Docstoc

Homeowners handbook

Document Sample
Homeowners handbook Powered By Docstoc
					Homeowner’s
     Handbook
Welcome to your
Homeowner’s Handbook
Welcome to Paradigm. We have                                 We use the term of ‘homeowners’ for our customers
                                                             who are shared-owners, leaseholders, or fixed equity
prepared this handbook with                                  owners. Homeowners now make up around 12%
the help of existing Paradigm                                of Paradigm’s customers and we are committed to
                                                             providing every opportunity for people to be able to
homeowners and we hope you will                              access the property ladder.
find it useful.                                              Homeowners have service needs and expectations
It provides practical information on your rights and         unique to them and we want to ensure that our
responsibilities as a homeowner with Paradigm. The           services are shaped and delivered with that in mind.
handbook also includes information on the services we        We welcome any suggestions you have for additional
provide, useful contacts, laws that affect lease-holding     information that you think should be included in this
homeowners, and a general explanation of your lease.         handbook. Suggestions can be made by contacting
                                                             Customer Services on 0300 303 1010 or email:
                                                             enquiries@paradigmhousing.co.uk




Declaration
     This handbook is intended to provide you with general information and guidance, it is not intended to form
     any part of your contract and is not binding in any way. For legal obligations you should refer to your lease
     agreement. If you are unsure about any of the information in this document or you have a question which
     is not covered by this handbook, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Services on 0300 303 1010 or
     email: enquiries@paradigmhousing.co.uk. Paradigm believes in continuous improvement and we regularly
     review our policies and procedures to take account of new legislation and feedback from our customers.
     Copies of our policies are available on request or from our website at www.paradigmhousing.co.uk


Who should read this handbook?                               Equality and diversity commitment
This handbook will be useful to you if:                      We aim to work in a way that is fair to all and are
                                                             committed to challenging unlawful discrimination.
�   you have a lease with any of the companies within
                                                             We will not treat a person less favourably than
    the Paradigm Housing Group
                                                             someone else because of their race, ethnicity, gender,
�   you are thinking of purchasing a new property as a       marital status, sexuality, disability, age, dependants,
    shared-owner                                             religious belief or socio-economic circumstance.

�   you are thinking of buying a home from an existing
    Paradigm homeowner

�   you are thinking of purchasing your home through
    Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes
Contents

     About Paradigm                                 3
     Who should I contact at Paradigm?              6
     Your lease explained                           8
     Who is responsible for carrying out repairs?   10
     Major work                                     12
     Newly built homes                              14
     Living in your home                            17
     The services you pay for                       21
     General information                            25
     Customer service standards                     30
     Getting involved                               33
     Complaints and disputes                        36
     Anti-social behaviour                          38
     The law relating to leaseholders               39
     Where to get advice                            40
     Glossary




                                1
About Paradigm
Our vision                                                    �   Innovation - We demonstrate and reward
“Through housing, deliver solutions that make                     innovation and creativity in all we do
a positive difference to peoples’ lives and their
                                                              �   Commitment - We have a passion for excellence
communities”
                                                              �   Empowerment - We give people confidence
About us                                                          to positively influence our services and their
Paradigm Housing Group was established in 1999                    communities
as the parent of a group of housing associations. In
1988, the originally named Chiltern Hundreds Housing          Knowing our customers
Association was set up to manage the first large-scale        We are committed to delivering tailored services.
voluntary transfer of 4,650 properties transferred            To help us do this we need to understand who our
from Chiltern District Council, with the aim to grow          customers are and what they need us to do to meet
by developing further homes. We have provided many            their needs when we are developing and delivering
thousands of extra properties and now manage over             services.
11,000 with approximately 400 staff.
                                                              We want our services to be accessible to anyone who
We provide a wide range of housing and support                wants to use them. Understanding which customers
services throughout the South East, and West London.          use a service and which don’t, will help us identify
                                                              where we may need to adapt and change to ensure
We have a turnover of around £70 million annually,
                                                              some customers are not disadvantaged in any way as
with assets worth around £745 million and aim to
                                                              a result of who they are and where they live.
provide a further 1,800 affordable homes for rent
and sale between 2010 and 2012.                               By completing a customer profile questionnaire
                                                              you are helping us to better serve you. It will also
We provide homes with a wide mix of tenures
                                                              help us build up a picture of our customer base and
including affordable rent, shared-ownership, fixed
                                                              this will help us improve services in the future. The
equity, key worker housing, foyer accommodation,
                                                              questionnaire is available via our website, but if you
supported housing, also temporary housing, private
                                                              would like a paper copy contact Customer Services.
sale and market rental.
                                                              We are required by law and by our regulator, the Tenant
Our goals                                                     Services Authority, to use customer profiling to ensure
�   to provide high-quality homes and neighbourhoods          our services are accessible and that the outcome of
    that exceed customers' expectations                       using our service equally meets the needs of our diverse
                                                              customer base.
�   to provide high-quality services that exceed
    customers' expectations
                                                              What kind of questions are we asking?
�   to grow our business in order to achieve our vision       There are a range of questions that are asked. We
                                                              understand, however that some customers may
�   to add value to our customers' lives
                                                              choose not to answer certain questions.
Our values                                                    The following information aims to explain what the
�   Customer focused - We actively engage with our            types of questions are, why we ask them and how the
    customers to continually improve our service              information will be used:

�   Have respect - We ensure equality of outcomes             Customer contact details - customers have said that
    by demonstrating respect in all dealings with our         how we communicate is one of the most important
    customers                                                 things we need to get right. Knowing who to contact
                                                              and how, is critical to achieving this.
�   Openness - We believe that out of openness and
    honesty comes trust that enables us to achieve change
    that benefits all

                                                          3
Customer demographics – this includes things such             Confidentiality and data protection
as age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, household make         The customer profile information will be saved
up, employment or economic status and health.                 on our computer system. It will be held and used
We can see whether the make up of our customers               in accordance with the requirements of the Data
matches that in the wider community. The information          Protection Act 1998.
will help us see if the homes, estates and services we
provide meet people’s current and future needs. It            We will keep any information we have about you
will help us to check that our services are accessible        secure and confidential and we will not disclose
and whether people’s experience of our services is any        information about you to any other organisations
different as a result of who they are.                        unless we have your express permission, or are
                                                              required to do so by law, by such organisations as:
Customer needs - knowing that a customer needs us
to tailor a service to take account of their culture or       Housing Benefit Department and the Department
belief, or because they are disabled or affected by other     for Work and Pensions
health factors, will help ensure that the customer’s          We will give housing benefit departments information
experience of using a service is as positive as possible.     to process any claim you make.

Customer aspirations – knowing what customers                 Police and any other statutory organisations
would like to do in the future about their housing            We will co-operate with the police to prevent and
options helps us when we are looking at the size of           detect crime.
homes we will be building in the future and whether           Water companies, gas, energy providers and other
they are for rent or provide opportunities for home           registered providers of social or affordable housing
ownership. Knowing which customers want to be                 We will disclose information if your lease states that
involved in how the association is run, be part of            we can or you have expressly consented for us to do so.
the decision-making process or be involved in issues
that affect their estates and neighbourhood, helps            Building societies and banks
us engage and support those customers to make a               We will provide references if you are seeking a
difference to the services provided.                          mortgage or re-mortgage. We are also required to
                                                              advise mortgage lenders when shared-owners are in
Ideas about how we can improve – those who                    arrears with their rent.
experience a service first-hand are the best people to
identify how a service could be improved. The majority        Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have the
of service improvements and changes we have made              right to view any information we hold about you on
in recent times have been as a result of customer             our computer systems. We normally charge a small fee
feedback.                                                     for this service (£10 from January 2010). To view your
                                                              records you must give us three working days notice.
How confidential is the process?                              Please contact Customer Services if you want them to
All personal information provided by you will be held in      arrange this for you.
confidence and only used by Paradigm to develop and
deliver services. Information about customers’ support
needs will be shared with our maintenance engineers
to ensure that we tailor our maintenance service to
meet individual customer’s needs. We will only publish
broad demographic information about the profile of
our whole customer base.
Information about people’s sexual orientation is used
for statistical analysis only and is not available to those
delivering services to customers.



                                                              4
Oxley Gate, Milton Keynes
Who should I contact at Paradigm?
How to contact us                                            Customer Engagement, Community
By phone                                                     Involvement and Customer Services
Customer Services                0300 303 1010               Customer Engagement team
Monday to Friday 8.00am - 7.00pm                             This team is responsible for co-ordinating customer
Out of hours emergencies (via our call handling agent)       feedback
                                      0300 303 1010          Head of Customer Engagement
                                                             Claire Wise                           01628 811855
This number should be used as the point of contact
for general enquiries. Our customer service advisors         Customer Experience Co-ordinator
are able to answer the majority of enquiries received.       Alexa Lamond                          01628 811857
Where they are unable to assist, they will direct your       Community Involvement team
call to a colleague who can.                                 This team is responsible for the management of
                                                             community involvement and the development of
When your enquiry is being handled by a specific             Premier Service
member of staff they will give you details of their direct
telephone number and email address to ensure that            Community Involvement Manager
you are able to contact them again if you need to.           Anthea Watkins                        01628 811860

Email: enquiries@paradigmhousing.co.uk                       Customer Services
                                                             This team acts as the first point of contact for the
By post                                                      majority of customers and provides a reception
If you need to write to us or send us any                    service at our White Hill and Ruislip offices, Monday
documentation our correspondence address and                 to Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm.
registered office is:
1 Glory Park Avenue                                          Customer Services Manager
Wooburn Green                                                Jenny Elliott                         01628 811868
Buckinghamshire                                              Team Leader (Housing)
HP10 0DF                                                     Lucy Russell                          01628 811870
Visit                                                        Team Leader (Repairs)
Paradigm operates a "taking the service to you"              Heather Boxshall                      01628 811873
approach in delivering services. This means that you
are able to make an appointment for a staff member
to visit you at home rather than coming in to an office.     Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
You can also make an appointment to visit our offices        ASB Co-ordinator
in either Chesham or Ruislip:                                Amanda Tattershall                    07720 555652

Chesham                    Ruislip                           ASB Advisor (Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and
1 White Hill               Cromwell House                    Oxfordshire)
Chesham                    43-45 High Street                 Garin Christie                      01494 830842
Buckinghamshire            Ruislip Middlesex                 ASB Operator (Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes,
HP5 1AB                    HA4 7BD                           Bedfordshire)
                                                             Marian Wooller                       01707 283049
                                                             ASB Advisor (London)
                                                             Sarge Bharry                          01895 678022




                                                             6
Asset Management                                         Buying a home, staircasing and re-sales
The Asset Management team is responsible for asset       For information please call our sales team on their
management and environmental policy, overseeing          dedicated line 0845 3374877. Alternatively the
repairs and maintenance, grounds maintenance and         dedicated sales website at www.paradigmliving.co.uk
cleaning contracts.                                      is able to provide up-to-date availability and relevant
                                                         information.
Head of Asset Management
Stuart Bishop                        01628 811755        Sales and Marketing team
                                                         The team manages all shared-ownership, fixed equity
Property Maintenance Manager
                                                         and Right to Buy or Right to Acquire sales
Marilyn Thomas                       01628 811760
                                                         Head of Sales
Asset Officer (Insurance)
                                                         Larry Crook                             01628 811746
Alix Nel                             01628 811758
                                                         Market Sales Manager
Service Contracts Officer
                                                         Louise King                             01628 811745
Rose Heard                           01628 811763
                                                         Home Ownership Officer
Grounds Maintenance Officer
                                                         Hayley Funnell                          01628 811742
Derek Currie                         01628 811764
                                                         Sales Conveyance Administrator
Health and Safety Manager
                                                         Joanna Higgins                          01628 811738
Peter Gannaway                       01628 811761
                                                         Sales Conveyance Administrator
Disabled Facilities Officer
                                                         Caryn Sack                              01628 811740
John Smith                           01628 811765
                                                         Tenants’ Right to Buy Advisor
                                                         Julie Mead                              01628 811739



