                                                                                           l
                      I
                          left wind and weather proof, with all possible services left on, and to warn
                          you of any hazards

                      I   Tell you when the work is finished, to remove all rubbish, and to leave
                          your home tidy

                      I   Treat all details about you in confidence in accordance with
                          Data Protection 1998 legislation.

                          What contractors will expect from you
                          To be co-operative about making appointments and to give at least 24
                          hours notice if you cancel an appointment

                          To clear the work area of any of your belongings

                          To keep your children and pets away from the work area and from the
                          contractors' tools

                          To allow contractors to have reasonable use of your gas, electricity and
                          water if necessary

                          If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our repairs service, please tell us.
                          We need your views to help us improve our services.




  36
    REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                         SECTION 3




    Be safe and secure




                                                                                      REPAIRING YOUR HOME
    Identity cards
    You should not let anyone into your home unless you are satisfied that
    they are who they say they are. All staff and contractors employed by us
    carry identification. If you are ever unsure about the identity of one of
    our staff or contractors, ask them to call back later and call us for
    confirmation. If you send a contractor away please contact us to let us
    know immediately on 0845 600 1006.

    Guarding against fire
I   Ensure you have smoke alarms fitted throughout your home. If they have
    been fitted by us and are faulty, tell us immediately

I   Carry out monthly tests on smoke alarms, change batteries when needed
    and clean the sensor regularly

I   Guard open and radiant fires

I   Make sure that you store paraffin, petrol or inflammable liquid in
    purpose-made containers in a cool place

I   Take care when cooking - do not leave pans unattended, especially frying pans

I   Be careful with electrical equipment - never overload sockets

I   Close doors when you go to bed or when leaving your home. In the event
    of fire, this helps to stop it spreading

I   Many Fire and Rescue Services (Essex, London, Herts, Kent, Surrey,
    East & West Sussex) will undertake free home fire safety tests and
    install free smoke alarms.




                                                                                     37
 SECTION 3                                                                         REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                          Emergencies
REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                          Fire
                          In the event of fire:
                          Close the door to the room where the fire is located; this will help
                          contain the fire and restrict the spread of potentially poisonous fumes
                      I



                      I   Warn other people in the house to leave immediately. Do not stop to collect
                          anything. Remember that your escape route can be cut off very quickly

                      I   If your exit is cut off, close the door of your room and seal it with a blanket
                          or rug to prevent fire and smoke spreading. Dial 999 if you can and call for
                          help from a window

                      I   Alert any neighbours who could be at risk from the fire.

                          Gas leak
                          If you smell gas:

                      I   Put out cigarettes. Do not use matches or naked flames

                      I   Do not operate electrical switches or doorbells

                      I   Open all doors and windows and keep them open until the gas has gone

                      I   Check to see if a gas tap has been left on accidentally, or if a pilot light has
                          gone out

                      I   Phone your gas supplier or Transco on 0800 111 999.

                          Burst pipe
                      I   Turn the water off at the stopcock. Find out now where the stopcock is
                          and check it can be turned. If not, call us immediately

                      I   Switch off the electricity at the mains

                      I   Switch off any water heaters

                      I   Switch off the central heating system. If you have a solid fuel fire or system,
                          let the fire die down. Do not attempt to drain the boiler unless the fire
                          has gone out.



  38
    REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                              SECTION 3




                                                                                           REPAIRING YOUR HOME
    Frozen pipes
I   Turn off the water at the stop valve

I   Open all taps to sinks and baths

I   If possible, collect water in the bath for flushing the toilet and for washing

I   Call our Customer Service Team on 0845 600 1006

    Electrical issues
    If you have just switched on a light or appliance or plugged in an appliance
    and the power fails:

I   Look outside or check with your neighbours to see if there has been a
    power cut

I   Check the trip switches.These are normally contained within a box near
    the electrical meter

I   If one of the switches is at OFF, unplug the appliance or switch off the
    light, then flick the switch to ON

I   Switch on the light. If this trips the switch, the fault may be caused by the
    light bulb, so check for and replace any faulty bulbs

I   If the switch is tripped when you plug in an appliance, do not use it and
    ensure that a qualified electrician checks it. This repair is your
    responsibility

I   If you cannot identify or are unsure of the fault contact us (if the problem
    is due to a faulty appliance, you will be recharged!).

    Alert any of your neighbours who could suffer damage as a result
    of your emergency.




                                                                                          39
 SECTION 3                                                                     REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                      Maintaining and improving your home
REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                      We carry out a programme of planned works to maintain and improve
                      our properties.We need to ensure that they are in good repair, easy to
                      maintain, and economical to run.This work can include:
                       I   External decoration
                       I   Replacement kitchens
                       I   New roofs
                       I   Modernisation, eg. central heating system
                       I   Improvements to energy efficiency
                       I   Replacement windows.

                      You will be consulted before any works are carried out in or near your
                      home, and we will tell you when the work is to be carried out.We aim to
                      cause you as little inconvenience as possible.

                      Where practical, you will have a choice of colours or finishes for the paint
                      and fittings.

                      Altering and improving your home
                      You may carry out some improvements and alterations
                      to your home, but you must first get written permission
                      from us. Alterations include:
                       I   Adding or changing fixtures and fittings such as
                           kitchen units, sinks, and baths
                       I   Knocking down inside or outside walls
                       I   Putting up TV, radio, satellite, or CB aerials
                       I   Installing showers
                       I   Decorating the outside of your home.

                      You can claim compensation for certain improvements when you move
                      out. For more information, please contact us.

                      Note! You may also need planning permission or building control approval.




  40
REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                             SECTION 3




                                                                                      REPAIRING YOUR HOME
Repairs to newly built homes - defects
If your home is newly built, the responsibility for carrying out repairs within
the first year (this is known as the ‘defects period’) lies with the developer.
This does not include repairs that have been caused by you.

You should notify our Customer Service Team during office hours of any
defects and we will inform the developer. These repairs may take a little
longer than our normal repairs; however, urgent repairs will always be dealt
with quickly.

