Tenants Handbook

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					                                              Punjabi




                                              Bengali




                                              Urdu




                                              Arabic


                                              Mandarin



                                              Hindi




     Housing Enquiries 0800 195 9 195
                                                         Arabic
     Repairs Enquiries 0800 25 26 27
     Monday to Friday 8:00am - 6:30pm                    Bengali
     Textphone 18001 followed by relevant
     freephone number for deaf or speech                 Hindi
     impaired customers
     Website www.goldengateshousing.org.uk
                                                         Punjabi
     E-mail ggdirect@goldengates.org.uk
     Interpretation services are available.              Urdu


                                                         Mandarin
                                                                    “Golden Gates Housing Ltd manages homes on behalf of Warrington Borough Council.”




Tenants Handbook                                                     Tenants
                                                                    Handbook
August 2004
                                            Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                                  Arabic




Our vision
We want to be a three star
excellent housing service, which                  Hindi
will continually improve the quality
of life for our customers.

Our mission
We want to provide excellent
services, quality homes and
neighbourhood and
                                                  Bengali
vibrant communities.




                                                  Mandarin




                                                  Punjabi




   Housing Enquiries 0800 195 9 195

   Repairs Enquiries 0800 25 26 27

   Monday to Friday 8:00am - 6:30pm
                                                  Urdu                                You could save more with ScottishPower                                                Manweb
   Textphone 18001 followed by relevant                                               Working with Golden Gates Housing, we’re continually looking at new ways to help you
   freephone number for deaf or speech                                                save– we don’t want you to spend more than you have to.
   impaired customers

   Website www.goldengateshousing.org.uk                                              With ScottishPower Manweb, it’s simple to switch and simple to see how much you could save.

   E-mail ggdirect@goldengates.org.uk

   Interpretation services are available.                                             So why not call today!   0800 027 0305                      Please quote WDZ9




                                                                                                                                                  Forms part of ScottishPower’s YES scheme.
                        Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Golden Gates Housing are proud to work with
the following organisations to make sure our
customers receive the best possible service.

         AON are pleased to provide insurance services to the customers of
         Golden Gates Housing.



         You could save more with ScottishPower.



         Supplying life’s essentials.



         Proud to be Golden Gates Housing’s partner in
         delivering excellent housing services.



         People into jobs...houses into homes... waste into worth.



         Proud to be a leading partner in community regeneration.



         Building relationships and improving lives with Golden Gates Housing.



         Proud to be working with Golden Gates Housing and its customers.



         Delivering solutions with Golden Gates Housing? Yes, we’re Sure.




                                          1
             Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Contents
                          Page
                                     Welcome and background to
Section 1                    3       Golden Gates Housing



                                     Customer care, performance,
Section 2                    6       quality and equality and diversity




Section 3                   10       Contacting us



                                     Managing estates, shared areas, estate services
Section 4                   12       and neighbourhood nuisance



                                     Your tenancy, permissions
Section 5                   20       and home insurance



Section 6                   30       Rents and rent arrears



                                     Welfare benefits and the
Section 7                   36       money advice service




Section 8                   39       Finding a home or moving home




Section 9                   44       Repairs and maintenance




                                     Tenancy support, sheltered housing
Section 10                  67       and carecall



Section 11                  71       Getting involved




Section 12                  74       Useful household tips




Section 13                  86       Our offices




                                 2
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




           Section 1

Welcome to Golden Gates Housing




We (Golden Gates Housing) are the largest social landlord in Warrington and manage
around 9,400 homes, including houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes and sheltered
accommodation.

This tenants’ handbook has information about the wide range of services we provide, and
some useful contact names and numbers. It will also help to answer questions you may have
about your tenancy, your home or your neighbourhood. Please also take the time to read
through your tenancy agreement. Your tenancy agreement is a legal document
and sets out our responsibilities as your landlord and your responsibilities as a tenant.
We are both responsible for making sure we keep to this agreement so that tenants,
neighbours and property are protected.

We place great emphasis on customer satisfaction and are committed to delivering
excellent services to our tenants and other service users. We are committed to continuously
improving and would welcome any comments you may have to help us. We would also
like you to tell us if you are not satisfied with any of the services.

One of our aims is to provide services that offer equal opportunity and are accessible to
everyone, no matter what their race, religion, sex, disability, sexuality, age, beliefs and so on.

We support and work with tenants’ and residents’ associations across the borough,
together with a range of agencies, including all council departments, the police, the fire
service, the citizens advice bureau, law centres, the health service and other
registered social landlords. We are always keen to encourage tenants to get more involved.
If you would like to become involved, or find out more, please ask at your local
housing office or phone 0800 195 9 195 (textphone: 18001 0800 195 9 195, or
e-mail ggdirect@goldengateshousing.org.uk).




                                                   3
                             Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Our structure
We are a private limited company set up to manage the housing that Warrington Borough
Council owns. Our structure is set out below.




                                     Our board
                                   Meets once a month.
                    Has 15 members including five council nominees,
                      five residents and five independent members



                                                              Service Development
           Finance and
                                                                and Performance
       Resources Committee
                                                               Review Committee
     Meets once every two months.
          Has five members                                  Meets once every two months.
                                                                 Has five members.




     Bank House                        Festival                               Westy
     Area Board                       Area Board                            Area Board
       Meets once                      Meets once                            Meets once
   every three months.             every three months.                   every three months.
   Has seven members,             Has seven members,                     Has seven members,
  including three council        including three council                including three council
        nominees,                      nominees,                              nominees,
      three residents                three residents                        three residents
   and one independent            and one independent                    and one independent
         member.                        member.                                member.

  One member is taken            One member is taken                     One member is taken
 from the main board to         from the main board to                  from the main board to
    be a link member               be a link member                        be a link member
between the two boards.        between the two boards.                 between the two boards.




                                               4
                             Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




The council has five of the seats on our main board, five members are residents
(four tenants and one leaseholder) and five are independent members. The board meets
once a month to make decisions about our policies and strategic direction.

The board is supported by two committees - the Finance and ResourcesCommittee
and the Service Development and Performance Review Committee. These committees
(which each have five members) meet every two months and receive reports and
presentations about our finances, operations and performance. The committees make
recommendations to our board for it to consider at its regular meetings.

There are three area boards, one each for Bank House, Festival and Westy. Each area
board has seven members (three council nominees, three residents and one
independent member). The area boards review performance at their local level and
have the power to decide how environmental budgets should be spent.

All our structures are supported by staff who provide professional expertise on the
matters being considered, and make sure the meetings are run efficiently.

We publicise meetings on our website (www.goldengateshousing.org.uk) and any
member of the public is welcome to come.

From time to time, there are vacancies on our board and the area boards. We encourage
residents and local people with experience and expertise to put themselves forward
to fill these vacancies and make a valuable contribution to our work in improving the
quality of life for our customers.

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact:

  Assistant Quality and Performance Manager
  Golden Gates Housing
  Bank House
  Sankey Street
  Warrington
  WA1 1SF.

  Phone: 0800 195 9 195 (8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday)
  E-mail: ggdirect@goldengateshousing.org.uk




                                               5
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




           Section 2

Customer care, service standards,
quality, and equality and diversity
Customer care
We are committed to providing an excellent service to our customers. As a result, we
believe that all staff should be trained on customer care to make sure we meet the
needs of our customers.

We treat all our customers with the sensitivity and respect expected from a caring
organisation. We are continually working with current and potential customers to
maintain and improve our service standards. There are suggestion boxes in all our offices
so that customers can give us feedback on how we can improve, and we always
welcome your comments and ideas.

We have developed a number of customer service standards with our customers.
The standards are the level of service our customers can expect. We monitor and
update all our service standards each year.

Service standards
q We will produce leaflets in plain English that customers have approved.
q We will make sure there are enough leaflets on our services
  available in all reception areas.
q We will aim to answer all phone calls within 15 seconds.
q We will try to get any query right the first time.
q We will respond to all complaints within 10 working days, in line
  with our published complaints system.
q We will reply to all letters within 10 working days.
q We will respond to all e-mails within five working days.
q We will encourage customers to give us feedback.
q We will treat all enquiries and information confidentially.
q We will offer you a private interview if you want to
  discuss your enquiry confidentially.
q We will make sure our staff wear name badges where you can see them.
q We will make sure our staff give you their first names.




                                                   6
                                  Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




q We will make sure our staff are polite, honest and helpful, and listen to your enquiry.
q We will make sure our staff treat all customers and colleagues politely and with respect.
q We will publish a tenants’ newsletter every three months.
q We will make sure all personal information and records are available to you
  within 10 working days.
q We will make sure all personal information and correspondence are confidential
  under the Data Protection Act 1998.
q We will clearly publicise the opening times of all housing offices.
q We will make sure all letters have a return address, contact name,
  phone number and e-mail address.
q We will make sure all staff and representatives introduce themselves and
  show photographic identification badges if they visit you at home.
q We will provide our website (www.goldengateshousing.org.uk)

What happens if I am not happy with the service?
You can make a complaint verbally, in writing (by filling in one of our complaints forms) or
by e-mailing www.goldengateshousing.org.uk We take all complaints seriously and
deal with them quickly in line with our complaints policy. You can get a leaflet on
complaints from any of our local housing offices.
If possible, we will deal with your complaint on the spot. If we cannot deal with it on the spot,
we will investigate and respond to your complaint within 10 working days of receiving it.
A complaint received today may be a service improvement tomorrow! We welcome all
customer feedback to help us to put right problems and improve the services we deliver.
We will report to you in the tenants’ newsletter about the complaints we receive, whether
they had a satisfactory outcome and if our policies or procedures changed as a result.
A panel of officers and customers meets every three months, to assess all the complaints
we have received and make sure we are dealing with all complaints consistently and
taking action where necessary.

How do I make comments or suggestions on
ways to improve the service?
We welcome all feedback and invite views from our customers:

q through our newsletter, ‘News and Views’;
q at all local housing offices;
q through surveys, focus groups, the Federation of Tenants’ and
  Residents’ Associations; and
q by speaking to any member of staff.

We are always looking at ways to improve the service we deliver and make sure we are
meeting the needs of our customers. We can only meet customers’ needs by understand-
ing what they want and getting their views.



                                                    7
                                  Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How do I know how well you are performing?
We measure all areas of service delivery to make sure we will meet our yearly target.
We need to measure lots of things including:

q how much rent we collect;
q how long it takes for us to relet an empty property;
q how many offers of housing we have made;
q how many complaints we have received; and
q how satisfied are you with the repairs service.

We report our performance to the Government, the council, our customers and
stakeholders (people or groups of people who have an interest in our organisation ( for
example, board members, staff and partners). We set targets each year to improve our
performance and make sure we are comparing well against the best organisations nation-
ally.

We report our performance:

q in our tenants’ newsletter;
q at local housing offices; and
q in the local press.

We also carry out a survey of all customers at least every three years to assess satisfac-
tion across all areas of service delivery. We measure satisfaction on all repairs completed
and we involve customers in our ‘mystery customer exercise’, which runs throughout the
year. We want to tell you how we perform.

We have a number of service standards related to performance, as follows.

q We will carry out a mystery customer exercise each year.

q We will monitor and publish the results of our all ‘performance indicators’ (the standards
  we use to measure our performance) in our newsletter, at local housing offices and on
  our website.

q We will provide service and performance information on our website.

q We will publish performance on complaints.

q We will publish an annual performance report and send it to all our tenants.

q We will survey all customers every three years.

q We will survey all leaseholders once every two years.

q We will survey all tenants’ and residents’ groups every three years.




                                                    8
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Quality
We take quality seriously. We want to test our services and commitment to quality and an
excellent service through outside recognition of what we do.

We have held the Charter Mark award for showing a commitment to excellence in
customer service since 1998.

We also have the ISO9001:2000 award for effective quality management systems to
make sure we adopt consistent procedures, maintain continuous improvement and use
customer feedback to improve services.


Equality and diversity
“At Golden Gates Housing, we believe that everyone has the right to be treated with respect
and have equal access to opportunities. We are determined to address discrimination and to
promote equality and diversity in the provision of services and in employment.”

We have a number of service standards related to equality and diversity, as follows.

Service standards

q We will make sure that customers receive equal access to services,
  no matter what their age, race, sex, disability or sexuality.

q We will make sure all staff are trained on equality and diversity issues,
  and make sure they are able to deal with customers’ special needs.

q We will offer an interpreting service or British Sign Language to all our
  customers who have difficulty communicating in English, or who have a disability.

q We will make leaflets and information available in large print,
  on audio tape, in Braille or in different languages, when necessary.




                                                 9
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 3

Contacting us
We have made it easy for you to contact us.

By phone
Our phone service is available between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

We have the following two Freephone numbers.

    q For repairs and maintenance, and for out-of-hours emergency repairs,
      phone Property Connect on 0800 25 26 27.

If you are calling from a mobile phone or from out of the borough, you can phone
Property Connect on 01925 442456.

    q For all other housing enquiries, you can phone Golden Gates Direct
      on 0800 195 9 195.

If you are calling from a mobile phone or from out of the borough, you can phone Golden
Gates Direct on 01925 443535.

By textphone
We use the Typetalk service for customers who have hearing difficulties.

To contact us, simply dial 18001 before our Freephone numbers.

A Typetalk operator will then read the typed conversation to a member of our staff.

We also can contact our deaf customers through Typetalk.

By e-mail
We aim to reply to all e-mails in five working days.

Property Connect
propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk

Golden Gates Direct
ggdirect@goldengateshousing.org.uk

By fax
01925 456880




                                                 10
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




By letter

Golden Gates Housing Ltd
Bank House
Sankey Street
Warrington
WA1 1SF


In person
Our local housing offices provide a range of payment services.

Our offices also provide Freephone phones to get access to
our full range of services at either Golden Gates Direct or
Property Connect.


Internet
We have our own website at www.goldengateshousing.org.uk

If you have access to the internet, you will find a wide range of information on our
website including rent, repairs, housing, exchanges and involvement.

You can ask for a repair or an application form, or visit our Chooseahome site.

You can also pay a range of charges on-line to us and to Warrington Borough Council.

We are constantly improving and developing our website. Eventually, you will be able to
see information on your account, chase a repair, fill in a direct debit application form,
or register for Chooseahome (see section 8).


Language line
If your first language is not English, we use the Language Line interpretation service.
Please ask for this service when phoning us.




                                                11
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




           Section 4

Managing estates, shared areas,
estate services and neighbour
nuisance

There are 10 local housing offices across the borough which you can use.
They provide a local contact point so that we can deal with any issues you may have
swiftly and locally.

You will find a list of all our offices with their addresses at the back of this handbook.


What payments can I make at the local housing offices?
You can pay any of the following at any local housing office.

q Rent, including water charges
q Council Tax
q Social services charges
q Other council charges and debts
q Carecall charges
q Water payments (for non-council tenants)
q Housing Benefit repayments
q Tenants’ contents insurance
q Service charges
q Gardening service charges

What other services do the offices provide?
Your local housing office will be happy to help you with:

q discussing your rent account;
q booking an appointment to see a money advice officer;
q reporting any problems you may have with your tenancy, such as
  problems with neighbours;
q reporting repairs;
q advice about ending your tenancy;
q enquiries about making changes to your home;
q enquiries about rehousing and filling in a housing application form; and
q advice on exchanging your home.