Finance                                                  Estate management
Service charges
                                                         For general estate management enquiries please
Finance Officer
                                                         contact your local tenancy and neighbourhood
James Eden                           01628 811780
                                                         officer. To find out the contact details of your tenancy
Payments                                                 and neighbourhood officer call Customer Services.
Direct Debit Co-Ordinator
                                                         For repairs and defects call Customer Services on
Linda Gilbert                        01628 811770
                                                         0300 303 1010.
Finance Manager
Linda Harvey                         01628 811782
Income Team Manager
Dean Charteris                       01628 811772




                                                     7
Your lease explained
What does being a leaseholder mean?                            Length of a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
In simple terms, the lease is a contract between the           lease
leaseholder and the landlord or freeholder, which sets         Under the Housing Act 1980 the Right to Buy or Right
out what they have both agreed to do. The wording              to Acquire scheme leases should run for a period of 125
of the lease is usually in legal language and the layout       years from the date the property was sold. Housing
and terms of the lease vary according to the agreement         associations do, however, have the discretion to give
the landlord and leaseholder have.                             leases in a flat block for less than 125 years so that they
                                                               all end on the same date.
Leasehold is simply a long tenancy giving you the right
to occupy and use the property for a period of time.
                                                               Length of a shared-ownership lease
The period of time, or ‘term’ of the lease, will usually       The length of a shared-ownership lease will usually
be for 99 or 125 years, during which time the lease            be 99 years. If you hold a lease of a house and you
can be bought and sold. The term is fixed at its start         eventually buy the remaining shares owned by
and decreases in length year by year. At the eventual          Paradigm, the freehold of the house will be transferred
expiry of the lease the property will revert back to the       to you and you will own the house without a time limit.
landlord or freeholder. Shared-owners and fixed equity
homeowners hold a lease for the property as well as            Extending a lease
traditional leaseholders.                                      Usually, when a lease is coming to an end, it is possible
                                                               to apply to extend the length of time the lease has to
In general, the lease usually relates to everything
                                                               run, although there are a number of conditions that
inside the building, including floorboards and the
                                                               must be met and it will need a solicitor to look at the
plasterwork to walls and ceilings. It does not usually
                                                               conditions and make an application to the landlord.
include the external or structural walls. The structure
                                                               There will be a cost to extending a lease.
of the building and the land it stands on is owned by
the landlord, often referred to as the freeholder, who is
                                                               Rights as a leaseholder
usually responsible for the structural maintenance and
                                                               Every lease will give the right to peaceful occupation
repair of the building.
                                                               of the property for the length of the lease. In addition,
The leaseholder’s responsibilities will usually include        the leaseholder has the right to expect the landlord
payment of the ground rent and contribution to the             or freeholder to maintain and repair the structure
costs of maintaining and managing the building and             and manage the ‘common parts’, i.e. the parts of the
will probably also place certain conditions on the use         building or grounds not specifically granted to the
of the property.                                               leaseholder in the lease but to which there are rights
                                                               of access such as communal areas and the surrounding
The landlord or freeholder will usually be required to
                                                               grounds.
manage and maintain the building, to collect payments
from all the leaseholders and keep the accounts.
                                                               Responsibilities as a leaseholder
Leaseholders are not necessarily entirely free to do           Principally, your responsibilities as a leaseholder will
whatever they want in the property – the lease often           be to keep the flat in good order, to pay on time a
includes conditions, to protect the rights of everyone         share of the costs of maintaining and running the
within the building and the surrounding area.                  building, to behave in an acceptable manner and not
                                                               to do certain things without the landlord’s consent,
When a lease is sold to a new leaseholder, the seller
                                                               for example, make alterations or sub-let. The landlord
transfers (or ‘assigns’) all the rights and responsibilities
                                                               has to make sure that the leaseholder complies with
included in the lease to the purchaser.
                                                               such responsibilities for the good of all the other
                                                               leaseholders. These rights and responsibilities will be
                                                               set out clearly in the lease.




                                                               8
What other rights does a leaseholder have?                     Usually, leaseholders either set up a management
The main legal rights of a leaseholder are:                    company or appoint a managing agent to carry out
                                                               many of the landlord’s functions. To qualify for the
Information                                                    right to manage, the following conditions must be met:
The landlord must provide their name and a contact
address which must be stated on every demand for               �   there must be more than 21 years left on the lease
service charges. Leaseholders can ask for summaries of             if you have a shared-ownership or home-equity
the service charges, details of the insurance cover and
                                                               �
                                                                   lease, then you must own 100% of your lease
have the right to inspect accounts.
                                                               �   there must be at least two flats in the block
Consultation on major work                                         at least three-quarters of the block must be flats
The landlord cannot carry out major work or spend the
                                                               �
sinking fund (see page 12) without first consulting the        �   two-thirds of the flats in the building must be owned
leaseholders.                                                      by qualifying leaseholders

                                                               �   at least half the leaseholders in the block must be
Challenging service charges                                        part of the management company, which is a private
Leaseholders can apply to the Leasehold Valuation                  company run under specific rules
Tribunal (see page 37) if they think that the service
charges are unreasonable.

Buying the freehold
Groups of leaseholders, under certain conditions, can
get together and purchase the freehold of the building,
with the price being agreed or, if this is not possible, set
by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (see page 37).

Right of first refusal
Where the landlord proposes to sell their interest in the
building, they must offer it to the leaseholders first or
they can be prosecuted.

Changing a lease
In flats, some conditions of the lease may be changed
if all the leaseholders in the building agree. This is
known as ‘varying’ the lease. For this to happen, all
leases will need to be varied at the same time. The
freeholder will have to agree to the changes and the
leaseholders will usually have to meet the legal and
administrative costs incurred.

The right to manage your block
The Commonhold and Leaseholder Reform Act 2002
gives leaseholders the right to manage the block they
live in but there are certain conditions that must be
met before this can happen.




                                                           9
Who is responsible
for carrying out repairs?

This section aims to clarify who carries out some of the more common repairs to your property.
Remember that this is just general advice and your lease will give specific details of your repair responsibilities
and your contributions towards the costs of communal repairs.
                                                                                                Us           You
 Plumbing
 Fitting a new washer to the mains stopcock to the block                                        
 Repair burst or leaking water pipe up to and including main stopcock                           
 Repair or replace water storage tank (shared tank)                                             
 Clear blockages or repair leak to main soil stack, rainwater pipes and gutters                 
 Fitting a new washer to the mains stopcock inside your flat                                                 
 Repair burst or leaking water pipe beyond the stopcock                                                      
 Repair or replace water storage tank (individual tank to your flat)                                         
 Repair or replace the bath, basin, sink, taps or toilet                                                     
 Repair to a leaking waste pipe or trap fittings                                                             
 Electrical
 In your flat
       Repair or replace the distribution board including the incoming mains supply             
       Replacing and repairing fittings                                                                      
       Repairing individual doorbells                                                                        
 In shared or communal areas
       Rewiring                                                                                 
       Replacing and repairing fittings                                                         
       Repairing the shared door-entry systems including the equipment inside flats             
 Heating
 Heating and hot water appliances
       Shared system                                                                            
       Individual system                                                                                     
       Flue liner                                                                                            
       Annual servicing of the boiler in a flat or house                                                     
 Carpentry
 Flooring in shared or communal areas                                                           
       Joist and wall plates                                                                    
       Floor boards                                                                             
       Floor tiles                                                                              


                                                                  10
                                                          Us   You
     Concrete floor slab                                  
     Concrete floor screed                                
Flooring inside the flat
     Joist and wall plates                                
     Concrete floor slab                                  
     Floor boards                                              
     Concrete floor screed                                     
     Floor tiles                                               
     Skirting boards                                           
Roof structure and covering                               
Staircase repair
     Shared or communal areas                             
     Inside flat                                               
Window frames in shared or communal areas
     Frame                                                
     Sashes                                               
     Fixtures and fittings                                
     Cords and weights                                    
     Putty                                                
Glazing
     Windows in shared areas                              
     Windows to flat (including replacement putty)             
Flat entrance doors
     Frame                                                     
     Door                                                      
     Fixtures, fittings and locks                              
Doors inside the flat
     Frame and lining                                          
     Door                                                      
     Fixtures, fittings and locks                              
Doors in shared or communal areas
     Frame and lining                                     
     Door                                                 
     Fixtures, fittings and locks                         
Forced entry to flat
     Break-ins through the door                                
     Break-ins through window (damage to frame)                
     Break-ins through window (glazing only)                   
     Repairs to fitted units and cupboards in the flat         


                                                     11
Major work
What is major work?                                            �    let you know early enough in the process to give you
Where Paradigm owns a building or estate as a                       an opportunity to nominate a contractor – if you do
whole, we are responsible for carrying out its upkeep,              so we must invite them to give us an estimate for
maintenance, repair, and improvement. Homeowners                    the work when we go out to tender
will usually be responsible for paying a share of the costs.
                                                               We previously sought tenders for each project of work
We carry out regular maintenance to all properties             on an annual basis but we now procure work using a
but every building needs major work during its life.           ‘partnering’ approach, favoured by the Government.
This can include renewing important parts of the
                                                               Any money you might have paid into the sinking fund
building such as the roof, installing new facilities such
                                                               is not repayable when the flat is sold but is taken into
as door-entry systems or making improvements to
                                                               consideration by the valuer when assessing the value
buildings and estates to reach modern standards. We
                                                               of your home. Not all of our blocks or schemes have
also use the term ‘major work’ to include decorations
                                                               sinking funds. We are able to introduce these funds
and associated repairs which we do on a cyclical basis
                                                               only where the lease allows.
(or every few years). On most schemes, homeowners
must contribute to a sinking fund (also called a reserve
                                                               Consultation on major work needing
fund) that covers the costs of cyclical work. If this is
                                                               estimates
insufficient to meet the costs, homeowners will be
                                                               If we need to choose a contractor by asking different
liable to contribute to the additional cost.
                                                               firms to return estimates of their costs, we must first
Right to Buy homeowners are advised, when they                 send you a ‘notice of intention’.
purchase their homes, of any anticipated major work to
                                                               The notice will describe the work we are planning to
the property required over the following five years and
                                                               do, or say where you can see a description of the work.
are given estimated costs before they decide to buy.
                                                               It will explain why the work is needed and will allow 30
                                                               days for written comments. If you want, you can name
Sinking funds for major work
                                                               a contractor who you think we should ask to provide
A sinking fund is money we set aside from the service
                                                               an estimate.
charge to help pay for major work we may need to do
to maintain the estate or building.                            We must take account of any comments and must
                                                               try to get an estimate from one or, in some cases, two
Most leases allow the landlord to ensure that enough
                                                               contractors suggested by leaseholders.
money is available for future major work, such as
external decorations or lift replacement. The advantage        We will then send you a Section 20 notice, setting out
of a sinking fund is that it protects residents from high,     the estimated cost from at least two of the estimates.
one-off maintenance costs.                                     This letter will include a summary of the comments we
                                                               received and our responses to them. All the estimates
These funds are able to attract interest which is used
                                                               will be available to see. We will invite you to send us
towards the cost of the major work.
                                                               written comments on the estimates within 30 days
We have to consult homeowners under Section 20 of              and we must take account of these written comments.
the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by The
                                                               We will then award the contract. Within 21 days
Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 Section
                                                               we will write to you again to let you know who will
151) when we spend this money and we will:
                                                               be doing the work and why we have chosen the
�   give you details of work that is likely to cost more       contractor. We will also let you know about any
    than £250 for any leaseholder in the block                 comments we have received and what our response
                                                               is to them. We do not have to write to you again
�   let you know before we enter into any long-term
                                                               if the chosen contractor has been suggested by a
    contract (over 12 months) which is likely to cost any
                                                               leaseholder, or has sent in the lowest estimate.
    leaseholder over £100



