Tenant Handbook Tenant Handbook

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					Rugby Borough Council
Housing Services




Tenant
Handbook
Your information guide to your council home




                                              Rugby Borough Council




                                    clean, green and safe
Rugby Borough Council Housing Services hopes you
will be extremely happy with your home and that you
enjoy a long and comfortable tenancy.
This handbook has been designed to help achieve that,
by providing you with useful information about your
home and your rights, as well as information about the
housing service Rugby Borough Council will provide to
you.




                 Contents
Page     2   Useful contacts
Page     3   A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council
Page    11   Maintaining your home – repairs & maintenance
Page    37   Your tenancy explained
Page    43   Helpful hints for moving in
Page    53   Paying your rent
Page    59   Your neighbourhood and community
Page    71   Moving on and ending your tenancy
Page    85   Having your say and getting involved
Page    93   Additional section for multi-storey properties
             (if applicable)
Page    93   Additional section for sheltered housing
             (if applicable)
             Tenancy documents
             Tenancy Agreement
             Conditions of Tenancy
	   	   	    Gas	Safety	Certificate
             Asbestos Survey
                          Rugby Borough Council
                            Useful information

                          website: www.rugby.gov.uk




           Postal address                          Housing Management Teams
          Housing Services
        Town Hall, Evreux Way                          Estate Management
          Rugby, CV21 2RR                                 (01788) 533822
         Tel: (01788) 533533                       housingservices@rugby.gov.uk

         Opening hours                                   Housing Options
    Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm                          (01788) 533837
                                                   housingservices@rugby.gov.uk
           Housing Repairs
                                                        Sheltered Housing
            (01788) 533888
         repairs@rugby.gov.uk                             (01788) 533844
                                                   housingservices@rugby.gov.uk
  Out-of-hours emergency repairs
           01788 533888                            Participation & Development
                                                          & Tenant Times
         Housing	Benefits                                 (01788) 533604
           (01788) 533433                             residents@rugby.gov.uk
      Benefits.unit@rugby.gov.uk
                                                      Property Maintenance
    Community Safety Wardens                            via (01788) 533533
        0800 096 8800

Rugby Borough Council’s Town Hall reception has ramped access, automatic doors and
   induction loops. There is reserved parking available for people with disabilities.

 Where this handbook refers to existing policies, copies can be provided upon request.



   If this information is difficult to understand, we may be able to provide it
in another format, for example in large print, in audio, or in another language.
          Please contact the Communications team on 01788 533864,
                    or email: communications@rugby.gov.uk
                                           2
Section 1




A WARM WELCOME
  FROM RUGBY BOROUGH COUNCIL HOUSING SERVICE




This section contains:
             It’s all about you
             Introducing the housing service teams
             Rugby Borough Council Service Standards - Housing
             Compliments, comments and complaints




                                   3
           A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council Housing Services


    Rugby Borough Council provides a wide range of services,
  so that you, as a council tenant, can be assured of high quality
            housing and excellent services at all times.



It’s all about you

Rugby Borough Council is committed to             Rugby Borough Council’s equal
providing a service that puts the tenant          opportunities policy applies to the housing
first.                                            service as well as a range of other areas
                                                  including employment, development
Our aim is to provide high quality                and the appointment of contractors/
housing services to each and every one            consultants.
of our tenants.
                                                  If you feel a council employee or
We are committed to equal opportunities           contractor has discriminated against you,
for all regardless of race, colour, ethnic        you should register a complaint in writing.
or national origins, nationality, religion,
gender, sexual orientation, disability,           Our equal opportunities policy/code of
age, appearance, marital or employment            practice can be obtained on request.
status.




                                              4
A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council Housing Services


                  Introducing the housing services teams
Estate Management Team                             Sheltered Housing Team
The Estate Management Team is                      The Sheltered Housing Team offers safe
responsible for the housing management             and secure homes for older people and
of all the council’s general needs                 people with disabilities, enabling them
properties, including the high-rise sites at       to continue living independently. The
Rounds Gardens and Biart Place. They               service offers and includes a home
also manage the council’s garage sites.            alarm service computerised link to the
                                                   resident’s home, via a home alarm which
Tenants are introduced to their housing            is monitored by a control centre which is
officer when they sign for their new               staffed 24 hours a day.
tenancy, and then via a planned visit
four weeks after they move in to make              The team manages around 1,500 council
sure that they have settled in. This is            properties. These properties are mainly
also a time when they can discuss any              one-bedroom flats and a small number
problems they may have in relation                 of two-bedroom bungalows on sites
to paying their rent or abiding by their           throughout the borough. The locality and
tenancy conditions.                                community wardens manage the sites
                                                   and deal with a wide range of issues
Housing officers monitor rent arrears              from health and safety to the general
cases and offer advice and support to              wellbeing of the individuals.
help tenants sustain their tenancies,
referring them to other agencies such              Housing officers are responsible for
as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for            managing the warden service and for
specialist debt counselling.                       monitoring the payment of rent and
                                                   service charges and compliance with
The team also deals with complaints of             tenancy conditions.
nuisance and anti-social behaviour and
breaches of tenancy conditions. Housing            Tenants will meet their warden when
officers use every option available to try         they sign for their new tenancy, and then
to stop problems caused by neighbours              again at a planned visit four weeks after
on our estates. Housing officers also              they move in to make sure that they have
deal with requests for mutual exchanges            settled in. This is also a time when they
and tenancy changes.                               can discuss any problems they may have
                                                   arisen.
Estate walkabouts are carried out every
six months and tenants are encouraged
to take part. Incidences of untidy
gardens, litter, graffiti and abandoned
vehicles are noted and investigated.




                                               5
           A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council Housing Services


Property Maintenance Team                        Tenant Involvement
The Property Maintenance Team deals              Working alongside all teams are the
with all repairs and maintenance issues          tenant involvement officers whose roles
relating to the council’s housing stock.         include:
Their work ranges from call-out repairs          •   helping develop and implement
to planned maintenance. The service                  a strategy for tenant involvement
provides an out-of-hours emergency                   throughout the borough
repairs facility.
                                                 •   working with the Rugby and District
The team carries out an annual                       Tenants’ Association to monitor the
refurbishment programme (kitchens,                   implementation of Rugby’s Tenant
bathrooms, central heating systems etc)              Compact and action plan
to its stock to ensure that the council
meets the Decent Homes standard.                 •   consulting tenants about housing
Other major projects include essential               and other issues on a collective and
ongoing works such as lift maintenance,              individual basis
Legionella testing and monitoring, gas
servicing and electrical testing, asbestos       •   supporting tenants’ groups
awareness, internal and external                     and associations to identify
decorations and void works.                          improvements to the housing
                                                     service and improve quality of life
                                                     for tenants in the borough

                                                 •   working with other services of the
Housing Options Team                                 council and external agencies to
The Housing Options Team deals                       tackle issues that affect the quality
with the allocation of general needs                 of life of tenants
and sheltered housing through the
UChoose choice-based allocation                  •   promoting the principles of tenant
scheme. Officers can provide advice                  involvement.
and help on the allocation of properties
including UChoose registration, mutual
exchanges, transfers, terminations and
medical enquiries.                               Tenancy Support
The team is also responsible for the             Your housing team can give you
provision of general housing advice and          information about agencies that can
the council’s statutory duty to prevent          provide advice and support in keeping to
homelessness and deal with those who             your tenancy conditions.
present themselves as homeless.
                                                 Agencies may be able to provide money
                                                 advice, debt counselling, help with life
                                                 skills, budgeting and home care.

                                                 Please note that there may be a charge
                                                 for the provision of some of the services
                                                 provided.




                                             6
A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council Housing Services


Rugby Borough Council Service                    •   The council will ensure that customers
Standards - Housing                                  are treated courteously and, so far as
                                                     reasonably practical, promptly with
Rugby Borough Council is committed to
                                                     respect for their personal dignity and
putting tenants and prospective tenants
                                                     without discrimination.
first by providing excellent, friendly and
efficient services, promoting equality           Compliments
and respecting diversity. Service
                                                 You may want to thank a member of
standards have been developed and
                                                 staff who has been very helpful or you
agreed with tenants, and are reviewed
                                                 may think that the service you have
regularly.
                                                 received has been very good. We will
                                                 share your compliment with the relevant
The booklet Service Standards –                  member of staff and managers and will
Housing details the level of standards           use it to improve our services.
you can expect across the housing
service. Copies of the booklet are               Comments
available on request. Contact details are        If you have a suggestion or idea about how
on page 2.                                       a service could be improved please tell
                                                 us. We will pass your suggestion on to the
                                                 manager of the service who will look into
                                                 your idea and let you know the outcome.

                                                 Complaints
Compliments, comments and                        Unfortunately, sometimes standards
complaints                                       fall short of what you would expect or
We are always looking to improve the             maybe somebody does not do what they
way we operate. We need you to tell us           said they would. If this happens and
when we do something well or when we             you cannot sort it out with the people
haven’t got it right.                            involved you may want to complain.

