Document Sample
					                                                                           Perthshire Housing
                                                                           Association Limited   TENANTS HANDBOOK

   Perthshire Housing
   Association Limited

How to Contact Us
You can write, telephone or call in to see us at:
5 South St. John’s Place, Perth PH1 5SU
Tel: 01738 441088
Office Opening Hours
                                                    Registered with
Mon-Thurs: 9am to 5pm Friday: 9am to 4pm            Communities Scotland
                                                    Reg. No. HEP224 and
Our emergency repair number is 07702 251714         having Charitable
                                                    Status SCO13988
E-mail us:                     Registered with
                                                    Industrial and
You can also contact us through our website:        Provident Society                              Reg No. 2343 R (S)
            Perthshire Housing Association

Translations: If you have difficulty in reading or                  Contents                                 Page
understanding English and require help in translating or
                                                             1      Introduction                               3
interpreting any information that Perthshire Housing         1.1    The Association                             3
Association provides, or if you have other special           1.2    Membership of the Association               3
                                                             1.3    Information in Other Formats                3
requirements and need further help please ask at reception
or contact us on (01738) 441088.                             2      Useful Contact Numbers & Information -
                                                                    Perthshire Housing Association Ltd         4
                                                             2.1    We are also on the Internet                 4
                                                             2.2    Our Leaflets                                5

                                                             3      Your Rights                                6
                                                             3.1    Your Home                                   6
                                                             3.2    Succession                                  6
                                                             3.3    Right to Buy                                6
                                                             3.4    Transfers / Mutual Exchanges                7
                                                             3.5    Lodgers                                     7
                                                             3.6    Subletting                                  8
                                                             3.7    Assignation                                 8
                                                             3.8    Keeping Pets                                8
                                                             3.9    Complaints Procedure                        8
                                                             3.10   Ending the Tenancy                          9
                                                             3.11   Abandonment                                 9
                                                             3.12   Tenancy Agreement in Other Formats          9

                                                             4      Your Rent                                 10
                                                             4.1    How to Pay                                 10
                                                             4.2    Housing Benefit                            10
                                                             4.3    Rent Arrears                               11
                                                             4.4    How to Get Help                            11
                                                             4.5    Service Charges                            11

                                                             5      Repairs                                   12
                                                             5.1    Reporting a Repair                         12
                                                             5.2    Reporting an Emergency at
                                                                    Nightime, Weekends and Holidays            12
                                                             5.3    Repairs Priorities                         12
                                                             5.4    Right to Repair                            13
                                                             5.5    Planned Maintenance                        13
                                                             5.6    Responsibility for Repairs                 13
                                                             5.7    Charges for Repairs                        13
                                                                             Perthshire Housing Association

6      NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES                          14   1   Introduction
6.1    Rubbish Collection                              14
6.2    Caretaking Services                             14   1.1 The Association
6.3    Landscape Maintenance                           15
                                                                Perthshire Housing Association was founded in 1990 with the aim of providing good
6.4    Gardens                                         15
                                                                quality affordable housing for people in need.
6.5    Gritting                                        15
                                                                The Association is controlled by a voluntary Management Board, which meets on a
7      SAFETY IN THE HOME                              16       regular basis. The Board members are generally local people with an interest in
7.1    Gas Central Heating and Boilers                 16       housing. They receive no payment for their services. Places are reserved on the
7.2    Gas Leaks                                       16       Board for resident representatives.
7.3    Electricity                                     16       The day-to-day running of the Association is handled by a paid staff team.
7.4    Frost Protection                                17
                                                                The Association actively seeks to promote equality of opportunity across its entire
7.5    Burst or Frozen Pipes                           17
                                                                range of activities.
7.6    Going Away                                      17
7.7    Improvements and Alterations                    18       A list of the names of Board members and staff is included in Section 9 of this
7.8    Altering Your House For Medical Reasons         18       handbook.
7.9    Insurance Responsibilities                      18
                                                            1.2 Membership of the Association
7.10   Contents Insurance                              19
                                                                Any tenant is entitled to apply for membership of the Association. If you wish to
8      SOME FINAL MATTERS                              20       become a member of the Association you should contact us to find out how to
8.1    Being a Good Neighbour                          20       apply. Once your application has been considered and accepted by the Board you
8.2    Disagreements with Neighbours                   20       will be asked to pay £1.00 to become a shareholding member of the Association.
8.3    Harassment                                      21       This will then entitle you to stand for election or co-option to the Board. You will also
                                                                be entitled to attend all Annual General Meetings and vote on the election of Board
8.4    Running a Business from Home                    21
8.5    Getting Involved in the Community               21
8.6    Neighbourhood Watch                             22       The Association is keen to encourage the participation of tenants in the running of
8.7    Customer Service                                22       the organisation. We hope you will consider applying for membership and think
                                                                about joining our Management Board. Your Housing Officer will be very pleased to
9      OTHER INFORMATION                               23       discuss the matter with you on an informal basis by telephone, or in person if you
9.1    Committee of Management                         23       want to make an appointment.
9.2    Staff Team                                      23   1.3 Information in Other Formats
9.3    Highland & East Perthshire Care & Repair Team   24
9.4    Caretaking Team                                 24       If you are in any way visually impaired, the Association can
9.5    Other Contact Numbers                           25       arrange for the information in this handbook to be provided
9.6    Complaints Procedure                            26       on audio tape, in large print or in Braille. If you would find
9.7    Division of Repairs Responsibility              30
                                                                this service helpful, please contact us. It can also be
                                                                provided in languages other than English.