                                                               12
Consultation on major work under                               work, in consultation with homeowners who have
long-term agreements                                           contributed to the fund.
If we need to carry out work under a long-term                 If there is not enough money in the sinking fund, you
agreement we have entered into with a contractor, we           may have to make a contribution towards the cost of
must consult you in a different way than if we must            the work. In some instances, you may be able to get an
consider estimates.                                            improvement loan from your mortgage lender.
A long-term agreement is a contract lasting for more           We can help in exceptional circumstances by placing
than 12 months where a contractor has signed up to             a ‘charge’ on the property, whereby we must be
carry out, for example, all our responsive repairs work.       informed if the ownership changes. Upon the sale
If the cost of the work is to be more than £250 to any         of the property, the debt to us, including the costs
one leaseholder in your building, we must first send all       incurred in arranging the charge and the interest,
leaseholders a ‘notice of intention’.                          would have to be paid. If you have difficulty paying
The notice will describe the work, or let you know             for your share of the work, please contact us to make
where you can see a description of it. It will explain         arrangements as soon as possible.
why the work is needed and estimate the total cost.
It will allow 30 days for written comments, which we           The Housing (Service Charge Loans)
must take account of. We will reply to all letters.            Regulations 1992
                                                               These regulations say that, provided certain conditions
Cost of work                                                   are met, some leaseholders have the right to request a
You will be consulted regarding the nature and                 loan from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)
estimated cost of any maintenance and improvement              towards the cost of service charges for major repairs.
work before it starts.                                         The conditions include:
Work such as external redecoration, is likely to cost a            the leasehold of the property was purchased under
few hundred pounds but major work, e.g. re-roofing,
                                                               �
                                                                   the Right to Buy legislation (not the preserved
can cost several thousand pounds. You should make                  Right to Buy) (if the landlord sold the leasehold to
the necessary financial provision to meet these costs.             the leaseholder voluntarily, the leaseholder is not
You will need to pay VAT and we charge an                          entitled to a loan)
administration fee as follows:                                     the leasehold was purchased less than ten years
          cost of work          admin charge
                                                               �
                                                                   before the date of the invoice for service charges
          up to £250               = £10
          £251 to £1,500           = £25                       �   the amounts charged for service charges in respect
          £1,501 or more           = £50                           of major repairs and routine service charges are
We will send you a bill on completion of the work.                 within the requirements for a loan
Payment in full within 28 days is required. We                 The leaseholder must apply in writing to:
recognise that some people can experience financial
difficulties in meeting these costs and in these               Finance Section
cases we may agree to a settlement via instalment              Homes and Communities Agency
payments. Repayment periods cannot exceed two                  149 Tottenham Court Road
years. Interest is not charged on outstanding sums if          London
payment is made within this period.                            W1T 7BN
                                                               within six weeks of the date of the invoice. If all of
Paying for work                                                the above conditions are met, the HCA can offer the
The most likely major work that we will carry out are          leaseholder a loan on specific terms.
cyclical maintenance. If there is enough money in the
sinking fund, we will use this money to pay for the



                                                          13
Newly built homes
If you have recently moved into a newly built property,      as a non-urgent defect and at the end of the 12-month
you should have received a Welcome to your New               period, we will arrange to meet you at the property to
Home handbook, produced by Paradigm and the                  discuss the items and confirm which defects are the
builder. The handbook contains a range of information        builder’s responsibilities.
about living in a new property. If you have not received
                                                             You may be asked to confirm your acknowledgement
your handbook please contact Customer Services.
                                                             of all identified defects by signing a final list. Do not
                                                             sign if all the defects are not listed as they can only
What are defects?
                                                             be dealt with under the defects period if they meet
A defect is a problem with the property caused by
                                                             certain criteria. If you have not been contacted by us
faulty workmanship or materials.
                                                             to arrange a defect inspection when the 12-month
Examples of defects                                          period has expired please contact Customer Services
� plasterwork cracks more than 5mm wide                      on 0300 303 1010.

�   damaged or lifting ceramic tiling, bathroom tiling or    If you have any defects that need immediate attention,
    grouting                                                 for instance your front door won’t shut, you should
                                                             contact us immediately on 0300 303 1010.
�   architraves and skirting board shrinkage
                                                             Paradigm will raise and monitor the progress of defect
�   external brickwork cracking
                                                             issues with the builder during the defects liability
�   brickwork not fully pointed                              period because the builders have a contract with us
                                                             to remedy the defects, but in most cases it is not
�   loft insulation not laid correctly
                                                             Paradigm who carries out any work.
�   extractor fans venting into roof and ceiling voids
                                                             NHBC or extended warrantees
�   pipes not lagged in roof void areas
                                                             Most newly built homes also benefit from the National
�   broken or badly fitting roof tiles                       House-Building Council (NHBC) warranty or may
                                                             occasionally have a similar insurance policy in place
�   defective or cracked glazing
                                                             of the NHBC warranty. The NHBC is the standard
Examples of non-defects                                      setting body and leading warranty and insurance
� plasterwork cracks less than 5mm wide                      provider for new homes in the UK, and provides defect
                                                             clarification services to the house-building and the
�   condensation caused by lifestyle
                                                             wider construction industry.
�   damage caused to floors, walls, windows and work
                                                             The NHBC cover can be up to 12 years from the
    surfaces by residents or visitors
                                                             date the property is transferred from the builder to
�   loose light switches                                     Paradigm. Insurance cover can be any number of
                                                             individual years subject to the particular policy.
�   air in radiators
                                                             The warranty is broken down into sections and each
�   topping up boiler pressure
                                                             section has its own period of insurance.
�   central heating programming
                                                             Your solicitor should supply you with a copy of the
�   re-hanging doors after carpets have been fitted          NHBC or insurance certificate and documentation for
                                                             your home and a copy will be sent to your mortgage
The builder will normally resolve defects and
                                                             lender. We will also hold one with the deeds or title
problems that appear in the first 12 months after the
                                                             documents. This is an important document and we
construction of the building has been completed. This
                                                             would suggest that you keep it in a safe place.
is known as the ‘defects liability period’. During this
period you should keep a list of any items you regard




                                                            14
The warranty does not cover maintenance and
routine repairs to your home and does not cover the
provision of additional or extended features such as
conservatories or extensions, beyond the original
design. You will need to arrange and pay for these
under a separate policy.
The NHBC booklet is a practical guide to looking after
your new home. For tenants of housing associations
it will have been provided in your Welcome to your
New Home pack. It provides a useful reference on
how your home is built, general guidance on its care
and protection advice on what you can do yourself,
and when you should call for assistance.

How to make a claim through the NHBC
Paradigm will help you with making a claim or
approaching the builder. If the claim needs to be passed
onto the NHBC you can directly contact the NHBC
Claims Line on 0870 241 4329 or fax 0870 241 4330.
Alternatively you can write to:
NHBC Claims
NHBC House
Davy Avenue
Knowlhill
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
MK5 8FP

You can also use the NHBC online claims service at
www.nhbc.co.uk
NHBC might ask you to pay a fee or provide further
information before investigating your claim. The costs
incurred may be refunded if your claim is valid.
Please contact Customer Services If you need advice
on making a claim through the NHBC.




                                                         15
Broughton Manor,
Milton Keynes




              15
Living in your home
Alterations to your home                                       Before we will consider a request to sub-let we will
If you want to carry out alterations or improvements           require:
to your home, you must get our permission before any               a copy of the assured shorthold tenancy agreement
work is started. This is a requirement of your lease. We
                                                               �
                                                                   you propose to use
will not unreasonably withhold permission but we may
need to carry out inspections or investigate further           �   a letter from your mortgage company giving you
before we can make a final decision and we may make                permission to sub-let
a charge to recover our costs incurred in handling your            the details of your letting agent, if you have one
request.
                                                               �
                                                               �   payment of the charge made for handling the
Details of our charges are available by contacting                 request
Customer Services on 0300 303 1010 or by emailing
enquiries@paradigmhousing.co.uk. For a full list of            If you have already sub-let your property we need a
charges please see page 23.                                    contact address for you and your sub-tenant if you
                                                               are not resident, for use in case of emergencies or
For some work, such as extensions and alterations to           problems caused by defects within the flat (e.g. cistern
the property, you may need to obtain other approval            overflows) or by the behaviour of residents. Please
such as planning permission or building regulations            provide this information to Customer Services.
approval in addition to our permission. You will need
to speak to your local council for further advice.             Renting out your home
                                                               If your property was originally sold under the Right
Sub-letting                                                    to Buy or Right to Acquire scheme, you can rent it out
Your lease will say whether you are allowed to sub-let         without needing to ask for our permission. However,
your home. If you have bought under the shared-                you must give us formal notice that you have rented
ownership or home equity schemes sub-letting is not            out your property and details of the tenants. We would
usually permitted.                                             strongly recommend that you ask your tenants to sign
If your lease allows you to sub-let you must first get         a deed of covenant requiring them to abide by the
written permission from Paradigm. A fee may be                 terms of the lease in the same way as you have to. Your
payable to deal with the request (check our website or         solicitor can advise you about this. Remember to also
contact our Customer Services for more information).           inform us of your correspondence address, or contact
If you sub-let your home without our written permission        details for the managing agent. This is so that we can
you are breaking the conditions of your lease.                 make sure that you receive invoices, Section 20 notices
                                                               or other information you need to have.
If you have a mortgage, you need to check with your
mortgage company whether they will allow you to                Remember, whatever the terms of your agreement
sub-let. You will need their written consent before            with your tenant(s), you are still the leaseholder and so
you sub-let. You should also check that your home              legally responsible for all charges being paid, and the
contents insurance will still be valid.                        terms of the lease being adhered to. Many mortgage
                                                               terms do not allow properties to be rented out without
Your sub-tenant must sign an assured shorthold                 changes to the mortgage. We would recommend that
tenancy agreement, which lasts for at least six months.        you consult your lender and mortgage terms before
The tenancy agreement needs to contain the same                renting out your home.
terms and conditions as those included in your lease,
for example, maintaining the property in good order,           Keeping pets
not causing nuisance.                                          Some leases prohibit keeping pets. Your individual
You are responsible for the actions and behaviour              lease will tell you whether you are allowed to keep a
of your sub-tenants. If your sub-tenant breaks the             pet in your home.
conditions of your lease, you will be held responsible.