                                                 How to make a complaint
Customer Care Policy                             If you feel dissatisfied about the standard
The council will continually strive to           of service, actions or lack of actions by
improve the quality, efficiency and              the council, or its staff, or by someone
effectiveness of its services.                   acting on behalf of the council you can
                                                 make a complaint:
•   The council will ensure that
    customers are well informed about            •   by writing to:
    the services it provides.                                 Customer Feedback
•   The council will be responsive to the                   Town Hall, Evreux Way
    needs of customers and will actively                       Rugby, CV21 2RR
    seek views about the services
                                                 •   by telephoning the Customer
    provided.
                                                     Feedback line on (01788) 533727.
•   The council will make every effort to
                                                 •   by emailing customerfeedback@
    achieve and maintain a high level
                                                     rugby.gov.uk
    of staff morale including a positive
    commitment to customer care.                 •   or via the council’s website using the
                                                     online complaints form.


                                             7
           A warm welcome from Rugby Borough Council Housing Services


Confidentiality                                 •	   Stage 2 – Senior level
If you are complaining about a staff                 investigation
member and do not wish them to know,                 If you are not satisfied with the
we will respect this. However, it may                response you can ask for your
be difficult to fully investigate your               complaint to be investigated by a
complaint.                                           senior manager. We will give you
                                                     a response in 15 working days. It
Representation                                       may take longer but we will keep
You have the right for someone to make               you informed. If the complaint is
a complaint on your behalf. We will ask              upheld we will tell you what action
you to give consent for them to do this.             we will take to put things right.

Independent advice and advocacy
An advocate is someone who does not             Local Government Ombudsman
work for the council and can help you to        It is important that you give the council
make a complaint and make sure your             an opportunity to put the matter right
views are heard. They can also speak            using the complaints procedure. If, after
for you at meetings if you wish.                following the complaints procedure,
                                                you are still of the opinion that the
If you want the support of an                   council has not acted properly, you can
advocate                                        complain to the Local Ombudsman.
You may have a friend, representative           Please ask us how you can do this.
or advocate with you at any stage of the
procedure. Other organisations such
as Citizens Advice may also be able to          Further Information
help. Your local MP or councillor may           For further information please contact
also give you independent advice.               the Contact Centre on (01788) 533533
                                                or email contactcentre@rugby.gov.uk

•	   Stage 1 – Local resolution
     Most complaints are sorted out
     at this stage. You can make a
     complaint in person or in writing to
     any member of staff. We will write
     to tell you we have received your
     complaint within five working days.
     The manager will provide a written
     response to your complaint. We will
     give you a response in 15 working
     days. We will keep you informed if
     we need more time.

     If you are not happy with the
     response we may offer you a
     meeting with a manager to try and
     sort things out.




                                            8
Section 1: notes




                   9
Section 2




MAINTAINING YOUR HOME
                                     REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE




This handbook is designed to provide you with useful information about
your repairs service. You should keep this handbook handy at all times,
as it will help you when reporting a repair and in diagnosing the repair
you need.
This section contains:
              Reporting a repair
              Our obligations to you
              Emergency repairs - out of hours
              The council’s Capital Programme
              Whose responsibility is it?
              Recharge Policy
              Your right to repair
              Your step-by-step guide to the most common repairs




                                       11
                                Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Reporting a Repair                                    How to report an emergency repair
You should tell us as soon as possible                outside	of	office	opening	hours
when you think your home needs a                      Emergency repairs can be reported
repair.                                               outside normal office working hours by
                                                      telephoning:
How to report a repair
There are several ways you can report a
                                                                   01788 533888
repair to your home. You can:                         We may require other information
•   phone us on 01788 533888 during                   depending on the type of repair it is.
    office hours (usually 9am to 5pm,                 You may want to use the following table
    Monday to Friday)                                 to record this information should we
                                                      request it.
•   call in at the Town Hall reception

•   visit the council’s website at
    www.rugby.gov.uk and complete
    the online form
                                                            Item          Location in your property
•   by emailing repairs@rugby.gov.uk

•   send a letter addressed to:
           Housing Service,                           Water stopcock
        Rugby Borough Council,
         Town Hall, Evreux Way,
              CV21 2RR.
                                                      Electric fuse box
                                                       and trip switch
When you report your repair (or if someone
else is reporting it on your behalf), there is
certain information we will need from you.
Please have the following details ready:                Gas-supply
                                                          lever
•   your name

•   your address
                                                         Hot water
•   a phone number where we can
                                                          cylinder
    contact you during the day

•   tell us times/dates when someone
    will be in to allow access                        Central heating
                                                          boiler
•   tell us as much about the repair as
    possible

•   any details the person coming to
    your home should know i.e. if you                 Cold water tank
    have a disability and need time to
    answer the door.



                                                 12
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Our obligations to you                            When will my repair get done?
Our obligations to you regarding the              An emergency is where action is needed to
maintenance of your home are outlined             remove a danger to the property, occupants
in your tenancy agreement.                        or visitors or risk to the health of someone.
These are to:
                                                  The following are classed as emergency
•   Keep in good repair the structure             repair items:
    and exterior of the dwelling,                 •   total loss of electric power
    including roofs, walls, drains,
    gutters and external pipes.                   •   unsafe lighting socket or electrical fitting
                                                  •   total loss of water supply
•   Keep in repair and proper working
    order installations for the supply            •   total or partial loss of gas supply
    of water, gas, electricity and
                                                  •   blocked flue to open fire or boiler
    sanitation, including basins, sinks
    and sanitary appliances for space             •   total loss of heating
    and water heating.                            •   blocked or leaking foul drain, soil stack
                                                  •   toilet blocked or not flushing (if there
Right to Repair                                       is no other toilet in the property)
Tenants may carry out some minor                  •   insecure external window, door or lock
repairs themselves and then recover               •   total loss of lighting
part of the cost from the council. There
are procedures which need to be                   •   partial loss of power, but only when it’s
followed in order to qualify for the Right            a danger to health and safety (essential
to Repair and a Government booklet is                 equipment such as stairlift or nebulizer)
available for more information.                   •   internal leaking or burst pipes (only
                                                      when the tenant cannot control the
Right to make improvements                            leak and there is a danger to the
You may make improvements as long                     property and/or belongings)
as they do not de-value your property.            •   burst tanks or cylinders
You must seek permission from the
council first.                                    •   locked out (may be chargeable)
                                                  •   blocked sink, bath or wash hand basin
Right to compensation                                 (in multi-storey blocks only)
You may have a right to compensation              •   blocked refuse chutes in multi-storey
for certain improvements made to the                  blocks
property after 1 April 1994.
                                                  •   loss of water heating
                                                  •   gale, fire, flood or explosion damage
                                                      to property (subject to it being safe).

                                                  Should you have any queries over your
                                                  own particular repair, you should get in
                                                  touch with the contact centre on (01788)
                                                  533888.



                                             13
                             Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Emergency repairs – out-of-office                 The following would be classed as an
hours                                             urgent repair:
The council provides an emergency call            We will respond to urgent repairs
out service that deals with emergency             within seven days.
repairs outside normal working hours,             •   partial loss of electric power
including weekends and bank holidays.
                                                  •   partial loss of water
If you have an emergency repair when
our offices are closed you can contact:           •   blocked sink, bath or wash hand
                                                      basin (except in multi-storey blocks)
         01788 533888
                                                  •   taps that cannot be turned
The emergency call out service only
deals with emergencies and does not               •   rotten timber flooring or stair tread
respond to repairs that can safely be
                                                  •   door intercoms not working
left until the next working day.
                                                  •   extractor fans in kitchens or
In the event of an emergency a
                                                      bathrooms (only when no window in
contractor will make the property safe
                                                      the room is present)
until a full repair can be done the next
working day. This is necessary, as                •   broken glazing
contractors cannot guarantee access
to materials to carry out a full repair           •   leaking pipework or waste pipes
when it arises out-of-hours. What is
paramount is your safety. Permanent               •   leaking roofs (subject to being safe
repairs are left for normal working hours,            to do so).
so please do not expect the job to be
fully completed out-of-hours.

We know that on occasions a tenant’s              Small Non-urgent repairs
view of what constitutes an emergency             We will respond to small non-urgent
repair may be different from the                  repairs within 20 days. The following
council’s view.                                   would be classed as a small non-urgent
                                                  repair:
The council’s definition of an emergency
is when a repair arises that represents a         •   plaster patch
potential safety hazard.                          •   floorboards
The council is notified the next working          •   internal door repairs
day of any repairs reported via the
emergency number but deemed non-                  •   air vents/bricks.
emergency. The repair is then dealt
with according to the council’s usual
procedure for non-emergency repairs.

* Any misuse of the Emergency Call
Out service could result in a charge
to the occupier for the visit made.