                    Perthshire Housing Association

    2 Useful Contact Numbers & Information -                                       2.2 Our Leaflets
                                                                                         PHA has a number of leaflets which are available free of charge. You can collect
      Perthshire Housing Association                                                     any of these in our offices or you can phone up to request that we post these to
                                                                                         you. The information contained in them is also available in electronic format
                                                                                         from our website:
        5 South St. John’s Place
        Perth, PH1 5SU                                                                   The leaflets are:-
        Telephone: 01738 441088                                                    1.    Who are we & what do we do? - An Introduction to PHA.
        (including out of hours answer service)
        Fax: 01738 441060                                                          2.    Our Customer Services Standards.
        Email:                                                3.    How to apply for a rented home with Perthshire Housing Association.
                                                                                   4.    Our Full Lettings Policy.
        Opening hours
                                                                                   5.    Your Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement Explained.
        Monday to Thursday    9:00am - 5:00pm
        Friday                9:00am - 4:00pm                                      6.    Our Repairs Service.
                                                                                   7.    Can I buy my house? - The Right to Buy Explained.
        The Perthshire Care & Repair service is also based at the above address.   8.    Getting involved in the Association’s business. A Summary of our Resident
                                                                                         Participation Strategy.
        Tel: 01738 474810
        Fax: 01738 464838                                                          9.    Carrying out alterations to your home or garden. What you need to know.
        Email:                                         10.   Having difficulty paying your rent? - Our approach to rent arrears.
        Emergency Repairs 07702 251714                                             11.   Keeping your environment tidy - Our Services.
                                                                                   12.   Shared ownership - Is it for me?
    2.1 We are also on the Internet!                                               13.   Neighbours behaving badly? -
                                                                                         What you can do about neighbour problems & anti-social behaviour.
        Visit our website at                                                     14.   Our Customer Complaints procedure.
        By doing so you can access a variety of                                    15.   Maximising your income. - Our Benefits Advice Service.
        information about the Association. This                                    16.   Data Protection - What’s it all about?
        includes our range of policies and
        procedures and details about our
        housing stock. Through the website you
        can also request further information or
        report a repair.
        Our interactive zone allows you to
        comment about topical issues and
        share your views with other tenants and

4                                                                                                                                                                           5
                     Perthshire Housing Association

    3 Your Rights                                                                           3.4 Transfers/Mutual Exchanges
                                                                                                If you are a tenant of the Association and you want a move to another house
                                                                                                owned by the Association, this is called a transfer.
    3.1 Your Home                                                                               If you know of another tenant of the Association, Perth and Kinross Council, or
        As a Scottish Secure Tenant you have security of tenure as long as:                     of another housing association or Council, and you wish to swap houses with
                                                                                                one another, this is known as a mutual exchange.
        • you occupy your house as your only or principal home
        • you comply with the terms of the Tenancy Agreement.                                   Transfer Applications
        You have a right to information from us about the terms of your tenancy and             The Association operates a joint transfer list with the Council. If you are on this
        about our various housing management policies and procedures.                           list you may be considered for housing by either the Council or ourselves.
        You can ask us if you would like to hold your tenancy jointly with another              We will consider any transfer applicants who wish to be rehoused by the
        member of your household.                                                               Association, in accordance with our Lettings Policy.
        You also have a right to be consulted about any proposed changes in your                Up to 20% of our lettings each year are reserved for our existing tenants wishing
        Tenancy Agreement. This includes where we propose to change rent or service             a transfer. Priority is given for:
        charges.                                                                                • overcrowding
        We will not unreasonably interrupt or interfere with your right to peacefully           • under occupying
        occupy the house except where either:
                                                                                                • medical reasons
        • Access is required to inspect the condition of the house, or to carry out
           repairs or other works to the house or adjoining property.                           To qualify, you will need to have conducted your tenancy satisfactorily and be
                                                                                                leaving your current home in good condition.
        • We have a Court Order to end your tenancy and repossess your home.
                                                                                                Other landlords
    3.2 Succession                                                                              You will appreciate that as we have a limited number of properties, it is often
        Should you die, the tenancy can pass to:-                                               difficult to offer transfers as quickly as you may wish. When you apply for a
                                                                                                transfer, you may find that other landlords particularly the Council are able to
        • Your spouse or partner who lives with you                                             offer you suitable alternative housing, in the areas of your choice, more quickly
        • A member of your family over 16 years old who lives with you.                         and more easily than we can.
        This is called ‘succession’ and can normally happen twice. If you are a joint           Mutual Exchanges
        tenant, the remaining tenant continues to occupy the house under a sole                 For an exchange to take place both landlords must be agreeable to the move
        tenancy. This is not counted as succession. Under certain circumstances,                and be satisfied that you and the tenant you wish to swap with have conducted
        someone who has provided care to yourself or a member of your family may                your tenancies in an appropriate manner. In some instances it may not be
        also qualify - they must be over 16 years of age and have given up their                possible for us to approve a mutual exchange. This may be the case if the
        previous home to provide care.                                                          properties involved are not of a suitable size and type for both households.
    3.3 Right to Buy                                                                        3.5 Lodgers
        You only have the right to buy if the Association bought your house as part of a        You must ask for written permission to take in a lodger. Normally permission will
        stock transfer from Scottish Homes, and if you were the tenant at the time.             be given to take in a lodger as long as this does not lead to overcrowding.
        You will retain this right for as long as you live in your present home.                We also require a written agreement to be given to a lodger. We will need to
        If you would like further information about this please contact us and we will be       approve the terms of this agreement,particularly to ensure that you charge a
        happy to clarify this situation.                                                        reasonable amount of money to anyone lodging with you.

6                                                                                                                                                                                     7
    3.6 Subletting                                                                             3.10 Ending the Tenancy
        If you are to be away from your house for a short time you may want to rent it out         If you wish to end your tenancy, you must give us at least 28 days written notice.
        to someone else.                                                                           All furniture, personal possessions, household and garden rubbish must be
        You must ask for written permission from the Association to do this. This includes         removed before handing over the keys. If we have to dispose of any items you
        all of the proposed terms of the subletting. Careful consideration will be given to        leave behind you will be charged the cost of this.
        the circumstances of the proposed sublet before agreement is reached. The                  The house, fixtures and fittings and decoration should all be left in good order.
        period for a sublet will normally be six months.                                           If this is not done, you will be charged for any repairs required due to negligence.
        You will remain responsible for making sure that the rent is paid and that your sub-       Mail should be re-directed to your new address and others such as Doctors,
        tenant keeps to all the tenancy conditions. If you decide not to return to your            Clinics, Schools, Council Tax and TV Licensing should be notified of your new
        home, the Association will end your tenancy and the sub-tenant will have to leave.         address.