At the end of the defects period, the property will be inspected and all
outstanding works that fall within the defects definition will be repaired. It
will help this inspection if you keep a list of all minor problems as they occur.

Repairs are designated as an ‘emergency’ when there is either a risk to
someone’s life or a risk of serious injury if not repaired immediately. If an
emergency defect occurs outside of office hours, call us on 0845 600 1006
and follow the instructions.




Condensation
Most of the ‘damp’ problems reported to us are in fact related to
condensation.This occurs mostly during cold weather spells, regardless of
whether it is raining or not. Condensation appears as black mould on cold
surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. It often forms
on north facing walls. Moat will check that there is no water leaking into
the property but if nothing is found, you must manage the condensation.
There is a lot you can do to avoid condensation.
For example:
P RODUCE   LESS MOISTURE :

 I   Cover cooking pans and avoid kettles boiling for longer than necessary

                                                                                     41
 SECTION 3                                                                  REPAIRING YOUR HOME




                           Dry your laundry outdoors, or hang it in the bathroom with the door
REPAIRING YOUR HOME



                       I
                           closed and a window open, or use an extractor fan
                       I   Vent any tumble dryer to the outside of your home.

                      V ENTILATE TO REMOVE MOISTURE . It is possible to ventilate your home
                      without creating draughts:
                       I   Keep small windows ajar or a ventilator open when someone is in
                           the room
                       I   Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening windows
                       I   Close kitchen/bathroom doors when rooms are in use (even if you
                           have an extractor fan)
                       I   Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes – overfilling them prevents air
                           from circulating. Keep a gap between the wall and furniture so that
                           air can circulate.

                      Insulation, draught proofing and heat – not only will insulation and
                      draught-proofing keep your home warm; it will also cut fuel bills.When the
                      whole property is warmer, condensation is less likely.

                      Damage to your household and contents caused by condensation will not
                      be covered under our compensation policy if it is proved to have been
                      caused by your failure to adequately ventilate or warm your property.

                      Gas servicing and annual safety check
                      It is a legal requirement that we carry out an annual gas safety inspection
                      in your home.We employ a CORGI registered contractor to check and
                      service gas appliances. Unsafe gas appliances can cause a risk of carbon
                      monoxide poisoning.

                        UNSAFE GAS APPLIANCES CAN KILL

                      The contractor will arrange a convenient appointment with you. Please
                      ensure that you co-operate with access arrangements for this to happen.
                      If the contractor is unable to gain access to your home, we will be
                      informed and we will write to you.

                      You must comply and allow us reasonable access to your home to
                      carry out this annual safety check. If you do not allow us access we
                      will have to apply to the County Court for an injunction to gain access.

  42
REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                          SECTION 3




What if we get it wrong on repairs?




                                                                                   REPAIRING YOUR HOME
Our policy on compensating you
Our obligation to you is to ensure that we meet our legal requirement as
to claims for compensation and that, where a claim is valid, you will receive
a fair and efficient settlement to any claim made.

Areas of claims
This policy covers claims relating to the following:
 I   Delays in completing repairs (that affect health and safety and security,
     known as Right to Repair)
 I   Tenant improvements
 I   Loss of amenities
 I   Costs for alternative heating
 I   Economic loss
 I   Damage to resident’s property.

Our policy does not cover:

 I   Compensation which would normally be dealt with as part of a claim
     on our Insurance. eg. personal injury claims
 I   Loss of a service which is included as part of a service charge
 I   Temporary moves
 I   Loss or damages to your household goods & contents which should
     be covered under your own household insurance.

We will not pay compensation for:
 I   Short-term nuisance caused by building works. eg. noise of contractors
 I   Neighbour nuisance
 I   Stress following any incident or failure of service.




                                                                                  43
 SECTION 3                                                                   REPAIRING YOUR HOME
REPAIRING YOUR HOME



                      Delays in completing repairs (your right to repair)
                      The right to repair is a contractual right given to all residents in accordance
                      with the Housing Corporation Residents Charter. It allows you the right to
                      take action in the case of certain delayed repairs, costing less than a set
                      value, against published response times.

                      If a repair is not completed within the stated time limit and you notify the
                      Customer Service Team, a second time limit equivalent to the first will be
                      given to you.

                      If the repair is still not completed within the revised timescale then you
                      are entitled to claim compensation of £10 plus £2 per day for every day
                      the repair remains outstanding up to a maximum of £50.

                      Before any payment is made, all claims for delays in completing repairs will
                      be investigated to check the following:
                       I   It must be an emergency or urgent repair that affects health, safety
                           or security
                       I   The responsibility for the repair must be ours.

                      Compensation will not be payable if:
                       I   Either of the two cases listed above do not apply
                       I   The repair was needed because of damage caused by you
                       I   We were not informed that the repair was needed
                       I   Access was not provided or an appointment was not made with
                           the Contractor
                       I   Claims for Improvements.

                      Assessment Procedure
                      Your claims can be submitted either separately or as part of a formal
                      complaint under our standard complaints procedure.

                      The process
                       I   All claims should be assessed within 10 days of the initial complaint.
                       I   If your claim is not upheld then you will be advised in writing why the
                           claim has not been accepted



  44
REPAIRING YOUR HOME                                                         SECTION 3




     If your claim is upheld and your rent account is in arrears then any




                                                                                  REPAIRING YOUR HOME
 I
     payment must be used to offset these arrears first
 I   After receiving a letter offering compensation you must advise us
     within two weeks that you do not accept this offer, or we will assume
     that full and final settlement has been accepted. Payment will be made
     in the form of a cheque.

Appeals
You have the right to appeal if you disagree with the settlement. All
appeals must be made in accordance with our complaints procedure and
before any payment is made.




                                                                                 45
Money matters
       SECTION 4
 SECTION 4                                                                      MONEY MATTERS




                Money Matters
MONEY MATTERS




                Paying rent
                It is important that you pay your rent and service charges on time
                or you risk losing your home!

                Rent is due weekly in advance on a Monday. If you prefer to pay monthly in
                advance, you should contact us and we will advise you of the amount you
                will have to pay.