                                             14
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


The council’s Capital Programme                           System (HHSRS)
The council operates a programme                      •   be in a reasonable state of repair, ie:
for improving its properties. The pot of                  not have walls, roofs, windows, doors,
money that pays for these improvements                    chimneys, central heating boilers,
is called ‘capital expenditure’, whereas                  gasfires, storage heaters, plubing or
the pot of money that pays for the                        electrics that need replacement or repair
day-to-day cost of running the repairs
                                                      •   have reasonably modern facilities
and housing management services is
                                                          and services
‘revenue expenditure’.
                                                      •   provide a reasonable degree of
The amount of money that the council is                   thermal comfort, ie: heating
allowed to spend in any one financial year is
largely determined by central government’s            What is a meant by ‘reasonably
decision on the council’s subsidy entitlement.        modern facilities’?
This is not normally confirmed until                  A home will only fail on this point if it lacks
around December/January each year                     three or more of the following:
meaning that the spending plans for
the new financial year (which starts on               •   a reasonably modern kitchen (20
1 April) cannot be finalised until a few                  years old or less)
months before work is due to start.                   •   a kitchen with adequate space and
                                                          layout
Government is reviewing this system and
it will change in the future.                         •   a reasonably modern bathroom (30
                                                          years old or less)
How we decide where to spend the                      •   an appropriately located bathroom
money                                                     and toilet
For almost 25 years, the council has been             •   adequate noise insulation (where
following a replacement programme for its                 external noise / neighbourhood noise
housing stock, according to the age of the                is a problem)
item (meaning kitchen, bathroom, doors,
                                                      •   adequate size and layout of common
windows, roofs, wiring and central heating).
                                                          areas for blocks of flats.
This means that in any one financial year
a large number of properties can benefit              Having your say on the improvements
from an improvement. This shows the                   to your home
council’s commitment to maintaining high
                                                      If the council is to maintain its housing
quality housing for its tenants.
                                                      stock to the Decent Homes Standard set
The government introduced a ‘Decent                   by the government, this limits what work
Homes Standard’ to tackle disrepair in                we can decide to do when planning the
council housing.                                      capital programme.

                                                      However, where we can offer you choice
What makes a Decent Home?
                                                      we do – for example in choosing the
A decent home must:                                   colour of kitchen doors and worktops.
•   meet the current statutory minimum
                                                      We also rely on tenants to give feedback
    standard for housing, ie: it contains
                                                      on how satisfied they are with the way in
    no hazards assessed as serious under
                                                      which the improvement works are carried
    the Housing Health and Safety Rating
                                                      out.

                                                 15
                              Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


To help you, we ensure that there are              allow us access to your property at any
ways for you to contact us to discuss any          time between 8am and 5pm, and at any
concerns that you may have while the               other time in an emergency. We will give
works are being carried out.                       prior notice where possible.

Once the work is completed we will                 Access also includes moving furniture and
give you a customer satisfaction survey,           lifting carpets yourself to allow repairs and
the results of which help us to plan               inspections to be undertaken. Carpets
improvements to future service delivery.           are your responsibility, if they do have to
                                                   be lifted to carry out a repair the council
Green issues                                       cannot be held responsible. You are
An important feature of planning our               responsible for making sure furniture and
capital programme is environmental                 carpets are moved out of the way, ready
issues. These are taken into account               for the work to be done.
when planning the kind of materials we
use.                                               The role of the Housing Maintenance
                                                   Officer
We also aim to maximise the energy
efficiency and thermal comfort of your             Housing maintenance officers are
homes – which helps to reduce both                 responsible for maintaining the
emissions and your heating bills.                  properties in their areas. They can only
                                                   do this with the co-operation of tenants
                                                   who must:
Repair appointments
We do need you to allow us access to               •   report repairs promptly
your home to carry out repairs.                    •   allow the housing maintenance
                                                       officer access to verify what work is
Everyone who works for, or on behalf
                                                       needed
of, the council carries an identity card.
You should insist that you are shown               •   agree an appointment with the
one before allowing them to enter your                 contractor so that the repair can be
home, even if you are expecting them                   carried out by the agreed target date.
for an arranged appointment.
                                                   For certain repairs the housing
If you are in doubt about the identity of          maintenance officer will call at your home
a caller do not let them in. Take their ID,        to verify the repair. This helps us to make
ask them to wait, shut the door on them,           sure that the right contractor receives an
then call the 01788 533888 and make                accurate briefing on what work is required,
sure they are who they say they are.               making the service run efficiently.

Never let anyone into your home,                   The housing maintenance officer
without first checking their ID.                   also carries out a number of random
                                                   inspections each month to ensure
Access to your home                                that the work has been done to a
At various times we will need access to            satisfactory standard. As the contractors
your property, for example to inspect a            do not know which repairs are going to
repair, service your gas appliances, or            be inspected and when, the inspection
carry out a stock condition survey.                process helps encourage them to carry
                                                   out high quality repairs each time.
Under your tenancy agreement you must

                                              16
 Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


 Whose responsibility is it?
 The following table is a guide of who
 is responsible for what, this is not an
 exhaustive list and if you are unsure
 please contact the council.




                                          COUNCIL




                                                                                                          COUNCIL
                                                    TENANT




                                                                                                                    TENANT
          INTERNAL WORK                                                       INTERNAL WORK

Windows                                                           Kitchens
 Sills                                     X                       Kitchen cupboards                       X
Doors                                                              Cupboard drawers                        X
 Doors and ironmongery                               X             Cupboard door catches handles
                                                                                                                     X
Walls                                                              and hinges
 Major plastering and plastic vents        X                       Worktops (worktops beyond
 Minor plastering (cracks and small                                repair will be replaced, but not        X
                                                     X
 holes)                                                            necessarily to match the existing)
 Wall tiles (if fitted by council)         X                      Halls
 Decorating                                          X             Hat and coat hooks                                X
Floors                                                            Electrical fixtures and fittings
 Concrete floors                           X                       Wiring, sockets and light fittings
 Floor tiles (if fitted by the council)    X                                                               X
                                                                   (only if fitted by the council)
 Loose floor coverings and fitted                                  Wired in smoke alarms                   X
                                                     X
  carpets
                                                                   Independent smoke alarms
 Floorboards and joists                    X                                                                         X
                                                                   (battery operated)
 Skirting boards and architraves           X
                                                                   Pull cord strings                       X
Ceilings
                                                                   Consumer unit (fuse box)                X
 Decoration (including patching
                                                     X             Storage heater (only if owned by the
  artex)                                                                                                   X
                                                                   council)
Fireplaces
                                                                   Fires (only if owned by the council)    X
 Fireplace                                 X
                                                                   Electric meter and supply                         X
 Sweeping chimney                          X
                                                                   Cookers                                           X
Staircase
                                                                   Disconnection and re-connection
 Staircase, banisters, handrails           X                                                                         X
                                                                   of cooker not owned by council
Bathroom
                                                                   Extractor fans                          X
 Bath panels                               X
                                                                   Immersion heater                        X
 Boxing of pipe work (unless fitted as
                                                     X
 part of an improvement/upgrade)
 Slatted shelves in airing cupboard
                                           X
 or drying cupboard



                                                             17
                                     Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance




                                            COUNCIL




                                                                                                                      COUNCIL
                                                      TENANT




                                                                                                                                TENANT
            INTERNAL WORK                                                        INTERNAL WORK


Plumbing                                                            Home security
 Hot and cold services, tanks and                                    Security doors and chains and spy
                                             X                                                                         X
 overflows                                                           holes
 Wash hand basins (WHBs)                     X                       Security lights (unless fitted by the council)              X
 Blocked WC                                  X                      Roof
 WC cisterns                                 X                       Chimneys                                          X
 WC pans                                     X                       Roof structures including tiles/
                                                                                                                       X
 WC seats                                              X             slates etc
 All taps, stop taps and valves              X                       Guttering and rainwater pipes                     X
 Baths                                       X                       Fascia boards, soffits and barge
                                                                                                                       X
 Showers and trays (if fitted by council)    X                       boards
 Blocked sinks, WHBs and baths                         X            Walls and canopies
 Plugs and chains to sinks and                                       External walls and rendering                      X
                                                       X
 WHBs                                                                Foundations                                       X
 Tap washers                                 X                       Canopies over doors (if fitted by                 X
 Lagging of tanks and pipe work              X                        council)
 Sealant around baths, WHBs and                                     Windows
                                             X
 sinks                                                               Window frames                                     X
Gas                                                                  Window catches and furniture to
                                                                                                                       X
 Pipe work                                   X                        wooden frames
 Gas meter and supply                                  X            Glazing
 Gas fire (only if owned by the                                      Broken glazing in windows or
                                             X
 council)
                                                                     doors where non fair wear and                               X
 Radiators, valves, time clocks and                                  tear
                                             X
 thermostats
 Boilers                                     X                       Glazing all other reasons                                   X
 Cooker                                                X            Doors
 Disconnection and reconnection                                      Entrance door and frames                          X
                                                       X
 of cookers not owned by council                                     Entrance door locks and
                                                                                                                       X
Adaptations for disabled people                                       ironmongery (wear and tear only)
 Social inclusion and health request                                 Door entry system                                 X
                                             X                       Draught excluders                                 X
 for an adaptation
 Repair to already installed                                        Drains and pipes
                                             X                       Soil pipes and fittings                           X
 adaptation
Home security                                                        Drain pipes and gulleys                           X
 Extra door or window locks (not                                     Blocked drains                                    X
 key locking)                                          X             Inspection chambers                               X