Golden Gates Direct provides a wider range of advice on our services.
All our offices have free phones to contact Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.




                                                  12
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Shared areas and estate services
This section applies to customers who live in houses or flats that share areas and facilities.

Many properties which used to belong to the Commission for New Town, in areas like
Great Sankey, Oakwood and Locking Stumps, have their shared areas maintained by
the housing association which owns most of the properties in that area.

q Callands and Old Hall area - Arena Housing Association - phone 01928 790345
q Birchwood area - Manchester and District Housing Association - phone 0845 3450272
q Cinnamon Brow and Longbarn area - Muir Housing Group - phone 01928 0728000

How will you maintain shared areas and facilities?

We will:

q cut the grass regularly between April and October;
q keep paths clear of grass cuttings;
q remove litter;
q maintain shrub beds each season;
q prune trees when they need it; and
q remove dead or dangerous trees.

Is there anything I can do to help?

You should:

q let us know if something needs doing;
q ask for permission before planting in shared gardens;
q make sure your rubbish is secure and left in the correct place; and
q let us know if someone has dumped rubbish.

How often will the grass be cut?
We will cut the grass 29 times between April and October. We won’t cut the grass if it is
very wet, but we will come back and cut it when it is dry.

We will pick up litter before cutting the grass.
If any grassed area is missed or litter is not picked up,
let us know by contacting Golden Gates Direct on
0800 195 9 195. Or, you can phone the grounds
maintenance section at the Neighbourhood
Services Division on
01925 443000.


Why don’t you pick up the grass clippings?
Currently, we don’t pick up grass clippings because to do so would double the cost of the
work. We will brush off large amounts of grass clippings that fly onto paths or hard surfaces.




                                                 13
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How often will you cut the shrubs?
We will cut shrubs four times a year - once in winter, spring, summer and
autumn. The gardening contractor will clear away all clippings and clear
rubbish from the beds. In winter, we will remove leaves before spraying
a special herbicide.

What do you do to look after trees?
We have programmed tree work to take place between October
and March. We will trim trees and keep them under control. We will
deal with dangerous trees as an emergency.

Who is responsible for keeping the bin store tidy?
When putting out your rubbish, please be considerate. Make sure you securely tie and wrap
up anything that will attract cats and dogs. If the refuse collectors do not collect your
rubbish, you can phone 01925 443000 for help.

How often is the refuse chute cleared?
If your block of flats has a refuse chute, we will clear and disinfect it twice a year, during the
summer. If the refuse chute is blocked, please ring Property Connect free on 0800 25 26 27.

How quickly will you remove dumped rubbish?
If you find rubbish dumped in a shared area, please let us know. We’ll arrange to have it
cleared. If you know who has dumped the rubbish, please contact Golden Gates Direct on
0800 195 9 195. We will try to recover the cost of removal from whoever dumped the
rubbish.
There are a number of service standards related to managing estates, as follows.

q We will make sure housing estates are cleaned once a week, once every two weeks or
  once a month.

q We will arrange to regularly cut the grass in shared areas.

q We will remove all rubbish from inside and outside empty homes.

q We will remove any offensive graffiti within two working days of being told about it, and
  racist graffiti within one working day.

q We will remove rubbish on housing land within five working days.

q We will clean certain shared areas as part of our weekly maintenance schedule.

q We will report any issues that affect the health and safety of residents and tenants.

q We will investigate all reports of abandoned properties within 24 hours.

q We will visit our estates regularly and either order any work needed that is our
  responsibility or tell the appropriate service provider.

q We will charge you for the costs of removing any items you leave inside or outside your
  home after you move out.


                                                  14
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




q We will make sure all our empty properties will be left safe and secure. Empty homes
  will have net curtains fitted, and we will use steel security sheeting only in exceptional
  circumstances.

q We will make sure all properties are brought up to our minimum standard for
  empty properties.

q We will make sure that all work carried out on empty properties is inspected afterwards.

q We will charge you for any costs involved in repairing the property due to damage you
  have caused.

q We will make sure all properties are cleaned before we relet them. This will include
  removing builders’ debris, cleaning kitchen and bathroom fittings, washing floors and
  woodwork and cleaning the inside of windows.

q We will carry out a gas and electricity safety check to all empty properties as soon as
  anyone moves in.

q We will install a hard-wired smoke alarm to all empty properties.

q We will repair any damage to shared areas that causes inconvenience or nuisance to
  customers. If the damage is dangerous, we will make it safe within 24 hours.


                             How do I report a repair in a shared area?
                             You can report repairs needed to shared areas or to facilities
                              in the same way as you report repairs to your home. We will
                             respond promptly, depending on how urgent the problem is.
                             Contact your local housing office or Property Connect
                             free on 0800 25 26 27. You can also e-mail them at
                             propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk


How quickly will you repair lights in shared areas?
If lights in shared areas are not working, let us know. We will repair inside lights, as an
emergency, within 24 hours of the problem being reported, and outside lights within 48 hours.


How quickly will you repair a door entryphone?
If your entryphone is not working, report it straightaway. We will try to repair it within 24
hours.


Do you repair TV aerials in shared areas?
If you are having a problem with the reception on your TV, check your television and find out
if your neighbours are having the same problem. If you think the fault is with the shared
TV aerial, contact us.




                                                 15
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




When will you decorate shared areas inside,
such as halls and stairways?
We will redecorate shared areas inside when they need it. We will check the decoration of
blocks of flats as part of the maintenance programme.


Do you remove graffiti?
If you see someone writing graffiti, please report it to the police or your local housing office.
The local housing office will contact the repairs staff or Golden Gates Direct for you and
arrange to remove the graffiti.


What about vandalism?
Vandalism is an inconvenience to us all and it costs you money. If you see someone
damaging shared areas or facilities, contact the police. If you know who it is, tell the
police and phone Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.



Neighbourhood nuisance
Introduction
Neighbour nuisance can cause considerable misery and stress to residents and their
families. We and the council are committed to dealing with disputes fairly and quickly.

What is neighbour nuisance?
Neighbour nuisance is behaviour that unreasonably interferes with other people’s
right to use and enjoy their home and community.

Here are some examples.

q Noise

q Verbal abuse

q Harassment

q Criminal behaviour

q Cars and vehicles, such as inconsiderate parking or repairs in the street

q Children and youths misbehaving

Discussing the problem with your neighbour
With all neighbour complaints, we will ask if you have discussed the problem with your
neighbour. Very often, making your neighbour aware of your concerns in a reasonable way
can sort out problems quickly. It is important to remember that once you make the complaint
official to us, it can sometimes make the problem worse before it gets better. We will try to
keep your complaint confidential wherever possible, but very often this is not possible
because of the nature of the complaint.



                                                 16
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Your tenancy agreement
All tenants sign a tenancy agreement. This is a contract between us and you, and sets
out your and our legal responsibilities. You will be breaking your tenancy agreement if you
(or a member of your family, your visitors or your agents) cause damage, or are a
nuisance in or near our property.

Your tenancy agreement also contains a specific clause which bans the use of any
controlled drugs (for example, heroin and cannabis) set out in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

How do I make a complaint about a neighbour?
You can report incidents and make a complaint by contacting 0800 195 9 195, or by
contacting your local housing officer in person or in writing with full details of your
complaint. Or, you can fill in a neighbour nuisance incident record form, which is
available from all local housing offices.


What happens next?
An estate officer will visit you or interview you within five working days of your complaint.
We will visit you within 24 hours if you report a racial incident, if you are at risk of violence,
or if there is damage to our property. He or she will fully discuss your complaint and ask
for your permission to contact your neighbour.

When you and your neighbour have had the opportunity to put your cases forward,
the estate officer will tell you the outcome in writing.

When problems continue
If the problems continue, we will ask you to fill in neighbour nuisance incident record
forms. On these forms you must record in full the details of the incidents, and the times
they happened. Please remember to keep a copy of this information as it is essential if
the matter is to continue further.

Supporting information
Neighbour nuisance can often be very complicated, and it is important that you provide
as much information as possible. We will, if appropriate, contact:

q other neighbours;

q the police;

q other council departments (such as social services and education);

q solicitors; and

q doctors or consultants.




                                                  17
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




When legal action is taken
The most important thing is having enough evidence to
go to court to be able to prove the case. This means
gathering information carefully, and usually showing that the
problem has happened over a period of time. It is likely that
the person making the complaint will have to go to court
and give evidence.

Here are some examples of what a court can order.

q Possession proceedings
  The court orders possession of the property and the tenant is evicted. This can be quite
  lengthy, particularly if the case is defended. It may need two court hearings.



q Demoted tenancies
  The court can order that a secure tenancy becomes a ‘demoted tenancy’ for 12 months.
  This means that you will lose your security of tenure and your right to buy for the length
  of the demotion. If the nuisance continues after a demotion order has been granted, we
  can return to court and a possession order will be granted.



q Injunctions
  The court issues an ‘injunction’. This can order the nuisance to stop. If the nuisance
  doesn’t stop, the tenant can be arrested and sent to prison. The court can issue an
  injunction more quickly - 24 hours for serious issues and about four weeks for less
  serious issues.



q Antisocial behaviour order (ASBO)
  The police or local authority can apply for an order in a magistrates’ court to stop the
  antisocial behaviour of anyone aged 10 or over. The person an ASBO applies to must
  have behaved in a way that is likely to have caused harassment, alarm or distress to at
  least one person who does not live in their home.




                                                18
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Can any other action be taken?
This will obviously depend on the circumstances, but other legal action is available to deal
with:

q dog nuisance;

q noise pollution;

q litter;

q filthy premises or ones with vermin (rats and so on);

q children who are not being supervised;

q abandoned vehicles;

q commercial repair of vehicles in domestic premises; and

q malicious phone calls.




We have a number of service standards related to neighbour nuisance, as follows.

q We will respond to all reports of racial harassment within 24 hours.

q We will respond to all complaints about neighbour nuisance within 24 hours if there is a
  risk of violence or damage to council property.

q We will respond to all reports of other neighbour nuisance within five working days.

q We will publicise details of all of successful ASBOs, injunctions, curfews and
  evictions for antisocial behaviour.

q We will give a customer satisfaction survey to all people who make a complaint.

q In all serious cases, we will keep case notes and agree an action plan with
  other interested agencies such as the police.

For more information, phone Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.




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                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 5

Your tenancy, permissions
and home insurance

What is a tenancy agreement?
As a new tenant, you will have signed a tenancy agreement giving you rights and
responsibilities for your new home. We also have rights and responsibilities towards
you and the property.

Your tenancy will either be a secure tenancy or an introductory tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement should make sure you enjoy all the benefits of a council tenancy
and protect you and your community from the problems of antisocial behaviour.

We have a number of service standards related to signing the tenancy agreement,
as follows.

q We will arrange, within one working day of accepting an offer, an appointment to sign
  the tenancy agreement.

q We will arrange for a gas safety test within one working day of being told that
  your supply has been disconnected.

q We will arrange for a gas safety test within one working day of your supply
  being connected.

q We will give you a welcome pack that sets out all the services you will receive
  from us, as well as advice on claiming Housing Benefit.

q We will award all new tenants a redecoration allowance if the property we have offered
  them is in a poor decorative condition.

q We will give all our customers a tenants’ handbook that has gained Plain English
  Campaign’s Crystal Mark.

q We will make sure that all tenants receive a tenancy agreement that has
  gained Plain English Campaign’s Crystal Mark.

q We will consult you, in writing, on all changes to your tenancy agreement.




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                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What is an introductory tenancy?
If you have never held a tenancy before, or have a break in your tenancy, then we will offer
you an introductory tenancy.

An introductory tenancy will run for 12 months (the ‘trial period’) unless something happens
that causes the tenancy to end. The trial period starts on the date the tenancy starts and
normally ends on the same date the following year.

However, if we have started proceedings to end the tenancy in court, the trial period
is extended until the court has decided the outcome, or we have withdrawn the
application for possession.

What rights do introductory tenants have?
Introductory tenants do not have the same legal rights as secure tenants, as shown in
the table below.

  Legal                                 Secure                           Introductory
  right                                 Tenants                          tenants
  Right to ‘succession’                 Yes                              Yes
  Right to repair                       Yes                              Yes
  Right to be consulted on
  housing management issues             Yes                              Yes
  Right to assign                       Yes                              Yes
  Right to buy                          Yes                              No, but the introductory
                                                                         period counts towards
                                                                         the discount
  Right to take in lodgers              Yes                               No
  Right to sublet                       Yes                               No
  Right to carry out
  improvements                          Yes                               No
  Right to exchange                     Yes                               No
  Right to vote before a
  transfer to new landlord              Yes                               No
  Right to be consulted on
  housing management                    Yes                              Yes
  Right to take part in monitoring
  housing management contracts          Yes                              Yes


Please ask us for more information on these legal rights.
If we want to grant introductory tenants some of the rights the law does not set out, we
have to include these as contractual rights in the tenancy agreement.




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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




We will consider written applications from introductory tenants to:
q improve their property;
q exchange their home;
q transfer to another council property; and
q take in lodgers.

We will normally treat applications in line with existing policies for secure tenancies - for
example, we would not normally authorise requests to transfer to another council
property if a tenant’s rent account was not up to date.
For transfers or exchanges, the time you spent in your former property as an introductory
tenant will count towards your ‘trial period’ in your new property.
The same rules about who can take over a secure tenancy also apply to an introductory
tenancy (for example, partners and certain relatives). However, if the tenant who dies was
an introductory tenant, the tenant who takes over is also an introductory tenant. If the former
tenant was a secure tenant, the tenant who takes over is also a secure tenant.

What is a secure tenancy?
Under the Housing Act 1985, all tenancies of homes granted by local authorities
(with certain exceptions listed in schedule 1 to the act) are secure tenancies. Secure
tenancies can only be ended (as long as they remain secure) by a court order. The reasons
for ending secure tenancies are currently set out in schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985,
as amended by section 144 of the Housing Act 1986.
The reasons cover a range of matters from rent arrears and causing nuisance or
annoyance to neighbours, to redevelopment. However, even when a court believes there
is a reason for possession, the court can decide whether or not to order possession.
We would need to show that either suitable alternative accommodation is available or
that it is reasonable to repossess (or both).

What does it mean to be a secure tenant?
Signing a secure tenancy agreement makes you a secure tenant, with legal rights and
responsibilities. It means you can keep your home for as long as you want, unless the court
agrees that there is a legal reason for us to repossess the property. In some cases,
tenancies may not be secure. Please check your tenancy agreement or phone Golden Gates
Direct on 0800 195 9 195 if you are not sure what type of tenancy you have.
As our secure tenant you have the legal right to stay in your home as long as you keep to the
conditions of the tenancy. We have set out these conditions in your tenancy
agreement, which you will sign at the start of your tenancy. It contains your rights and
responsibilities as a tenant and our rights and responsibilities as the landlord.