                It is important that you pay your rent and service charges on time. If you
                are having difficulty with your payments and need help, contact us
                immediately. Our specialist teams offer help and information on welfare
                benefits and money advice. Don't leave it too late or you will risk losing
                your home.

                How rents are set
                Your rent income is important to us. It is used in the following way:

                 I   Carrying out day to day repairs
                 I   Providing a management service to you
                 I   Carrying out major repairs.

                The rent you pay also takes into account the size and condition of your
                home together with its location.We aim to set rents that are affordable
                to those on low incomes.This means that the rents we charge will be
                below the local market rates, ie. the rent charged by private landlords for
                properties in the area where you live.

                Service charges
                These are paid for services such as caretaking, cleaning, grounds maintenance,
                lighting, paths and parking areas, lift maintenance, etc. The service charge is
                paid in addition to your rent, although you pay both the rent and service
                charge at the same time.

                When setting the rent we will not discriminate between residents who are
                eligible for housing benefit and those who are not.This means that the rent
                charged will be the same regardless of the source or level of your income.


 48
MONEY MATTERS                                                                   SECTION 4




The rent for your home will be stated in your tenancy agreement.The




                                                                                      MONEY MATTERS
annual rent increase is applied from the first Monday in April of each year
and communicated to you on an annual basis. It is your responsibility to
make sure that the amount you pay is correct.

Paying your rent by direct debit
If you pay by direct debit, your rent and service charges are paid to us
direct from your bank account.This takes place either on the 1st or 15th of
each month, weekly or fortnightly or monthly. You will need to complete a
direct debit payment form, available from us on request.When your rent is
reviewed in April, any changes to the payments will take place automatically.
The Direct Debit Guarantee means that changes to your rent or service
charges are notified separately to you giving at least one month’s notice.

We recommend you choose this method of payment because it is the
easiest and most cost-effective:

 I   It will save you time as you will not have to make a special trip to pay
     your rent
 I   It will be one less thing to remember to pay
 I   It will help you to budget your monthly expenses

If you are currently paying by another method, please consider changing to
direct debit payments. Call us for more information.

Paying by debit or credit card
You can now pay your rent by contacting us and paying over the telephone.
Please have your account and card details to hand.This service should not
be a substitute for setting up a direct debit for rent payment.

Paying by cheque
Please make your cheque payable to Moat and write your customer
reference number or property address on the back before posting to:
Moat
Mariner House, Finance Department
Galleon Boulevard, Crossways
Dartford
Kent DA2 6QE


                                                                                     49
 SECTION 4                                                                     MONEY MATTERS




                 Post Office payment card (POPS)*
MONEY MATTERS




                 If you cannot pay by any of the methods above, we can send you a
                 payment card that allows you to pay cash at any Post Office. There are no
                 forms to fill in and no counter charges to pay. Simply hand the card and
                 your cash to the Post Office worker and the rest is done automatically.

                 PayZone* and PayPoint*
                 You can use your POPS payment card in any retail unit displaying the PayZone
                 or PayPoint sign.There are over 10,000 outlets nationally. There is no charge
                 for this, you just hand the card and the cash or cheque to the assistant.

                 Internet banking
                 If you have this facility with your bank account, you can make payments
                 online. Our bank sort code is 62 27 56 and our account number is
                 00000000 (this is the correct number). If you choose to make payment by
                 this method please ensure that you quote your tenant reference in the
                 reference field so that the money can be placed on your rent account.

                 Payment via the Moat website
                 You can click on the “Pay your rent online” icon on the front page of the
                 Moat.co.uk website and pay using the allpayments.net facility.

                 Paying by standing order
                 If you wish to pay by standing order, please contact us and we will send
                 you a form to complete and return to your bank. Please note that if you
                 pay by this method, you will need to arrange for the payments to be
                 adjusted in line with changes each April. It is easier to pay by direct debit
                 (see previous page).

                * If you pay by this method, please ensure that your payments are made at
                  least 10 working days in advance of the due date to allow time for the
                  payments to reach your rent account.

                 Please always quote your customer reference on all payments to
                 ensure they can be matched to your rent account.


                 Please note
                 We do not accept cash payments through the post or at any of our offices.

                 To change your payment method please contact us.

 50
MONEY MATTERS                                                                 SECTION 4




                                                                                    MONEY MATTERS
What will happen if I can't pay my rent?
You should contact us immediately.The sooner we know about your
difficulties the more likely it is that we will be able to help.We want to give
you a good and affordable service and to do this we need to operate
efficiently. Collecting the rent due is an important part of this.

At the same time, we realise that some people may experience financial
difficulties and in these cases we do all we can to help.To avoid these
problems, we offer free, confidential and non-judgemental support and
advice to help you claim benefits and maximise your income

If you have difficulty paying your rent, we strongly advise you to get in
touch with us as soon as possible.

We can usually work out a solution, but the deeper you get into arrears,
the more difficult it becomes.We take a firm line with residents who do
not pay their rent and we may take court action against those who do not
resolve their arrears. This can result in eviction. If your rent account is in
arrears, we cannot consider you for a transfer until the arrears have been
paid. Call us as early as possible; we are here to help you .

Help with welfare benefits
The complexities of the Social Security and Tax Credits schemes often
mean that households on low incomes do not receive the full financial
support to which they are entitled.The Moat welfare benefits service
provides an invaluable source of accessible information.

Our service enables thousands of households to receive accurate, up to
date advice and helps ensure they receive appropriate financial support.
The service is free, confidential and non-judgemental.

Many people miss out because they do not make a claim; so if you think
you may be entitled to claim any benefit, or if you have a problem with
current benefit entitlement, please contact us.




                                                                                   51
 SECTION 4                                                                     MONEY MATTERS




                You can also get benefits advice from these agencies:
MONEY MATTERS




                The Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 or visit the Department for
                Work & Pensions website at www.dwp.gov.uk.

                Your local Citizen's Advice Bureau may also be able to help - find them
                in the phone book, or through www.adviceguide.org.uk.

                National Debtline gives free, confidential advice to help you solve your
                money problems. Call 0808 808 4000.