                                                               18
 Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


                                                                    Rechargeable repairs




                                            COUNCIL

                                                      TENANT
                                                                    Tenants will be recharged for any damage
             INTERNAL WORK                                          to their home or communal areas. Tenants
                                                                    MUST pay for repair or replacement
                                                                    if the damage is caused deliberately
Gardens and boundaries
                                                                    through neglect or carelessness, either by
 Gardens                                               X            themselves, members of their household,
 Fencing (only if fitted by council and                             visitors or friends.
                                             X
  to match existing)
 Fencing (all other) unless adjacent                                Tenants can choose to carry out
                                             X
 to a public path                                                   the work themselves, but this work
 Front side or rear gates (only if fitted                           must then be inspected by a council
                                                       X
  by council)                                                       representative and completed to their
 Line posts/dryers (only if fitted by                               satisfaction.
                                             X
  council)
Gardens and boundaries                                              In exceptional circumstances these
 Car hardstandings and driveways                       X            charges can be waived or reduced.
Garages and outbuildings                                            For more information please contact the
 Garage or outbuilding if owned by                                  Housing Maintenance Team on (01788)
                                             X
 council                                                            533533.
 Replacement padlocks to garage
                                                       X
 doors
Gaining entry
 Gaining entry to your home if
 you have locked yourself out (we
 can do this on your behalf, but a
 charge will apply). Lost keys and                     X
 replacement locks (we can do this
 on your behalf, but a charge will
 apply).
Communal areas
 Areas such as lifts, stairs, foyers
 etc.                                        X




 Recharge Policy
 The council introduced a recharge policy
 in October 2010. A copy can be obtained
 on request. Contact details are on page 2.

 The table above identifies areas where
 you are likely to be recharged. Please note
 that this is not a full list and other repairs
 may be recharged.

                                                               19
                                   Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Right to repair
                                                                       Repair                 Timescale
The Right to Repair scheme ensures that
small urgent repairs, which might affect                  Plumbing
your health, safety or security, are carried
out quickly and easily.                                       Blocked sink, bath or basin three working days
                                                              Tap which cannot be
                                                                                           three working days
                                                              turned
Qualifying repairs                                            Leak from water or
                                                                                           one working day
The following table gives a list of repairs                   heating pipe tank cistern
that qualify as determined by the Secure                  Other
Tenants of Local Housing Authorities
(Right to Repair) Regulations 1994. A                         Insecure external window,
                                                                                           one working day
                                                              door or lock
repair	only	qualifies	if	the	cost	of	
carrying out the work is less than £250.                      Loose or detached
                                                                                           three working days
                                                              banister or handrail
                                                              Rotten timber flooring or
                                                                                           three working days
                                                              stair tread
             Repair                Timescale
                                                              Leaking roof                 seven working days
Electrical                                                    Door entry – phone not
                                                                                           seven working days
 Total loss of electrical                                     working
                                one working day
 power                                                        Mechanical extractor
 Partial loss of electrical                                   fan in internal kitchen or   seven working days
                                three working days
 power                                                        bathroom not working
 Unsafe power or lighting
                                one working day
 socket or electrical fitting
                                                          How can you get your repairs done?
Heating
                                                          You should tell the council what needs to
 Total loss of space heating    one working day           be done. If the repair comes under the
                                                          Right to Repair scheme, the council will
 Total or partial loss of gas
                                one working day           tell a contractor to do it in the set time.
 supply
                                                          The council will also send you a copy of
 Blocked flue to open fire
                                one working day           the repair notice it sends to the contractor.
 or boiler
                                                          The notice will show you:
Plumbing
                                                          •      the name, address and telephone
 Total loss of water supply     one working day                  number of the contractor who will do
                                                                 the repair
 Partial loss of water supply three working days
 Blocked or leaking foul                                  •      the arrangements made for the
 drain, soil stack or (where                                     contractor to do the repair (the date
 there is no other working      one working day                  and time)
 toilet in the dwelling
                                                          •      what the repair is and
 house) toilet pan
 Toilet not flushing ( where                              •      when the repair should be done by
 there is no other working      one working day
 toilet in the dwelling                                   You must let the council know when
 house)                                                   someone can be at home to let the
                                                          contractor in.


                                                     20
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


How long has the council got to carry            Alterations you make to your home
out these repairs?                               You cannot carry out any alterations
This depends on the type of repair you           or changes until you have written
need, but the council can always tell            permission (this does not include
you how long it should take. Qualifying          internal decorating). Examples of
repair times are set by law – not the            alterations that you need permission for
council.                                         include:
                                                 •   installation/renewal of central
                                                     heating
What	happens	if	the	first	contractor	
doesn’t do your repair in time?                  •   installation/renewal of windows
If the first contractor doesn’t do your
                                                 •   removing walls or partitions (or part of)
repair in time, you should phone the
council and ask them to get a second             •   installation/renewal of verandahs,
contractor to carry out the work. Unless             porches, conservatories etc
there is a good reason why the work
hasn’t been done, the council will               •   installation of driveways
instruct a second contractor. You will
                                                 •   installation/renewal of kitchen units
get a copy of the second repair notice –
                                                     and worktops etc
which the council sends to the second
contractor. The second contractor then           •   installation of bathroom suites/
has the same amount of time to do the                showers
repair as the first one had.
                                                 •   painting of external doors, windows
                                                     and walls
Compensation
                                                 •   installation of gates and or fencing
If the second contractor doesn’t do
your repair in time, you will get £10 in         •   removal/pruning of trees
compensation. For every extra day you
wait, you will get another £2. The most          •   installation of sky dish/water meters
compensation you can get for any one
job is £50. The council will pay your            Your request will not be refused without
compensation – unless you already owe            good reason, but you must not start any
it some money. If you do owe money to            work until you get written permission.
the council, it will take away the amount        You must also comply with any
you owe from your compensation.                  conditions that the council has imposed
                                                 in your request.
Sometimes there may be a good
reason why a repair can’t be done.               Always remember – competent/
For example, if you didn’t keep your             qualified persons should carry out your
appointment to let the contractor in, and        alterations and certificates will have to
they therefore couldn’t carry out the            be produced if any electrical or gas work
repair, the council won’t have to pay you        is carried out.
any compensation.
                                                 Depending upon the work you have in
                                                 mind, you may also need to get planning
                                                 and or building regulation approval
                                                 before starting work.

                                            21
                               Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


The installation would be the responsibility        We will maintain a comprehensive
of the tenant, and must remain in the               register of properties adapted for a
property if the tenant leaves, or if removed        person or people with a disability so
re-instatement work must be carried out             we can make every effort to allocate a
at the tenant’s own expense. The council            vacant property with disabled facilities or
should not have to incur any expenditure            adaptations to a tenant or applicant who
either during the continuation or at the end        can fully benefit from those features.
of the tenancy nor should the improvement
reduce the value of the property.                   We will not carry out major adaptation
                                                    works where the property is substantially
                                                    under-occupied, after alternative
Adaptations                                         accommodation has been refused.
The council understands that life                   We also reserve the right to refuse
circumstances change and are committed              consent for major adaptation work to
to helping council tenants remain in their          a property where the household could
own home wherever possible by carrying              reasonably transfer to more suitable
out both minor and major adaptations.               accommodation provided by the council
                                                    or a partner housing association.
If you, or someone you live with, find it
difficult to get around your home, you may          For further information
need to have alterations made to your               For more details about adaptations please
home to help you. These adaptations can             contact the Contact Centre or email the
range from simple things like grab rails to         Housing Service via the contact details
more major alterations such as a stairlift,         on the telephone number on the front
level-access showers and ramps.                     page. Alternatively you could contact
                                                    Warwickshire County Council occupational
We have an annual budget specifically set           therapists on (01926) 410410 and ask for
aside for providing adaptations to rented           ‘Adult Health’.
council properties and will help guide you
through the adaptations process, including
the options available and the likely                Aged Persons Room Decoration
timescale for completion of any works.              Scheme
                                                    All tenants who are in sheltered housing
We will install minor adaptations
                                                    will automatically be asked every four
(grab rails, second stair rails and half
                                                    years to choose a room for decorating.
steps) without the need to involve an
occupational therapist, where there is a            Tenants in general needs properties and
clear and pressing need for such work.              who are in receipt of state pension, need to
We aim to install all minor adaptations             write in and request a room decoration and
within seven working days.                          they will need to re-apply every four years.