    3.7 Assignation                                                                            3.11 Abandonment
        You can apply to ‘assign’ or pass the tenancy of your house to someone else who            If we believe that you are no longer living in your home, there are set
        lives with you. You must ask for our permission if you intend doing this. We will          procedures that we can follow to allow us to repossess the property. It is
        consider the circumstances, under which the assignation is to take place and,              therefore important that you let us know if you intend being away from your
        providing it will not lead to overcrowding or other tenancy problems, we will              home for any length of time so that this action can be avoided. If you would
        normally grant permission.                                                                 like further information about the procedures for dealing with suspected
                                                                                                   abandoned properties, please contact us.

    3.8 Keeping Pets                                                                           3.12 Tenancy Agreement in Other Formats
        No dogs, cats, birds or other animals can be kept in your home without our prior
        written permission. Permission will not be granted for keeping dogs, with the              If you are in any way visually impaired, the Association can
        exception of guide dogs, in flats that are accessed by a common stair.                     arrange for a copy of your tenancy agreement to be provided
                                                                                                   on audio tape, in large print or in Braille. If you would find this
    3.9 Complaints Procedure                                                                       service helpful, please contact us. It can also be provided in
        We will do everything we can to resolve your complaints informally and to your             languages other than English.
        If you are unhappy with the outcome of a complaint, you have the right to invoke
        the Association’s formal complaints procedure. This is detailed in Section 9.6 of
        this handbook.
        You should refer to this procedure if you think we have broken any part of the
        Tenancy Agreement or failed in our duties as your landlord.
        Once this procedure is exhausted and if you are still unhappy, then in certain
        circumstances you can refer your complaint to the Scottish Public Services

8                                                                                                                                                                                         9
                       Perthshire Housing Association

     4   Your Rent                                                                                     4.3 Rent Arrears
                                                                                                           Non-payment of rent is a serious matter and could lead to you losing your home. If
                                                                                                           you are getting into difficulty, please contact us as quickly as possible.
     4.1 How to Pay
         Your rent is due weekly but can be paid in advance or at other intervals if agreed with           We place great emphasis on early contact in rent arrears cases. This helps tenants
         the Association.                                                                                  and the Association to sort out problems quickly before arrears levels get too high.
         You may pay your rent in various ways:                                                            When you contact us to discuss arrears, you can arrange to pay off what you owe in
                                                                                                           regular manageable amounts. These amounts will depend on how much you owe and
         •   Payment through the Allpay network                                                            how much money you have coming into the house after you have paid essential bills.
         •   By direct debit (monthly in advance)
                                                                                                           Legal Action
         •   At your local Post Office using your payment card
         •   By using a crossed cheque or Postal Order                                                     If you do not contact us, or if you do not keep to your arrangement for repayment, we
         •   At our office in South St. John’s Place, Perth                                                will take legal action against you. This could lead to your wages being arrested or
                                                                                                           eviction from your home. You will also have to pay all legal expenses incurred.
         Please note that we cannot accept cash through the post.
                                                                                                           We have an obligation to inform certain other members of your household if we intend
                                                                                                           taking legal action against you. This is to allow their circumstances to be considered
     4.2 Housing Benefit                                                                                   by the Court. This means that anyone who you have taken in as a lodger or sub-let
                                                                                                           your house to is entitled to know about such action. The same applies to members of
         What is it?                                                                                       your family over the age of 16 who live with you. It is important therefore that we know
         Housing Benefit is a National Scheme that helps people on limited income to pay their             who lives in your home and if we ask you to provide this information you should make
         rent. The scheme is run locally by Perth and Kinross Council. Anyone who pays rent                every effort to do so.
         can apply. If you are receiving benefits such as Income Support, State Retirement                 We will not take legal action if you make and keep to an arrangement for paying what
         Pension or Incapacity Benefit, it is particularly worthwhile making a claim for Housing           you owe us.
         How Do I Make a Claim?
         Contact your local Council Office and ask for an Application Form. It is worthwhile           4.4 How to get Help
         making an application even if you are working, or if you think you might not qualify.             The Association operates its own Benefits Advice Service. The service is free to all
                                                                                                           PHA tenants and can help you claim the wide range of social security, disability
         How Much Benefit Will I Get?                                                                      allowances and Housing and Council Tax benefits to which you may be entitled. A
         The amount of Housing Benefit you get depends on the amount of money coming into                  useful list of other contact numbers for advice on benefits and dealing with debt is
         your house, plus any savings you have. The number and ages of the people living in                included in Section 9.5 of this handbook.
         your house is also taken into consideration.
         What if My Circumstances Change?
                                                                                                       4.5 Service Charges
         If the information you have given on your Application Form changes, you must tell your
         local Council Office immediately. Changes such as a rise in your wages, or someone                In housing developments containing common features such as landscaping or
         moving out of or into the house, may affect the amount of Benefit you get. Review                 paving, or stairs and closes to flats, we normally arrange for the maintenance and
         forms are sent out from time to time, and you must make sure you complete and                     cleaning of these areas. To pay for this, we set service charges every year. These are
         return these or your Housing Benefit may be cancelled.                                            payable with your rent, and provide us with the money required for these services.
                                                                                                           You are charged only for the cost of providing these services, which are detailed in
         Overpayment of Housing Benefit                                                                    your tenancy agreement.
         You should also bear in mind that failure to tell the Housing Benefit authorities of a
         change in circumstances, can result in overpaid housing benefit being claimed back
         by the Council.
         If your benefit was paid directly to us, and the Council has claimed it back, we will treat
10       this as an arrear and pursue recovery of this money.                                                                                                                                         11
                       Perthshire Housing Association