                Energy saving tips
                Central heating
                Turning your thermostat down by 1o C can save up to 10% on fuel bills.

                Water
                By turning down the hot water cylinder thermostat to 60o C /140o F
                savings can be made.
                Take a shower instead of a bath – it uses less than half the water.

                Lights
                Turn lights off when a room is empty. Use natural light as much as possible.
                If you use a light for an average of four hours or more a day, fit an energy
                saving light bulb. It will use around a quarter of the electricity, and will last
                ten times longer than an ordinary bulb.

                Electrical appliances
                Avoid leaving electrical appliance such as televisions, videos, stereos,
                cordless phones and electric toothbrushes on standby or charge. First
                check to make sure this does not affect the performance of the appliance.

                Fridges and freezers
                Shut your fridge and freezer doors to stop cold air escaping. Avoid putting
                hot food into your fridge. Defrosting your fridge and freezer regularly will
                keep them running efficiently and reduce running costs. Check that the
                door seals are working properly.

                Washing machines and tumble dryers
                Try always to do a full load or use half load or an economy programme.
                Try to use the low temperature setting unless you have very dirty clothes
 52
MONEY MATTERS                                                                 SECTION 4




to wash. Always spin or wring clothes before putting them in the tumble




                                                                                    MONEY MATTERS
dryer. It is much faster and will reduce costs.

Pots and pans
Use the right size pan and keep the lids on as much as possible while
cooking.The base of the pan should just cover an electric cooking ring.
If using a gas cooker you need to make sure that the flames only heat the
bottom of the pan. Use as little water as possible to save energy.

Kettles
Fill the kettle with the correct amount of water for what you really need.
Always make sure the element of the kettle is covered.

Letter boxes and keyholes
Letterboxes and keyholes can let in draughts. Fit a nylon brush seal or a
spring flap, and put a cover over a keyhole.

These energy saving tips have been adapted from No cost and low cost ways
to help save energy and money - by the Energy Saving Trust.

For further information on energy efficiency and to obtain leaflets on
heating, insulation, glazing and lighting in the home call Energy Efficiency on
0845 727 7200 or look up www.est.org.uk or www.saveenergy.co.uk.

You can also fit a hippo device in your toilet cistern to save up to three
litres of water every time you flush your toilet. Some water companies will
provide free hippos or other water saving systems for you.

Recycling
Remember the 3 ‘R’s:
1. Reduce
2. Reuse
3. Recycle.

Top tips for recycling
 I   Use your Council’s recycling scheme
 I   Make use of the recycling banks provided at supermarkets
 I   Try to buy products with less packaging
 I   Re-use bags and containers where possible.



                                                                                   53
Living in your home
            SECTION 5
 SECTION 5                                                                    LIVING IN YOUR HOME




                      Living in your home
LIVING IN YOUR HOME




                      Gas and electricity
                      Supplies may be connected when you move in, but this is not always the
                      case. It is your responsibility to check with the utility companies a few days
                      before you move in so that everything is working.

                      As soon as you move in, read the meters or ask your gas and electricity
                      supplier to do this for you. Ask for a new account to be set up in your
                      name and a final account to be sent to the previous occupants so that you
                      do not pay for a previous resident’s use of power.

                      Water
                      If the water supply has been turned off, you should find the stopcock and
                      turn it back on. If you cannot find the stopcock, we will tell you where it is.
                      Make a note of its location in the event of an emergency.

                      Council tax
                      You must contact your local council to arrange for payment of council tax.

                      Heating and hot water
                      We will give you instructions on how to use the central heating and hot
                      water system. If you need further assistance please contact us.

                      Insurance
                      We will cover buildings insurance. Note, this does not cover the house
                      contents such as your furniture or personal possessions. It is important for
                      you to obtain separate insurance cover for home contents.

                      You can take out home contents insurance through the scheme arranged
                      by Moat or you can make your own private arrangements.The Home
                      Contents Insurance arranged by Moat is specifically designed for housing
                      association tenants and offers many benefits for Moat residents at a
                      preferential rate.There is also an option to extend the policy to cover
                      broken glass in windows and doors which are the tenant’s responsibilty.
                      Contact us on 0845 600 1006 for further information.



  56
LIVING IN YOUR HOME                                                            SECTION 5




                                                                                     LIVING IN YOUR HOME
Keys
We normally provide a “Yale type” lock and a mortice
lock to your home, and also to the main door of the
block (if you live in a flat).

Please note that we are unable to keep spare keys in the
office.You may want to consider leaving spare keys with a
trusted neighbour or friend.

If you lose your keys and the locks need changing, you are responsible for
arranging a locksmith yourself. Home contents insurance as recommended
by Moat will cover you against the loss of keys.

Household refuse
In most areas, the council collects rubbish on a weekly basis. Details of
the collection days will be available from your council offices, or ask a
neighbour.

Carelessly discarded rubbish attracts rats and other vermin.Therefore,
your rubbish should be placed securely in plastic bags, or wheelie bins,
and left in the correct place. If you need access to a bin cupboard, we will
give you a key. Please look after the key; if you lose it, it will be your
responsibility to replace it.

If you have larger household items that need to be removed, please contact
your council to arrange this.There may be a charge for this service.

                             Gardens
                             Residents are responsible for the maintenance
                             and upkeep of their private gardens.

                             In the case of communal gardens, maintenance
                             and upkeep will generally be the responsibility
                             of your council or Moat.We will tell you who
                             is responsible for the communal gardens in
                             your neighbourhood.




                                                                                    57
 SECTION 5                                                                    LIVING IN YOUR HOME
LIVING IN YOUR HOME



                      Parking
                      Inconsiderate parking causes problems and therefore we ask all our
                      residents to park correctly.

                      Garages may be available to rent in some areas, although generally there is
                      a waiting list. For further details, please contact us.

                      Heavy vehicles, boats, caravans, or heavy machinery should not be parked
                      outside or near your home.

                      Abandoned vehicles
                      We have very strict rules regarding abandoned vehicles:

                      Any untaxed vehicle (or a vehicle that looks unroadworthy) that appears
                      to have been abandoned in our neighbourhoods will be given 14 days
                      notice for it to be removed. If it is still there, the vehicle will be removed
                      and disposed of. The owner of the vehicle will be liable to pay for the cost
                      of this removal.