                                                          17
If you are allowed to keep pets, you must ensure             Aids and adaptations
they do not cause a nuisance to other people. Do not         Our disabled facilities officer can help with advice
allow them to cause damage to or foul in communal            about how to access assistance with aids and
areas. The law requires you to identify your dog by a        adaptations. This may be via the local occupational
collar and tag, even if it is micro-chipped or has other     therapist, through disabled facilities grants from the
permanent identification.                                    local council, or help for other statutory or voluntary
                                                             agencies. Paradigm does not undertake adaptations
Parking on your estate                                       to shared-ownership, leasehold or fixed equity homes.
Untaxed and uninsured vehicles should not be parked
on Paradigm land. Carrying out major repairs on your         Door-entry systems
vehicle whilst it is parked in a residential area can also   Many flat blocks are fitted with door-entry systems.
be a nuisance to other residents and road-users.             These are a design feature to ensure the security of
If you are concerned about parking on your estate in         your home. Please do not let anyone into the block
any way please bring this to our attention as soon as        that you don’t know and make sure the door is always
possible so that we can prevent it from becoming a           closed behind you. Propping or wedging the door
problem. You can contact Customer Services or your           open is both a security and a fire risk. If the door-entry
tenancy and neighbourhood officer (see pages 6-7             system is not working please report it promptly to
for contact details).                                        Customer Services.

Parking a vehicle where it causes an obstruction or          Estate inspections
on the grass where there is no hard surface will be          We believe that the quality of the area you live in is
inconvenient to your neighbours and could cause              important. The way an estate is managed directly
damage. More importantly this could also delay the           affects the quality of life and environment enjoyed by
emergency services and put lives at risk. Please show        its residents.
consideration when you park your vehicle.
                                                             We want our estates to be safe, clean and tidy. We
Paradigm has garages for rent in the Chiltern district       want you to be proud of your home and the area in
area. Contact Customer Services for more information         which you live.
about vacancies and rents charged.
                                                             Our tenancy and neighbourhood officers regularly visit
Abandoned vehicles                                           our estates to ensure that they are being maintained.
Contact Customer Services if you need to report an           We also have a regular programme of estate inspections
abandoned vehicle. We will need details of the make,         which cover all aspects of communal repairs, estate
colour, registration number, and whether it is taxed.        management, grounds maintenance and cleaning.
                                                             Residents are invited to attend estate inspections,
Friends and visitors                                         giving you the opportunity to walk around your estate
Everyone has a responsibility to ensure that all those       with tenancy and neighbourhood officers, highlighting
who live in or visit their home take care of the property    concerns or advising them about changes you would
and do not cause disturbance to other residents.             like to see in the area.
Deliberate damage to properties and continued
disturbance may be a breach of lease and tenancy             Details of the dates when estate inspections are due
conditions.                                                  are published on our website. Details are also displayed
                                                             in the communal entrance-ways of flat blocks.
If you witness acts of deliberate damage or
disturbance, you should report them to the police            New residents will be provided with details of when
and Customer Services.                                       inspections are taking place when they move into their
                                                             home. Alternatively you can contact Customer Services
                                                             for more information.



                                                             18
If attending a scheduled estate inspection is not                  �   smoke and fumes can also kill. If there is a lot of
convenient for you, you can contact your tenancy and                   smoke, get down as near to the floor as possible
neighbourhood officer and arrange to walk the area at                  where the air will be cleaner
a mutually convenient time.
                                                                   �   make yourself aware of the escape plan
Fire safety
Paradigm has to comply with the requirements
                                                                   Remember
                                                                   Communal staircases, corridors and balconies should
of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
                                                                   be kept clear of all combustible material, i.e. prams and
2005, as a freeholder and manager of residential
                                                                   bicycles.
accommodation. This means we have to undertake
regular fire risk assessments of blocks of flats and have          Domestic waste, i.e. rubbish, should be removed to the
a fire management plan in place. The assessments                   appropriate refuse area immediately and not stored in
and management plans are the responsibility of the                 communal areas.
tenancy and neighbourhood officer. Specialist support
is provided by our health and safety manager.
We provide guidance on fire safety when people move
into flats and information is also displayed in the
communal entrance-ways of flats
If you live in a flat block and want to know more about
the fire risk assessment or fire management plan please
contact your tenancy and neighbourhood officer or
Customer Services.

Fire and emergency procedure
If a fire breaks out in your home, follow this safety advice:

�   flats and maisonettes are built to give you some
    protection from fire. Walls, floors and doors will hold
    back flames and smoke for a time. If there is a fire
    elsewhere in the building you're usually safer staying
    in your flat unless heat or smoke is affecting you

�   if there is a fire in your flat, leave the building closing
    the door to your flat behind you

�   don't rush, keep calm and get everyone out as
    quickly as possible. Don't stop to pick up valuables.
    If your escape is blocked by fire it may be safer to
    stay put until the fire brigade arrives. Close the door
    and use towels or sheets to block any gaps to stop
    the smoke. Go to a window, call for help and wait
    to be rescued

�   if you live in a building with a lift, do not use it if
    there is a fire, use the stairs instead

�   call 999 from any phone. Give them the address
    including the number of your flat, and tell them
    which floor the fire is on


                                                              19
Willow Grange, Watford




               19
The services you pay for
Services charges                                             If we collected more service charges than the services
Service charges cover your share of the cost of              cost during the year, the current year charges are
maintaining the building you live in. Most leaseholders      not adjusted but amended in the following year. For
living in blocks of flats or on estates of houses pay        example, over recovery for the financial year ending
service charges as it is a manageable way to share the       March 2009 will be refunded in charges calculated for
costs of looking after the building and surrounding area.    the year commencing 1 April 2011. If we collected less
                                                             than we spent we currently make up the difference.
Service charges cover things like repairs, cleaning and
the provision of shared amenities such as communal           Main items included in your services
gardens. They sometimes cover buildings insurance as         charges
well but you may pay this separately. You will normally          estate repairs - repair and maintenance of the
                                                             �
have to pay a share of everything even if you don't use          shared areas of the estate
some of the services, i.e. even if you live on the ground
floor and never use the lift, you will probably still have   �   estate cleaning - cleaning the shared areas of the
to pay something towards its maintenance.                        estate

If you are not sure what your service charges cover you      �   estate lighting - costs of electricity, repair and
should check your lease. It should say clearly:                  maintenance for lighting estate roads, footpaths and
                                                                 grounds
�   what services you have to pay for and when
                                                             �   grounds maintenance - maintenance of shared
�   how your landlord can collect the charges                    grassed and planted areas on the estate
�   how service charges are calculated                           building repairs - repair and maintenance of the
                                                             �
    how they are divided between you and any other               shared areas of the building
�
    residents                                                    building electricity - costs of electricity, repair and
                                                             �
    whether there is a sinking fund                              maintenance for lighting the shared areas of the
�
                                                                 building. Where applicable, this also includes the
The amounts you pay can vary from one year to the                cost of energy
next and are called ‘variable’ service charges. If you
bought your home through the Right to Buy or Right to        �   building cleaning - cleaning the shared areas of the
Acquire schemes, you can't be charged more than the              building
estimate of service charges you were given when you              communal heating and hot water maintenance -
                                                             �
bought your home (plus inflation).                               repair and maintenance of any shared heating and
                                                                 hot water system
How we calculate and tell you about your
service charges                                              �   communal door-entry maintenance - to cover for
We calculate your share by dividing the costs of the             planned maintenance, servicing and reactive or
services equally between the number of properties that           responsive work
receive the service.                                             administration fee - to cover the cost of calculating,
                                                             �
The service charge invoice you receive in April each year        issuing and collecting service charges
is an estimate based on the actual costs incurred in the         management charge - the staffing cost for your
                                                             �
previous year.                                                   neighbourhood staff and the services that are
In September we issue a statement which shows the                delivered to your block or estate
actual costs and the money we have collected for the
service charge for the year up to 31 March.




                                                        21
�   ground rent - annual fee for use of the land on which    Building insurance
    a property is built                                      The lease will require the landlord to take out adequate
    building insurance premium - insurance cover for         insurance for the building and the communal areas
�                                                            and will give the right to recover the cost through the
    damage caused by fire, lightning, explosion, storm,
    impact, etc. to the building                             service charges. This insurance policy will not cover the
                                                             contents of your house or flat and you should take out
Queries about the services provided                          your own home contents insurance.
You have a right to query any service charges you think
are unreasonable.                                            Fees charged by a management company
                                                             When Paradigm is not the owner or ‘freeholder’ of a
If you think that the services provided to your building     building or land, the freeholder can appoint its own
or estate are not being done as they should be or            management company to carry out the services.
are unreasonable or unnecessary, please contact              This company is then responsible for insuring and
the tenancy and neighbourhood officer. If you are            maintaining the building and the management of the
unhappy with our response you may seek further               block and estate.
advice from your solicitor, local Citizens Advice or
the Leasehold Advisory Service. In addition, you may         The management company takes instruction from
apply to the Residential Property Tribunal Service who       the landlord, but should always be aware of the
are independent and have the power to determine all          leaseholders’ wishes and requirements.
matters relating to leasehold service charges.               The company will receive a fee, which will usually be
                                                             paid by leaseholders as part of the service charges. This
Paying the ground rent                                       may be based on a specified percentage of the day-to-
All leaseholders have to pay ground rent as one of the       day service charges, or a fixed annual fee.
conditions of their lease. There are usually terms in the
lease about how it is paid, when it can be increased and     The annual service charge statement and invoice will
what could happen if you don’t pay.                          show where there is a management company providing
                                                             the services and what the cost of these services are.
You are not liable to pay the ground rent unless it has
been formally requested by the landlord. The invoice         The charges for services provided by the management
will normally be delivered to you at the address of          company are then passed on to you by Paradigm.
the house or flat, unless you have already asked the         If you have any problems with the service that the
freeholder to send it to an alternative address.             management company is delivering you should contact
The demand will include:                                     your tenancy and neighbourhood officer who will be
                                                             able to talk to them.
�   your name
    the period that the invoice covers                       What happens if a leaseholder doesn’t pay?
�                                                            Under the terms of the lease, it is the leaseholder’s
�   how much you have to pay                                 obligation to pay the charges promptly. As long as
    the name and address of the freeholder or if there       the landlord is able to show that the charges are
�                                                            reasonable, then they will be able to take proceedings
    is a managing agent
                                                             to recover unpaid charges through the county court.
�   the date on which ground rent is due
The invoice must be sent with information which
informs you of your rights and responsibilities and
should be paid at least 30 days and no more than 60
days after you receive the request.