We will:
q follow our responsibilities set out in your tenancy agreement;
q tell you your rights and responsibilities as a tenant;
q give you up-to-date information on all issues which affect your tenancy;
q process any request to change your tenancy;
q take action against anyone who breaks their tenancy conditions;
q only take legal action if someone continues to break their tenancy conditions;
q provide a written explanation of any action taken; and
q take action against you if you are violent to another member of your household.

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                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




You must:

q follow your responsibilities set out in the tenancy agreement;
q let us know about any changes in your circumstances that may affect your tenancy;
q let us know if you will be away from your home for a long time;
q get our permission in writing if you want to sublet part of your home;
q get our permission in writing if you want to improve or change your home;
q get our permission in writing if you want to keep a pet;
q not run a business from your home; and
q not cause nuisance or harassment to your neighbours.

As a secure tenant you may be entitled, with our permission, to:

q pass on your tenancy to someone else after you die;
q take in a lodger;
q be consulted;
q buy your home;
q receive compensation for some improvements when you leave;
q exchange your home; and
q live in a house that is in good repair.

Can you change the conditions in my tenancy
agreement, and how will I know?
We can change the terms of your tenancy agreement. If we plan on doing this, we will send
you a ‘notice of variation’. This will let you know what the change is, how it will affect you and
when it will start from. The notice will also tell you how to comment on the changes and
give you at least four weeks to do so before the change happens.

What is a joint tenancy?
When we rehouse two or more adults together, we normally make the tenancy a
‘joint’ tenancy. We will consider applications to add people to a tenancy if there is
good reason, such as marriage, but this will only be if the rent account is up to date. If you
do add someone to your tenancy, it means you are both responsible for keeping to the
tenancy conditions, including paying the rent.

If one joint tenant dies, the tenancy is passed on to the surviving tenant. If your relationship
breaks down, either tenant can end the tenancy, which may result in one or both tenants
having to leave the property. You can get more advice from your local housing office.
You will need to contact your local housing officer and, in some cases, get independent
legal advice.

Can anyone inherit my tenancy when I die?
It may be possible for members of your family to have your tenancy when you die. This is
called ‘succession’. A family member can take over your tenancy if they were:

q your husband or wife living with you as a partner at the time you died;
q a partner living with you for more than 12 months before you died
  (we will need proof of this); or
q a close family member living with you for more than 12 months before you died
  (we will need proof of this).


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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




A tenancy can only be passed on in this way once
The person who takes over the tenancy will have all the rights of a secure tenant. We will
only ask them to move if the property is specially adapted or is too large for their needs.

Sometimes we will let you know that you cannot take over a tenancy. If this happens, you
can get help and advice from Golden Gates Direct.

Can I give my tenancy to someone else?
If you no longer want to live in your home, in some cases we may allow you to pass
the tenancy to someone who would have ‘succeeded’. This is known as an ‘assignment’.
If this is the case, you should contact Golden Gates Direct for help and advice.

You are only allowed to give your tenancy to another person if one of the following applies.

q Your tenancy is secure.
q You are exchanging with someone.
q If a court order is granted following a relationship breakdown.

Our service standard for successions and amendments to tenancies is that we will deal with
all applications to succeed or amend tenancy details within 15 working days of receiving
all the documents we need.

Can I have lodgers or sublet part of my house?
If you want to take in a lodger, you can do this without our permission. However, you
should let us know. You should remember not to overcrowd your home, and that
taking in a lodger may affect your entitlement to Housing Benefit.

Subletting is different from lodging. You should get help or advice about this from
Golden Gates Direct.

The money you receive from subletting is classed as income so you must let the
Benefits Agency know if you are getting benefits.

Can I buy my house?
Nearly all secure tenants have the right to buy their council home. If you
have been a tenant for two years or more, you will be entitled to a
discount on the cost of your home. You can get details from
Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.

If your home has been specifically designed for elderly or disabled people, or is sheltered
accommodation, you are not eligible to buy your home.

If you apply to buy your home, we will meet our legal responsibilities for repairs.

This means we will:
q only carry out essential repairs;
q withdraw your property from any planned improvement programmes; and
q cancel any non-urgent outstanding repairs while you are in the process of
  buying your home, or until you withdraw the application.



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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Once you have bought your home, you are responsible for all repairs or improvements.

There is a rent-to-mortgage scheme which lets you buy your home by paying just part
of the right-to-buy price to begin with. You borrow money from a lender and, instead
of paying rent, you can use your money to repay your mortgage. For more information,
please contact Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.

We have a number of service standards related to right to buy, as follows.

q We will acknowledge your application within 20 working days of receiving it.

q We will send a house freehold offer letter within 12 weeks of receiving an application.

q We will send a flat leasehold offer within 16 weeks of receiving an application.

q We will tell the council’s Legal Section within 10 working days of receiving a
  tenant’s instruction to go ahead with the sale.

Am I allowed to make improvements to my home?
You can make improvements to your home - for example, installing central heating, fitting a
bathroom suite or shower, removing walls inside or laying a driveway. However, you must get
our permission in writing first. You need to be a secure tenant and have a clear rent account
before we give our permission. Any improvements you make will not affect your rent.

We will refuse permission to carry out improvements to your home if we have good
reason - for example, if the improvement affects your safety or our ability to maintain
and repair your home. For more details, contact Property Connect on 0800 25 26 27.

You must not carry out any work without our permission.
As long as you have our permission for the improvements and carry them out
satisfactorily, you may be entitled to a payment when you leave your home. You can
get a leaflet ‘A Better Deal for Tenants - Your Rights to Compensation for Improvements’
from Golden Gates Direct.

What work do I need permission for?
The following types of improvements need our permission.

q Installing wooden flooring
q Installing kitchens or bathrooms
q Installing gas or electric fires
q Conservatories, sheds and garages
q Any electrical additions or alterations
q Removing or filling walls
q Installing showers
q Installing burglar alarms
q Fencing walls
q Built-in wardrobes and cupboards



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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How to get our permission
You must phone us on 0800 252627 or 0800 195 9 195 and ask for a ‘permissions’ form. Or,
you can fill in a form on-line by going to our website (www.goldengateshousing.org.uk) at
least 28 days before you plan to start the work.

We will visit you at home within 10 days to:

q check that the work would be safe;
q assess the effect on the property and other people; and
q tell you about getting planning and building permission.

Our service standard for permission for alterations is that we will provide a decision within 30
working days of you asking to carry out alterations to your home.

What else do I need?
You may need to get planning permission and Building Regulations approval, depending
on what you want to do. You will certainly need to get permission and approval to
put up a new building (like a garage) or to extend your home.

Don’t start work until you have all the permission and approval you need - you could
end up having to put it all back again!

What happens next?
We will write to you within 20 working days to tell you whether we agree to the work.
Please don’t start anything until we’ve agreed in writing to your plans.

If we agree and you have got the other permissions you need, go ahead and do the work.

If we do not agree, you must not do the work - we could take legal action against you
for breaking your tenancy agreement. You have the right to appeal against the decision
by putting your appeal in writing or phoning Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.

When the work is finished
You must tell us as soon as the work is finished. We will visit you within 10 days to check
that everything is OK. If it isn’t, we will ask you to put the work right or to restore the
property to how it was before.

Who repairs and maintains my improvements?
You are responsible for maintaining any alterations or fittings you have made to your home.
If the previous tenant made these alterations, you will also have to maintain them. If you are
not able to do so, we will remove them or make them safe, but we will not replace them.

What happens to the improvements if I leave?
If you leave your home, you may be able to take your improvements with you - for
example, new cupboards. However, you must ‘make good’ after you’ve removed the
improvements - for example, by filling holes and repainting. If you don’t do this, we
will charge you for putting it right.

If you leave the improvements behind when you go (for example, because they are an
essential part of the home), you may be eligible for compensation.


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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Household contents insurance
Many tenants believe that we or Warrington Borough Council automatically insure their
furniture, belongings and decorations against fire, theft, vandalism or burst pipes. This is not
the case. Unfortunately, many people only realise this after the damage has been done.

The Warrington Tenants’ Insurance Scheme (which we run) makes it easy for you to insure
your belongings under a special household contents scheme arranged through Norwich Union.

How often do I need to pay?
You have to pay the cost of insurance each week with your rent. You can pay by
Direct Debit if you would prefer.

What is covered?
Most of your household goods and contents are insured when in your home. Keys, freezer
contents and your liability to other people are also insured. Accidental damage is not
covered with the standard policy but can be included at an extra cost. For more
details, please contact Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195 and ask for
a copy of the booklet ‘Warrington Borough Council Home Contents Insurance’.

New-for-old
The policy insures your contents up to five years old on a ‘new for old’ basis.

How do I apply?
For full details on the Warrington Tenants’ Insurance Scheme, including an application
form, please phone Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195 or
e-mail ggdirect@goldengateshousing.org.uk
You can also collect a leaflet from any local housing office.


We have a number of service standards related to home contents insurance, as follows

q Every three months, we will promote our home contents insurance scheme to all tenants
  who do not currently use it.

q We will promote the home contents insurance scheme to all new
  tenants when they sign their tenancy agreement.

q We will process requests for home contents insurance within 10 working days.

q We will process requests for claims forms within one working day.




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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Warrington furnished homes
We have a number of flats within the borough which are fully or partly furnished, which are
available through Chooseahome. Chooseahome is the name of our choice- based lettings
scheme. In the past, if you wanted a home, we would put you onto our waiting list and offer
you the next available property. Now, we tell you what properties are available each week,
and you tell us which properties you are interested in. This is called expressing an interest.
For more details on how to do this, please go to section 8 ‘Finding a home or moving home’.

How do I apply?
You can get forms from our housing offices. You can also write, phone or call in for a form or
get one by visiting www.chooseahome.org

Please look for our furnished homes in our weekly advert of all empty homes in
Warrington. You can see our advert on the Chooseahome website, in the Warrington
Guardian and in any housing office.

What type of furniture is included?
Carpets and curtains, bedroom furniture, living-room furniture and
‘white goods’ (for example, a cooker or a freezer) are included.

How much will it cost?
If you choose to take a fully furnished flat, your service charge will be around £26 a week.
However, it depends on the type of package you choose.

Packages and costs
                                                                          Average cost
 Package
                                                                          each week
 Package A Carpets and curtains
 Carpets and curtains in the living room, bedroom and
 hallway, and vinyl floor covering and roller blinds in the
                                                                            £6.00
 kitchen and bathroom

 Package B Kitchen package
 An electric cooker, a fridge and an automatic washing machine              £3.29
 Package C Living-room package
 A two-seater sofa, a dining table and two chairs, and a                    £5.92
 coffee table. You can order an extra sofa for £1 a week

 Package D Bedroom package
 A double bed, a mattress, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers                £5.57
 Starter Pack
 A duvet, two pillows, a hoover, dustpan and brush, a bin,                  £0.93
 mop and bucket, and a long-handled brush

Charges may increase. Please contact Golden Gates Direct for more details.



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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




I am on a low income, so can I
get help paying my rent and service charge?
Yes. If you are receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, your
Housing Benefit will cover the cost of all your rent and service charge. If you have a low
wage, you may get some help towards your rent and service charge. Please contact us for
more advice or visit the money advice and Housing Benefit pages at
www.goldengateshousing.org.uk


What happens if I buy my own furniture?
Simply return ours. We cannot accept single items of furniture back, so you will have to
return the full package. We will then reduce your service charge in line with this. We will also
charge you for any damage that has not been caused by fair wear and tear. You cannot
return the carpets or curtains. They have to stay in the property and you will have to pay a
service charge for them.


What happens if something is broken or damaged?
We repair it. If we need to take it away, we will provide a replacement. If the damage is
caused by negligence, we will charge you for it.


How safe is the furniture?
All our furnishings meet the latest safety regulations. We test our electrical goods before
we deliver and install them, and we will test them every 12 months to make sure they
are safe. It is important that you allow us into your home for this testing.


What happens if I want to move?
You need to give us four weeks’ notice and allow the estate officer to inspect the
furniture before you leave.


Where are the furnished flats?
We currently have furnished flats in the Bewsey, Dallam, Longford, North Orford,
Grasmere, Westy and Peninsula House areas.


What happens if you offer me a furnished flat?
The estate officer will contact you and arrange a time for you to view the flat and discuss
choices of furniture and colours. Once this is done, it is usually a week before we
deliver your furniture.




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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 6

Rent and rent arrears

The amount of money we collect in rent directly affects the level of service we can provide.
Help us provide you with a better service by paying your rent in full and on time.

What is rent?
From April 2003, all rents have been based on a government formula, which includes
property valuation, county earnings (this is the average weekly wage of Cheshire residents)
and the size of the property. We can also collect community-alarm, insurance and
water charges with your rent.

Who must pay the rent?
The tenant of the property must make sure any rent is paid. If the tenancy is in two or more
names, everyone on the tenancy agreement is responsible and must make sure the rent is
paid on time. This is a condition of your tenancy agreement.

Even if you are entitled to Housing Benefit to pay your rent, you are responsible for making
sure that your claim has been processed and that benefit is being paid. You must also pay
your water charges.

What are rent-free weeks?
If you pay your rent each week, we work out how much you have to pay over 46 weeks.
This means that there are six weeks when you will not have to pay the rent.

If you pay your rent by direct debit or standing order, we will work out your rent over
52 weeks so that you make either 12 monthly payments or 26 fortnightly payments.

What are water charges?
We currently collect your water charges on behalf of United Utilities Ltd. They are included in
your rent. You are responsible for paying these charges, as Housing Benefit does not
cover them.

How can I pay my rent?
By cash, cheques or debit card
You can pay by cash, by cheque or by debit card at any local housing office or at the
council offices on Rylands Street. Please have your Gateway Card or rent reference
with you. You will receive a receipt for any payment made. If you are paying by cheque,
please make it payable to ‘Warrington Borough Council’.

By phone
You can make payments over the phone if you have a debit card. We will automatically post
a receipt for the transaction to you. You will need your rent reference number and the debit
card with you. Please phone Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.




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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




By direct debit
Direct debit is a cost-effective and trouble-free way of paying rent from your bank account. It
is available every two weeks or every month without any questions or worry. You can get
more details from Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.
We can offer banking facilities with NatWest bank. We will help you open your
NatWest account with an opening balance of £5. For more details, contact Golden Gates
Direct on 0800 195 9 195.

By standing order
You can also arrange for a standing order to be paid from your bank or building society.
You must have the money in your account, or the order will not be paid. You can get
forms from us or your bank or building society. You must sign a new form each year.

On the internet
Visit our website at www.goldengateshousing.org.uk and click on ‘Internet Payments’.

By post
You can pay your rent by post. We accept cheques or postal orders, which you should
make payable to ‘Warrington Borough Council’. Please make sure you include your
rent reference and address with your payment. We will send you a receipt for your
payment. You should post your payments to your local housing office.
Do not send cash through the post.

Direct payments from the Benefits Agency
It may be possible to receive direct payments from the Benefits Agency. If you have rent
arrears, we can ask the Department for Work and Pensions for a fixed amount of money
from your Income Support to be put into your rent account. Please contact your local
housing office for more details.

Deductions from your wages
If your employer agrees, or if you work for Warrington Borough Council, you can arrange for
your rent to be taken directly from your wages. Contact your local housing office or
phone Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.