If major adaptations (stairlifts, level             The application should be sent in to the
access showers, etc) are requested then             council early in the year if possible to
we will help you arrange for a qualified            request a room decoration for the following
occupational therapist to visit and will            autumn. This will then happen anytime
act on their recommendations. We aim                from that autumn ie. around October with
to install major adaptations within six             the time period extending until the end of
weeks, though this is dependent on the              that current financial year ie: the following
work required.                                      March.

                                               22
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Your step-by-step guide to the most                    Information we need when you call us:
common repairs                                         •   Where is the leak and what is affected?
This section of the handbook is designed
                                                       •   How serious is it?
to help you diagnose your repair item
quickly and help us to provide a speedier,
more efficient repair service.
                                                       ROOFS
You may use the information in this section
to give us accurate details of your repair.
                                                       Tiles or slates are missing
Try to be as specific as possible when                 Your first step:
describing your repair. The more detail we             •   If there is water leaking into your
are given, the quicker we will be able to                  house, which could affect the
diagnose the problem and fix it.                           electrics, switch off the power at the
                                                           mains.

GUTTERING AND RAINWATER                                Your second step:
PIPES                                                  •   Try to prevent the leak from causing
                                                           any more damage. (eg place a bucket
                                                           underneath to catch the water)
Information we need when you call us:
•   Is there a blockage in the system? If              Information we need when you call us:
    so, where? (front, side or rear)
                                                       •   What type of property do you live in?
•   Is there a leak? If so, where? (front
                                                       •   Can you see if there are any slates
    side or rear).
                                                           or tiles missing? If so, how many are
•   Are any of the sections broken? If so,                 missing and are they from the front,
    how many?                                              rear or side?

•   Is your system iron or plastic?                    •   If there is water coming in from the
                                                           roof, which rooms are affected?

Drains and waste pipes are blocked
                                                       Damage	to	flat	roof	
Information we need when you call us:
                                                       Your first step:
•   Where is the blockage?
                                                       •   If there is water leaking into your
•   Is water backing up in your toilet?                    house, which could affect the
                                                           electrics, switch off the power at the
•   Is there any damage to your home ie                    mains.
    flooding?
                                                       Your second step:
Waste pipes are leaking                                •   Try to prevent the leak from causing
Your first step:                                           any more damage. (eg place a bucket
                                                           underneath to catch the water)
•   Stop using the appliance (sink, basin or
    bath) until we visit, this will prevent the
    leak from getting any worse or causing
    more damage.

                                                  23
                                 Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Information we need when you call us:
                                                   DOORS
•   If there is water coming into your
    home, which rooms are affected?
                                                   The door is jammed or sticking
                                                   Information we need when you call us:

CHIMNEYS                                           •   Which door is affected? (outside, or
                                                       internal door and what room)

Information we need when you call us:              •   If it is an outside door, can you shut it
                                                       and lock it?
•   Is the damage affecting the brick,
    chimney pot, or lead flashing?                 •   Are you able to get into your home?

•   Is the chimney shared with your                •   Can you see any reason for this?
    neighbour’s property?
                                                   •   Has the door been recently painted?

                                                   •   Have you had carpets fitted recently,
                                                       which may be preventing opening?
WINDOWS
                                                   The glass in the door is broken
Broken window pane                                 All broken glazing is currently re-
All broken glazing is currently re-                chargeable.
chargeable.
                                                   Information we need when you call us:
Other repairs, eg seal broken on double            •   Which door is affected? (outside, or
glazed units                                           internal door)
Information we need when you call us:              •   How was it broken?
•   Which panes are affected
                                                   •   Is your home secure?

The window frame is jammed or                      •   Is it single or double-glazed?
sticking                                           •   Is it clear or patterned glass?
Information we need when you call us:
•   What type of window is it?
                                                   DOOR LOCKS
•   What type of window frame is it?
    (timber, plastic or metal)
                                                   If you have lost or broken your key, you
•   Which room is it in, and on what floor?        will be recharged for us to force entry and
                                                   change the lock.
•   Can you see any reason for this? (i.e.
    loose putty, rotting frames, etc)
                                                   Information we need when you call us:
•   Has the frame been recently painted?           •   Which lock is affected and is there a
                                                       second lock on the door?
                                                   •   What type of lock is it?


                                              24
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


•   Has the door been forced open?                    Condensation

•   Is your home secure?                              Warm moist air is produced by normal
                                                      household activities like cooking and
                                                      bathing. It is in the air even if you cannot
SECURITY FOBS                                         see it. When warm moist air hits a cold
                                                      surface such as a window or cold wall,
                                                      condensation is generated. Condensation
If you have lost your security fob, you will          usually occurs during cold weather and
be recharged for its replacement.                     can be found in places where there is little
You should contact your housing team to               air movement.
arrange payment and replacement.
                                                      Condensation can lead to mould growth
                                                      which can contribute to problems such as
WALLS AND CEILINGS                                    asthma and other respiratory diseases.

                                                      Ways you can help prevent condensation
Damp                                                  include:
•   Damp on ceilings may be caused                    •   dry clothes outdoors on a line, or put
    by plumbing equipment, rainwater                      them in the bathroom with the door
    getting into the home, or faulty seals                closed and the window open
    around baths, showers, etc.
                                                      •   if you use a tumble drier, ensure it is
•   Damp caused by external factors,                      vented outside. Drying clothes in a
    will only appear on external walls,                   tumble drier can produce up to ten
    often near windows or close to                        pints of moisture
    gutters.
                                                      •   in the kitchen use an extractor fan or
•   Rising damp is caused by water from                   open a window when cooking
    the ground getting into damp-proof
    courses, sometimes causing floor                  •   cover pans and do not leave the kettle
    tiles to lift and discoloured patches                 boiling. This will also save on your
                                                          fuel bills
•   Mould on walls can generally be just
    wiped clean. However, you should                  •   keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut
    report it if the problem gets worse.                  to stop moisture moving around your
                                                          home
Information we need when you call us:                 •   after having a bath or shower, close
•   Does the damp only appear when it                     the door and open the window until the
    has been raining?                                     moisture is gone, stopping it reaching
                                                          other parts of the home
•   Is the damp on an external or
    internal wall/ceiling?                            •   ventilate your home by opening your
                                                          windows a little, and using extractor
•   Is there damage to the inside of the                  fans or vents. This will allow moisture
    property?                                             to escape outside

•   Is the damp patch near electrical                 •   if you have trickle vents above the
    items? If so, these should be switched                windows, keep them open all the
    off until the repair has been carried out.            time.

                                                 25
                                Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


•   don’t block up any air vents because          •   How many stairs are affected?
    this prevents moisture from escaping
                                                  •   Are the stairs wooden or concrete?
•   ventilate cupboards and wardrobes.
    Where possible, put them against
    internal walls                                IN THE KITCHEN
•   try to avoid having cold areas in the
    home. It is better to heat the whole          Cupboards
    home to a lower temperature, rather           Information we need when you call us:
    than one room to a high temperature
                                                  •   Which unit is damaged?
•   avoid paraffin or bottled gas heaters.
                                                  •   Which part of the unit is damaged?
    Using a bottle gas heater for five
    hours will produce three litres of            •   How did the damage happen?
    moisture.
                                                  •   If the handles are broken, what type
                                                      are they?
Plaster
You should report a bulging ceiling               The sink is blocked
immediately.
                                                  In the first instance try unblocking the sink
There could be several reasons for                with a plunger. You may be recharged to
plaster flaking off ceilings or walls.            unblock the sink.
Many buildings experience some minor              Information we need when you call us:
movement, which can cause plaster                 •   What caused/is causing the blockage?
cracks. These should be dealt with by
yourself. If they re-occur you should
contact the property maintenance officer          WATER
for an inspection.

                                                  Shutting off your water supply
                                                  At times we may need you to turn off your
JOINERY                                           water supply. You should make sure you
                                                  know where your stopcock, or surestop
                                                  switch, is. It is wise to test the stopcock
Loose	floorboards                                 twice a year to make sure it is working.
Information we need when you call us:             You can do this by shutting it off to check
•   Where is the problem?                         it closes, then opening it fully. Then close
                                                  it slightly by turning it a little towards off.
•   How many boards are affected?
                                                  Note: if you do have to turn off your
                                                  water supply, you may also need to
Uneven or broken stairs                           turn off your heating system.
Information we need when you call us:             Some items, such as a toilet cistern,
•   What part of the stairs is faulty?            have their own isolation valves, so the
                                                  water supply to this item can be turned off
•   Are the stairs part of your own home,         without it affecting anything else in your
    or        part of a communal block?           property.