     5    Repairs                                                                                  5.4 Right to Repair
                                                                                                        The way in which our repairs are prioritised is normally highly successful in allowing
                                                                                                        them to be completed within the required timescale. There may occasionally be
     5.1 Reporting a Repair - Normal Office Hours                                                       instances where, for whatever reason, a repair is not carried out in time.
          If you wish to report a repair during normal office hours, please telephone our office
          on 01738 441088. We will also be happy to accept repairs reported personally at               A statutory Right to Repair scheme exists, which specifies that certain essential
          our office at 5 South St. John’s Place, Perth.                                                repairs must be done within a limited timescale. You can obtain further information
                                                                                                        from us regarding the scheme and the types of repair work that may qualify.
          When reporting a repair you should give as much detail as possible in order that the
          work required can be properly assessed.
                                                                                                   5.5 Planned Maintenance
          You will be informed of the length of time in which your repairs should be
                                                                                                        We aim to keep our properties in good condition. Part of your rent is set aside to pay
                                                                                                        for work such as painting outside timberwork and cast iron pipework, once every five
          You should also give a contact telephone number where possible, and where                     years. This money is also used for replacing other essential external items at the end
          necessary discuss access times with our staff.                                                of their useful lives.
                                                                                                        All gas boilers and central heating systems are serviced once a year.
     5.2 Reporting an Emergency at Nightime,
         Weekends and Holidays                                                                     5.6 Responsibility for Repairs
          All emergency repairs required outside normal office hours should be reported by              We are responsible for the vast majority of repairs to your house. Under your tenancy
          telephoning:                                                                                  agreement, however, there are certain types of repairs for which you are responsible.
                       07702 251714                                                                     The table in Section 9.7 of this handbook shows the split in responsibility for repairs
          Please use this number only if you have a genuine emergency. Using this number                between tenants and the Association.
          for other enquiries could prevent someone with a genuine emergency repair from
          contacting us.                                                                           5.7 Charges for Repairs
                                                                                                        No charges are made for repairs which are required through fair wear and tear. The
     5.3 Repairs Priorities                                                                             Association will charge on occasions however for damage to glass, damage to sinks
          We have an obligation to keep your home wind and weathertight and to repair fixtures          or bathroom fitments, plugs, chains, replacing lost or broken keys and any costs we
          and fittings where a fault has occurred through fair wear and tear.                           have incurred through forcing entry due to lost keys.

          We aim to complete repairs within the following timescales:                                   We will recharge or ask for payment in advance for repairing any other part of the
                                                                                                        property damaged by yourself, your family or visitors.
          Emergency Repairs                           Examples
          Attend within 3 hours and make safe.        Fire, Flood,
          Complete full repair within 24 hours        Safety Hazard, no
                                                      electricity, gas or water
          Urgent Repairs                              Examples
          Repair within 3 working days                Faulty electric sockets and
                                                      switches, faulty door entry systems,
                                                      faulty storage heaters.
          Routine Repairs                             Examples
          Repair within 10 working days               All other items of joinery, electrical
                                                      and plumbing work.

12                                                                                                                                                                                                13
                       Perthshire Housing Association

     6   Neighbourhood Services                                                                     6.3 Landscape Maintenance
                                                                                                        In some of our housing schemes, where there are areas of common landscaping
                                                                                                        which are not looked after by the Council, the Association provides landscape
                                                                                                        maintenance services. In these places, the standard of our service is:-
     6.1 Rubbish Collection
                                                                                                        Grass cutting           - every two weeks in summer
         The Association ensures that adequate refuse bins, and where necessary, bin
         storage facilities are provided for all of its properties. We would appreciate your help       Strimming rough grass - three times in summer
         in making sure all your rubbish is put in your bin and that the bin is kept in any             Tidying shrub beds      - six times per year plus initial tidy in spring and
         storage area that has been provided.                                                                                     annual pruning
         Perth & Kinross Council will collect larger items such as furniture, washing machines          Young, staked trees     - two times per year
         and additional bags. The Council makes a charge for this service. A contact                    Hedge maintenance       - two times per year
         number for enquiries is listed in Section 9.5 of this handbook.

                                                                                                    6.4 Gardens
     6.2 Caretaking Services                                                                            You are responsible for looking after any garden that is for your exclusive use.
         In some of our housing schemes, particularly where there are some flats with                   If this is difficult for you due to age or disability and you have no friends or relatives
         common staircases, the Association provides caretaking services. In these places,              who can help,we may be able to provide assistance. If we provide such a service to
         the standard of our service is:-                                                               you we will charge you the cost of providing this service.
         Sweeping and cleaning common stairs and entrances to flats        - weekly                     Tenants not looking after their gardens will be asked by us to tidy up. If this is not
                                                                                                        done, we will do the work and charge the actual cost to the tenant, likely to be at
         Sweeping of paved drying areas and bin stores                     - weekly                     least £20.00.
         Sweeping car parks and pavements in the vicinity of our houses - weekly
         Attending Council bin collection to ensure all rubbish removed    - weekly                 6.5 Gritting
         Cleaning of close window ledges and stair windows                 - weekly                     In most of our housing schemes, grit boxes have been provided in common areas.
         Cleaning rubbish from landscaped areas                            - when required              In general our Caretakers are responsible for ensuring the boxes are kept filled with
                                                                                                        grit. On occasions our caretakers will try to grit footpaths but as they only work a
         Checking and replacing of close lights and door entry system      - when required              limited number of hours per week we have provided grit boxes for residents’ use.
                                                                                                        Where roads have been adopted by Perth and Kinross Council they will be gritted by
                                                                                                        the Council in accordance with the schedule for doing so.

14                                                                                                                                                                                                   15
                        Perthshire Housing Association