                                                            22
Paradigm’s one-off fees and charges for                    Forfeiture and possession
homeowners                                                 The final sanction for a breach of a lease due to the
                                                           failure to pay the service charges, ground rent or
Legal fees                                                 administration charges is for a landlord or freeholder
                                                           to take steps to forfeit the lease and to repossess the
Re-assignments                         £250 + VAT          house or flat. This is a legal right, but it is not possible
                                                           to obtain possession without a court order. The process
Staircase out and sell 100% on the     £240 + VAT          is usually started by the service of a notice that you
open market                                                are in breach of your lease under Section 146 of the
                                                           Law of Property Act 1925. If you receive such a notice,
Further and final shares               £240 + VAT
                                                           you should seek independent legal advice immediately.
Engrossing costs                       £70 + VAT
                                                           How to pay charges
Transfer of equity                     £250 + VAT          There are several methods of paying your rent, service
                                                           charge and other charges:
Notice of change                       £70 + VAT
                                                           By direct debit
Re-mortgaging administration fee       £60 + VAT           Direct debit is the most cost effective and efficient
                                                           method of payment and it is a requirement of most
Valuation fees                                             leases that rent and service charges are paid this
                                                           way. You will need to fill out a direct debit mandate,
Initial                                £140 + VAT
                                                           available from Customer Services, with your bank
Re-evaluation                          Variable            details and return it to us. We will then work out your
                                                           monthly instalments and payments will be taken
District evaluation staircasing        £210 + VAT          from your account every month.
re-valuation (PHG pay half)
                                                           By standing order
Copy of lease                          £25                 You can set up a standing order at your bank. Our bank
                                                           details are:
Miscellaneous fees                                         Barclays Account Number: 00259802
                                                           Sort Code: 20-02-06
Sub-letting consent fee                £70
                                                           By debit or credit card
Notice of transfer                     £70                 You can pay using a debit or credit card online over
                                                           the phone on 0300 303 1010 or in person at Paradigm
Home improvements and alterations      £70                 offices in Chesham or Ruislip.
consent fee
                                                           By cash or cheque at any post office
Request to see information under       £10                 Shared-owners will need to take their rent card with
Data Protection Act                                        them when visiting the post office.

The above charges are accurate as at April 2010.           By post (cash should not be sent by post)
Charges may vary and are subject to regular review.        Please send cheques with your tenancy address and
                                                           number to:
                                                           Paradigm Housing Group
                                                           1 Glory Park Avenue
                                                           Wooburn Green
                                                           Buckinghamshire HP10 0DF



                                                      23
St Martin’s Court, Ruislip
General information
Types of shared-ownership schemes                                 you are purchasing is worth. This clause also protects
Paradigm currently operates two forms of                          Paradigm’s rental payments if you fail to pay your rent
homeownership.                                                    regularly. If you do fail to pay your rent, we will write
                                                                  to your bank or building society and on most
Traditional shared-ownership enables buyers to acquire            occasions, they will pay the outstanding amount
a 99-year lease by purchasing a proportion of the                 owing to us. However, the lender will add this to your
property usually by obtaining a mortgage in the usual             mortgage and probably charge you a fee for doing this,
way. Rent is payable to the housing association for               as well as interest.
the remaining share and is calculated to allow for
repairs and maintenance of the property being the                 Your rent
responsibility of the shared-owner.                               If you hold a shared-ownership lease, you will pay rent
Fixed equity is a low-cost homeownership scheme                   on the share of the property that you do not own.
giving you the opportunity to buy a leasehold share of            We set your rent when you first buy your home.
a new home. You buy a fixed proportion in the property            This rent will not always be the same as that for
and Paradigm owns the remaining share. You do not                 neighbouring or similar properties even if the share
pay any rent but you will not be able to buy further              you own is the same as your neighbour’s. The initial
shares which mean that you are not able to increase               rent level is set at the time of the sale and is as shown
your share of ownership beyond your initial share.                in the lease.

Re-mortgaging or further advances                                 The rent will be reviewed and will usually increase by
If you want to re-mortgage or borrow more to improve              the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 0.5% each April. In
your property you must first get our written agreement,           some older leases there is a different formula. Some
and we must also approve the amount and the mortgage              leases dating from the 1980s provide for rent increases
lender. There will be a charge for our administration             every two years.
costs for granting the relevant consents. For a list of           If you buy extra shares in your home, the amount of
administration charges contact Customer Services, go to           rent you pay will go down to reflect the share you own.
our website or see page 23 for further information.               If you buy your home outright, you will no longer pay
We will usually give consent and approval if we are               rent but in some cases you may still pay ground rent
satisfied that the risk to us is limited; in other words,         (leaseholders only).
that your equity share is enough to meet all the                  If you bought your home before the 15 January 1989,
secured borrowings.                                               or purchased a resale shared-ownership property with
If you change the type of mortgage you have with your             the lease dated prior to the 15 January 1989, the rent
existing mortgage lender, for example a change from a             you will pay will be a “fair rent” fixed by the independent
variable to a fixed rate of interest, but the loan amount         Rent Officer Service. The rent officer will take into
stays the same, you will not need our permission.                 account the size, age, character, locality and the
                                                                  percentage purchased.
If you are seeking to borrow more money to buy a
bigger share of your property, we will consider this as           On older leases the rent is reviewed every two years
part of the staircasing process.                                  and fixed by the rent officer. You have 28 days to
                                                                  appeal in writing to the Rent Assessment Committee
Mortgage protection clause                                        if you think that the rent is not set correctly. The
This is a clause that is included in all leases to protect        committee will hear your case and decide whether to
the building society or bank in case you default on               accept the rent fixed by the rent officer or to fix a lower
your mortgage. In extreme cases, the lender will                  or higher rent. Thereafter, both parties must accept the
repossess the property and will want to ensure that               rent fixed by the Rent Assessment Committee and this
it gets its money back on the sale. Therefore you will            is the maximum rent that can be charged for the next
not be allowed to borrow more money than the share                two years.


                                                             25
For properties purchased after January 1989 the rent         �   working with the mortgage provider
will increase with the Retail Price Index and under the
terms of the lease. Once the rent is set we will write to    �    court action
you giving at least four weeks notice before you have            - money judgment order from the small claims
to start paying the new amount.                                     court
                                                                 - money judgment order and suspended possession
How we use the rent you pay                                         order under Ground 10 or 11 of the Housing Act
Most of the rent you pay will go towards repaying our               1988
loans which we use to fund the development of new                - mandatory possession under Ground 8 of the
homes. We also use income from rents received and                   Housing Act 1988
property shares sold to pay for services we provide          �   repossession or forfeiture
and to maintain existing homes and estates. Paradigm
is a not-for-profit organisation and any surplus is put      Problems with paying your bills
back into the business to build more homes or improve        Most of us have difficulty with bills at some time. Often
services.                                                    the problem is temporary, such as loss of overtime
                                                             or an unexpected expense. Occasionally the problem
Arrears                                                      is longer term, such as loss of a job or long-term
Your lease requires you to pay rent and service charges      illness. If the problem is short-term, please tell us the
monthly by direct debit on the first day of the month.       circumstances and when you will be able to pay. Be
It also says that if you delay payments we can charge        realistic when you make promises to pay later.
interest on the amount due until it is paid. When you
                                                             If the problem is likely to be longer term, there are
buy your home you must set up a direct debit so that
                                                             several things you can do:
we collect the money from your bank account for the
right amount and on the right date.                          �   check you are claiming all the benefits you are
                                                                 entitled to. Usually you can’t backdate claims, so
If you are having difficulty paying for any reason,
                                                                 don’t delay claiming
please contact us without delay. We will offer advice
to help you claim any benefits you may be entitled           �   give priority to essential costs such as mortgage,
to, and we can refer you to other agencies that may              rent, service charges, council tax and food. Reduce
be able to help, for example debt counselling. Contact           spending on non-essential items. We can refer you
Customer Services for copies of our shared-ownership             to a debt counselling service to help you plan your
rent arrears leaflet and for further details of how we           budget and negotiate with people you owe money
can help you.                                                    to. If you fail to make the required payments and do
                                                                 not contact us, we will take legal action to recover
Our approach to recovery of rent from                            the money owed to us. If you fail to pay, you are in
shared-owners                                                    breach of your lease and you could lose your home
We recognise that shared-owners are part-owner
and part-tenant of their property and may be on              You can get a copy of our full rent recovery policy from
a low income or have suffered a change in their              our website or by contacting Customer Services. If you
circumstances. It is not in our interest to dispossess       are having difficulty paying your rent or service charge,
them of their home but it does require us to balance         please contact us without delay.
the need to collect income and help shared-owners to
keep their home.
                                                             Buying extra shares - “Staircasing”
                                                             If you have bought your home through a shared-
Our approach is based on an escalation process of:           ownership scheme, you can buy further shares until
    prevention                                               you own 100% of the property unless otherwise stated
�                                                            in your lease. This is known as “staircasing”. You are not
�   early action                                             obliged to buy more shares, but the more you own, the
    clear arrangements for repayment of arrears              less rent you pay.
�
                                                            26
You may be restricted on the number of times you can            If you would like any further information contact
staircase, and you should check your lease to clarify           our Sales team on 0845 337 4877 or email:
this. The minimum share you can purchase is set out             sales@paradigmliving.co.uk
in your lease - it is usually 15%, except for the final
share, which may be less, in order for you to staircase         Owning your home outright
to 100% ownership.                                              If you purchase the freehold of your home outright,
                                                                you will no longer have to pay Paradigm any rent or in
Remember that you cannot staircase if you have any
                                                                some instances, service charges, although remember if
service charge or rent arrears.
                                                                you have purchased a flat you will still be a leaseholder
                                                                and have to pay your service charge, management
How to staircase
                                                                charges and ground rent.
The first step is to notify Paradigm in writing that you
wish to buy a further share of your home. The next              If you own a house, the freehold can be transferred
stage is to determine the current value of your home.           to you once you have staircased to 100% unless
                                                                otherwise stated in your lease. You will need to serve
This must be done by an independent valuer (under
                                                                notice to Paradigm requesting this. There is no charge
the terms of your lease an estate agent's valuation
                                                                for the transfer, but you will have to pay your legal
is not sufficient). The valuer will be instructed by
                                                                costs. Once you own the freehold you will no longer
Paradigm and the cost will be charged to you. A list
                                                                have to pay buildings insurance to Paradigm but you
of fees is obtainable from Customer Services, available
                                                                must arrange insurance cover yourself. You may still
on our website, or see page 23.
                                                                have to pay a service charge to Paradigm if you live
If you have made improvements that have added to                on an estate and are responsible for some of the
the value of your home (not all improvements do so)             communal costs.
this increase in value will not be added to the price of
                                                                Remember that in some leases it states that if you sell
the additional share.
                                                                your property within three months of final staircasing
The valuation is valid for three months. If you don’t           you may have to pay us a proportion of any profit
complete the purchase of the extra share within this            made, although after this period you are free to sell
time, the property will have to be re-valued. If the            your home on the open market.
valuation has risen, you will have to pay more for the
                                                                In some circumstances should you sell your home, your
share you are buying and may have to pay for a further
                                                                lease may give us the right of first refusal for the first
valuation.
                                                                21 years after final staircasing.
If you are increasing your mortgage in order to
staircase you will need to contact your lender direct.          Selling your home
You may wish to move to a new lender, perhaps to get            The rules for selling your home are set out in your
a better interest rate. You will also need to instruct a        lease. There are some variations in the terms of leases,
solicitor. Paradigm can provide a list of independent           so this section is only a general guide.
financial advisers with knowledge of shared-ownership.
                                                                If you are a leaseholder you can sell your property,
As well as the actual cost of the additional share, you         usually known as assignment of the lease at any time,
will need to cover the costs of the valuation, legal fees,      but there are a number of things you must be aware of
mortgage arrangement fees, Paradigm consent fees,               before you do.
stamp duty if applicable and any other costs charged
                                                                Selling shared-ownership property is slightly different.
by your mortgage lender. You will have to pay any
                                                                If you are a shared-owner and you want to sell
increase in mortgage. You will still pay rent on the
                                                                your home, you must call us to find out the options
portion of your home owned by Paradigm, and your
                                                                available to you. We provide this service through
rent account will be adjusted accordingly.
                                                                Paradigm’s Sales team, who can be contacted by
                                                                calling 0845 337 4877.