                      Repairs to vehicles
                      Repairs to vehicles outside your home or in the neighbourhood are not
                      permitted.We make an exception in the case of ‘reasonable repairs’ to
                      your own private vehicle.

                      Pets
                      If you wish to keep a pet, please check the terms of your tenancy
                      agreement before you get one. It is important that pets do not cause a
                      nuisance or annoyance to neighbours. If this happens, we will ask you to
                      find another home for your pet.




  58
LIVING IN YOUR HOME                                                           SECTION 5




                                                                                    LIVING IN YOUR HOME
Rats, mice, and other pests
If you have a problem with rats, mice, or other pests, please report this to
the Environmental Health Department at your council offices who will deal
with the problem.

Aerials and satellite dishes
You must seek permission from us before installing an aerial or satellite
dish. Some residents have access to communal aerials supplied by us, the
cost of which is covered within your rent. Permission may also be required
from the council’s planning department. We will advise you about this.

Neighbour disputes
It is your responsibility not to cause, or allow members of your household
or visitors to cause a nuisance of any kind to neighbours, our employees
or contractors acting on our behalf.

Nuisance
If a neighbour is causing a nuisance, try to resolve the problem between
yourselves.This is usually the quickest and best way to sort things out.

If the problem continues, you should contact us.We will ask you to keep a
record of what is happening for a period of time and we will then speak to
both parties in an attempt to reach agreement. Solutions to disputes
usually involve some compromise from both parties.

If the disturbance involves a breach of the tenancy or a nuisance in the
locality, which can be proven in court, we can take action for possession of
the property.

For a copy of our leaflet Tackling anti-social behaviour – together! please
contact us.




                                                                                   59
 SECTION 5                                                                   LIVING IN YOUR HOME
LIVING IN YOUR HOME



                      Noise
                      As with all nuisance problems, the best way to resolve this is to approach
                      your neighbour in a reasonable manner and discuss the matter with them.

                      If noise is excessive and repeated, your local Environmental Health
                      Department can take action.

                      Remember, you may be causing disturbance to your neighbour without
                      even realising it. Please be considerate, keep noise volumes down, especially
                      late at night and early in the morning.

                      Racial and other harassment
                      We are committed to equal opportunities and will not tolerate harassment
                      of any kind from residents, their families, or visitors.

                      We will take legal action to evict any resident found causing or
                      allowing harassment.

                      If you have been subjected to any kind of harassment, whether verbal or
                      physical, please contact us and we will investigate the matter urgently.

                      Harassment of staff or contractors can result in eviction.
                      This includes abusive language on the telephone or
                      threatening behaviour.




  60
               LIVING IN YOUR HOME                                                           SECTION 5




               Checklist for moving home




                                                                                                   LIVING IN YOUR HOME
               Listed below are things you need to remember when you move home.

                    Inform Moat of your new address and contact information.

                    Return the keys by 12 noon on the Monday (latest) at the end of
KEYS




                    the notice period. Failure to return your keys on time may result in
                    a charge for an extra week’s rent and the cost of a lock change.


                    Remove all your furniture and belongings from the home, garden
& CLEANING
CLEARANCE




                    and shed

                    Leave the property clean and tidy for the new tenants.You will be
                    charged for any clearance and cleaning we have to do for you.


                    Inform us of any repairs required to the property that are our
                    responsibility.You will be charged for any damage caused to the
REPAIRS




                    property, and we will discuss this with you

                    Turn off the central heating and the water supply at the mains
                    water stopcock.


                    Make sure your rent is paid up to date. If you are concerned about
RENT




                    unpaid rent, contact us immediately.


                    Tell the gas, electricity, and water companies when you are moving,
                    and arrange for meter reading, and the capping off of the gas supply
                    Arrange with the Post Office for your post to be re-directed
OTHER THINGS
TO REMEMBER




                    Contact your phone company to tell them that you are moving, and
                    let them know whether or not you want to continue using the
                    phone at your new address

                    Inform your doctor, school, work, dentist, family, friends, and so on,
                    of your new address.



                                                                                                   1
                                                                                                  61
Getting involved
         SECTION 6
 SECTION 6                                                                   GETTING INVOLVED




                   Getting involved -
GETTING INVOLVED




                   an invitation to residents
                   At Moat, we are committed to involving residents in every activity and at
                   every level.There are opportunities for you to get involved in the planning,
                   delivering and monitoring of our services, and also in the strategic direction
                   of the organisation. Involvement is vital to improving our services and it
                   brings many benefits:

                    I   Services are more likely to meet your needs
                    I   You are more likely to be satisfied with our services and the
                        neighbourhood you live in
                    I   Involvement could lead to a better understanding of the constraints
                        within which Moat works
                    I   You can gain new skills, new friends and help to make a difference for
                        all residents.

                   Keeping you informed
                   Our residents’ newsletter, Home News, is sent to all residents of Moat four
                   times a year.There is information on services and policies, and news from
                   many of the areas where we work. Residents and staff meet regularly to
                   agree the content for each edition of Home News.The September edition
                   of Home News features a performance report showing how Moat has
                   performed over the year.

                   We also produce leaflets on our key service areas so that you know what
                   you can expect from us. The newsletter and leaflets are available in large
                   print, on audio cassette and can be translated into different languages
                   on request.




  64
    GETTING INVOLVED                                                             SECTION 6




                                                                                       GETTING INVOLVED
    Asking for your views
    There are many ways you can get involved as an individual and we always
    need feedback:

I   R ESIDENTS ’ PANEL - You can join the panel and take part in postal or
    telephone interviews throughout the year about the services you receive.
    If you are interested in joining the panel, please ask for a copy of our
    Residents’ Panel leaflet that explains how this happens

I   R ESIDENTS ’ SATISFACTION SURVEY - We carry out a sample survey of all
    our residents every three years asking for views on every aspect of our
    services.This tells us how we are performing and helps us to plan future
    services

I   L OCAL MEETINGS - We hold local meetings, roadshows and estate inspections
    to ask your views on cleaning and gardening, repair improvement
    programmes, or the management or maintenance of your neighbourhood

I   P ERSONAL LETTERS AND QUESTIONNAIRES - We will write to you to seek
    your views on any major changes to the maintenance and management of
    your home.We also seek feedback when you have received a service from
    us.We do this via postal or telephone questionnaires.