                                             26
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


                                                         (eg outside front, rear or side or into
LEAKS                                                    the toilet)

                                                     •   Is the overflow running continuously?
Your first step:
•   If the water is collecting near                  We may ask you to turn off the stopcock
    electrical fittings, turn off the                or surestop switch.
    electricity at the mains.
                                                     The	toilet	will	not	flush
•   If you have shut off the water supply,
    you may also have to turn off your               Information we need when you call us:
    central heating system or immersion              •   Is this the only toilet in the house?
    heater.
                                                     •   Is the cistern filling properly?
Information we need when you call us:
                                                     •   Is the cold water supply running?
•   If there is a leak, can you see where
    the water is coming from?
                                                     The toilet is leaking
•   Which item of equipment is affected?
                                                     Your first step:
•   Is the leak from the cold-water or hot-          •   Try to prevent the leak from causing
    water supply?                                        more damage.

•   How serious is the leak?                         •   Turn off the cold-water supply at the
                                                         stopcock or surestop switch.
•   Are your electrics affected? If so turn
    off immediately.                                 Information we need when you call us:
                                                     •   How serious is the leak?

                                                     •   Is the pan cracked or are any pipes
IN THE BATHROOM                                          or joints leaking?

                                                     •   Does the toilet only leak when it is
Toilet
                                                         flushed?
•   A toilet that will not empty when flushed
    is possibly blocked in the pan outlet.

•   A leak can happen at the soil pipe joint.

•   A leak can also happen on the flush              SINKS, BASINS, BATHS AND
    pipe, or the joint between it and the            SHOWERS
    pan (the cone joint).

Information we need when you call us:                Faulty taps
•   Which overflow is causing the                    Your first step:
    problem? (ie: the toilet, the cold-              •   You may need to turn off the water
    water tank, etc)                                     supply at the stopcock or surestop
                                                         switch.
•   Where does the overflow run out?


                                                27
                                 Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Information we need when you call us:                 •   If it is the overflow pipe, where does it
•   What type of tap is it?                               empty out?

•   Where is the tap? (i.e. kitchen,                  •   If any of the tiles are damaged, how
    bathroom, bath, sink, wash basin,                     many?
    etc)
                                                      •   Has the leak caused any other
•   What is the problem? (loose handle,                   damage to your home?
    dripping, etc)
                                                      Water heaters
Blocked or damaged sink or basin                      It is common for homes to have a hot-
Information we need when you call us:                 water cylinder. An electric immersion
                                                      heater incorporating an integral
•   What is the problem? (i.e. blockage,              thermostat to control the temperature
    leak or crack)                                    heats the water.
•   Is it your kitchen or bathroom sink?              If an immersion heater is fitted there will
                                                      be a nearby power switch and perhaps a
•   If the leak is on a supply pipe, is it the
                                                      timer (economy 7).
    hot or cold?
                                                      It is also common for the cylinder to
•   How did the damage happen?
                                                      be heated from a boiler, which can
                                                      be either independent of, or part of a
Baths                                                 central heating system.
Damaged sealant between the bath and
                                                      The temperature of the water in this
the splashback tiles will need attention to
                                                      case may be controlled by a thermostat
prevent water seeping through.
                                                      fixed to the outside of the cylinder.
Leaks may occur from:
                                                      Information we need when you call us:
•   Overflow – if the bath is overfilled.
                                                      •   What type of heating system do you
•   Waste pipes – when the bath is                        have?
    emptied.
                                                      •   Do you have hot water at any time,
•   Supply pipes – (at any time).                         or not at all?

                                                      •   Do you have any other ways of
Your first step:                                          heating water in your home?
•   Check where the leak is coming from
    (which pipes)                                     •   Do you have water-supply problems?

•   Check the sealant between the bath
    and the splashback tiles
                                                      HEATING SYSTEMS
Information we need when you call us:
•   If there is a leak, which pipe is it from?        The radiator does not heat up
•   If the leak is from a supply pipe, is it          Please contact the repairs team for advice
    the cold or hot water one?                        on (01788) 533533.

                                                 28
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Faulty boiler                                      Safety Note: Do not put clothes,
Your first steps:                                  fabrics etc on the heaters. Do not
                                                   block air outlet grilles. Do not sit or
•   Check to see if the power is still on          stand on the heater.
•   Is the boiler thermostat set high
    enough?                                        Smoke Detectors
                                                   • Detectors should be checked weekly.
•   Is the room thermostat set high enough?
                                                   •   Check power supply indicator light is
Information we need when you call us:                  on (mains type)
•   What type of heating system do you             •   Test sounder for 10 seconds
    have?
                                                   •   Remove any dust from external
•   What type of fuel does your system                 surfaces with narrow nozzle vacuum
    use? (Gas, or solid fuel)
                                                   •   Do not remove batteries from
•   Does your heating system also                      detectors
    provide the hot water?
                                                   •   Do not paint external surfaces of
•   Does the boiler show a diagnostic                  detectors
    code on the readout?
                                                   Note:	The	introduction	of	air	flow	to	
                                                   the detector will silence any false
ELECTRIC HEATING, STORAGE                          alarm.
HEATERS, CONVECTOR HEATERS,
PANEL HEATERS AND WALL FIRES

Your first step:                                   ELECTRIC FITTINGS
•   Ensure the control switch adjacent to
    the heaters is in the ON position.             Lights
•   Ensure control settings are                    •   Always take care with electrical
    appropriately set.                                 equipment and fittings.

                                                   •   Problems eg: flickering lights,
Information we need when you call us:
                                                       exposed wires, overheating sockets,
•   What is the problem?                               smell of burning or any event of a
                                                       serious risk of life or property should
•   Which heater is it?                                be reported immediately.
•   Are there any problems with your               •   Where possible the appropriate
    electricity supply?                                circuit eg: lighting, power should be
                                                       switched off.
Note:	 Following	any	rectification	to	a	
problem concerning storage heaters,
heat may not be released until an
overnight power charge has taken place.


                                              29
                               Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Power failure
Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs)                  95 per cent of reasons for RCDs
automatically switch off if there is an            to switch off are due to faulty
overload fault on the circuit and/or               appliances.
appliance.
                                                   If it is an appliance or tenant’s own
The Residual Current Device (RCD) is               fitting causing the loss of supply
a large switch with test button. This will         then it is your responsibility to have
also automatically switch off if there is a        it repaired or replaced.
fault to earth.

Your first step:
                                                   GAS
•   If you have a card meter, check that
    you have credit.
                                                   If you have a card meter, check that you
•   Check if your neighbours have also             have credit.
    had a power failure. If so this is a
    problem for your supply authority              The council uses contractors for
    and you should contact them.                   carrying out the annual gas safety
                                                   checks to all council-owned gas
•   If it is only affecting your home you          appliances, flue systems and gas
    should locate your consumer unit/              pipework installed in your property.
    fuse box and check if the RCD
    or any of the MCBs are in the off              We will also carry out repairs to council-
    position.                                      owned gas appliances, providing the
                                                   appliance has not been subjected to
•   Switch off main switch reset RCD/              vandalism.
    MCB and switch back on. (Push
    down fully and back up again).                 When council-owned gas appliances
                                                   become obsolete and spare parts are
                                                   no longer available we will replace the
Loss of Supply to Power Sockets,
                                                   appliance.
Cookers, Lighting etc
•   Check if any trip switches (RCD/               The tenant(s) MUST pay for a repair
    MCBs) are in the off position.                 if the damage is caused deliberately,
                                                   through neglect or carelessness by
•   Switch off or unplug any appliances,           yourself, members of your household,
    cooking equipment or blown lighting            visitors or friends.
    bulb that may have caused the trip
    switch to operate.                             Suspected gas leaks or fumes from gas
                                                   appliances must be reported to National
•   Reset any trip switches.                       Grid Gas on their emergency free
•   Switch off at main switch identify             phone telephone number:
    and replace any blown fuses (use
    correct rating fuse wire or barrel
                                                            0800 111 999
    fuse). Switch back on. If any trip
    switch fails to reset or fuses continue
    to blow call the Contact Centre.

                                              30
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


Annual Gas Safety Inspection                       informed of any defects noted on the
The council has a legal obligation to              appliance, which must be repaired by
ensure that all gas appliances, flues              a Gas Safe registered installer of your
and gas pipework owned by them are                 choice.
checked for safety every year.

The appointment for carrying out
the annual gas safety checks on
gas appliances will be made by
the approved gas contractor. The
contractor will write with an appointment
around two weeks before the service is
due.

It is very much in the tenant’s interest to
allow access to the property to carry out
this work as gas appliances that operate
without regular safety checks can result
in carbon monoxide poisoning and
ultimately death or gas explosion.

If you fail to keep appointments and
we are unable to gain access to your
property on a number of occasions an
application to the court for a ‘warrant to
enter’ will be made. Once granted entry
may be made by force if necessary.
Failure to allow access to the property
will cost £250 for legal action and up to
£5,000 in fines.