     7    Safety in the Home                                                                            7.4 Frost Protection
                                                                                                            During cold weather, you can avoid frost damage and burst pipes by following these
     7.1 Gas Central Heating and Boilers                                                                1   Set the thermostat on your heating to at least 10 degrees centigrade (50 degrees
          We have a maintenance contract for your gas central heating and boilers. This covers              Fahrenheit) and leave it at this level while the cold weather persists. This should
          annual servicing and any repairs that are required. It is important that you allow us             keep your home reasonably warm
          access to your home for the annual servicing of your gas boiler. We will try to be as         2   Leave the doors into each room open - this allows warm air to circulate.
          flexible as possible in arranging the servicing to be done at a time that will be
                                                                                                        3   Contact the office if you are going away for a lengthy period and leaving the house
          convenient for you. However, please note that we have a legal obligation to carry out
          annual servicing of your gas system - and if it is necessary we will take legal action to
          gain access for this work. If you require any gas central heating or boiler repairs,
          please contact us.
                                                                                                        7.5 Burst or Frozen Pipes
                                                                                                            If you have a burst pipe:
     7.2 Gas Leaks                                                                                      1   Turn off the water at the stopcock
          If you smell gas:                                                                             2   Switch off the electricity at the mains if the water
                                                                                                            comes into contact with electrical fittings or wiring.
     1    Telephone Scotland Gas Networks on the Emergency number: 0800 111999
                                                                                                        3   Switch off any water heaters
     2    Put out cigarettes and do not light matches
                                                                                                        4   Switch off the central heating system
     3    Do not use electricity switches or mobile phones (in case of sparks)
                                                                                                        5   Turn off all taps
     4    Switch off all gas appliances
                                                                                                        6   Call our office or our emergency number
     5    Open windows/doors
                                                                                                        7   Let the Office know and
     6    Turn off the pilot light and the main gas supply
                                                                                                        8   Warn all the neighbours they might suffer damage
     7    If you live in a flat with a secure door entry system, open the door into the common
          close                                                                                             If you have a frozen pipe:
          Find out now where the mains gas tap is in your home. It is usually near the meter.           1   Turn off the water at the stopcock
                                                                                                        2   Switch off the water heater
                                                                                                        3   Turn off all the taps and
     7.3 Electricity                                                                                    4   Call our office or our emergency number
          If all the power in your house goes off, check your circuit breakers. These are located
          in the electrical control unit, usually in a cupboard near the kitchen or in the hallway or
          porch.                                                                                        7.6 Going Away
          If problems continue, or if you have any concern at all about the safety of electricity in        If you are going away from home during the winter, you must
          your house, please contact us immediately.                                                        leave your heating on to avoid burst pipes. If you are away for a
                                                                                                            long time, you can drain your system but please ask us for
                                                                                                            advice first. You should also advise us in advance of going away,
                                                                                                            and inform us of a contact number in case there is a problem.

16                                                                                                                                                                                                17
     7.7 Improvements and Alterations                                                             7.10 Contents Insurance
          If you wish to carry out improvements or alterations to your house - such as                While it is your responsibility to insure the contents of your home, you are entitled to
          installing a shower, or putting up a shed - then you should first seek our permission       pick the insurance company or agent of your choice.
          before making a start. All reasonable requests will be considered and advice given
          on how to proceed.                                                                          We would recommend however that you consider taking out contents insurance
                                                                                                      through the Scottish Federation of Housing Association Contents Insurance
          At the end of your tenancy you may be eligible for compensation for certain
                                                                                                      Scheme. This particular scheme has been tailor-made for Housing Association
          improvement work that you have carried out with our permission. You can obtain
                                                                                                      tenants. The scheme offers very favourable rates for contents insurance premiums,
          further information from us regarding the types of work that may qualify for
          compensation.                                                                               although you may still wish to compare these with commercial insurance
     7.8 Altering your house for medical reasons                                                      The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations welcome enquiries on their
          We can on occasions provide help where an alteration is needed due to a medical             scheme. Their contact address and telephone number is listed in Section 9.5 of this
          condition. This includes putting up handrails in bathrooms and replacing baths with         handbook.
          showers. If you require this help, you should first contact an Occupational Therapist       We recommend that you should insure the contents of your house for a minimum of
          at the Council’s Social Work Department. They carry out an assessment, then                 £10,000.
          recommend what is needed to us. Provided the alteration is possible and we have
          funds, this work is done by us free of charge.                                              Given the unhappy experience of many of our tenants during previous cold spells,
                                                                                                      we feel that it is more important than ever that tenants carry adequate contents
     7.9 Insurance - Responsibilities                                                                 insurance cover. This will help provide cover for loss of possessions in such severe
                                                                                                      weather circumstances.
          There are two types of insurance which need to be arranged for your home -
          buildings insurance and contents insurance.                                                 We know that many of our tenants have low incomes, and insurance might seem to
          We work on the principle that we will arrange for buildings insurance. We would             be a bit of a luxury. It isn’t! Just think how you would start replacing all your furniture
          strongly advise you to arrange and pay for contents insurance.                              and belongings in the awful event of a fire, flood or theft.
          The buildings insurance arranged by us covers the cost of the major repair work
          should there be structural damage to your home.
          The contents insurance, for which you are responsible, will cover for the cost of
          replacing any of your belongings which are lost or damaged through flood, fire
          and theft.

18                                                                                                                                                                                                  19
                       Perthshire Housing Association

     8   Some Final Matters                                                                           8.3 Harassment
                                                                                                          We place great importance on tenants being able to live in their homes and
                                                                                                          communities without fear of harassment. This can take a number of forms, including
                                                                                                          sexual or racial harassment, harassment directed against lesbians or gay men, or
     8.1 Being a Good Neighbour                                                                           harassment on the grounds of religion.
         When you signed your Tenancy Agreement, you agreed to certain things. These are                  We deal seriously and speedily with all allegations of harassment. We support all
         the conditions of tenancy which are intended to ensure that you and your                         victims of harassment by formally investigating any such report, and will take any
         neighbours can enjoy your homes in peace and comfort and that the surrounding                    action necessary to stop the harassment. This includes taking court proceedings for
         area around your home looks reasonable.                                                          the eviction of any tenant carrying out harassment, and considering transfers for those
         Too much noise from late night parties, music systems and household machines                     being harassed.
         can be annoying to neighbours, so please show consideration for others. If you                   In many cases, harassment can be illegal. In serious cases, we will work with the
         often disturb your neighbours, then we may take legal action against you.                        Police to take or support any legal action available to us or any victims of harassment.