    Board membership
    Moat is controlled by a board of management. Board members come from
    all sections of the community including residents.

    By becoming a Board member, residents can help to improve services for
    all residents and also gain new skills and experience. An induction course
    and training is provided for all board members.

    Resident Board members are selected through a formal recruitment process.




                                                                                      65
 SECTION 6                                                                      GETTING INVOLVED




                   Getting involved together
GETTING INVOLVED




                   Committees
                   Residents also sit on the following committees:
                    I   Housing and Customer Services Committee
                    I   Finance and Corporate Services Committee
                    I   Growth and New Initiatives Committee

                   Residents’ associations and community groups
                   Moat encourages residents to set up community groups and residents’
                   associations to tackle local issues or carry out community projects.
                   Funding and support to do this is available from the Moat community
                   development teams.

                   Regional groups
                   There is a group of residents in each of our regions that make up our
                   regional groups.These groups meet on a regular basis to discuss specific
                   issues affecting their region.This includes monitoring local services, inputting
                   into planned maintenance programmes and involvement in the recruitment
                   of new Moat staff.You are eligible to join the regional group in your area.

                   The regional groups are:
                    I   SARA (South Area Residents’ Association)
                    I   LARA (London Area Residents’ Association)
                    I   MERA (Moat East Residents’ Association)
                    I   PHERA (Pollards Hill Estate Residents’ Association)

                   Support Users Involvement Group
                   This group is for residents with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and
                   mental health problems.

                   Moat Residents’ Forum
                   Members involved in each of our regional groups and the support service
                   users’ group are nominated to join the Moat group residents’ forum.This
                   forum is involved in policy and strategy, the selection of major contracts
                   and proposed changes that affect all residents.

  66
GETTING INVOLVED                                                              SECTION 6




                                                                                    GETTING INVOLVED
Residents’ conferences
We organise a conference for all residents every two to three years. All
residents are invited. Residents are involved in planning the conference,
deciding the venue, the purpose and programme of the event.

We also participate in the south east Kent ‘Joining Forces’ conference and
the Medway tenants’ day.

Support for residents
Residents who get involved in Moat’s groups and activities receive training
and support from our community development teams. All travel expenses,
phone calls and carer’s costs can be claimed and reimbursed from Moat.

We also offer access to printing, photocopying, word processing, and office
meeting rooms.

Have we got it right?
We will monitor the levels of interest with different ways of being involved
and will always consider new ideas.

We will encourage greater involvement by young people, people from
black and ethnic minorities, leaseholders, shared owners and people living
in homes that are not within neighbourhoods where we manage a number
of properties.

Are you interested?
For more information contact the community development team in
your area on 0845 600 1006.




                                                                                   67
 SECTION 6                                                                 GETTING INVOLVED




                   Your neighbourhood
GETTING INVOLVED




                   We want to provide homes in neighbourhoods where people want to live
                   and where you can enjoy a good quality of life. We will do this by working
                   with you and local partners to develop networks of support and help
                   improve the quality of local services.

                   Our community development teams carry out this work with local people
                   in local neighbourhoods.

                   Fun days and social events
                   We believe that it is important for you to get to know your neighbours so
                   that there are informal networks of support.To encourage this, we provide
                   grants to hold social events for everyone in the neighbourhood. Examples
                   could include a summer barbecue, a children’s Christmas party or a day
                   trip to the coast.

                   Community Challenge Fund
                   This fund is to help you carry out small
                   projects to improve the quality of life in
                   your neighbourhood. Projects could
                   include extra planting in communal
                   areas, setting up a summer play scheme
                   for children or starting a garden tool
                   share scheme.

                   Residents’ associations and community groups
                   By working together as a group you can make a real difference to your
                   neighbourhood. A group has a stronger voice than individuals and other
                   organisations are more likely to listen to you.

                   We provide support and funding to groups; you don’t need to have a formal
                   constitution. We can help with organising meetings and events, producing
                   newsletters or flyers or putting you into contact with other agencies or
                   authorities.




  68
    GETTING INVOLVED                                                           SECTION 6




                                                                                     GETTING INVOLVED
    Our approach to neighbourhood quality of life
    In areas where we have a large number of homes, or where we know our
    homes are less popular, we will work with you to identify the improvements
    that you would like to see. Sometimes we carry out surveys to identify
    what your needs are, but our plans are always carried out in partnership
    with you. Examples of the type of work we get involved in are:

I   C RIME AND COMMUNITY SAFETY INITIATIVES - making your neighbourhood
    a safer place to live.We have helped to fund community wardens and work
    closely with local police.

I   WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN - linking up with other
    agencies to improve the range of activities and events. Helping to fund
    youth workers and carrying out projects with young people are just some
    of the things we do.

I   E NVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS - new fencing, landscaping, art projects - to help
    increase pride in your local neighbourhood.

I I NCREASING PROSPERITY     - through training, learning, employment and
    financial initiatives.

    Residents’ resource centres
    There are Moat resource centres that have been set up in partnership
    with residents.These provide advice, information about our services and
    other community services.

    Reaching everyone
    We want to ensure that we reach all sectors of the community and that
    our community development activities reflect the diversity of our residents.
    We aim to ensure that no one is excluded, and will provide translators,
    disabled access, etc.

    Finding out more
    If you are interested in finding out more about any of the above, please
    contact us.




                                                                                    69
Fur ther information
             SECTION 7
 SECTION 7                                                                    FURTHER INFORMATION




                      Further information
FURTHER INFORMATION




                      Keeping information about you - confidentiality
                      Any information we receive about residents in our properties is treated as
                      confidential and is not disclosed to any third parties.