To avoid this we ask for your co-
operation in allowing our gas service
engineer access to your property on the
appointed date to carry out the works.

During gas safety check visits we
will carry out a free- of-charge visual
inspection on privately-owned gas
appliances. You will be informed of
any defects noted on the appliance,
which must be repaired by a Gas Safe
registered installer of your choice.

Privately owned radiant log or coal fuel
effect gas fires fitted to a class 1 flue
or similar will have a free-of-charge
gas service carried out. You will be

                                              31
                            Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance



            GAS LEAKS                         REDUCE THE RISK OF CARBON
                                                 MONOXIDE POISONING
If you smell gas, think you have a
gas leak, or are worried that fumes           X   NEVER use a gas appliance if you
containing carbon monoxide are                    think it is not working correctly.
escaping from a gas appliance, turn               Look out for signs that include
your gas supply off at the meter.                 yellow or orange flames, soot or
                                                  staining around the appliance and
Please call the free National Grid Gas            pilot lights that frequently blow out.
emergency line immediately on:
                                              X   NEVER cover up a gas appliance.

           0800 111 999                       X   NEVER block or obstruct any
                                                  internal or externally fixed
  this is a 24-hour emergency line                ventilation grille or airbrick.

                                              X   NEVER block or cover any internal
⎷ Turn off the meter at the control               or externally fitted flue from a gas
   valve                                          appliance.

⎷ Put out any naked flames                    X   NEVER allow an unqualified gas
                                                  fitter or person to install or carry
⎷ Open doors and windows                          out works on your gas appliances,
                                                  or attempt the work yourself. (All
⎷ Keep people away from the affected              qualified gas fitters are registered
   area                                           with Gas Safe and must present an
                                                  up to date Gas Safe identification
                                                  card)
X DON’T smoke or strike any matches

X DON’T turn electrical switches on or
                                              ⎷ Whenever draught exclusion,
  off.
                                                  double-glazing or a conservatory
                                                  extension is fitted to a room
                                                  containing a gas appliance, the
                                                  appliance must be checked for
                                                  safety as soon as the work is
                                                  complete.

                                              ⎷ ALWAYS allow your landlord to
                                                  complete these annual safety
                                                  inspections.




                                         32
Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


                                                    be asbestos in the following areas of
ASBESTOS                                            your home:
                                                    •   boilers and flues
Asbestos was used a lot in building
                                                    •   fascia boards and soffits
materials in the UK from the 1950s to the
mid 1980s. It was used because it is an             •   pipe joints and pipework
ideal fire-proof and insulation material.
Any building built in the UK before 2000            •   garage roofs
can contain asbestos. It is likely that your
home will contain some materials with               •   fire breaks
asbestos in them. Asbestos materials
                                                    •   gas appliances and water heaters
in good condition are safe unless the
asbestos fibres get into the air, which             •   fire doors and door linings
happens when materials are damaged.
                                                    •   textured coatings, like artex
The council is now carrying out asbestos
surveys prior to capital work programmes            •   pipe boxing and insulation
and in void properties.
                                                    •   partition walls
The asbestos survey, when received, will
                                                    •   bath panels
be sent to you for information, and for
placing for safe-keeping in the Tenancy             •   behind and in fuse boxes
Documents section at the end of this
handbook. A laminated plan will also be             •   heater cupboards
affixed inside the kitchen cupboard door to
your sink unit.                                     •   water tanks

                                                    •   storage heaters
What is asbestos?
                                                    •   ceiling tiles and floor tiles
Asbestos is a natural mineral, which is
dug out of the ground. Raw asbestos is
                                                    Any new materials used in your home
contained in rock. The rock is crushed
                                                    after 2000 will not contain asbestos.
and processed to allow the asbestos to
be taken out. It is then added to other
materials to make building products and             Will asbestos affect my health?
other products such as fire blankets.
                                                    Asbestos fibres are present in the air in
Whether a material contains asbestos                the UK so we are all exposed to very low
or not cannot be identified simply by               levels of fibres. If there is asbestos in
looking at them. To find out whether a              your home, this does not automatically
material contains asbestos, a sample                mean there is a problem. Asbestos
of the material is carefully taken by a             materials in good condition are safe
specialist and it is analysed to see if             unless asbestos fibres become airborne,
there is any asbestos in the material.              which happens when materials are
                                                    damaged.
Is there asbestos in my home?
                                                    Asbestos materials are not a danger
Asbestos can be found in most homes                 to your health if they are in good
built in the UK before 2000. There may              condition and are not disturbed.

                                               33
                               Maintaining your home - repairs and maintenance


If you breathe in a large number of                Will you remove asbestos from my
asbestos fibres they can cause serious             home?
diseases later in life. There are three            Most of the time it is safer to leave
main diseases caused by asbestos;                  asbestos-containing materials where
mesothelioma (which is always fatal);              they are, provided that they are in good
lung cancer (almost always fatal) and              condition. Our policy is to do a risk
asbestosis (not always fatal but can be            assessment for every case we are told
very debilitating). It is also important to        about. A trained surveyor will decide
remember that people who smoke and                 whether to:
are also exposed to asbestos fibres are
at a much greater risk of developing               •   leave the asbestos in place and
lung cancer.                                           make a record of where it is (if it is
                                                       in good condition)
How can I reduce the risks?                        •   seal the asbestos to stop it breaking
X   DON’T repair or remove any                         down
    material that you think may contain
    asbestos.                                      •   cover the asbestos with timber, PVC
                                                       or other material. This is called
X   DON’T cut, break, saw, drill, sand                 encapsulating the material.
    or disturb anything you think may
    contain asbestos.                              •   Have it carefully removed and
                                                       replace it with a material that does
                                                       not contain asbestos.
⎷ If you do not know what a material
    is made from, assume that it does
    contain asbestos.                              Who can remove asbestos?
                                                   Different levels of specialist contractors
⎷ If you do not know whether                       deal with different types of asbestos
    something contains asbestos,                   materials. Where a licensed contractor
    phone us on (01788) 533888 and                 is needed to remove asbestos-
    we will be able to check our register.         containing material then we will only
    If we have not got a record, we                use a special contractor licensed by the
    can arrange to have the material               Health and Safety Executive.
    inspected by a specialist, have
    it analysed or carry out a risk                Where a licensed contractor is not
    assessment.                                    needed we still only use specialist
                                                   trained and audited contractors (this
⎷ If you find damaged asbestos in                  would be for work such as moving
    your home let us know.                         asbestos cement). We do spot-checks
                                                   to make sure the contractors work to
The council has an asbestos                        high standards of health and safety.
management plan to make sure we take
appropriate action to identify and deal            Please do not panic if you think you
with materials containing asbestos in              have asbestos in your home. Contact
your home.                                         the housing maintenance team via
                                                   (01788) 533888 or visit www.hse.gov.
                                                   uk/asbestos for more information.


                                              34
Section 2: notes




                   35
28
  Section 3




  YOUR TENANCY EXPLAINED




At your sign-up interview you will have signed your Tenancy Agreement.
You will also have been given a copy of the conditions of your tenancy. You
should read through these documents carefully as they are your contract
with Rugby Borough Council.
This section contains:
              Introductory and secure tenancies
              Demoted Tenancies
              Joint Tenancies
              Succession
              Conditions of tenancy




                                         37
                                                                  Your tenancy explained


Introductory and Secure Tenancies                   What rights do introductory tenants
                                                    not have?
What is the difference?
                                                    An introductory tenant does not enjoy
All new tenants of Rugby Borough Council
                                                    the same rights as a secure tenant, for
are given an introductory tenancy for the
                                                    example you do not have automatic legal
first 12 months.
                                                    right to:
An introductory tenancy is a probationary           •   take in lodgers
tenancy. Should the tenant wish to                  •   buy your council home
accept it, an introductory tenancy will
automatically become a secure tenancy               •   make improvements to your home
after the initial 12 months. In certain             •   exchange your home
circumstances the introductory tenancy
can be extended by a further six months.            •   transfer to another landlord

If an introductory tenant:                          All of the above rights become available
                                                    to tenants after the initial 12 months
•   fails to keep to their conditions of            when the introductory tenancy becomes
    tenancy                                         a secure tenancy.
•   fails to pay rent
                                                    Your rights as a Secure Tenant
•   obtains a tenancy by giving false
                                                    As a secure tenant you will have certain
    information
                                                    legal rights, these are outlined below.
then the council may use fast track                 •   Right to consultation
possession proceedings to end their                     On any changes affecting your tenancy.
tenancy.
                                                    •   Right to Mutual Exchange
                                                        Swap your home with another willing
If the council decides to obtain a court
                                                        party who is also a secure tenant.
order to end an introductory tenancy then
the court must award possession to the              •   Right to buy your home
council – it does not have the discretion to            Please refer to the section on
do otherwise. Any court costs incurred in               Leasehold and Right to Buy.
taking such action will be payable by the
tenant.                                             •   Right to access personal information
                                                        You are entitled to view personal
As long as they do not breach their                     information that we hold about you
conditions of tenancy, a secure tenant can              on file or computer. (A fee may be
keep their tenancy for life, subject to any             charged for this service).
future changes to legislation.                      •   Right to take over a tenancy
                                                        If the tenant dies, certain people have
Again, the council can only bring such                  the right to take over the tenancy, as
a tenancy to an end by first obtaining a                long as the deceased tenant did not
court order. Any costs incurred in taking               take over the tenancy in the same way.
such action are payable by the tenant.                  These people are: a joint tenant, the
                                                        tenant’s husband, wife or partner,
Please also see notes on Conditions of                  or, a member of the family who has
Tenancy on page 40.                                     lived with the tenant for at least 12
                                                        months prior to his or her death.