                                                                                                      8.4 Running a Business from Home
     8.2 Disagreements with Neighbours
                                                                                                          Generally, you must not run a business from your home. However, if you want to work
         If possible, it is best to try and resolve a problem between yourselves first. Your              from home, and could do so without disturbing your neighbours, permission may be
         neighbours may not have realised that they are causing you annoyance. Often in                   granted. For further information you should contact the Association.
         such cases, a friendly word can be enough to sort things out. Discuss the problem
         calmly, and be willing to show some compromise if possible. Otherwise, you might
         find a small disagreement turns into a major row. If the situation does not get any          8.5 Getting Involved in the Community
         better, or if you think it is too serious for you to deal with by yourself, please contact       We try to encourage tenants to get involved in their community and the running of the
         us for further advice and assistance. We will look into your complaint and deal with             Association, so that you can have a say in the services and issues that affect them,
         it in confidence.                                                                                their home and neighbourhood.
         We will try to sort out the disagreement by speaking to you and your neighbour. If               We are happy to provide information on our policies and procedures to ensure
         either of you is breaking the tenancy conditions, we may take legal action. We may               residents are able to participate in the work of the Association. We are also continually
         even go to Court for an Order for Recovery of Possession, but this stage is only                 exploring new ways of allowing tenants to influence the development of our policies
         reached when everything else has been tried and failed.                                          and practices.
         We would remind you that any nuisance in and around your home - whether caused                   We provide various opportunities such as the Annual Residents Convention,
         by yourself, members of your household, or visitors to your house - is a breach of               Residents Panel and the ViewPoint Panel as part of our approach to tenant
         your tenancy agreement. In these cases, we may take legal action.                                involvement and participation. Furthermore, if you think that setting up a Tenants
                                                                                                          Group would be a good idea for your area then please contact us. We will provide you
         Disagreements with neighbours can be very difficult to sort out. You can help us                 with as much information, assistance and encouragement as possible to get you
         (and yourself) by keeping an accurate record of disturbances as evidence should                  started.
         the case goes to Court, or if you decide to involve the Police or a Solicitor.
         In some cases we can refer you to the services of independant Mediators. They are
         not employed by the Association and we have no involvement in the Mediation
         process. Mediation is free and confidential and can help people work through their

20                                                                                                                                                                                                    21
                                                                                                                        Perthshire Housing Association

     8.6   Neighbourhood Watch                                                                       9   Other Information
           If the street you live in is not already part of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, you
           may wish to give this idea some consideration.                                            9.1 Committee Members
                                                                                                         Tom Band            Chairman
           These schemes have proved to be very worthwhile in many different areas by                    Ian McMillan        Vice Chairman
           deterring would-be criminals and improving the security of the area.                          Robin Grant         Treasurer
           The first step towards setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is to get together             Andy Mackie         Secretary
           with your neighbours and appoint a Spokesperson. The nominated person should
           then contact the local Police Community Liaison Officer who will offer advice on how          Mike Cheesewright
           to participate in the scheme. An offer may be made of a visit from the Local Crime            Lorraine Caddell
           Prevention Officer who will suggest practical ways to improve on security in the              Crichton Lang       Judith Ogilvie
           home and throughout the area.                                                                 James Reith         Raymond Young
                                                                                                         Elizabeth Brown     Deirdre Beaton
                                                                                                         James Ferguson      Alan Donald
     8.7   Customer Service                                                                              Ian McLaren         Kay Mechri (co-opted member)
           You might also like to know we have put in place Customer Services Standards that             Stephen Mooney      Karen Graham (co-opted member)
           detail our approach to dealing with service requests. A leaflet about this is available
           free of charge from our office or online at                        9.2 Staff Team
           We consider it to be of the highest importance to treat all enquiries courteously and         John R Kernahan                      Chief Executive
           seriously. We would respectfully ask that, likewise, at all times you treat and talk to       Lawrie West                          Depute Chief Executive
           our staff with civility. We would like to point out that any abusive or persistent
           unmannerly behaviour could result in the withdrawal of our services.                          Housing Services
                                                                                                         Garry Savage                         Housing Services Director
                                                                                                         Anne McCallum                        Housing Team Leader
                                                                                                         Lynn Gowrie                          Housing Team Leader
                                                                                                         Katrina Morrison                     Housing Officer
                                                                                                         Fiona Mason                          Housing Officer
                                                                                                         Denise Taylor                        Benefits Advice Officer
                                                                                                         Pamela Craig                         Assistant Housing Officer
                                                                                                         Susan Soave                          Assistant Housing Officer
                                                                                                         Naomi Michalski                      Assistant Housing Officer
                                                                                                         Claire Findlay                       Housing Assistant
                                                                                                         Vivian MacAulay                      Housing Assistant
                                                                                                         Mark Hebner                          Repairs Services Team Leader
                                                                                                         Kirsteen Moran                       Property Services Team Leader
                                                                                                         Brian Park                           Clerk of Works
                                                                                                         Gillian Moon                         Property Officer
                                                                                                         Carolanne Morison                    Property Assistant
                                                                                                         Janis Munro                          Property Assistant

22                                                                                                                                                                            23
         Staff Team (continued)                                            9.5 Other Contact Numbers
         Corporate Services                                                    Perth and Kinross Council
         Stuart Robertson                  Initiatives Officer
                                                                               Head Office            2 High Street
         Jenny Dalton                      Assistant Corporate Officer                                Perth PH1 5PH
         Development                                                                                  Telephone:      01738 475000
         Alison Crook                      Development Director                                       Fax:            01738 475710
         Brian Thomson                     Principal Development Officer       Housing Benefit        Telephone:      01738 476049
         John McHardy                      Principal Clerk of Works            Council Tax            Telephone:      01738 476049
         Steve Johnston                    Senior Development Officer          Rubbish Collection     Telephone:      01738 476476
                                                                               Social Work            Telephone:      01738 476700
         Charlie Robertson                 Clerk of Works                      Roads & Street Lighting                0800 232323
         Sonia Johnson                     Development Assistant
         Finance                                                               Perth and Kinross Council - Neighbourhood Offices
         Morna Bell                        Finance Director                    Perth City/Central                     01738 476100
         Jeanette Bryce                    Principal Finance Officer           Letham                                 01738 625898
         Lorraine Strang                   Finance Officer                     Muirton                                01738 632485
         Beth Whiteside                    Finance Officer                     Blairgowrie                            01250 872051
                                                                               Crieff                                 01764 652554
         Annette Martin                    Finance Assistant                   Kinross                                01577 862351
         Davina Menzies                    Finance Assistant                   Pitlochry                              01796 472323
                                                                               Hillyland                              01738 626621
                                                                               North Muirton                          01738 628664
     9.3 Perthshire Care and Repair Team                                       Aberfeldy                              01887 820475
         Adam Drummond                     Care and Repair Manager             Coupar Angus                           01828 627090
         Jim Carlile                       Technical Officer
         Alex Garden                       Casework Officer
         Margaret McGuinness               Care & Repair Assistant             Perth & Kinross Welfare Rights Service 01738 646830
                                                                               Perth & Kinoss Community Mediation 01738 445753
         Lola Ross                         Care & Repair Assistant
                                                                               Scotland Gas Networks - Emergency      0800 111 999
     9.4 Caretaking Team                                                        - General Enquires                    0845 605 6677
         Bill Gow                          Chargehand Caretaker                Hydro Electric                         0800 300 000
         Morris MacDonald                  Caretaker                           Scottish Water                         0845 601 8855
         Jim Turpie                        Caretaker                           Emergency Services                     999
         John Duncan                       Caretaker                           Perth Police Station                   01738 621141
         Hamish Sharp                      Caretaker                           Women’s Aid                            01738 639043
         Tom Brown                         Caretaker                           Citizens Advice Bureau                 01738 624301
         Brian Neary                       Caretaker
         James Fenton                      Caretaker                           Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
         Donald Forrest                    Caretaker                                                   38 York Place
         Donald Forrest Jnr.               Caretaker                                                   Edinburgh EH1 3HU
         James Peebles                     Caretaker                                                   Telephone No. 0131 556 5777
         John Ross                         Caretaker                           Scottish Public Services Ombudsman:
         George McGregor                   Caretaker
         Cameron Christie                  Caretaker                                                   4 Melville Street
                                                                                                       Edinburgh EH3 7NS
         Christopher Swankie               Caretaker                                                   Telephone No. 0870 0115 378
         Gavin Taylor                      Caretaker