                      It is important to recognise, however, that our employees can be under a
                      legal obligation to provide information and that to work successfully in
                      partnership with other organisations in the provision of care and support
                      to individual residents, it is necessary to share certain information.

                      Under no circumstances will a member of our staff or volunteer discuss
                      confidential details about one resident with another resident, relative or
                      member of the public

                      Recording of information
                      Only relevant, accurate and up to date information will be recorded.
                      Information will not be collected just because it may be useful in the future.

                      Your files
                      All residents/applicants will have an electronic file where all relevant,
                      accurate and up to date information about that individual and their
                      household that comes to the knowledge of our staff will be recorded.
                      Information stored in these files and any personal information held on a
                      computer will be in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

                      E X C E PT I O N S

                      Statutory obligations
                      In certain circumstances, due to legal requirements, our staff may have to
                      provide information to organisations such as those listed below without
                      the authorisation of the individual resident.
                       I   When we are aware that the resident is committing fraud under the
                           1998 Housing Benefit Act
                       I   If a child is on the 'at risk register' or our staff are aware of abuse
                           against a child under The Children Act 1989
                       I   If the police are investigating a crime.



  72
FURTHER INFORMATION                                                         SECTION 7




                                                                                  FURTHER INFORMATION
Exceptional circumstances
In certain exceptional circumstances, factual information may be disclosed
to third parties without authorisation or legal requirement if withholding
that information represents a danger to the resident, their household, their
family, a member of staff or a member of the public. It is important that
only factual information, not opinion, is shared.

If such action is deemed necessary, our staff concerned will obtain
authorisation from their line manager.

Access to information
You have a right to see any information about you whether held in a paper
file or on computer in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Appeal
If you are unhappy with information kept on file, or feel that your
confidentiality has been breached, then you should make a complaint using
our complaints procedure as detailed in the next section.

For a copy of our Complaints leaflet, please contact us or visit our website.



Our complaints policy

What is a complaint?
A complaint is a statement that confirms that someone is unhappy with
any of the following:

 I   The attitude or behaviour of one or more of our staff
 I   The length of time taken to respond to a request for a service or
     for information
 I   Failure to communicate our decisions effectively
 I   Discrimination of any sort
 I   The level of service provided.

We have policies and procedures that detail the level expected for all areas
of work such as repairs or action to recover rent arrears.There are also
certain legal obligations. If we do not act in accordance with our policies


                                                                                 73
 SECTION 7                                                                   FURTHER INFORMATION




                      or legal duties, then this is cause for complaint.The first time you report
FURTHER INFORMATION




                      something, or request a service, or ask for information, is not a complaint.

                      Our complaints procedure starts to apply only after we have given our
                      initial response or made the first attempt to deal with the matter, and you
                      are not happy with our response or with our efforts.

                      We have special procedures for reporting neighbour nuisance. If you are a
                      resident having difficulty with this, please call us. Our staff are responsible
                      for advising you of your rights to make a complaint and should always do
                      so where you believe you have reason to complain.

                      Who can complain?
                      Anyone using or affected by the services of Moat can make a complaint.

                      How do I complain?
                      There is a three stage process and we will do our best to resolve complaints
                      at the first stage. It is important that you follow each stage in turn so that
                      we can make sure your complaint is treated fairly. An exception to this is
                      complaints about members of staff.These proceed immediately to stage two.

                      At any time during the process, you are entitled to use the help of a
                      representative.This may be a family member, friend or professional adviser
                      acting in a personal capacity.Your representative may assist you and attend
                      meetings with you, if you wish.

                      S TA G E 1
                      Complaints at this stage can be made by phoning our Customer Service
                      team, by writing to us, by sending us an email, by visiting any of our offices
                      or by filling in a complaints record form.The form is available from us on
                      request, or from our website at www.moat.co.uk.

                      Your complaint will be recorded and we will carry out an investigation.
                      Every effort will be made to resolve the complaint at this stage.The target
                      time scale for resolving complaints at this level is ten working days.




  74
FURTHER INFORMATION                                                            SECTION 7




S TA G E 2




                                                                                     FURTHER INFORMATION
If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, please contact us.
At this stage your complaint is the responsibility of senior management. A
senior manager will investigate and will try to resolve the matter with you.
The target time scale for resolving complaints at this level is ten working days.

S TA G E 3
If you are still not happy, you may choose to appeal to the regional director/
head of service.This means that your complaint will be considered by a
panel of 2 Moat resident Board and/or Committee members and a
director.Your appeal must be sent to us in writing. A meeting will be
arranged where you will be invited to explain the nature of your complaint.

This will be arranged within four weeks from receipt of your request to
appeal. If you wish to attend the meeting, you have the right to bring
someone to represent you.We will consider requests to reimburse
reasonable claims for travel and childcare costs if this makes it easier for you
to attend this meeting. You will be notified of the final decision in writing
within five working days of the appeal.

Housing Ombudsman Service
If you are still not satisfied with the response following stages one, two
and three, you may contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is a publicly funded body that oversees all housing
associations and ensures that they act fairly and reasonably.
The Ombudsman will only consider complaints once all three stages in
this policy have been completed. The Ombudsman will notify you directly
of the findings.

Housing Ombudsman Service
81 Aldwych
London WC2B 4HN
TELEPHONE: 020 7421 3800
FAX: 020 7831 1942
LO-CALL: 0845 7125 973
E-MAIL: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk




                                                                                    75
 SECTION 7                                                                  FURTHER INFORMATION
FURTHER INFORMATION



                      Our approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour and nuisance
                      We will work in partnership with you and other agencies to resolve situations
                      where people’s lives are being affected by the unacceptable behaviour of
                      others. We are prepared to take a tough stance on anti-social behaviour. We
                      will not let the actions of a few ruin the efforts of most people who want to
                      live their lives in a pleasant, peaceful and safe environment.

                      We take reports of anti-social behaviour very seriously and we will support
                      you wherever we can. We aim to resolve the problem with you wherever
                      possible and recognise that sometimes legal action is appropriate and we
                      will have to take this.