More help and advice
You can get more help and advice from your local housing office or from Golden Gates
Direct.

How do I check my rent account?
We will automatically send you a rent statement four times a year, or you can ask for a rent
statement at any time. You can check your rent account balance by contacting your local
housing office or by phoning Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195. The rent statement
sets out everything that has been added to or taken out of your account, including
insurance premiums, water charges and community-alarm charges (if these apply).

Prize draw
If you have a clear rent account (that is, you don’t miss any payments), we will
automatically enter you into our prize draw. The first prize is £500, the second prize
£300 and the third prize is £200. The draw takes place every three months and we
announce the winners in our newsletter ‘News and Views’.


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                                  Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What other payments can I make at the local housing offices?

q Council Tax
q Water
q Contents insurance
q Social services charges
q Council debts

What if I cannot afford to pay my rent?
If you are in financial difficulties, please contact us immediately. We can offer help, advice
and practical support. We can also refer you to our Money Advice Team, who will be able to
help you make the most of your income. For more information, please visit the money advice
page at www.goldengateshousing.org.uk

What happens if I do not pay my rent?
We will first write to you to tell you that your account is in arrears. We will ask you to contact
us to discuss ways to pay the arrears. If you do not contact us, your estate officer will call to
discuss your arrears. We will also offer you an appointment with our Money Advice
Team. They will be able to give you advice on making the most of your income, and help
you deal with any other debts you may have.

For more information, please visit the money advice page at
www.goldengateshousing.org.uk
If we are not able to get in touch with you, we will send you a letter to tell you that we will begin
court proceedings unless you contact us. You can contact your local housing office or
Golden Gates Direct about this matter.

What is a ‘notice of seeking possession’?
A ‘notice of seeking possession’ is a legal notice saying that we intend to take you to
court for not paying rent and get a county court order, giving us possession of your home.
The court will tell you the date of the hearing so that you can come. If you receive a court
date and are not sure what to do, you can contact Golden Gates Direct for help and
advice. The citizens advice bureau can also offer you advice and support.

Can I stop legal proceedings?
Yes. We will put legal proceedings on hold if you clear your account
or come to an agreement with us. We will draw up an agreement
setting out how much you will pay and how often to clear your
arrears. If you do not keep to the agreement, legal proceedings
will start again. It is important to come to an agreement with us
that allows you to pay consistently. Contact Golden Gates Direct
for further advice.

What is the smallest amount I can pay?
If you claim Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, or are on a low income, the least
you can pay is your current rent plus £2.85 a week. (We will review this amount each year.)
We will look at your circumstances and come to an agreement with you.




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                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What happens in court?
We will give the court details of how much you owe, what payments you have made and what
we have done to help you pay your debts. We will also ask the court to award us costs. This
means that you will have to pay court costs (currently £199.50) on top of your rent. We could
ask the court for a ‘possession order’ or a ‘suspended possession order’. Or, the court could
adjourn the case.

Can I take someone to represent me in court?
You can bring anyone you want to represent you. Both Shelter and the citizens advice bu-
reau can offer you help, advice and practical support. Normally, a duty solicitor or an
adviser will also be available at court.

What is a ‘possession order’?
A ‘possession order’ is a court order which ends your tenancy and gives us the legal power to
evict you from our home. The court will decide a date when the possession order comes into
force (which is generally 28 days from the court date).

What is a ‘suspended possession order’?
A ‘suspended possession order’ means that as long as you continue to pay your rent and
reduce your arrears by the amount agreed in court, you can continue to live in your home.
However, if you stop paying the agreed amount and your account goes into further arrears,
we can take steps to evict you. If you get into difficulties paying your rent and there is a
suspended possession order on your home, you should contact Golden Gates
Direct immediately.

How long does a suspended possession order last?
A suspended possession order will stay in force for as long as the court says, or until your
account is clear.

What happens if the court postpones the case?
The court could decide to postpone a case for various reasons. If that happens, either the
court can rearrange a court date for some time in the future or we can apply to the court for
another date to continue proceedings.

What happens if I break the agreement made in court?
If we have been granted a suspended possession order and you break your agreement,
we will ask you to come to an interview with a senior manager to discuss your circumstances.
They will review your case with you and come to an agreement to reduce your arrears. If you
don’t come to the interview, or do not reach an agreement with us, we will take the necessary
steps to evict you from your home.

What happens if I am evicted?
You may be considered ‘intentionally homeless’ as a result of being evicted. However, this
depends on your personal circumstances. The council’s Homeless Section may be able to
offer temporary housing. For more details, please contact Golden Gates Direct on
0800 195 9 195.

If we are granted a possession order, we will automatically tell the council’s Homeless
Section, who may be able to offer you help and advice.



                                                33
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




If I am evicted, will I still have to pay?
Even if we evict you, you still have to pay the debt and we will continue to work with you to
clear your arrears. If you do not make an agreement to pay, we can send your case to our
debt agency. This could affect your ability to get credit in the future. It is important that
you stay in touch with us. If you have any questions, please contact your local
housing office or Golden Gates Direct. If you have outstanding debts with us, you may not
be able to apply to join our housing waiting list.

Dealing with rent arrears
An important part of our approach to managing our income is preventing rent arrears
in a firm but fair way.

We understand that financial difficulties can sometimes arise when you are trying to
balance household budgets. So, to help you, we have a range of experienced staff such as:

q estate officers;
q money advice officers; and
q tenancy support staff.

If you need the help of any of these,
please contact Golden Gates Direct on
0800 195 9 195.

It is essential that we manage the income we get each year from rent responsibly and
effectively so that we can maintain our housing and provide services to our tenants.

If you have difficulties paying your rent, you should contact us as soon as possible to
arrange to pay your arrears in instalments that are easy to manage.

Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we have to take legal action against a number of tenants
each year. This can result in tenants having court costs of almost £200 being added to
their rent accounts, and may result in them being evicted from their home.

Do you evict tenants for rent arrears?
Eviction will always be our last option, when we have tried all other options to recover
the debt we are owed.

Most tenants who have been evicted could still be in their home if they had contacted us
when their arrears started to build up and used the help available (especially the money
advice officer).

If you have high rent arrears, you could be facing eviction. To avoid eviction, you must
make sure you contact us for help and advice as soon as you have difficulties
paying your rent.




                                                34
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Do you collect former tenants’ rent arrears?
We have a dedicated team that specialises in claiming back outstanding rent arrears from
former tenants.

We will try to contact the former tenant direct or use debt recovery agencies (or both).

We keep a record of all outstanding rent arrears.

We also carry out debt checks on new housing applications. If we find that the person
applying has outstanding debt to the council, we will not consider them for housing until
they have cleared the debt.

We have a number of service standards related to rents, as follows.

q Each year, we will tell you in writing about any increases in rent or service charges.

q We will offer a range of payment methods (in person, by cash, cheque, debit card,
  direct debit, standing order, direct deductions, phone payments and post).

q We will provide an official receipt for all cash payments.

q We will enter all accounts with a clear balance into the prize draw.

q We will tell tenants who pay by direct debit what their payments are within five working
  days of setting up a direct debit or changing the amount.

q We will tell tenants who pay by direct debit within five working days if we
  do not receive a payment.

q We will provide rent statements every three months.

q We will monitor rent account payments and agreements every fortnight.*

q We will set our arrears policy in line with the council’s debt management policy.

q We will make sure we promptly refer you to appropriate agencies for help and
  advice if you are having difficulties paying your rent.

q Every three years, we will send you a replacement Gateway payment card.

q We will provide a new or replacement Gateway plastic payment card
  within 10 working days of asking for one.




                                                 35
                              Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 7

Welfare benefits and the
money advice service

We employ a team of skilled money advice officers. They provide a free and confidential
service for people who are having financial difficulties.

Can the Money Advice Service help me to claim benefits?
Yes. The Money Advice Service can offer help and advice on claiming a wide
range of welfare benefits. The service encourages people to apply for benefits they
may be entitled to Often, people do not realise what they can claim or how.

Some of the benefits we have helped customers to claim have improved their income
by half as much again.

Can the Money Advice Service help me with all my debts?
Yes. The Money Advice Service can also help with other debts as well as rent. This will
include contacting people you owe money to, writing letters and representing you in
court where possible. This will allow you to reorganise your debts and manage your money
more efficiently.

What is Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit (often known as rent rebate)
is the money a person renting a property
can claim towards the cost of rent.

How much Housing Benefit will I get?
The council works out your benefit by looking at your weekly rent, household income and
savings, and personal circumstances, and those of other adults in your household.

How do I claim Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit is processed by the Revenues and Benefits Section at 21 Rylands Street,
Warrington. For information how to claim, phone 01925 443210 or contact Golden
Gates Direct.

What is Council Tax Benefit?
Council Tax Benefit is the money people with a low income can get to pay their Council Tax.
How much they get (if any) depends on their income, savings and investments.

What if my circumstances change?
Everybody who claims Housing Benefit has a duty to report to the council, in writing, any
changes of circumstances which may affect their entitlement to benefit. You must report
any changes within one month or you may lose out.




                                               36
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How can I make an appointment to see a money advice officer?
The money advice officers are based at Bank House, Sankey Street, Warrington.
They also hold local surgeries at some housing offices. If you are elderly or disabled
and cannot come to any of the offices, we can visit you by appointment in your home.

We have a number of service standards related to money advice, as follows.

q We will arrange for you to see a money advice officer within
  10 working days of your request.

q We will respond within one working day if you need priority help with a
  bailiff’s warrant or a county court summons, or with dealing with an eviction.

q If you need to see a money advice officer and are sick or elderly or have a
  disability, we will visit you at home within 10 working days.

q We will support you in court, where necessary and if you ask.




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                     Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                             Have you
                                              heard of
Don’t be put off                           credit unions?
by the name. Credit
unions are a cheap way of
borrowing and a easy way of saving
    All you
    have to          q save for a least 13 weeks
     do is:            (it can be as little as £1 a week)
                       before you can apply for a loan; and
                     q live or work in an area where
                       there is a credit union.
  q North East Warrington
    Telfer House,
    Vulcan Close,                                     There are credit
    Padgate
    Phone: 01925 492688
                                                       unions in the
                                                      following areas
  q Fairfield and Howley Credit Union
    15 Nora Street, Howley
    Phone: 01925 656968

  q Warrington Borough Council Credit Union
    (for employees of Warrington Borough Council)
    Phone: 01925 443202

  q Sankey Brook Credit Union
    Bewsey Lodge, Lodge Lane, Bewsey
    Phone: 01925 411753

  q Westy Credit Union
    St. Margaret’s Hall, Lindley Avenue, Latchford.
    Phone: 01925 495227



                                      38
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 8

Finding a home or moving home

We understand how important it is for you have a home that you are happy to live in.
This section explains how we will help you find a home.

Chooseahome
We let all of our homes through our Chooseahome scheme.

We advertise them every Thursday:
q in the Warrington Guardian;
q at all our local housing offices; and
q on the internet at www.chooseahome.org.uk

How do I register for Chooseahome?
The quickest way to register is to phone us on 0800 195 9 195. If you would prefer us to
send you a form to register, please ring us.
Once you have registered, we will write to you and tell you which one of four priority
bands we have put you in.

How do you decide which band to put me in?
We decide on the band depending on your personal and household circumstances.
We put people with the greatest housing need in the higher bands.
You can get more information on the bands by phoning Golden Gates Direct on
0800 195 9 195.
Once we have accepted you onto the Chooseahome register, you can show that you
are interested in our properties.
You can do this by:

q phoning Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6.30pm;
q e-mailing us at ggdirect@goldengateshousing.org.uk
q visiting any local housing office;
q visiting our website at www.chooseahome.org.uk
q texting from your mobile phone. Send the following text to 60066.
          q Chooseahome
          q Your registration number
          q The reference numbers of any properties you are interested in.
            (For example, Chooseahome 54321 CAH5901 CAH5902 CAH5903)

You must show an interest by 6.30pm on a Monday.



                                                 39
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




We have a number of service standards related to registrations, as follows.

q We will review the housing register and applications each year.

q We will provide a housing application form, which is written in plain English.

q We will process your housing application form within three working days of receiving it.

q We will register housing applications over the phone, on the internet, by
  post and in person.

q We will assess your application for medical priority within 15 working days of receiving it.

q We will write to you explaining your level of priority for housing within three
  working days (after we have registered your application).

q We will make our ‘allocations policy’ (which explains how we offer housing)
  available in all local housing offices.

q We will tell you about any decision we make if you appeal against our
  decision or ask us to review it within 42 working days of receiving your request.


What happens next?
After the deadline for interest has passed, we will choose the person in the
highest band. If more than one person has shown an interest for a particular
property, we will choose the person who has been on the Chooseahome register
the longest.

The deadline for expressing an interest in person at one of our housing offices is
5pm every Monday, and the deadline for expressing an interest by phone,
e-mail or text is 6.30pm every Monday.

We will then contact the successful person, usually by phone, to offer the property.

If you are already a tenant of Warrington Borough Council, we will then carry out a
home visit to check the condition of your home, and also check there are no arrears
on your rent account.

We offer most of our properties while we are still repairing them. Once we have
carried out the repairs, we will arrange for you to view the property with a member of staff.

If you accept the property, we will sign you up at one of the local housing offices and
give you the keys. Please make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities
as a tenant before you sign the tenancy agreement. You are welcome to ask any
questions before you sign.




                                                 40
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




We have a number of service standards related to offers of accommodation,
as follows.

q Where possible, we will make all offers by phone and confirm them in writing
  within one working day.

q We will make sure you have a chance to view the property with a member of staff
  within one working day of your request.

q We will make sure you have two working days to decide if you want to accept
  the property.

q We will tell you about any decision we make if you appeal against our decision or
  ask us to review it within 42 working days of receiving your request.

q We will contact all new tenants to make sure they are settled into their
  new home, and to give advice where necessary.


When do I start paying my rent?
Your tenancy will normally start on the Monday nearest to
the day we offered you the property.

Your first payment of rent is due when you sign up for the
tenancy. Please read section 5 ‘Your tenancy, permissions
and home insurance’. If you are claiming Housing Benefit,
please ask for help and advice when you sign up for the tenancy.

If you are transferring or exchanging properties, you will need to fill in a new claim for
Housing Benefit and provide the relevant details.


How do I end my tenancy?
Ending a tenancy is called ‘termination’. To end your tenancy, you will need to give us at
least four weeks’ notice in writing that you plan to leave your home and end your tenancy.
Terminations will start on a Monday and take four weeks from that date. If you hand in a
termination notice midweek, the four-week notice period will not start until the following
Monday. If you are claiming Housing Benefit and you leave the property before the
four-week notice period has finished, benefit will not be paid and you will have to pay
any rent you still owe.

You can withdraw your notice to end your tenancy in writing at any time before the
four weeks have ended.


What must I do before I hand in the keys?
You must do the following.

q Make sure you have paid all the rent.

q Make sure there are no alterations to the property or unauthorised improvements.