24                                                                                                                                    25
     9.6 Complaints Procedure                                                                        Who will know about my complaint?
                                                                                                     As far as possible, we will respect the confidentiality of your complaint. Whilst we are
                                                                                                     looking into your complaint, your name will not be divulged any more than is
         Why have a Complaints Procedure?                                                            absolutely necessary within the Association. You will appreciate, however, that if your
         At Perthshire Housing Association, we aim to provide an efficient, responsive and           complaint involves another resident or a member of staff, it may be very difficult for us
         personal housing service of the highest quality to the people who live in our houses;       to investigate without talking to that resident or staff member. If you ask us not to talk
         who apply to us for housing; or who require any other service from the Association.         to the resident or staff member, we will try to respect your wishes, but it will probably
         Although we always try to provide a first class service, there may be times when you        limit the action we can take to tackle the problem.
         are not happy about something. If this is the case, it is important that you let us know.
         In considering issues that are raised the Association will not discriminate against         How do I make a complaint?
         individuals on the grounds of sex or marital status, race, disability, age, sexual
         orientation, language or social origin, gender, or on the grounds of their religious        Stage 1 – Informal Complaint
         beliefs, employment status and income.                                                      By far the best, quickest and easiest way to sort out a problem or misunderstanding
         The purpose of this document is to summarise our Complaints Policy set out our              is to contact us to explain your complaint. You can do this by telephone or by visiting
         procedure in relation to dealing with complaints and to detail the steps we will take to    our office. You can also write, email or complete one of our complaints forms if you
         try to put things right. Full copies of our Complaints Policy are available on request.     prefer. In each case we will try to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible. If
                                                                                                     for any reason, you feel unable to contact us yourself you can appoint someone (for
                                                                                                     example, a member of your family, a friend or a support worker) to help you make your
         Who can make a complaint?                                                                   complaint. When we receive this we will indicate how long it will take for us to
         Complaints can be made to the Association by any of the following people:-                  investigate the matter. Hopefully, this procedure will solve any difficulty.

         • Residents of the Association;
         • Sharing owners of the Association;                                                        Stage 2 – Formal Complaint

         • People seeking housing from the Association;                                              If you are not happy with the outcome of the informal process, you may lodge a formal
                                                                                                     complaint. In order to be sure that we have a proper grasp of your problem, it is
         • Users or potential users of the Care and Repair scheme run by the Association;            preferable if you submit the complaint in writing to the Chief Executive of Perthshire
         • People living in properties neighbouring the Association’s properties;                    Housing Association Ltd, 5 South St John’s Place, Perth PH1 5SU. You can use one
                                                                                                     of our complaints forms for this. Please ensure when you contact us that you make it
         • Any other person or group of persons who has used or has enquired about using             clear that you wish to invoke the Association’s formal complaints procedure.
         any of the Association’s services;
                                                                                                     If you find this difficult, you may make a verbal complaint at our office in South St.
         • Consultants, contractors and suppliers involved with the Association.                     John’s Place, Perth. If you are making a verbal complaint, the member of staff who
                                                                                                     you speak to will check with you that they have taken a correct and accurate record
                                                                                                     of the discussion. You will be asked to sign the appropriate document as confirmation
         What can I complain about?                                                                  that we have properly recorded your grievance. It is again important that you clearly
         You can, if you are dissatisfied, complain about any aspect of the service                  highlight that you would like the matter to be dealt with in accordance with the
         provided by us or by those acting on our behalf. You can object, appeal or enquire          Association’s formal complaints procedure.
         about any decision taken, or make your grievance known about a lack of service or           We will be able, where it would be of help, to arrange assistance for those who wish
         the manner in which a service was provided.                                                 to make a complaint by providing information in other languages, arranging
          We will always try to deal with complaints constructively and fairly, but there are some   translation facilities or providing help for those with hearing or sight impairments or
         things about which it will not be possible to give you information. For example, it         special needs.
         would be wrong for us to discuss someone else’s housing application with you -
         although of course, we can talk to you about how our allocations procedure works.

26                                                                                                                                                                                                27
     After receipt, the Chief Executive will write to you within seven working days to            The contact details for the Ombudsman are as follows:
     acknowledge that your complaint is being investigated. We will then write to you again       Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
     within three weeks to let you know of the outcome. If for any reason we are unable to        4 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS
     meet this timescale we will advise you formally of the reason for this as well as indicate   Tel: 0870 011 5378
     as to when we will be able to reach a decision on your complaint.                            Fax: 0870 011 5379
     While investigating the issues you have raised we will aim to act in a fair and impartial    Website:
     manner. Do please remember that some things may not be within our control and
     therefore may be less easy to sort out.
                                                                                                  Improving our service to you
                                                                                                  Complaints can help us as well as you! We constantly monitor the service we provide
     Stage 3 - Appeals Procedure                                                                  and any complaints made are reported to the Association’s Senior Management Team
     If you feel that the Chief Executive has not resolved your complaint satisfactorily, you     and Committee of Management and are taken into consideration in the formulation of
                                                                                                  new policies and procedures. We hope that by reviewing our practices, we can
     can appeal to the Management Committee of Perthshire Housing Association.
                                                                                                  actively prevent a recurrence of similar complaints.
     In such cases, you must formally write to the Chair of the Management Committee              We always welcome suggestions on how we can improve things so if you have any
     and advise that you would like to submit an appeal against the decision that has been        ideas about this, we would be delighted to hear from you.
     taken in relation to your complaint. The Chair will acknowledge receipt of your letter
     within seven working days and advise on the date of the first available Committee
     meeting. Once the Committee has met to decide upon your grievance, the Chair will
     write to you within seven working days after the Committee meeting to let you know of
     the decision.
     Where it is decided that there are grounds on which to uphold your complaint we will
     advise you of the steps we will take to resolve the issues raised in your complaint.