                      What you should do if you have a complaint about your neighbours
                      If you have a complaint about someone living near you, first of all you
                      should try to resolve the problem directly with that person before you
                      contact us. Talking to the person and explaining the situation can help
                      them to understand the impact that it is having on you and the discomfort
                      it is causing. Efforts to compromise and trying to see each other’s point of
                      view often go a long way towards resolving the problem harmoniously
                      amongst yourselves.

                      What you should do if the problem remains unresolved
                      If you have tried talking to the person and this has made no difference,
                      then you should call us to discuss how to deal with the situation. The level
                      of our involvement will depend on your situation. This can vary from
                      practical advice to legal action against the person causing the nuisance.We
                      will listen to your views and agree an action plan clearly outlining what you
                      need to do yourself.

                      If the problem is with noise nuisance you should report the nuisance to the
                      Environmental Health Department at your local authority as well as to us.
                      Local authorities have a duty to take reasonable practical steps to
                      investigate complaints of noise nuisance.The Environmental Health
                      Department have equipment that they can use to measure the level of
                      noise and make an accurate recording which may be used as evidence in
                      court against the perpetrators. The local authority can issue a noise
                      abatement notice and failure to comply with a notice can lead to a fine or
                      removal of the equipment creating the noise.

  76
FURTHER INFORMATION                                                              SECTION 7




                                                                                       FURTHER INFORMATION
What needs to happen to follow this through?
We will probably ask you to keep a written record of all the incidents of
anti-social behaviour; these are often referred to as ‘diary sheets’.
This is important as we will need a written record of what is happening
and when, in order to assess the impact it is having on your household
and on the neighbourhood. A record of every incident should be made
immediately or as soon after the event as possible.

There are several options available to us, such as:
 I   Mediation
 I   Acceptable behaviour contracts and parental control agreements
 I   Estate action plans
 I   Referral to our housing support services, or other agencies.

If the above options fail to stop the problems or the case is serious
enough we will apply to the courts. If we decide to take legal action, we
will need to present written records as evidence in court. Legal action
may not necessarily lead to the perpetrators being evicted, but there are
several options available to us, such as:
 I   Anti-social behaviour injunctions (ASBIs)
 I   Demoted tenancies
 I   Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)
 I   Possession proceedings.


Court Action
You may also feel that appearing as a witness in Court can be intimidating.
You are also likely to find that waiting a long time to resolve a situation of
anti-social behaviour is extremely frustrating, especially if the person
causing the problems lives close to you. We will support you through this
and, where appropriate, will provide extra support.




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                      If you need help
FURTHER INFORMATION




                      If at any time there is a risk of danger, you must call the emergency
                      services immediately. Acts of intimidation, vandalism, fly tipping, graffiti
                      spraying, etc, must also be reported to the police and to us. For assistance
                      during office hours, we will make sure you have an individual contact
                      telephone number in case you need to get in touch.

                      Our Customer Services Team is also available to help if you have queries
                      regarding the completion of the written record, or understanding the
                      action plan made.

                      Useful contacts
                      Some organisations and websites that you may find useful.

                      All telephone numbers in this section are correct as of January 2008.


                      Citizens Advice Bureau - Advice Guide
                      For advice on benefits, employment, debt, education,
                      legal system and health.                                  www.adviceguide.org.uk

                      Equality and Human Rights Commission
                      The Equality and Human Rights Commission
                      champions equality and human rights for all, working
                      to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect
                      human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that   www.equalityhumanright
                      everyone has a fair chance to participate in society.     .com

                      England - race, age, gender, sexual orientation,          0845 604 6610
                      religion and belief and human rights                      England main number

                      England - disability                                      08457 622 633
                                                                                Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 9:00
                                                                                am-5:00 pm; Wed 9:00
                                                                                am-8:00 pm.

                      Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL)
                      You can find out how easy it is to save with a credit
                      union and find out how little a credit union loan
                      costs. Here is also the place to look if you want to
                      find out more about ABCUL, or want to start up a          0161 832 3694
                      new credit union.                                         www.abcul.org


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                       continued




                                                                                             FURTHER INFORMATION
Useful contacts

Department of Work and Pensions
This is the government department that deals directly            0800 88 22 00
with all benefits as well as details of local benefit offices.   www.dwp.gov.uk

Gingerbread                                                      0800 018 5026
This charity offers practical and emotional support to           open Monday – Friday
lone parents and their children, and campaigns on                9am – 5pm
their behalf.                                                    Wednesday 9am – 8pm
                                                                 www.gingerbread.org.uk

The Housing Corporation
The Housing Corporation is responsible for investing
public money in housing associations and for protecting
that investment and ensuring it provides decent                  0845 230 7000
homes and services for residents.                                www.housingcorp.gov.uk

Gas Escape call                                                  0800 111 999

Samaritans 24 hour line
Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental
emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are
experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including 08457 90 90 90
those which may lead to suicide.                        www.samaritans.org

Childline
Childline is the free 24-hour helpline for children and
young people in the UK. Children and young people
can call their helpline about any problem, at any time -
day or night. Childline's counsellors are there to help 0800 1111
you find ways to sort things out.                        www.childline.org.uk

RSPCA
There are now 323 uniformed RSPCA inspectors and                 Cruelty Line:
146 Animal Collection Officers in England and Wales              0800 1234 999
working round the clock to save animals in distress.             www.rspca.org.uk

Shelter
Shelter is a national organisation with local solutions
working to improve the lives of homeless and badly               0808 800 4444
housed people. They provide free, professional and               (Seven days a week,
independent advice to over 170,000 people each year              8am until midnight)
throughout England and Scotland.                                 www.shelter.org.uk


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                      Useful contacts    continued
FURTHER INFORMATION




                      Relate
                      Relate offers a wide range of services for couples,
                      families and individuals.They support people through
                      all stages of their relationships and you can access
                      their support on your own or with others,              0845 1 30 40 16
                      face-to-face, on the phone or on the internet.         www.relate.org.uk




  80
             Moat
Mariner House, Galleon Boulevard
      Crossways, Dartford
         Kent DA2 6QE
Moat Homes Limited is a charitable housing association



     www.moat.co.uk

				
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