                                                           27
If you have bought your property with the last five         interested in your property will be put in touch
years under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire            with you. If you would like further information, or
scheme, you may have to repay all or part of the            an application form, contact our home ownership
discount you received when you bought the property.         sales and marketing team at Paradigm on
The amount to be repaid is usually calculated as a          0845 337 4877.
percentage of the property value when you sell it. This
                                                            If you want to sell your home, you will need to have it
figure you would have to repay reduces by one-fifth for
                                                            valued by an independent surveyor. If you contact us
each full year after the original sale was completed.
                                                            we will be able to advise you on the process and what
Paradigm may allow a reduction in the amount                to expect.
of discount to be repaid if you have carried out
substantial improvements to your home, which may            Your costs
have increased its value. The value must be agreed by       Most costs are subject to frequent change and we will
us first and will not be considered in the sale price.      be able to advise you of what to expect but generally
                                                            when you sell your home you will have to pay the
During the first five years, if you want to add another
                                                            following charges:
person to the lease, this may count as a legal assignment
and could also trigger repayment of the discount.           �    valuation fee
In some areas, we keep a waiting list of people who         �    re-valuation fee (if required)
want to buy a shared-ownership home. Should we
                                                            �    any mortgage payments due to your mortgage
need to find a buyer for you, your lease will tell you
                                                                 lender
how much time we have to find a buyer for your home.
This period is known as the ‘nomination period’ and         �    your solicitor’s fees
usually lasts eight weeks. If we cannot find you a buyer
                                                            �    our solicitor’s fees
by the end of the nomination period, you can sell your
home on the open market.                                    �    the estate agents fees (if a purchaser is not found by
                                                                 Paradigm)
If you own all the shares in your flat and we are the
landlord, you can sell your home on the open market         �    pre-sale enquiry fee (if applicable)
although, you will normally have to refer questions
                                                            You should check to ensure you will get enough money
raised by the buyer’s solicitors to us to answer. We
                                                            from the sale of your home to cover all these costs.
are responsible for transferring the lease to the new
owners and you will have to pay our solicitor’s costs.      It will usually take about three months to sell your
                                                            property from the date you tell us you want to sell. It
There may be a clause in your lease which allows us
                                                            may take longer if the buyer also has a property to sell.
to name a buyer who meets the shared-ownership
conditions. You must sell your home at the open
                                                            Will Paradigm buy back my home?
market value. Your share of the sale price is the same
                                                            If you bought a property under the Right to Buy or
as your percentage share of your home, so if you own
                                                            Right to Acquire scheme where the application was
50%, you collect 50% from the sale, less costs.
                                                            made after January 2005, your lease or title deeds will
At completion, your solicitor will be asked to collect      contain an obligation that you must first offer it back to
any rent or arrears owed by you. This will be calculated    Paradigm if you wish to sell within the first 10 years of
to the completion date.                                     buying your property.
If we have not been able to introduce a purchaser           This means we have the right of first refusal to buy
to you, a national scheme is available to help              the property back at a full open market value price.
shared-owners move on. Your property details                Paradigm will only exercise its right to buy the property
can be put onto the national register and anyone            where it will help meet a known housing need, or play a




                                                            28
part in development plans. If we do wish to exercise this     What happens about service charges
right, we have to respond within a certain timescale.         when you sell your home?
Should we not wish to buy the property back it can            Paradigm will expect all service charges to be paid
then be sold directly on the open market.                     up-to-date on completion of the sale. Remember that
                                                              all charges are issued in April as estimates and then
What information will a potential                             issued as a statement of actual charges in September.
purchaser of my home need?                                    Sometimes this will be lower or higher than the
Anyone interested in buying your home on the open             estimated charge in April.
market will want details of the service charges,
outstanding arrears on the service charge accounts and        This means that your solicitor will also need to agree
whether it is anticipated that there will be any major        with your purchaser, who will be responsible for any
work carried out in the foreseeable future for which          additional charge, or receive the benefit of a credit
they might have to pay. They might also want details          if you sell part-way through the year. It will be up to
of the buildings insurance, the construction type of the      you and your purchaser to agree how any outstanding
block and other information about the block or estate.        amounts of the annual service charges are apportioned.

Your solicitor will write to us for this information. There   Failure to pay a service charge constitutes a breach
is a charge for providing it and we will inform your          of the lease. Although an actual service charge debt
solicitor of the cost. For more information regarding         cannot be passed on from one leaseholder to another
Paradigm charges see the fees and charges section of          when a property is resold, the new leaseholder will be
this handbook or visit our website.                           liable to remedy the breach should there be any debt.
                                                              In other words, the new leaseholder would either have
Home Information Pack                                         to pay any outstanding charges, or take action against
Before it was suspended in June 2010, legislation made        the previous leaseholder to ensure that they do so.
it necessary for anybody selling their home to produce
a Home Information Pack (HIP).                                What happens if you are disputing a
                                                              service charge when you want to sell
When in force, the legislation required that the housing      your home?
association or agent responsible for marketing any            Paradigm expects any arrears of service charges to
property had to ensure that a HIP was available for           be paid on completion of the resale. However, we
any potential purchasers to look at before marketing          do acknowledge that there are times when a service
started. If the legislation comes back into force,            charge is under dispute and a leaseholder or freeholder
leaseholders will be free to use an estate agent to           may be reluctant to make a payment. In these
market their home and they will help prepare a HIP.           circumstances, and in order not to interfere with the
Up to now, to make things easier for shared-owners            process of the sale, we are sometimes prepared to
and fixed equity owners, we used a HIP provider who           agree to a retention being held by either solicitor to
quickly produced a HIP for your home.                         pay the charge once the dispute has been resolved.

The chartered surveyors used for our valuations were
accredited domestic energy assessors who produced
the Energy Performance Certificate, an essential part
of the HIP.
It is not expected that this legislation will come back
into force but until it has been removed from the statute
we have provided this information for reference only.




                                                         29
Customer service standards
What are customer service standards?                     �    make a copy of the Homeowner’s Handbook and
Paradigm is committed to providing high-performing,           leaflets available from Customer Services and
customer focused services. To help us to do this, we          downloadable from our website
have developed a set of service standards. These state
                                                         �    inform homeowners of their rights and obligations
the level of service our customers can expect from us
                                                              when purchasing a property
at any time.
                                                         �    equip Paradigm staff to deal with all homeowner’s
We currently have service standards in place covering:
                                                              enquiries
�   customer care
                                                         �    consult on decisions that affect homeowners and
�   anti-social behaviour                                     feed back how comments have helped to change the
                                                              way we do things, either in person or through our
�   estate management
                                                              quarterly residents’ magazine Paradigm People
�   lettings
                                                         �    consider any applications from homeowners wishing
�   repairs                                                   to improve their home by acknowledging requests
                                                              and talking about our decision within 21 days
�   customer involvement
                                                         �    consult where homeowners are expected to pay
�   homelessness and temporary accommodation
                                                              more than £250 towards the cost of work
�   aids and adaptations
                                                         �    provide a full explanation of any charges and let
�   rent and service charges                                  homeowners know about the different types of
                                                              payment methods that are available
�   complaints
                                                         �    provide sign-posting information about where to
You can obtain a copy of these service standards from
                                                              find help with dealing with debts and benefit advice
our website at www.paradigmhousing.co.uk or by
contacting Customer Services.
                                                         Right to Buy and Right to Acquire service
                                                         standards
Service standards for our homeowners                     We are committed to ensuring that home ownership
We have developed some service standards specifically
                                                         is accessible to everyone and we aim to provide a
for our homeowners. These include:
                                                         straightforward and enjoyable buying process. We will:
�   our over-arching service standards for homeowners
                                                         �    send you a tenant’s Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
�   Right to Buy or Right to Acquire                          application form within two working days of your
                                                              request, together with a guide to buying your home
�   improvement work
                                                         �    let you know who your Right to Buy or Right to
�   leaseholders service charges, ground rent and
                                                              Acquire advisor is when we receive your application
    insurance
                                                         �    offer you help and advice through your Right To Buy
�   rent and service charges (for shared-owners)
                                                              or Right to Acquire advisor whenever you request it,
                                                              either at our offices or at your home
Over-arching service standards
                                                         �    visit you at your home, within the first four weeks
We will:
                                                              of receiving your application, to discuss the details
�   provide a copy of the Homeowner’s Handbook,               of your request and let you know if we think your
    customer advice leaflets and details of how to            application will be successful. If you have had
    source information at Paradigm as soon as we are          previous tenancies with another housing association
    told a sale has been completed



                                                         30
39
    or local council this may take up to eight weeks;            �    be clear on steps we will take if agreements fail
    this is because we need to obtain information from
                                                                 �    ask for your views on ways to improve our service
    your previous landlord before we can assess your
    application                                                  As well as the service standards above, the following
                                                                 standards set out what you can expect from us when
�   personally deliver an offer letter within eight weeks
                                                                 dealing with your rent and service charge payments.
    of processing your application to buy a house, or 12
                                                                 We will:
    weeks if buying a flat. This letter will include the value
    of your home, details of the terms and conditions            �    provide a rent payment card within two working
    of sale, together with any known structural defects,              days of receiving your request
    property boundaries and service charges
                                                                 �    provide an annual rent statement, online or
�   explain how the discount is worked out and give                   whenever you request one
    you details of independent financial advisors and
                                                                 �    provide details of your account balance on request
    solicitors when you have received the offer
                                                                      subject to security questions being answered
�   immediately instruct for the district valuer to                   correctly
    revalue your home if you are unhappy with the
                                                                 �    provide advice and assistance to help you to
    independent surveyor’s valuation
                                                                      access any benefits, specialist debt and money
                                                                      management advice
Leaseholders’ service charges, ground
rent and insurance                                               �    adopt a clear, consistent and fair approach to rent
These service standards set out how we will manage                    and service charge recovery with emphasis on regular
leaseholders’ service charges, ground rent and                        contact, prevention, support and prompt action
insurance. We are committed to providing a service
                                                                 �    provide customer advice leaflets giving details of
to meet your specific needs. We will:
                                                                      the steps we will take if rent and service charges
�   provide details of any service charges, ground rent or            are not paid and ensure that our letters are clear,
    insurance charges for your home                                   informative and respectful

�   give four weeks notice of any changes to charges             �    agree affordable payment plans if you fall behind
                                                                      with payments
�   always consult you about proposed changes to
    services and their charges                                   �    require you to pay all money due before you vacate
                                                                      the property. Where that is not possible we will
�   charge only for actual costs of the service and its
                                                                      agree a payment plan with you
    administration, never adding a profit element
                                                                 �    view eviction or repossession as a last resort but we
�   consult you, in advance, on proposed work affecting
                                                                      will take this course of action if appropriate
    your home, which will need a contribution from you
    towards the cost                                             �    involve customers in the review of our rent setting
                                                                      and rent recovery policies and procedures
�   offer a variety of ways to pay including: direct debit,
    at a post office or Payzone outlet, through our              You can help us by:
    website or by telephone using a debit or credit card
                                                                 �    making sure you and your visitors keep to your lease
�   provide details of our approach to service charges,               terms and live with consideration for other people
    rent or insurance debts                                           who live near you