                                                41
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




q Remove all furniture, carpets and belongings.

q Make sure your home is in a reasonable condition of decoration.

q Make sure you leave the property completely empty and clean it throughout.

q Do not leave rubbish or unwanted items in the garden.

q Contact the gas and electricity companies and arrange for your meters to be read.
  They can do this on the day you leave, but they may need 48 hours’ notice.

q If you have cable or satellite television, arrange with the provider to return
  any equipment.


What is a mutual exchange and how do I apply to get one?
A mutual exchange is where you arrange to swap homes with someone else. All secure
tenants have the right to apply to swap their home with another council or housing
association tenant in Warrington or anywhere in Great Britain. However, you must have the
permission of your landlord first. We will only grant an exchange if your rent account is clear
and your home is in good condition. Please ask Golden Gates Direct for more information.


How do I find someone to exchange with?
Every local housing office keeps a register of people who are looking for an exchange.
Please ask at your local housing office to see the register if it is not on display. To be included
on the register, you need to fill in an application form. We will put details of your home
and the type of home you would like on the register. We update this register each month.

If you have family living outside Warrington, or have been offered a job out of town
and need to move to another area in the country, the Homeswap Scheme may help.




                                                  42
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




I’ve found someone to exchange with - what happens next?
Both you and the person you want to swap with must fill in separate exchange forms.
You can get these from any local housing office, or by phoning Golden Gates Direct.

Before you give us your application form you should do the following.

q Make sure you have a good look around the home you want to move to.
  This is important as you may become responsible for any repairs that need doing, and
  any alterations or improvements carried out by the tenant who is leaving.

q Do not agree to move until you are satisfied with the home you are taking on.

q Leave your own home in a good state of repair and clear of any rubbish. If you don’t,
  we could charge you for repairs we have had to carry out after you leave.

When we receive the forms, we will arrange to visit you within four weeks of receiving your
form. Once we have visited you, we will write to you telling you if we have approved your
exchange, or if there are things you must do before it can go ahead. There may be repairs
that you are responsible for, such as damage to inside doors, or arrears that you need to pay
off.

If we approve your application, we will arrange a date for you and the other tenants to
come in and sign the relevant papers. Only then can you exchange the keys and move
into your new home.

q If you move before we approve your exchange, we will ask you to move back,
  and this may affect the whole exchange process.


Our service standard for mutual exchange is that we will deal with all applications to mutually
exchange tenancies within 42 days (statutory timescale) by visiting Warrington Borough
Council tenants to make sure they meet the qualifying conditions and to explain the process.


Housing association homes
Most housing associations in Warrington let around half of their homes to people on the
Chooseahome register. Some housing associations advertise these homes in our weekly
Chooseahome advert.

When you apply to go on the Chooseahome register, we will ask you if you are interested
in a housing association home.

q Housing association homes are managed by independent organisations -
  often charities. Their management committees will decide policies and rent levels.

q Housing association tenancies are different from those we offer - for example, you
  may not have the right to buy your home. For more details, please contact
  Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195.




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                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




           Section 9

Repairs and maintenance

We are committed to making sure your home is in a good state of repair, and we aim to carry
out regular maintenance to make sure the structure of the outside of your home is secure
and weatherproof. We want you to enjoy living in your home but the responsibility is a joint
one. The information in this section lets you know your rights and responsibilities towards
repairs, what level of service you can expect and how you can report repairs. It also shows
how we will respond to your requests for repairs and how we prioritise them.

How should I report a repair?
Phone Property Connect free on 0800 25 26 27 at any time between 8am and 6.30pm
Monday to Friday.

You can speak to our friendly, helpful staff, who deal with all repair enquiries.

It will help us if you:

q have a pen and paper ready;

q give us your name, address and postcode;

q tell us if you have called before;

q tell us what the problem is - see the diagrams on pages 44 to 53
  which will help you identify the fault;

q tell us when it is convenient for us to carry out the repair; and

q provide us a phone number where we can contact you.

You can also report repairs by:

q calling at any local housing office;
q writing to us;
q passing the details to any officer who may visit your home;
q e-mailing us at propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk; and
q visiting our website at propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk
q texting from your mobile phone. Send the following text to 60066.
             q GGHRepairs
             q your address
             q a contact phone number (for example, 21 Dove Street, 123456)



                                                 44
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How long will it take for you to carry out the repair?
You will receive a repair receipt by post for any repair you have reported.

This tells you:

q what the repair is;

q the repair priority;

q the works order number; and

q the date the repair should be carried out by (or the date and time
  of the appointment you have made).

Keep this in case you need to contact us about the work. Quoting this number will speed
up your enquiry.

What should I do in an emergency?
Both during and outside office hours, you can report
emergency repairs free on 0800 25 26 27. Our office hours
are 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

What if I am out when the worker calls?
If you are out when the worker calls, they will leave you a card telling you that the order
has been cancelled. You will need to phone the number on the card to rearrange an
appointment. If you are not able to keep your appointment, please let us know as
soon as you can.


Who carries out the work?
We appoint a contractor to carry out our repairs.
If the work needs a specialist contractor
(for example, for roof repairs or damp-proofing),
we will let you know.


What are my rights?

You have the right to:

q have your home maintained and repaired;

q carry out improvements to your home if you have our permission in writing; and

q ask for a repair to be carried out by a second contractor if the first contractor fails under
  the ‘right to repair regulations’. These regulations are identified on the receipt we give
  you, and we explain them in more detail later in this section.



                                                 45
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What must I do?

You must:

q keep your home in good order inside and out;

q decorate the inside of your home;

q report any repairs or faults as soon as possible;

q make sure our workers can get into your property to carry out your repairs;

q pay for any deliberate damage or repairs needed due to neglect;

q get our permission in writing before making alterations to your property;

q repair your own appliances such as cookers or portable fires,
  or carry out alterations or improvements;

q replace locks when you have lost or mislaid your keys;

q replace light bulbs and fuses;

q carry out small repairs (such as unblocking sinks -
  see pages 54 to 60 for more information); and

q leave your property free from rubbish and in a clean and tidy
  condition when you end your tenancy.

What will you do?

We will:

q ask for as much detail as necessary to order your repair;

q if necessary, arrange an appointment for one of our team leaders to visit your home
  to inspect the fault or repair (we will offer you a morning or afternoon appointment);

q tell you if the work is your responsibility;

q let you know how long the contractor will be and tell you how long it will take
  for the work to be done; and

q let you know if we are going to charge you for the work due to deliberate
  damage or neglect.




                                                  46
                                   Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Can you help me to report repairs more easily?
We have included diagrams in this handbook of some of the most common repairs.
This will help you to give us the right information when you need to report a fault and us
to order the right repair or replacement. This should make sure that the contractor does not
have to make unnecessary visits and has the right equipment to carry out the repair.




                                        Sinks and taps


                       Grub or
                       retaining
                       screw                                          Spindle

                                                                      Gland nut
                     Hexagonal
                     head

                                                                      Jumper
                     Retaining
                     nut                                              Washer




                                       Traditional pillar tap




               Tap back nut
               and washer
                                                                             Waste outlet
                   Tap connector
                                                                             Supply pipe
                   Combined waste
                   and overflow                                       Waste back nut
                                                                      and washer
                   Waste pipe

                                                                    Bottle trap


                                      Wall-hung wash basin



                                                    47
                            Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                               Doors and Locks




 Closing
 stile              Hanging stile


                                             Keepers
Cylinder
night latch
                    Letterplate
                                                                Door stop
                    Mortice
                    lock or latch            Plaster
                                             reveal              Casing
                    Frame




                                                                            Architrave
              Wooden cill or metal
              (Macclesfield) threshold

                                           Door




                                       Overhead
                                      door closer




                                         Tower bolt



                                             48
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                           Toilets


Ballvalve
              Locknut




    Ballvalve and float                Floor exit ‘S’ trap                        Wall exit ‘P’ trap

                               Float
                                                              Ballvalve


                  Overflow                                               Water supply pipe



                                                                         Flush handle

                  Syphon

                                                                         Connection to
                                                                         flush pipe

                                          Toilet cistern


                                                                          Lid

                    Overflow



                    Cistern

                                                                                 Water supply pipe




                                                                  Lock nut

                                                                  Flush pipe

                                                                  Cone

                                                                  Soil pipe

                                                                  Multi-kwik connector
                 Pan
                                                                  Pan outlet




                                    Low-level toilet suite



                                                49
                         Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                      Baths



                                                               Handle




Panel



                                                                          Supply pipe
        Timber
        framing                                                           Overflow with
                                                                          flexible connection
                                                                          to outlet trap

                                                                          Adjustable leg and
                                                                          spreader batten

                                                                          Waste trap

                                     Typical bath



                  Grub or
                  retaining
                                                              Spindle
                  screw

                                                              Gland nut
                  Hexagonal
                  head

                                                              Jumper
                  Retaining
                  nut                                         Washer




                               Traditional pillar tap




                                       Bath taps




                                          50
                                     Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                          Water services



                     Gate valve on
                     supply pipes                          Cold-water tank




                    Hot water
                    cylinder




You will nearly always find main stop valves                Stop valves for a particular item will often be close
close to the entrance to the flat or house.                 to that appliance, in other words, beneath sink units.

                                         Typical house layout




                                                                   Ballvalve                  Lock nut




                 Draw-off cock                                            Ballvalve and float




       Stop valve                                  Gate valve                                    Bib tap




                                                      51
                          Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                  Gutters and rainwater pipes


  Gutter
                                                                                  Stop
  brackets
                                                                                  end
                                                                                  outlet
                                            Internal
                                                                External
                                            angle
                                                                angle
Stop                   Gutter
end
              Running outlet
                                                             Rainwater
                                                             pipe
             Swan neck and off set

                                                             Pipe clips
             Hopperhead
                                                                           Shoe



                                                                              Gully




                          A typical guttering system




                    Gutter

                    Fascia
                    board

                     Soffit
                     board


                     Cross - section of a pitched roof




                                           52
                             Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




                                          Roofs


                                       Stepped flashing

                                                        Ridge tiles

                                                                Verge fillet

                                                                 Saddle flashing
                                                                    Stepped flashing
                                                                    at abutment
                                                                          Gable

                                                                                  Hip tiles


                 Barge
                 board


                                     Valley
                                     gutter




                                     A pitched roof



                                                                                   Tiles nailed about
Rafter                                                                             every fourth course
battens                                  Rafter battens




  Sark felt                                     Sark felt
  lapped at joints                              lapped at joints


                Slated                                                        Tiled
             roof covering                                                 roof covers




                                              53
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What are day-to-day repairs?
We usually refer to everyday repairs as ‘day-to-day repairs’ or ‘response repairs’.
We only carry out day-to-day repairs on fixtures and fittings that are broken and
can be repaired. We do not replace or renew items on day-to-day repairs.

We give all repairs one of the following priorities.


Priority 1 - Emergency repairs
We will be there within three hours and will carry out the repair
within one working day. Here are some examples of emergency repairs.

q   Total power cut                                         q   Blocked drains
q   Serious leaks                                           q   Emergency security
q   Gas fumes                                               q   Fixing locks
q   Total loss of heating                                   q   Boarding windows
q   Blocked toilet                                          q   Dangerous structures

In certain circumstances we will only be able to make this repair safe and carry out a
temporary repair. For example, if your heating has failed and needs a new boiler, we
will provide temporary heating.


Priority 2 - Urgent repairs
We will carry out this type of repair within five working days.
Here are some examples of urgent repairs.

q   Electrical repairs to the door-entry systems            q   Minor leaks
q   Loss of hot water                                       q   Partial loss of heating
q   Blocked sink                                            q   Faulty toilet
q   Running overflow                                        q   Urgent plastering work
q   Minor repairs to windows and doors                      q   Reglazing

We will class some of these repairs as a result of a priority 1 emergency if we have carried
out a temporary repair. For example, if your window has been boarded to make it safe, a
priority 2 repair will be raised to replace the glass.


Priority 3 (Non- -urgent repairs)
We will carry out this type of repair within 20 working days.
Here are some examples of non-urgent repairs.

q   Floor tiles and boards                                  q   Broken wall tiles
q   Gate repairs                                            q   Broken kitchen units
q   Minor plastering                                        q   Broken handles
q   External repairs                                        q   Replacement boiler
q   Broken or uneven minor flagging                         q   Replacement fires or radiators

These repairs are normally minor. If these repairs identify that a full replacement is
needed, we will add them to the renewal programme for future replacement and carry out
a temporary repair.


                                                 54
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What happens when a repair can’t be fixed?
Sometimes, we will not be able to repair certain fixtures and fittings in your home and will
need to renew them. For example, if it is no longer cost-effective to repair your kitchen
units, we will carry out a temporary repair and add it to the renewal programme.
It is more cost-effective to carry out certain types of work at the same time
(for example, flagging). We will carry these out within 12 weeks.

Here are some examples of repairs we carry out as part of the renewal programme.

q Replace kitchen units                               q Replace bathroom fittings
q Point brickwork                                     q Dry rot or damp-proof course work
q Replace windows                                     q Major plastering work
q External walls                                      q Pathway repairs
q Repairs to garages or outbuildings                  q Solid-floor repairs or replacement
q Replace doors or frames                             q Fencing and gate renewals

This will allow us to plan this work more effectively and offer you more choice about
what is done to your home. For example, you will be able to choose the colour and
layout of your replacement kitchen units.

What repairs am I responsible for?

Your responsibilities

q Decorating inside                                   q Any damage you cause
q Door bells (not intercoms)                          q Door nameplates
q Lost keys and lock changes                          q Broken glazing
q Installing a cooker                                 q Clothes-line posts
q Blocked sink or bath                                q Extra locks or security
q Wooden sheds or garages                             q Individual TV aerials

Before making any alterations to your home, you must get our permission in
writing to carry out the work.

The types of alterations include:

q installing wooden flooring;                         q installing kitchens or bathrooms;
q installing gas or electric fires;                   q conservatories, sheds and garages;
q fencing and walls;                                  q removing or filling walls;
q installing showers;                                 q installing burglar alarms;
q any electrical additions or alterations; and        q built-in wardrobes and cupboards.

You can get a form for our permission from your local housing office or from Golden Gates
Direct.

You are responsible for maintaining any alterations or fittings you have made to your home.
If the previous tenant made these alterations, you will also have to maintain them. If you are
not able to do so, we will remove them or make them safe, but we will not replace them.




                                                 55
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




We have a number of service standards related to responsive repairs, and people
working in your home, as follows.

q We will offer you an appointment within two hours for urgent repairs.
q We will offer you an appointment for either morning or afternoon for non-urgent repairs.
q We will offer you an appointment between
  8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday, and 8am and 1pm on Saturdays.
q We will deal with emergency repairs within three hours and carry
  them out within one working day.
q We will deal with urgent repairs within five working days.
q We will deal with non-urgent repairs within 20 working days.
q If we are only able to carry out a temporary repair, we will renew the
  part within 12 weeks.
q We will confirm the repair and appointment details in writing.
q We will provide the facilities for you to report repairs in person at your local housing
  office, on a free phone (8am to 6.30pm), on the internet, or in writing.
q We will inspect any repair you are not satisfied with.
q We will provide an emergency service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
q If we need to cancel a repair appointment, we will tell you and explain why.
q We will inspect at least 15% of work carried out to make sure quality is maintained.
q We will provide a prepaid satisfaction card for all response repairs.
q We will make sure that staff introduce themselves and show
  photographic proof of identification.
q We will explain the nature and purpose of the repair.
q We will make sure that staff act in a proper and professional way at all times,
  do not smoke, and do not use bad language.
q We will take care of your property and belongings and protect them
  from dust, paint and so on.
q We will keep your home secure while working there.
q We will keep safe all materials and equipment we use on site to avoid
  danger to you and your visitors.
q We will reconnect and test services such as gas, water and electricity
  at the end of each working day.
q We will clear any rubbish arising from work when the repair or
  replacement is done.
q We will follow health and safety legislation and relevant codes of practice.
q We will tell you how far the work will disturb you before it starts.
q We will be polite and friendly.
q We will treat your home with respect.
q We will explain any follow-up work that may be needed.
q We will acknowledge all insurance claims within 10 working days.
q We will give you details of our insurer and contact details.