     Stage 4 -The Public Services Ombudsman
     If you are not happy with the outcome of the appeals procedure, it is possible that the
     next stage of your complaint will be to take the case to the Scottish Public Services
     Ombudsman. This will be possible if your complaint entails allegations of personal
     injustice or maladministration.
     The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is a service set up to investigate
     individual complaints involving public sector bodies, including Housing Associations
     and Co-operatives. It is a free and impartial service. You have a right to contact the
     Ombudsman if you believe that you have suffered hardship or injustice because of the
     way we have provided a service and the effects this may have had on you. In general,
     you must refer your complaint to the Ombudsman within 12 months of first having
     complained to the Association. Normally you must also have gone through the
     Association’s own complaints procedure before the Ombudsman can deal with your

28                                                                                                                                                                                      29
     9.7 Division Of Repairs Responsibility                                                                                        Perthshire Housing
                                                                                                    Item                              Association       Tenant          Exceptions
          The following table lists the division of responsibility for repairs between Perthshire
                                                                                                    Drying areas                           *
          Housing Association and tenants
                                                                                                    Electric plugs                                        *
                                      Perthshire Housing                                            Electric wiring, sockets &
          Item                           Association            Tenant           Exceptions         Switches                               *
                                                                                                    Entry systems                          *
          Balconies                            *                                                    Fascia, soffit boards, etc             *
          Bannister (internal)                 *                                                    Fences garden boundary                 *
          Baths                                *                                                    Fences between gardens                 *                        Only when provided
          Bin Stores                           *                                                                                                                          by PHA
          Brickwork, blockwork,etc             *                                                    Floor tiles                                           *
          Ceilings                             *                                                    Floorboards                            *
                                                                                                    Foundations                            *
          Chimney stacks/pots/cowls            *
                                                                                                    Fuse box, fuses etc                    *
          Chimney sweeping                                        *
                                                                                                    Gas central heating/pipes/
          Cisterns                             *
          Clothes pole                         *
                                                                                                    pumps etc                              *                     Unauthorised installations
          Cookers                                                 *
                                                                                                                                                                  and those not adopted
          Communal areas to flats              *
                                                                                                                                                                    by the Association
          Communal TV systems                  *
                                                                                                                                                                     for maintenance
          Damp-proof courses                   *
                                                                                                    Gas piping                             *
          Decoration - internal                                   *
                                                                                                    Garages                                *                      Timber garages erected
          Door bell                                               *                                                                                              by tenants or unauthorised
          Doors to common area                 *                                                                                                                        installations
          Doors/door fittings -                                                                     Garden huts                                           *
          external                             *                                                    Gates                                  *                        Only when provided
          Door locks                           *                            When tenant has                                                                               by PHA
                                                                              lost or broken        Greenhouses                                           *
                                                                                  the key           Glass - external                                      *      Normally, tenants should
          Doors - internal                     *                           Holes in panel doors                                                                      claim the cost of
          Down pipes, rain & soil              *                                                                                                                  replacement from their
          Drainage- Blockage in internal                                                                                                                         house contents insurance
          wastepipes                                              *
          Drainage - Excluding above           *
          Driveways                                               *            Where part of
                                                                             pedestrian access
                                                                                 to house

30                                                                                                                                                                                            31
                                 Perthshire Housing                                                                   Perthshire Housing
     Item                           Association       Tenant          Exceptions           Item                          Association       Tenant          Exceptions
     Glass to internal doors/screen                     *
                                                                                           Shower unit                        *                      Only when provided by
     Guttering                            *
     Hatch to loft (communal or
                                                                                           Sink bowl & drainer                *
     individual)                          *
                                                                                           Skirting boards                    *
     Handrails - external                 *
                                                                                           Smoke detectors                    *                      Provision of more than
     Immersion heaters                    *                    Unauthorised installation
                                                                                                                                                       1 battery per year
     Keys (replacement)                                 *
                                                                                           Sockets (electrical)               *
     Kitchen fittings & worktops          *                            Misuse
                                                                                           Stairs (common or internal)        *
     Lifts                                *
                                                                                           Stair lighting                     *
     Lighting pendants & roses            *
                                                                                           Steps                              *
     Outbuildings                         *                    Only when provided by
                                                                                           Switches (electrical)              *
                                                                                           Taps                               *
     Overflow pipes                        *
                                                                                           TV aerial communal sockets         *
     Painting - external                   *
                                                                                           Ventilators and fans               *                     Unauthorised installation
     Painting - internal                                *
                                                                                           Wash hand basin                    *
     Parking area (communal)               *
                                                                                           Washer on taps                     *
     Path to main access                   *
                                                                                           Waste plugs/chains to
     Path to garden                                     *
                                                                                           basin/bath/sink                                   *
     Paths - public                        *
                                                                                           Water heating                      *                     Unauthorised installations
     Plaster & plasterboard                *
                                                                                           Water supply                       *
     Play areas & equipment                *
                                                                                           WC                                 *
     Porch                                              *      Unauthorised structures
                                                                                           Window frames, sills & Fittings    *
     Pulley for clothes                                 *
     Pumps                                 *
     Radiators                             *                   Unauthorised installation
     Retaining walls                       *
     (provided by the Association)
     Roofs, roof tiles/slates, roof
     lights                                *
     Ropes for clothes drying                           *
     Rotary clothes lines where drier is for
     exclusive use of tenant                            *
     Rotary clothes lines
     excluding above                       *
     Roughcast                             *

32                                                                                                                                                                               33