�   be flexible and helpful if you are in arrears by:            �    talking to us if you have any problems with your
    contacting you with information about outstanding                 property or difficulty paying the rent or service
    arrears, help to access benefits or specialist debt               charges
    and money advice, agreeing ways of reducing arrears
                                                                 �    letting us know before assigning your lease or
    over a period of time, working with other agencies
                                                                      carrying out any improvements
    to ensure that you receive any advice or support that
    you may need                                                 �    informing us about any changes in circumstances as
                                                                      soon as they happen


                                                                 32
Getting involved
Involving residents leads to improved services,               Readership Panel
increased customer satisfaction and better decision-          If you would like to read and comment on our policy
making. There are lots of ways to get involved and have       documents and other literature join the Readership
your say, share ideas and make suggestions. Whether           Panel. To find out more contact the Community
you’ve got a few minutes to spare every couple of             Involvement team on 0300 303 1010.
months or if you can give more of your time on a
regular basis, it really doesn't matter, you will still be    New-build scheme briefings
heard loud and clear.                                         Customer representatives have just started getting
Getting involved is easy. Take a look at options below        involved with new-build scheme briefings following
and choose the one that works best for you.                   two initial meetings in spring 2009. All those who
                                                              expressed an interest are booked into several of
Find out more by contacting the Community                     the face-to-face scheme briefings in Amersham,
Involvement team on 0300 303 1010 or by looking               Buckinghamshire. For those who are interested
at our website: www.paradigmhousing.co.uk                     but find it difficult to attend, we have set up an
                                                              interactive section on our website. Find out more by
Residents’ Forum                                              emailing Rachel Tayler, Development Support Officer:
The role of the Residents’ Forum is to help the               rachel.tayler@paradigmhousing.co.uk
company focus on the issues of most concern to
residents and to examine any changes in service. They         Homeowners’ Forum
meet six times a year and are invited to Paradigm’s           If you are a homeowner and would like to join our new
Operations Board’s discussion meetings which take             forum, please call Tony Lovelee on 07702 673042 or
place four times a year.                                      email: tony.lovelee@paradigmhousing.co.uk

Area panels                                                   Service User Quality Inspectors
There are four area panels, each located in the regions       Anyone can apply to become a service user quality
with the highest number of residents. Meetings vary           inspector. We expect to carrry out a number of mystery
between monthly and quarterly according to the                shops a year which may include both phone calls
group. The aim is to tell us which services you feel we       and site visits. For more information or to become an
need to review, to influence service changes and raise        inspector email: alexa.lamond@paradigmhousing.co.uk
issues about your neighbourhood.
                                                              Area audits
Residents’ Maintenance User Group                             These audits are an opportunity to take a close look
The aim of this group is to identify your priorities to       at an estate or neighbourhood to identify potential
improve services. It meets six times a year in Chesham,       improvements. Every resident will be invited to get
Buckinghamshire.                                              involved as will any agency that has an interest or is
                                                              able to help achieve the improvements.
Residents’ and community associations
These are local groups formed around a street, block          Audits are led by the tenancy and neighbourhood
of flats or an estate. We have a code of conduct for          officer supported by our Community Involvement team.
resident groups that explains how to set one up and           Each audit has a dedicated budget which residents
what support you can expect from us.                          can use to fund improvements. Previous audits have
                                                              achieved additional street lighting, provision of storage
Community Engagement Fund                                     for garden equipment, extra planting, redecoration and
We need volunteers to join the allocation panel for           provision of a secure bicycle store.
the Community Engagement Fund to determine which              The area audits currently planned for 2010 are listed
individuals or groups are awarded grants for local            on our website. If you think your estate would benefit
community work. Grants are worth between £100 and             from an area audit please contact your tenancy and
£10,000. The panel meets about four times a year.             neighbourhood officer.

                                                         33
Estate inspections
Residents are welcome to attend estate inspections.
The purpose of these inspections is to check on
items such as cleanliness, standards of grounds
maintenance, litter, graffiti, vandalism, untidy gardens,
illegal parking, abandoned vehicles and potentially
abandoned properties, repairs, health and safety
including compliance with the fire management
plan for communal areas in flats, animal nuisance,
anti-social behaviour and potential future estate
improvements.
You can use our online timetable on our website to
check when your next estate inspection is taking
place. Then contact your tenancy and neighbourhood
officer if you would like to take part. Details and the
time when the inspection will take place can then be
confirmed with you.

Paradigm People magazine
Paradigm People is our quarterly magazine for residents.
If you would like to write us a letter or story, or join the
editorial panel, call Liz Turner on 0300 303 1010.

Working groups
Residents are invited to join working groups where they
can make the biggest impact, for example influencing
customer care standards.




                                                               34
Complaints and disputes
If you feel you have a dispute regarding your service        Complaint stages
charges or the way we manage your property, you
should contact Customer Services and we will try to          Stage 1
resolve the matter.                                          If you are unhappy with the response to an initial
                                                             concern, or where you choose to make a formal
You should not stop making any payments without              complaint, a team leader or department manager will
first discussing the situation with us. We can advise you    acknowledge your complaint within two working days
on what action you should take, if any, until we have        and send a full reply within five working days. Where
managed to look in to the problem.                           the resolution may take longer than five working days
                                                             to resolve we will explain why and update you every
How we define a complaint                                    five working days until the problem is resolved.
A complaint is dissatisfaction, (more than just concern)
about the standard of service, action or lack of action      Stage 2
by Paradigm to the extent a customer will choose or          If you are not happy with our reply to your complaint
express a wish to make a formal complaint.                   at stage 1, a senior manager or director will review your
                                                             complaint. They will send you a full written reply within
How you can make a complaint                                 15 working days of your complaint being passed to this
�   telephone Customer Services on 0300 303 1010             stage.
�   request one of our complaint forms
                                                             Stage 3
�   write to us at our office address                        Where you have been through stages 1 and 2 and are
    via our website: www.paradigmhousing.co.uk               still dissatisfied with our response, you can appeal to
�                                                            our Management Board and the case will be considered
�   speak to a member of staff in person                     by a complaints panel, which will include two members
If you need any help filling in a complaint form, please     of Paradigm’s Board and the Chief Executive or a
contact us. Alternatively you can contact Citizens           director not previously involved in your case.
Advice or Welfare Rights UK for assistance.                  You will be offered the opportunity to attend this
                                                             meeting and present your case together with any
How we deal with complaints                                  representative or supporting friend. At this stage we
Our complaints procedure has three stages. If you tell       will advise when this review will take place but this
us that you are not satisfied with the response you          will be within 20 working days of the request being
receive, your complaint will automatically be passed         received. This is the final stage at which we can review
on to the next stage. Where you wish to express              your complaint and you should receive a reply within
dissatisfaction however but do not wish to make              five working days of the panel meeting.
a formal complaint you can do so by registering a
‘customer concern’.                                          Our compensation policy
All complaints or concerns must be made within six           Paradigm aims to provide good quality housing and
months of the matter arising or within six months of         a high level of service to all its residents. However
you realising you have cause to complain.                    it recognises that there may be instances where we
                                                             fail to meet the required standards and we will offer
Customer concern                                             compensation where appropriate.
If you wish to express an initial dissatisfaction with our
service but do not want to make a formal complaint
we will acknowledge your contact within two working
days and send a full reply within five working days.




                                                             36
There are three main areas, which we will consider for        Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
payment of compensation:                                      In some circumstances you may consider it appropriate
    service delivery failure - in circumstances where a       to apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) for
�                                                             a hearing. The LVT is part of the Residential Property
    tenant has suffered loss or major inconvenience
    because Paradigm has failed to provide the expected       Tribunal Service. Each tribunal usually consists of
    standard of service in certain areas                      three members; a lawyer who is often the chairperson,
                                                              a valuer and a non-specialist person. It is entirely
�   damage to property - following damage caused by           independent in its approach and is able to decide on
    contractors or employees. We will liaise with our         disputes relating to service charges that may arise
    insurers and pay compensation where appropriate           between leaseholders and their landlords.
�   extraordinary circumstances - in circumstances not        The tribunal hears both sides of the argument and
    covered by specific policies and after the normal         then determines the issue on the basis of the evidence,
    complaints procedure has been followed, tenants           the judgement and experience of the members of the
    may be compensated at the discretion of the               panel.
    regional managers or directors
                                                              The tribunal will be able to confirm its fees and the
A claim for compensation must be made in writing,             areas of its jurisdiction together with giving an idea of
within 28 days of the date the claim relates to and           the timescale involved and can be contacted on the
we will not normally consider claims which date back          following address:
later than four months. Any documentation or receipts
should be provided in support of any claim.                   Residential Property Tribunal Service
                                                              Great Eastern House,
Independent Housing Ombudsman                                 Tension Road,
If you have any complaints we aim to resolve them             Cambridge, CB1 2TR
fairly and amicably. However, if you have followed all        Tel: 0845 1002616 or 01223 50512
the stages in the official complaints procedure and you       Email: eastern.rap@communities.gsi.gov.uk
are still dissatisfied, you have the right to refer your
complaint to the Independent Housing Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is an independent person who
investigates complaints against social housing
landlords, where there is a complaint that the landlord
has not followed its own procedures. They will not
investigate complaints just because the complainant
disagrees with a landlord’s decision. The Ombudsman
will not normally investigate a complaint until it has
been through our own complaints procedure. More
information is available from:
The Housing Ombudsman Service
81 Aldwych
London WC2B 4HN




                                                         37
Anti-social behaviour
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)                               Legal action against a tenant
We know that anti-social behaviour has a negative         Where legal action is the only remedy we will serve a
impact on the lives of individuals and communities.       notice seeking possession on the tenancy. This lasts for
We want our customers to enjoy their home and             12 months and is sometimes enough to stop the ASB
community without interference from the minority          once the person realises they may lose their home.
of residents or their visitors who are responsible for
                                                          Should the ASB continue, we can apply to a court for
causing ASB, nuisance, annoyance and harassment
                                                          possession of the property. The courts are keen to see
and we are committed to reducing incidents.
                                                          that all possible steps have been taken to resolve the
We take a victim-centred approach and will investigate    ASB before they will grant an order. Legal action can
all reported incidents and take whatever steps are        take the form of an injunction, an anti-social behaviour
necessary to put a stop to unreasonable behaviour in      order or an order of possession suspended on certain
and around our estates.                                   conditions.
We aim to resolve conflict at the earliest point to
                                                          Legal action against a homeowner
minimise the effect on our customers and the wider
                                                          If a homeowner or anyone who resides with them
community, as well as sustain tenancies before
                                                          causes anti-social behaviour, we will take legal action
it escalates to enforcement action. Working in
                                                          to stop it through the county court, including, as a last
partnership with other agencies we will use prevention,
                                                          resort, bringing their lease to an end by forfeiture.
intervention and support mechanisms to help us with
our approach to resolving and managing ASB, nuisance
                                                          Support for victims and witnesses
and harassment.
                                                          Paradigm has a victim and witness support policy
                                                          which aims to ensure people are supported to report
Reporting anti-social behaviour
                                                          anti-social behaviour and which supports any action
If you are being effected by somebody causing nuisance,
                                                          Paradigm or statutory agencies wish to take. Witnesses
disturbance or are being harassed in any way, you
                                                          and neighbours affected by ASB may be asked to
should report this to us on 0300 303 1010 and ask for
                                                          attend and give evidence to the court as the judge will
the tenancy and neighbourhood officer or anti-social
                                                          need clear evidence to decide whether to evict the
behaviour advisor for your area. You can also report it
                                                          perpetrator. We help the witnesses through the court
by email to enquiries@paradigmhousing.co.uk
                                                          procedure and offer any support needed.
Collecting evidence
                                                          Further information on ASB
Before we can take action we need to gather
                                                          If you would like more information about Paradigm’s
evidence. This is done through recording events on
                                                          approach to managing ASB, actions we can take or
our nuisance incident report form. The form includes
                                                          actions you can take yourself, please visit our website
questions on dates, times and who was responsible
                                                          www.paradigmhousing.co.uk or contact Customer
for the anti-social behaviour. We use the incident
                                                          Services who will be able to send you copies of our
report form to compile detailed statements for use in
                                                          customer advice leaflets and customer guidance notes
any action that we may take. While we are collecting
                                                          on a range of ASB issues.
evidence we will also try to find ways of dealing with
the anti-social behaviour. We will take legal action
when other methods of resolution have failed.
Most cases of nuisance and ASB are resolved through
mediation which is a means of conflict resolution
that is a proven way of diffusing conflicts. A neutral
facilitator and conciliator help the parties explore
the reasons behind the conflict and consider possible
remedies.