                                                 56
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What repairs am I responsible for?
You must take reasonable care of your home and report any repairs or faults to us
straight away. You are responsible for small repairs such as unblocking sinks
(see the list on pages 58 and 59 of repairs and who is responsible).


What if there are already alterations to my home when I move in?
When we offer you a home, there may be items of improvement or alterations to the
property which have been made by the previous tenant. We will tell you about these
changes. While you have the benefit of these items, you must look after them. If you later
find them to be faulty or they become dangerous, we will remove them make them
safe, but we will not replace them.




What happens if I apply to buy my home?
When we receive a right-to-buy application, we will only carry out essential repairs to your
property. This will not include replacing an item if a repair will do to make sure that we
meet our legal responsibilities. This will only change when we receive a written
withdrawal of your application. If you buy your home, you will be responsible for all repairs.




                                                57
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




The table below shows who is responsible for what.
Bathroom -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Us                                                          You   Comments
Bath  ○               ○                   ○                       ○                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Shower unit                                                                                                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                    ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                       ○                   ○               ○                       ○               ○               ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless we provided
Toilet seat                                                                           ○                               ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                       ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the unit
Toilet pan                                                                ○                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                        ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Wash basin                                                                                                    ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Taps      ○               ○                   ○                       ○                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Plugs and chains                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                           ○                                           ○                                               ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you have just
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 moved in

Central heating -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Us                                                          You   Comments
Chimney and flue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ○                                           ○                                   ○                                    ○                                           ○                                           ○                                               ○                                        ○                                          ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                               ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                       ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Chimney sweeping                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ○                                   ○                                    ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Coal bunker                                                                                                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Electric storage system                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Electric warm-air system                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Fireplace tiles                                                                                                                                                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Gas-fired system with radiators                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                               ○                           ○                       ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                       ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Gas-fired warm-air system                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Solid-fuel system                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Any system fitted by you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                               ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○               ○               ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You need approval for all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  you need approval required
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 installations together with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for all installations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 an installation certificate
Cylinder jackets                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                provided by a registered
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 engineer.

Doors -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Us                                                          You   Comments
Door bell                                                         ○                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○                   ○               ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Except door-entry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 and shared systems
Door chain                                                                                    ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Door nameplate                                                                                                                                                                                                        ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○               ○               ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Glass in door or screen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                       ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○               ○               ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless caused by
Inside doors                                                                                                                      ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                reported crime
Handles, latches, and so on, to inside
doors             ○               ○                       ○                       ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                   ○                                       ○                                   ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Keys          ○               ○                   ○                       ○                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                        ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○               ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Once we have given
All locks                                             ○                       ○                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you the keys
Outside doors                                                                                                                                                                 ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Including doors to flats and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  shared areas

Kitchens -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Us                                                          You   Comments
Cooker                                ○                       ○                       ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                    ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                               ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○               ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Cooker socket                                                                                                                                                                             ○                                       ○                                   ○                                       ○                                   ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Kitchen units and worktops                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                                       ○                               ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                       ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you fitted them
Sink bowl and drainer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Fluorescent tubes and
starter motors                                                                                                                                                            ○                                   ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                    ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                       ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you fitted them


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   58
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




The table below shows who is responsible for what.

Plumbing -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Us                                                                  You   Comments
Blocked sink, wash basin or bath                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                           ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you have tried
Domestic cold-water supply                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to clear the blockage
Downpipes (rain and soil)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                       ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Drains         ○           ○               ○               ○               ○                   ○                               ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Gutters                ○           ○               ○               ○               ○                           ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                               ○                           ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Hot-water supply                                                                                                                                       ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Sink plugs and chains                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                       ○                               ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○                   ○               ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you have just
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 moved in


Structure
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Us                                                                  You   Comments
Ceilings                       ○               ○               ○               ○                   ○                               ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                           ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Dampproof course                                                                                                                                                                                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                           ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                       ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Floors         ○           ○               ○               ○               ○                   ○                               ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Except carpets, vinyl,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 tiles and so on
Outside woodwork                                                                                                                                                                               ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Except fencing
Skirting boards                                                                                                        ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Stairs (inside)                                                                            ○                           ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Steps to entrances                                                                                                                                                                                         ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Walls  ○           ○               ○               ○               ○               ○                           ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                           ○                                   ○                           ○                           ○                       ○
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Windows -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Us                                                                  You   Comments
Glass in windows                                                                                                                                                               ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                           ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless caused
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 by reported crime

Frames and fittings                                                                                                                                                                                                    ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Window locks (standard)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you have fitted them
Window locks (additional)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


Other -
Who is responsible?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Us                                                                  You   Comments
Posts for clothes lines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless we have fitted them
Fences between gardens                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                       ○
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Footpaths (standard)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Gates      ○           ○               ○               ○               ○               ○                           ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Inside decoration                                                                                                                                              ○                                   ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                           ○                                               ○                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                       ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○                   ○



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Including wall tiles
Outside decoration                                                                                                                                                                                             ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Brick and concrete sheds                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                           ○                               ○                       ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Wooden sheds                                                                                               ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                       ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Timber garage                                                                                          ○                               ○                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Smoke alarms                                                                                           ○                               ○                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                            ○                              ○                           ○                           ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Except battery replacement
TV aerials - shared                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                               ○                                               ○                           ○                                   ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
TV aerials - other                                                                                                                                                         ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                       ○                                       ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                               ○                           ○                           ○                           ○                   ○                   ○               ○                   ○                   ○                   ○

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Aerial sockets                                                                             ○                               ○                               ○                                       ○                                               ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                           ○                                           ○                                       ○                                   ○                                           ○                                               ○                                           ○                               ○                               ○                               ○                                   ○                               ○                           ○                               ○                           ○                   ○
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           59
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How do you check the standards and quality of work?
We expect our contractor to carry out work in your home without causing unnecessary
disruption or nuisance. To check the quality of the work, we carry out inspections
on a number of completed repairs. This is to make sure the work has been done properly.
If any damage is caused while work is being done in your home, you must let us
know immediately. We also rely on you to let us know if you are happy with the work
carried out. You can let us know by filling in and returning your customer satisfaction card
on the back of the repair notice (which we send to you when we order the work).

Or, you can phone Property Connect on 0800 252627 or e-mail
propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk

Is there a level of service I can expect from someone visiting my home?

Yes. Our staff follow a customer care code of practice, which includes the following.

They will:

q always show you an identification card;

q explain what work they will do;

q ask for your permission to come in;

q be polite and friendly;

q protect furnishings and so on with dust sheets;

q carry out the work safely;

q keep the working area as tidy as possible;

q put rubbish and unused materials in a safe place so that they can be collected;

q explain any follow-up work;

q treat your home with respect; and

q whenever possible, leave things as they found them.

They will not:

q come into your home without asking for your permission;

q use your phone, electricity, water and so on without your permission;

q leave tools or materials insecure; or

q make promises they cannot keep.




                                                 60
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What are the right-to-repair regulations?
You will receive a repair notice for all day-to-day repairs which will explain which repairs
fall under the right-to-repair regulations. These regulations apply to small, urgent repairs.
If we do not finish a repair on time, you can ask us to instruct a second contractor,
who must complete the repair within a second agreed period. If the second contractor
fails to carry out the repair on time, we will pay compensation at the rate of £10 for the
first day and £2 a day after this (up to £50).

If you need any more advice or help, please contact your local housing office or Property
Connect on 0800 252627 or e-mail propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk


Do you carry out any repairs to the outside of my home?
We aim to visit homes in all areas to carry out planned maintenance.

The sort of work covered may include:

q painting the outside of your home;

q repairing the outside of the property, often including roof repairs,
  brickwork pointing and repairing front and back doors; and

q repairing gutters and pipework.

We aim to carry out this work regularly (about every five years) and we will always
let you know before we do any work.


Do you carry out improvements to my home?
We usually carry out major improvements outside of the normal repairs system.
These can include installing central heating, or new kitchens or bathrooms.

The amount of work we can do through this programme depends on how much money we
have. We consult our customers on how we should spend this money. When we include
your home in any of our modernisation programmes, we will let you know before we
carry out any work.

We have a number of service standards related to programmed work, as follows.

q We will renew or replace external parts with a life expectancy of less than five years.

q We will inspect the outside of your home every five years.


Will you charge me for any repairs?
If a repair is needed because you have neglected your home or have deliberately
damaged it, we will charge you for the cost of the repair. We will tell you why we are
charging you. At the end of your tenancy, we will charge you for any damage or nuisance
you have caused.



                                                 61
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Gas safety - good sense
Using gas as a fuel in the home is normally very safe. However, gas can cause
serious damage to health, and put people’s lives at risk. Gas leaks can lead to explosions,
which could kill. Faulty gas appliances and lack of ventilation can lead to carbon-monoxide
poisoning, which has serious health effects. For the sake of your and your family’s
health, safety and wellbeing, be gas aware and don’t take risks.


What happens if I have a gas leak?
Leaking gas can cause an explosion. If you smell or suspect a gas leak,
report it immediately to Transco on 0800 111 999.


q Turn off the gas supply at the main gas meter.

q Open the doors and windows.

q Do not switch anything electrical on or off, including the lights,
  as this could cause an explosion.

q Do not smoke, strike matches or light candles.


When are gas safety checks carried out?
As your landlord, we are legally responsible for making sure that your gas appliances, gas
piping and flues in your home are well maintained and safe. A gas safety check and service
will be carried out every 12 months by a gas engineer who is registered with CORGI.

The gas engineer will provide a record of each gas safety check. We will keep these
records for at least two years. We will give you a copy at the start of your tenancy,
and then every year when the safety check is carried out.

If you own any of the gas appliances in your home, we will check they are working correctly,
but it is up to you to make sure they are safe. We will not check your gas cooker.


How do I arrange my gas safety check when I move in?
As soon as you have received the keys to your home, it is important that you register with a
gas supplier. When the property became empty, we will have registered your gas and
electricity supply with Scottish Power. You can phone them on 0845 2721212.

We offer appointments for all safety checks between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday,
and 8am and 1pm on Saturdays. However, we need at least one working day’s notice to
book an appointment.




                                                62
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




How do I arrange my yearly gas safety check?

q We will write to you beforehand to let you know when your service is due.

q We will offer you an appointment between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday, and 8am
  to 1pm on Saturdays, so that you know when the engineer will come.

q If you choose not to make an appointment the engineer will call at your home
  three times, leaving you a contact card if you are not home.

q We will write to you three times, giving you an opportunity to make an
  appointment for the servicing to be carried out.

q We will schedule other repair appointments at the same time as your
  servicing appointment so you only have to stay at home once.

What will happen if I don’t allow you access
to carry out the yearly gas safety check?
Because we have a legal responsibility to carry out this safety check, we must gain
access to your home every year. Whether you use your gas supply or not, failing to
allow us to carry out this essential check will result in the following action.

q We will start legal action by sending you a ‘notice of seeking possession’.

q We will refuse to carry out any repairs or improvements
  (other than emergency repairs) to your home.

q We may refuse to allow you to go onto the waiting list for a transfer.

q The court may award us possession of your home,
  for breaking your tenancy agreement.

q The court may enforce an injunction, which could lead to you going to prison.

q You or a member of your family may be seriously affected by
  carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide - the silent killer
About 30 people a year die accidentally from carbon-monoxide poisoning
related to gas appliances. Many more (over 200) suffer from the symptoms of
carbon-monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced by gas appliances
which are badly installed or not maintained properly, or which do not have enough
ventilation. Carbon monoxide is invisible and has no smell or taste. Even small amounts
can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including brain damage.




                                                63
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Health symptoms of carbon monoxide
Symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning include things such as:

q feeling very tired;

q headaches, chest pains, and sudden giddiness when standing up;

q feeling sick;

q diarrhoea or stomach pains; or

q strange behaviour.

A faulty gas appliance may be responsible, especially if:

q more than one person in your household suffers symptoms;

q the symptoms improve away from your home and get worse when you return; and

q the symptoms are worse when the appliance is being used.

Any gas appliance (fires, heaters, central-heating boilers, water heaters or cookers)
can cause these effects.


Carbon-monoxide detectors
Various detectors exist which sense if there is carbon monoxide in the air - some
change colour or set off an alarm. You can buy detectors from DIY or hardware stores.
If you do buy a detector, make sure it has a label saying that it meets the standard BS 7860.


Ventilation
All gas appliances need air to work safely. You should not block off any source of ventila-
tion that helps a gas appliance to work properly. This includes any ventilation on the appli-
ance itself, and flues, ventilation grilles or airbricks - make sure these are kept clear.


What to do if you think an appliance is unsafe

q Do not use an appliance if you think it may be unsafe.

q Open doors and windows to ventilate the room. Do not sleep in the room.

q Phone Property Connect on 0800 252627 immediately to report this,
  and we will get a CORGI-registered engineer to check it.




                                                64
                               Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Danger signs on a gas appliance
Your gas appliance may be unsafe if you notice any of the following signs.

q A yellow or orange flame instead of a blue one.

q A pilot light which keeps blowing out.

q Any part of the appliance has turned black or brown, or shows signs of scorching.

q Signs of soot, or a sooty or musty smell.

q Increased condensation on windows.

CORGI engineers
We only employ contractors who are CORGI-registered and who are qualified to work on
your home. Before allowing anyone into your home to carry out gas work, ask to see their
CORGI identification card. It is the size of a credit card and shows their photograph,
name, CORGI registration number, card expiry date and the CORGI logo The main
information is also in Braille.

Gas safety - your responsibilities
Many aspects of gas safety may rely on other people, but as a tenant you also have
certain responsibilities. Some of these are in the gas safety regulations, the others
are common sense.

q Do report gas leaks and try to prevent more gas from leaking (for example, by turning
  your gas supply off at the mains).

q Don’t use gas appliances that you know or think are unsafe. Report faulty appliances to
  Property Connect on 0800 252627.

q Don’t block any ventilation or flues needed for gas appliances to work safely.

q Don’t do work on gas appliances or pipes yourself. By law, anyone doing gas
  work must be trained to do it safely. The easiest way to be sure of this is to
  only use CORGI-registered engineers.

q Do allow us access every year to carry out the gas safety check.
  This makes sure all your appliances are working correctly and safely.

q Don’t paint the casing to your fire or any appliance.

q Always use a CORGI-registered contractor to install and service your
  gas cooker and your own fire.

q Never sleep in a room which has an open-flue appliance (such as a back boiler).

q Never install a ceiling fan in a room which has a gas appliance.




                                                65
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




We have a number of service standards related to gas servicing, as follows.

q We will tell you in writing at least four weeks before your yearly service is due.

q We will carry out a yearly service and safety check on your gas heating appliances.

q We will offer a morning or an afternoon appointment for your yearly service.

q We will offer a Saturday morning appointment for your yearly service.


How do I know where I can turn the services on or off?
You will need to know where things like stopcocks and fuse boxes are in your home.
They are in different places in different properties, so it is important that you know where
they are so you can turn them on and off when necessary. If you need help finding any
of these items, please ask your local housing office or phone Property Connect on
0800 25 26 27. Or, e-mail propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk for advice.
You can make a note of where they are in the box below. This will help you respond more
quickly in an emergency.

   Item               Where it is in the house

   Stopcock

   Fuse box

   Gas tap

   Trip switch

   Boiler

   Water tank

It is also handy to keep emergency numbers nearby.

Emergency numbers
Emergency repairs: 0800 25 26 27

Gas emergencies:           (Transco): 0800 111 999

Water:                     0800 330033

Electricity:
               (Write in the phone number of your supplier.)

                                                 66
                                 Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




          Section 10

Tenant support, sheltered housing
and Carecall service

What is tenant support?
This is a service for tenants who need practical
support and help to maintain their tenancy and live
independently. The tenant support service is also
known as a floating support service.

What are the aims of the scheme?

The service aims to:

q reduce homelessness resulting from inadequate support;

q reduce the number of times a tenant leaves a property: and

q Support people to settle into new properties

The tenant support team will work with tenants for between three months and two years
(depending on their need) and help them build up the skills needed to live independently.

Who can use tenant support?
Any of our tenants who are having difficulty maintaining their tenancies can use the service.
In general, the service will support the following groups of vulnerable people.

q Elderly people

q Disabled people

q Young people and people leaving care

q Homeless people

q Victims of domestic violence

q People who have difficulties reading and writing, or who do not speak English fluently

q People with learning difficulties

q People with mental-health problems or personality disorders

q People who suffer from alcohol or substance misuse

q People with HIV or AIDS




                                                  67
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




What support is provided?
The service offers advice and support on a number of issues including:

q making someone’s home more secure;
q filling in benefit forms and dealing with benefit claims;
q paying bills;
q helping improve quality of life;
q managing someone’s tenancy;
q making sure tenants receive support from other professional services;
q employment and learning opportunities; and
q housekeeping and practical skills.

For more information on this service, phone the tenant support team on 0800 195 9 195 or
e-mail tenancy.support@warrington.gov.uk

We have a number of service standards related to tenant support, as follows.

q We will visit you at home to assess your support needs within two working days of your
  request if you need urgent support.

q We will visit you within five working days if your situation is less urgent.

q We will tailor support services to suit your needs.

q We will monitor all customers with tenant support services,
  to assess how effective the service is.*

What is sheltered housing?
Sheltered housing is available to anyone over the age of 60. It aims to offer
greater security, and help and support, when needed.

Sheltered housing is a home where you can:

q feel safe and secure;
q have the company of other tenants;
q be supported by a warden;
q have privacy with independence;
q have a varied social life; and
q have an alarm system which is monitored 24 hours a day.

The total amount you pay for sheltered accommodation includes rent and charges for
the warden service and other services such as cleaning shared areas. We will keep
these charges as low as possible. You can claim Housing Benefit if you cannot afford the
rent. Your warden will be happy to help you fill in a form, or you can speak to a money
advice officer (see section 7 ‘The Money Advice Service’).

For details of what charges your rent is made up of, contact Golden Gates Direct.




                                                 68
                                Golden Gates Housing - Tenants Handbook




Where is sheltered housing?

q Broomfields, Bridge Lane, Appleton

q Croft House, Birchall Street, Croft

q Penketh Court, Farnworth Road, Penketh

q Raven Court, Pepper Street, Lymm

q Sankey Manor, Vine Crescent, Great Sankey

q Woolston Hall, Hall Road, Woolston

If you would like to visit a sheltered housing scheme to find out more about the services
we offer, please contact Golden Gates Direct on 0800 195 9 195

If I’m having difficulty with everyday things like bathing, is there help
available?
Items of portable equipment like bath seats, raised toilet seats and adapted tap
handles are available free. Contact the Social Services Department, Independent
Living Services, Bewsey Old School, Lockton Lane, Bewsey (phone: 01925 444400).

We have a specialist bathing facility at Broomfields sheltered housing in Appleton.
Any elderly or disabled person can use this facility with their carer. To discuss this facility,
please phone the warden on 01925 261071.

Who can help with more permanent alterations?
More permanent alterations are called adaptations. These are changes to your home to help
you live life as fully and independently as possible. They can be very simple like an extra stair
rail, or more complicated like a stair lift or a lower kitchen unit. We carry out this work
following a referral and assessment from the Social Services Department. We put
applications in priority order so that the most urgent cases are dealt with quickly.

If your home needs a lot of changes, it may be more appropriate for you to move to more
suitable accommodation. We may need to contact you to discuss the options.

We have a number of service standards related to disabled adaptations, as follows.

q We will process requests for assessment by Social Services within two working days.

q We will carry out referrals in category 1 within one working day of receiving the request.

q We will carry out all referrals in category 2 within eight weeks of receiving the request.

For more information about the categories, please phone on 0800 252627




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What is the Carecall service?
The Carecall service is a 24-hour community alarm service provided by Social Services for
elderly people, people with disabilities or anyone who may need help day or night.

Your home can be fitted with an intercom system or Carecall phone unit, which is a
way of getting help quickly and easily in an emergency or if you have an accident in
your home. You can also be given a pendant to wear, which allows you to make an alarm
call anywhere in your house or garden. There is a small charge, but Housing Benefit
may pay for some or all of the cost.

If there is an emergency or an accident, all you have to do is pull one of the cords.
Every call is answered by professional and trained staff, who will be able to offer
advice or reassurance or get help any time, day or night.

You also need to test your pull-cord or pendant every month. If you have forgotten,
we will remind you, but it would help us a great deal if you could remember to
test the equipment regularly. You never know when you may need our help.

If you lose a pendant, or damage any of the Carecall equipment, or if you do not
return the Carecall phone unit to a local housing office after you have finished with it,
we may charge you or your family for any repair or replacement.

How do I apply for or get more information about the Carecall service?
Just contact Carecall Control on 01925 458000.

What do I do if I am a tenant under 60 and do not want the pull-cord
system?
If you move into a flat or bungalow and are under 60 and do not want the system, please
contact Carecall Control. We can arrange to disconnect the speech module. They will not
remove the system. Please do not remove the pull switches or the speech module as
this may cause a fault, and vulnerable tenants will be put at risk. Please discuss the
situation with Carecall Control before you touch any cabling. If you tamper with the
cables, they may charge you the cost of the engineer having to sort the problem out.

They record all calls to Carecall Control for security and quality-control purposes.

If you are concerned about your health and safety, or that of a friend or relative, in and around
the home, you can join the hundreds of Carecall users who already have peace of mind.

We have a number of service standards related to sheltered housing, as follows.

q We will provide a service which contacts you to make sure you are safe and well.

q When your warden is away from the scheme for any reason, we will
  provide a 24-hour community alarm service by Carecall.

q We will register all details of person (or people) you want us to contact in an emergency.




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           Section 11

Getting involved

How can I get involved?
We want to deliver an excellent service to all our customers. To do this, we believe that the
people who use our services should be making the decisions in partnership with us.
Involving tenants is all about getting customers to share views and ideas, and take
part in the management and decision-making of the housing service.
We are always looking for new ways to involve customers at a level that suits them.
So, if you are interested in getting involved and would like to discuss how you can take
part, please contact the Tenant Participation Team for friendly advice on 0800 195 9 195.
You can also e-mail them at tenant.participation@goldengateshousing.org.uk
We will help you to get involved at a level that suits you.
Here are some of the ways you can take part. Please let us know if you are interested
in any of these, or any other way in which you can contribute.

Informal chats
You can contact a member of staff, the tenant participation officer or the Federation
of Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations, who will be happy to discuss your concerns
or suggestions, or tell you how you can get involved.

Tenants’ and residents’ associations
Many of our customers choose to get involved by joining their local tenants’ and
residents’ association. There are numerous tenants’ and residents’ associations in
Warrington, so please get in touch to find out about one in your area. If there isn’t a tenants’
and residents’ association near you, we may be able to help you and other residents in
the area to set one up. Tenants’ and residents’ associations usually meet each
month to discuss issues and may also hold community events.

Meetings with us
You can get involved in the housing service by coming to meetings with other tenants and
our officers. At the moment, we meet with customers as part of the Repairs and
Maintenance Focus Group and the Leaseholders’ Focus Group.

‘Housing 400’ and ‘E-mail 100’
You may prefer to get involved by giving your views by post or e-mail. We regularly
consult customers by phone and surveys by contacting people on our ‘Housing 400’
list. Similarly, we are trying to develop a database of customers who prefer to be
involved and give their views by e-mail.

Customer training programme
To help our customers learn more about housing issues and develop their skills and
knowledge, we have an excellent customer training programme. The programme
covers many topics and runs throughout the year.


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Reading panel
To help us create information that customers have approved, we also have a customer
reading panel. Customers on the panel look at new documents before we publish them to
make sure they inform customers appropriately and are easy to read.


Yearly conference
To celebrate the achievements of our customers and to encourage tenants to get involved,
we also hold a tenants’ and residents’ conference each year. Why not come to the next one?


Our board and the area boards
We have a board of directors who are responsible for the strategic direction of our
organisation. The board is made up of five tenants, five councillors and five independent
members. Vacancies on the board will become available each year and if anyone
retires from their post.

We also have three area boards that
cover Bank House, Festival and Westy.
The area boards develop links
with local tenants’ and residents’
associations, and make sure the views
of the local community are given to the
main board. The area boards are made
up of three tenants, three councillors and one
independent member. Vacancies will arise on the area
boards each year and if anyone retires from their post.

We welcome all interested tenants and leaseholders to join the boards. We will also aim to
provide training and support so that they can gain an insight into the roles and
responsibilities, and develop skills and knowledge before any vacancies arise.

If there are a number of interested candidates, the tenants would vote.


Street representatives
Street representatives are spokespeople appointed to represent a certain number of homes.
They provide information and put forward their views on housing policy issues.
These are particularly effective in areas where there is not enough interest to
set up an association, or where the tenants and residents cannot commit to the time
taken to hold meetings and run an association.


Tenant representatives
All tenants can get involved. You can come to groups or one-off seminars. We think it is
important that you get involved and give us your views about how we should deliver
our services.




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Tell us how you would like to be involved
If you want to get involved or give your views in a different way that is not listed above,
please let us know. It is important to us that you get involved at a level that suits you.

We have a number of service standards which are related to involving tenants, as follows.

q We will consult tenants on rent and service charges, and priorities for spending.

q We will monitor our tenant participation compact every two months.

q We will review our tenant participation compact each year.

q We will publicise tenant involvement every three months in our tenants’ newsletter.

q We will provide financial support to all formal tenants’ and residents’ associations.

q We will offer support and training to all tenants who want to set up a tnants’ and
  residents’ association.

q We will offer a comprehensive training programme for all customers each year, which
  we will assess to see how effective it is.

q We will provide a budget dedicated to tenant involvement.

q We will consult tenants on issues which will affect them.

q We will work to make sure all tenants are represented by a tenants’ and residents’
  association.

q We will report each year on tenant involvement.

q We will offer support at all tenants’ and residents’ meetings, and make sure an officer
  goes to group meetings (if asked to do so).

q We will support tenant management organisations, estate subcommittees,
  and community and estate agreements.

q We will pay out-of-pocket expenses, including childcare costs, to all customers who
  take part in focus groups, panel meetings or consultative exercises.

q We will give all tenants’ and residents’ associations a handbook of useful information.


Please contact the Tenant Participation Team on 0800 195 9 195




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          Section 12

Useful household tips

Here are a number of tips which we recommend you to follow.

Frost
In cold weather, try to keep your home reasonably warm day and night. If you are going
away and leaving your home empty, even for a few days, turn off the water at the stopcock
and drain all water off the system by turning on all the taps and flushing the toilet.
Make sure that all water has stopped running before you leave home. Or, you could leave
your heating on low. This will help to prevent damage caused by pipes freezing.

Condensation
Every property gets condensation at some time, especially when the weather is cold or
when lots of moisture and steam are being produced (for example, when cooking).

To reduce condensation and prevent mould, try the following.

q Keep your home reasonably warm most of the time.

q Do not use liquid-propane gas heaters.

q Provide ventilation by keeping some of the windows open. In winter,
  open windows a little but only for as long as they are misted up.

q Whenever possible, dry your clothes outside.

q Keep bathroom and kitchen doors shut and keep windows open,
  especially when cooking, washing or bathing.

q When cooking, do not allow pans or kettles to boil any longer than necessary.

q Avoid putting beds and wardrobes against outside walls.

Electrics in the home
It is important to remember to take enough precautions when using electricity.

q Do not touch electrical items with wet hands, and always report water leaks that come
  into contact with electrical supplies.

q If you have problems with flickering lights, regular power cuts or electrical appliances
  overheating, please phone Property Connect free on
  0800 25 26 27 or e-mail propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk

q You should regularly check flexible cables to appliances to make sure they do not
  become frayed and damaged and to check there are no loose or bare wires.


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What if I have problems or loss of power to my sockets or lights?

Check:
q if the problem affects more than one room;
q if, at the time of the power cut, a particular appliance is being used
  (for example, a kettle or an iron);
q the fuse in the plug to the appliance (to make sure your appliances contain the correct
  type of fuse, details of which should be provided by the appliance manufacturer); and
q if the fuse has blown in the consumer unit (fuse box).


To replace the fuse, you should:
q switch off the electricity at the fuse box;
q unplug the appliance from the source of the supply;
q check the fuse;                                                          Typical fuse box

q replace the fuse wire or cartridge fuse with the correct-sized fuse; and
q if the fuse blows again, phone Property Connect on 0800 25 26 27 or e-mail
  propertyconnect@goldengateshousing.org.uk

Circuit breakers are more commonly used than fuses. If the miniature circuit breaker
(mcb) trips, you can reset it after finding the source of the problem. If you cannot
reset the circuit breaker, contact Property Connect.


If you have no power at all
You should check to see if:
q your prepayment (card) meter
  has run out of credit; and
q the power is off in the neighbourhood.                   Main             Miniature circuit
  (If so, you should contact your                      consumer unit            breaker
  electricity supplier.)




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What are the different types of electrical fittings?
We will replace electrical fittings when they are faulty. To help you report repairs to
your electrics, some of the more common types are shown below.




               Ceiling                                                 Double
            batten holder                                          switched socket




  Flush cooker control                              One-gang                         Pull
     unit and socket                              light switch                       cord




                                                              Ceiling rose




                            Pendant




                                                              Bayonet
                                                              fitting
                              Skirt



                                      Pendant lamp
                                         holder



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What happens if I have problems with my water services?

q If the overflow from the water cistern or toilet is running and will
  not stop, phone Property Connect on 0800 25 26 27.

q Make sure you know where to turn off your water supply at the
  mains, and turn the water off immediately if you have a burst pipe.