                                                          38
The law relating to leaseholders
Why does the law refer to leaseholders as                       The Leasehold Reform and Urban Development Act
tenants?                                                        1993 – This introduced collective enfranchisement;
Under English law, anyone who occupies land or a                when leaseholders join together to buy the freehold of
property is either:                                             their block.

�   a freeholder (they own the land)                            The Housing Act 1996 – This Act set up the Leasehold
                                                                Valuation Tribunal, an independent body that
�   or a tenant (they own an interest in the land for a         adjudicates on all disputes between the leaseholders
    term of years, i.e. a lease)                                and landlords.
All Paradigm’s leaseholders or shared-owners, are               Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 – This
considered a tenant by the law. For this reason the law         Act introduced significant changes concerning how
rarely refers to leaseholders but it usually refers to          leaseholders have to be informed about major work.
tenants who occupy properties let on leases.                    It also brought in changes relating to the payment
The main acts of Parliament that govern the landlord            of ground rent, the role of the Leasehold Valuation
and the leaseholder are:                                        Tribunal, collective enfranchisement and insurance
                                                                for houses sold on leases. It also sets out how to send
The Housing Act 1980 – This Act introduced the Right            statements of accounts to leaseholders.
to Buy (RTB) scheme. Some of the conditions of your
lease are affected by it because it laid down certain           Housing Act 2004 - This Act deals mainly with
conditions that must be included in all Right to Buy            changes to the Right to Buy scheme, including changes
leases including the starting date of the lease, and            in how discount repayments are calculated.
the fact that ground rent must be set at £10.00 per             Law of Property Act 1925 – If you breach the
annum.                                                          terms of condition of your lease then, under certain
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – This Act sets                circumstances, we can issue you with a notice under
out the information and management of the following             Section 146 of the Act. This is the first step in applying
areas:                                                          for your lease to be terminated.

�   what a service charge is                                    Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 - This Act of
                                                                Parliament allows Paradigm, as a registered provider
�   what information a landlord must give its tenants           of social housing, to take necessary action to address
    about service charges                                       incidents of anti-social behaviour within its housing
�   when and how service charges can be billed                  stock.

�   what rights a tenant has to examine documents
    and accounts relating to the calculation of service
    charges

�   it also gives leaseholders rights to inspect all
    documents relating to building insurance policies
The Housing Act 1985 – This Act contains all the
current rules about the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
process and the way properties are managed after they
have been sold:

�   discount repayment and the right of first refusal

�   service charges in the ‘initial’ period of the lease

�   the term of the lease



                                                           39
Where to get advice
Paradigm offices                                    NHBC claims
Head office                                         Tel: 0870 241 4329 Fax: 0870 241 4330
1 Glory Park Avenue                                 Email: claimscc@nhbc.co.uk
Wooburn Green                                       Website: www.nhbc.co.uk
Buckinghamshire, HP10 0DF
Tel: 0300 303 1010                                  Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
Fax: 0300 303 8041                                  70-74 City Road
                                                    London, EC1Y 2BJ
Visitors need to go to either:                      Tel: 020 7374 5380 (9.30am–3.30pm)
Ruislip office                                      Email: info@lease-advice.org
Cromwell House
43-45 High Street                                   Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (London)
Ruislip                                             Whittington House
Middlesex, HA4 7BD                                  19-30 Alfred Place
Tel: 01895 678000                                   London, WC1E 7LR
Fax: 01895 678090                                   Tel: 020 7446 7700
                                                    Website: www.rpts.gov.uk
or
White Hill office                                   Housing Ombudsman Service
1 White Hill                                        105-109 The Strand
Chesham                                             London, WC2R 0AA
Buckinghamshire, HP5 1AB                            Tel: 0845 7125 973
Tel: 0300 303 1010                                  Email: ombudsman@hos.org.uk
Fax: 01494 830784
                                                    Debt Counselling Helpline
Paradigm Group website: www.paradigmhousing.co.uk   Tel: 0800 389 6339
Paradigm sales website: www.paradigmliving.co.uk    Website: www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Other agencies                                      Consumer Credit Counselling Service
Gas leaks and emergencies                           Wade House
National Grid                                       Merrion Centre
Tel: 0800 111 999                                   Leeds, LS2 8NG
                                                    Tel: 0800 138 1111
Power companies                                     Website: www.cccs.co.uk
Help on choosing a utility company – gas and
electricity                                         Welfare benefits Department of Works and
Website: www.energywatch.org.uk                     Pensions
                                                    PO Box 25-266
NHBC customer services                              Glasgow, G4 0YX
Tel: 01494 735363                                   Tel: 0845 6060 265
Fax: 01494 723530 or 01494 735385
Email: cssupport@nhbc.co.uk
Website: www.nhbc.co.uk




                                                    40
Glossary
Audit                                                            Lease term
This is an examination, usually of financial accounts.           The set out period of time that a lease is in effect and
An audit is when an independent, professional person             binding for both the landlord and the tenant.
examines the way we are administering the accounts.
                                                                 Lessor
Completion date                                                  The lessor is the person who owns the property and who
The date when the property legally transfers to your             may grant a lease.
ownership.
                                                                 Managing agent
Cyclical maintenance                                             In some cases a managing agent or management company
This is sometimes known as major work or planned                 manages rent accounts, arranges buildings insurance and
maintenance. It is work that needs to be done regularly, i.e.    arranges and manages contract services like gardening and
painting the outside of a building.                              cleaning estate services.
Deficit                                                          Negative equity
This is a shortfall, i.e. when we have not collected enough      This happens if the value of your share of the property is
money through service charges to cover all the costs             less than your mortgage on your share of the property.
incurred in providing a service.
                                                                 Responsive repairs
Demise                                                           Repairs we carry out when a disrepair or fault occurs.
A legal name for the area of property that someone leases
                                                                 Sales and Marketing team
or owns. Your lease describes the area which forms your
                                                                 Your contact point when buying or selling your home
property and defines the boundaries of the shared areas.
                                                                 with us.
Equity
                                                                 Service charge
The value of your share of the property less any mortgage
                                                                 This refers to the money you pay to cover the costs of
you have taken out, i.e. if your share is worth £50,000 and
                                                                 maintaining and servicing the building. It also includes
your mortgage is £45,000, the equity would be £5,000.
                                                                 other costs, i.e. insurance and sinking fund contributions.
Excess
                                                                 Service charge accounts
An excess on an insurance policy is the cost the policy does
                                                                 The record of the service charges we have received from
not cover. The excess on our buildings insurance may vary
                                                                 lessees and the money we have spent for maintaining the
from year to year as a result of market conditions and will
                                                                 property.
also depend on the sort of claim you are making.
                                                                 Shared-ownership lessee
Forfeiture
                                                                 Someone who has been granted a lease which allows them
This is when your home is taken away from you because
                                                                 to live in the property whilst owning a share.
you have broken a condition of your lease. It is serious and
can only happen after a court has granted the landlord           Sinking fund
possession of the property.                                      This can also be called a reserve fund. This is money we
                                                                 collect and hold in trust to cover the cost of cyclical
Freeholder
                                                                 maintenance and replacing items which have reached the
The owner of the land or property.
                                                                 end of their life.
Head lease
                                                                 Staircasing
A lease held directly from the freeholder and where other
                                                                 This is the process for buying further shares in your
leases have been given to the individual properties within
                                                                 shared-ownership property.
the building. It is sometimes called a superior lease.
                                                                 Sub-letting
Lease
                                                                 This is when a lessee lets out a room or their property.
This is a legally binding document which sets out the terms
on which a property has been bought, sold or transferred         Surcharge
and which details the obligations of the parties to the lease.   An extra payment which we ask for when we have had to
                                                                 spend more than the budget for service charges.
Lessee
The lessee owns the right to live in the property as
specified by the lease. Leases are usually for 99 to 125
years.
         This handbook provides practical information on your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner with
         Paradigm. If you would like it translated or want further information about any of our services please
         contact Customer Services on 0300 303 1010 or visit our website at www.paradigmhousing.co.uk

         Polski                                                                                            Polish
         Niniejsza publikacja zawiera praktycznie informacje dotycząca Państwa praw i obowiązków, jako
         posiadaczy mieszkania/domu w Paradigm. Jeśli chcieliby Państwo uzyskać te informacje we własnym
         języku, lub potrzebujecie innych informacji na temat naszych usług, to prosimy skontaktować się z
         działem obsługi klienta pod numerem 0300 303 1010, lub też odwiedzić naszą stronę internetową
         www.paradigmhousing.co.uk

                                                                                                                       Punjabi




         Soomaali                                                                                           Somali
         Buugyarahani wuxuu ku siinayaa macluumaad camali ah oo ku saabsan xuquuqdaada iyo mas’uuliyaadka
         ku saaran haddii aad tahay qof guri ka iibsaday Paradigm. Haddii aad rabto in buugyarahan laguu tarjumo
         ama aad rabto macluumaad dheeraad ah oo ku saabsan adeegyadayada, fadlan kala soo xidhiidh qaybta
         Adeegyada Macmiisha telefoonka ah 0300 303 1010 ama booq goobtayada internetka ee cinwaankeedu
         yahay www.paradigmhousing.co.uk

         Türkçe                                                                                                  Turkish
         Bu elkitabı bir Paradigm konut sahibi olarak hak ve sorumluluklarınız hakkında pratik bilgiler sunmaktadır.
         Dilinize çevirilmesini istemek ya da hizmetlerimizden herhangi biri hakkında daha fazla bilgi almak için
         lütfen 0300 303 1010 numaralı telefondan Müşteri Hizmetlerini (Customer Services) arayın ya da www.
         paradigmhousing.co.uk adresindeki web sitemizi ziyaret edin.

         Urdu




Paradigm Housing Group provides services to Paradigm Homes, Paradigm Commercial and Paradigm Maintenance
Services and is a not-for-profit housing association registered in England. Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965,
number 28844R. Tenant Services Authority, number L4215. Registered office: 1 Glory Park Avenue, Wooburn Green,
Buckinghamshire, HP10 0DF.

Ref: HH/1-09/2010

				
DOCUMENT INFO