Have you any ideas on how I can make savings
and be more ‘energy-efficient’?
It is important to help you save money and to help the environment that you try to save
energy. Here are some ways in which you can make savings at either no cost or a low cost.

q Use energy-efficient light bulbs.

q Don’t waste hot water. Use a plug in your basin or sink.

q Have a shower rather than a bath, as they use less hot water.

q When using the kettle, only boil as much water as you need.

q Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly to keep them working efficiently. Don’t put hot
  food straight into the fridge or leave your fridge door open longer than necessary.
  To reduce running costs, place empty boxes inside to keep cold air in.

q If you have a hot-water thermostat, set it at 600C.

q Turn down your central-heating thermostat by just 10C

q Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping and open
  them during the day to allow warm air in.

q Wait until you have a full load to use your washing machine.

q Turn off any unnecessary lights.

q To get the most heat from your radiators, fit radiator panels behind them
  (you do not have to remove your radiators to do this).

q When you are not using your TV, video or music system,
  switch them off rather than leaving them on stand-by.

For more information on saving energy and money, you can visit the
‘Energy House 21’, 302 - 304 Manchester Road, Warrington (phone: 01925 815481).




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Have you any advice about fire safety in the home?
We are working with Cheshire Fire Brigade and have produced a fire safety strategy to help
reduce accidents in your home. Our aim is to fit hard-wired smoke alarms to all our properties
by 2006. Here is some advice from Cheshire Fire Brigade about how you can prevent fires.

Each year in the United Kingdom over 700 people die and nearly 13,000 are
injured in fires in their home.

Most fires can be prevented, and the following advice could stop a fire starting in your home.

If you own a chip pan:
q never fill a chip pan more a third full of fat or oil;
q never leave a pan unattended if the heat is on;
q if oil catches fire, turn off the heat if possible, smother it with a lid or damp cloth and
  leave in place for at least 30 minutes or until completely cool;
q do not try and put out the fire with water; and
q do not try and move the pan.

If you smoke:
q never leave a cigarette or pipe unattended;
q empty ashtrays last thing at night;
q do not smoke in bed; and
q keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children

When you use electrical equipment:
q do not overload a socket - use one plug in one socket;
q if a fuse blows, replace with one of the correct size; and
q switch off all electrical appliances when not in use and unplug them.

If you have an open fire or a portable heater:
q do not dry or air clothes over a heater or within three feet of a fire;
q do not stand or sit too close as your clothes may catch fire;
q do not place a heater too close to furniture, bedding or curtains; and
q use a fireguard.

To detect fire:
q fit smoke alarms, preferably one on each floor;
q fit the alarm in the centre of the ceiling, at least one foot away from a light fitting;
q replace the battery each year and check the alarm each month
  by pressing the test button; and
q clean the alarm at least once a year using a vacuum cleaner
  and damp cloth. If it is mains-wired, switch it off first.




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Do you know what to do if there is a fire?
Would you be able to escape from your home if there was a fire? Prepare a fire
plan so that everyone in your home knows exactly what to do if there is a fire.

Remember to keep your escape route clear at all times. Dial 999.

If you are woken by your smoke alarm or by the
sounds of what you think is a fire,
                                     stop, think and act.

q Wake all members of your family and make your
  way out together through the nearest exit.

q Once outside, call the fire brigade using the nearest phone.

q Stay out of the house until the fire brigade tells you it is safe to return.

If you are woken by your smoke alarm or by the sounds of what you think is a fire,
remember the fire brigade motto -

‘Get out,
get the fire brigade out,
stay out.’

Do you have a bedtime fire-safety routine?
Many fires in the home start at night.
Make sure you have a bedtime fire-safety routine.

q Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances that have not been designed to stay on.

q Make sure there are no cigarettes or pipes still burning.

q Before emptying ashtrays, make sure the contents are cold.

q Switch off portable heaters and put a fireguard around an open fire.

q Close the doors to all rooms.


If you need more advice, contact your nearest fire station. Or, if you want to find out more,
visit www.cheshirefire.co.uk




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Safety in the home


Smell of gas

q Open doors and windows to get rid of the gas.

q Check to see if the gas has been left on unlit or if a pilot light has gone out.

q Turn off the gas at the meter.

q Don’t use anything electrical, such as door bells, switches or even your phone.

q Don’t smoke or light a flame.

q Call Transco on 0800 111999 from a phone outside your home.




Security checklist

q Be careful not to open your front door to anyone you do not know, and always ask to
  see the identity cards of our staff. If you are in doubt, contact Property Connect or
  Golden Gates Direct to check whether the person is representing us.

q Do not leave cash or valuables around your home.

q Mark valuable items with your postcode and house number, or keep a note of serial
  numbers.

q When you go out in the evening, draw the curtains and leave a light on in a room (not
  just the hall).

q When you go away, fit a timer device to a living-room lamp to make the house look as if
  someone is in. Tell the police and your estate manager if you are going away for a long
  time, and don’t forget to cancel your newspapers and milk.

q Arrange with a neighbour to keep an eye on each other’s houses.

q If you fit extra door locks, make sure that they can be opened easily from inside in case
  you need to get out in an emergency.

q When you go out, check that all windows and doors are closed.

q Do not leave your keys or any money where a stranger might find them,or see them or
  reach them through the letter box.

q Keep your shed locked - a thief might use tools to break into your home.




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When someone calls at your door

q If you have a door viewer, check to see who it is before opening the door.

q If you have a door chain, keep it on when you open the door.

q If you do not know the caller, ask to see their identity card and check it carefully.

q If you are not sure about the person, ask them to stay outside while you phone the
  organisation they claim to represent to check who they are.

q Phone us if it is a contractor who has come to carry out some repair work.



Door-entry systems
Door-entry systems are put in to control who comes into buildings with shared entrances.

To keep your building safe:

q make sure that the door always locks behind you;

q never leave the entrance door open or propped open;

q try not to allow non-residents to follow you into the block even if they appear
  genuine (they should press the button for the flat they are visiting); and

q report any faults to us immediately.




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Trading Standards
Phone: 01925 442678
Website: www.TSwarrington.co.uk

Advice for our tenants

1 What to do if things go wrong when you buy something

2 Buying on credit

3 Doorstep sellers

4 Choosing a reliable tradesman

5 Junk mail and unwanted phone calls

6 Warrington Consumer Alert Network

7 Thinking of buying your home?


1 What to do if things go wrong when you buy something

Buying goods

q Always keep some kind of proof you bought the goods. A receipt is ideal.
q Stop using the goods and return them to the shop.
q Explain the problem to someone in charge.
q You are entitled to a refund for a short period of time after you bought the goods if:
    q they are not of satisfactory quality;
    q they are not fit for their normal purpose; or
    q they are not as described.

You have no right to a refund if:

q you have changed your mind about the goods;
q the goods have been damaged;
q the fault is one you were told about before you bought the goods; or
q you could have easily seen the fault yourself before you bought the goods.

Many retailers may give refunds, vouchers or credit notes in some of these circumstances
as a gesture of goodwill.

After a short period of time, you no longer have a right to a refund for faulty goods, but you
are still entitled to either a replacement or to repair at no cost if the goods are faulty or not
as described.

Warranties and guarantees
These are usually offered by the manufacturer and are on top of the rights set out above
which the law gives you.


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Shopping from home
Many people buy goods by mail order on the phone or over the internet. Similar rights
apply as when you buy in a shop, but you also have seven days from receiving the
goods in which to change your mind even if there is nothing wrong with them.

Buying services
You also have rights when someone does work for you such as installing a bathroom or
kitchen or doing building work.

Work must be:
    q carried out within a reasonable time;
    q carried out at a reasonable price; and
    q carried out with reasonable care and skill.

If there are any problems, you should speak to the trader. You may also be able to claim
compensation if these standards are not met.

If you have a problem, or would like more information concerning your rights
when buying goods or services, phone Trading Standards on 01925 442678 or
visit www.TSwarrington.gov.uk


2 Buying on credit
Many retailers offer the facility to buy goods now and pay for them later. This may
be by accepting credit cards or by offering to lend money to buy specific goods.

Credit cards
If you buy goods on your credit card that cost more than £100, your card company is liable to
you in exactly the same way as the retailer for goods that are faulty or not as described.
This can be very useful if the retailer is being difficult to deal with or if the retailer has
gone out of business.

Agreements
If a retailer offers to sell you specific goods and to arrange finance for you to buy them, a
written finance agreement is needed. There are different types of agreement which work in
slightly different ways. For example, a hire purchase agreement (normally used for cars)
means you do not own the goods until you have made all the payments under the
agreement. However, they all need a written agreement which you and the finance
company must sign.

q Always read the agreement before signing it.
q Check that the figures on the agreement agree with what you expected.
q Check that the monthly or weekly payment is correct.
q Check that the number of payments is correct.
q Make sure there are no other extra charges you have not been told about.
q Never sign a blank agreement.
q Take a friend or relative with you who can help you check the details.

Remember, it is the information on the agreement which is important, not what the retailer
told you.


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If you do not understand the agreement, get help from the Citizens Advice Bureau
or Trading Standards before signing.

The law on credit is complicated. If you are having problems with a loan of any sort,
it is important to get advice as early as possible. The following will be able to help, or put
you in touch with someone who can help.

q Citizens Advice Bureaux
q Trading Standards
q Our money advice officers


3 Doorstep sellers
Unfortunately, some people who knock on doors offering to sell goods or services are not
what they seem to be. In the worst cases, they are thieves who will trick their way into homes
and steal cash and valuables. Others may offer to carry out some kind of work, but this
often turns out to be unnecessary, overpriced and of poor quality. It is usually
impossible to trace these traders if there is a problem with the work they have done.

If someone knocks on your door:
q use your door chain;
q ask for identification and examine it carefully;
q ring to check it is genuine if you have any doubts (no genuine caller will object);
q never keep large amounts of cash in the house;
q keep purses, bags and wallets out of sight and away from the door; and
q say ‘no’ politely but firmly.

You have rights to cancel in certain circumstances when you buy goods or
services at the door.

If you are worried about something you have bought following a visit to your home, contact
Trading Standards for advice.


4 Choosing a reliable tradesman

If you think you need work doing:

q don’t give it to someone who knocks on your door and tells you
  that you have a problem;
q use a trader recommended by friends or relatives;
q don’t agree to pay in full before work starts;
q get more than one quote in writing;
q make sure you have the trader’s full name, address and landline phone number;
q ignore special discounts for signing up on the day;
q do not sign on the spur of the moment; and
q get a receipt.




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5 Junk mail and unwanted phone calls

Are you fed up with junk mail or people ringing you trying to sell you things?

To reduce junk mail, phone
the Mailing Preference Service on 0845 703 4599
or visit www.mpsonline.org.uk

To reduce unwanted phone sales calls, phone
the Telephone Preference Service on
0845 070 0707 or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk


6 Warrington Consumer Alert Network
Warrington Consumer Alert Network warns people who live in Warrington about the latest
consumer rip-offs. It also allows us to keep members up to date on consumer issues
generally by providing education and advice material.

Anyone in Warrington can be a member and receive messages from the network.
You will need a phone (mobile or landline) or an e-mail address. The network can
deliver warnings by phone, by text to mobile phones and by e-mail. As a member you
receive messages by any or all of these methods.

Membership is free. Contact Trading Standards.


7 Thinking of buying your home?
Tenants are often approached by mortgage advisers offering to help them buy their
home. However, the charges for this service have in some cases been quite high.

If you are thinking of buying your own home, shop around for the things you need
just as you would for anything else.




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         Section 13

Our offices

Useful addresses and phone numbers

Where our offices are based and opening times


Office                                                Opening times

Bank House Office
88 Sankey Street                                      9am to 5pm
Warrington                                            Monday to Friday
WA1 1SF



Bewsey Office
Troutbeck Avenue                                      9am to 1pm
Bewsey                                                2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                            Monday to Friday
WA5 5BA



Culcheth Office
441 Warrington Road                                   9am to 1pm
Culcheth                                              2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                            Monday and Friday only
WA3 5SJ



Westy Office
Westy Lane                                            9am to 5pm
Latchford                                             Monday to Friday
Warrington
WA4 1QY



Lymm Office
Capes House                                           9am to 1pm
Whitbarrow Road                                       2pm to 5pm
Lymm                                                  Thursday only
Warrington
WA13 9AR




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Office                                                         Opening times

Festival Office
2 Festival Avenue                                            9am to 5pm
Orford                                                       Monday to Friday
Warrington
WA2 9EP



Grasmere Office
335A Grasmere Avenue                                         9am to 1pm
Orford                                                       2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                                   Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
WA2 0JZ                                                      and Friday only



Cotswold Road Office
Cotswold Road                                                9am to 1pm
Orford                                                       2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                                   Tuesday, Thursday
WA2 9SQ                                                      and Friday only



Longford Office
47 Densham Avenue                                            9am to 1pm
Longford                                                     2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                                   Monday, Thursday and Friday
WA2 9PL



Blackbrook Office
119a Orange Grove                                            9m to 1pm
Padgate                                                      2pm to 5pm
Warrington                                                   Monday, Wednesday and
WA2 0DS                                                      Friday only



Tenant Participation Service
Grasmere Estate Office
335a Grasmere Avenue
Orford
Warrington WA2 0JZ

E-mail: tenant.participation@warrington.gov.uk




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 Warrington Borough Council

Main Council Switchboard .................................. 01925 444400
Community Alarm Service (Carecall) ................. 01925 458000
Homeless Section .............................................. 01925 442419
Housing Advice Section ..................................... 01925 442418
Registration Section (Housing waiting list) ......... 0800 195 9 195
Revenues and Benefits Service ......................... 01925 443210
Information Centre ............................................. 01925 632571
Social Services - Duty Team .............................. 01925 444239
Environmental Health - Customer Care ............. 01925 442599
Education Department ....................................... 01925 442971
Repairs (Freephone) .......................................... 0800 252627
Tenant Participation ............................................ 0800 195 9 195
Direct Services - Customer Care ....................... 01925 443000
Money Advice Section ........................................ 0800 195 9 195
Trading Standards .............................................. 01925 442678
Automated Payments ......................................... 01925 443300

 Other organisations

Scottish Power ................................................... 0845 272 7272
Age Concern ...................................................... 01925 244645
Law Centre ......................................................... 01925 651104
Transco (gas emergencies)................................ 0800 111 999
Police ................................................................. 01925 652222
Water (supplies and problems) .......................... 0800 330033
Hollins Park Hospital .......................................... 01925 664000
Warrington District General Hospital .................. 01925 635911
Victim Support .................................................... 01925 816318
Citizens’ Advice Bureau...................................... 01925 574538
Samaritans ......................................................... 01925 235000
Child Support Agency ......................................... 0845 7133133
Benefits Agency ................................................. 01925 246000
Domestic Violence National Helpline ................. 08457 023 2468
Care and Repair ................................................. 01925 445675
Child Line ........................................................... 0800 11 11




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Notes, other addresses and numbers




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