                                               38
Your tenancy explained


Demoted Tenancies                                     •   the proposed joint tenant can provide
                                                          two forms of identification, for
Demoted tenancies were introduced as
                                                          verification purposes
part of the Anti social Behaviour Act 2003.
In cases where a tenant has been involved             •   the proposed joint tenant can provide
in anti social behaviour, we can apply to                 proof of previous addresses over the
the County Court to request that a secure                 last five years
tenancy be brought to an end by a Demotion
Order. The court has no power to demote a             •   the proposed joint tenant has no
tenancy other than for anti social behaviour.             interest in another tenancy or
                                                          mortgaged property anywhere in the
A demoted tenancy is a one year
                                                          UK or abroad
probationary tenancy. Demoted tenants
have limited rights, less protection and              •   the proposed joint tenant has a long-
can be evicted more easily than a secure                  term commitment to the home.
tenant. Demoted tenants have their Right to
Buy suspended and will not be allowed to
exchange or apply for a transfer until the end        Are there any consequences of changing
                                                      my sole tenancy into joint names?
of their demotion period.
                                                      Once you have agreed to share your
                                                      tenancy with someone, they will share the
Joint Tenancies                                       same rights and responsibilities as you
Each joint tenant is jointly responsible              in respect of your home. If things do not
for keeping to all the conditions of the              work out then removing their name from
tenancy agreement. This includes paying               the tenancy, at a later date may prove
the rent, for which joint tenants are both            difficult, particularly if they do not wish to
jointly and severally liable.                         remove their name voluntarily.

What if a joint tenant dies?                          I am in a joint tenancy and want to
If one joint tenant dies, then you should             remove my name/my partner’s name,
advise your housing officer. If applicable,           what do I do?
arrangements can then be made to                      If your relationship breaks down and you
transfer the tenancy into the sole name of            are both on the tenancy agreement, it is
the surviving tenant, should they qualify             not possible for one joint tenant to evict the
to succeed. Please note that current                  other, as you both have equal legal rights to
legislation only permits a tenancy to be              occupy the property.
succeeded or amended on one occasion.
                                                      If you want to remove your name, or
I want my partner to be on my tenancy                 another person’s name, from a joint
agreement, what do I do?                              tenancy, then the housing team will consider
If you are a sole tenant and you wish to              your request providing:
create a joint tenancy with your partner,             •   you or the other party voluntarily give up
you should contact your housing officer for               your interest in the tenancy, in writing
advice. Your request will be considered, but
the council will need to be satisfied that:           •   a court order is obtained, clearly
                                                          stating that a person should be
•   you are not breaking any of your
                                                          removed from a tenancy for legal
    tenancy conditions
                                                          reasons (usually in connection with
•   your rent account is up-to-date                       divorce or childcare proceedings).

                                                 39
                                                                    Your tenancy explained


Before your request to transfer your tenancy          Due to the pressures of demand on the
is considered, you will be invited to attend          council’s housing stock, if the tenancy of
an interview with your housing officer. This          a family house is going to be succeeded
will give your housing officer the opportunity        by a single person, the council may
to discuss with you the implications and              decide that the property would be under-
potential consequences of your tenancy                occupied. Under these circumstances,
changing.                                             the council will take action to recover the
                                                      family house and offer the single person
You will then be sent a letter, which you             more suitable accommodation.
will be asked to sign and return to the
council, confirming whether or not you
still wish to proceed with the transfer.              Conditions of Tenancy
If your request to change your tenancy                Your Tenancy Agreement and the
is granted, then all parties will receive             Conditions of Tenancy are legal
written confirmation.                                 documents which set out the obligations
                                                      of both the council and the tenant. Your
Succession                                            Tenancy Agreement and Conditions of
                                                      Tenancy should be inserted into the last
If a tenant dies then it may be possible
                                                      section of this handbook for reference.
for their husband, wife, partner or a
family member to take over the tenancy.
                                                      There are additional Conditions of
This is called succession.
                                                      Tenancy for high rise properties.
Please advise your housing officer
as soon as possible. If applicable,                   Independent Advice
arrangements can be made to transfer                  You can obtain independent advice
the tenancy into the sole name of the                 about your tenancy and your rights from
surviving tenant, should they qualify to              Citizens Advice.
succeed.
                                                      Evicting you from your home
Please note that current legislation only
                                                      Before the council can evict you from
permits a tenancy to be succeeded on
                                                      your home it must have the legal grounds
one occasion.
                                                      to do so.

Who has the right to succeed a                        Common grounds for seeking to evict
tenancy?                                              tenants and their families are as a result
                                                      of the non-payment of rent and for anti-
The following people have the right to                social behaviour. If the council does have
succeed to your tenancy when you die:                 grounds to evict you then it has to obtain
•   a husband, wife or someone who                    a court order and follow a set procedure
    has been living with you as your                  to ensure that your eviction is carried out
    partner at the time of death.                     legally.

•   another family member or relative                 Applying for the eviction warrant
    who has lived with you for at least
    the previous 12 months, subject to                The court has to award the council a
    the provision of satisfactory proof of            possession order against your home.
    residence.                                        This may be suspended on condition that
                                                      you do or do not do something. If you

                                                 40
Your tenancy explained


break the terms of this court order or,           What happens next?
if the court awards the council outright          Once eviction proceedings have
possession of your home, the council can          commenced, the council will contact you
obtain a warrant for your eviction.               offering a homeless advice appointment,
                                                  which we strongly advise you attend. You
Notification	of	the	eviction                      can also contact the Housing Options
                                                  team for housing advice. However, if
The bailiff will hand deliver a notice of
                                                  the council has sought your eviction on
eviction to your home, confirming the
                                                  the grounds of rent arrears or anti-social
date and time of the eviction. You will
                                                  behaviour then it is likely that you will
also be charged the cost of the eviction
                                                  be found to be ‘intentionally homeless’.
warrant fee. This amount will be added to
                                                  This means that the council will not re-
your arrears and court costs debt.
                                                  house you and will exclude your from the
                                                  Common Housing Register for a period
How can I prevent the eviction?                   of 12 months. If, in these circumstances
In most cases, if your eviction is being          you have dependent children, the council
sought on the grounds of rent arrears             will automatically notify social services. In
then you will need to pay the outstanding         circumstances such as this it is advisable
amount in full (including court fees and          for you to try and secure accommodation
warrant fees) before the eviction date. If        yourself in the private sector.
you are unable to do this, or possession
is being sought on other grounds, then            The day of the eviction
you should immediately seek your own
independent legal advice from either a            Officers from the housing team will arrive at
solicitor or Citizens Advice.                     the property with the bailiff and a contractor.

                                                  A bailiff will take possession of the property.
If you are a secure tenant, you are
                                                  The contractor will gain access to the
entitled to make an application to the
                                                  property, change the locks and then secure
court to suspend the eviction. To do this
                                                  the property. Please note that you are
you will need to go to the county court
                                                  advised to ensure that you have removed
and make an application for a court
                                                  your possessions from the property prior
hearing. There is a fee for this but in
                                                  to the eviction, as you will not normally be
some circumstances, if you are in receipt
                                                  allowed back in, and you will be recharged
of certain benefits, or on a low income,
                                                  for the cost of removing and disposing of
there will be no fee to pay. On the date
                                                  any items that have been left.
of the hearing you must attend court and
put your reasons to the judge as to why
the eviction should be suspended.                 Recovery of outstanding debts
                                                  The council may use a collection agency
Please note that if you are an                    to pursue the collection of outstanding
introductory or demoted tenant then the           debts, including rent arrears, court costs
court does not have the discretion to             and warrant costs.
suspend the eviction.
                                                  Please note that the council will not
If the court does not agree to a                  usually house people, in the future, if they
suspension of the warrant, or you are             owe a debt on a former tenancy.
unable to pay the required amount in full,
then the eviction will proceed.

                                             41
Section 3: notes




                   42
Section 4




HELPFUL HINTS
             FOR MOVING IN AND LIVING IN YOUR HOME




This section contains:
             Lettable standard - the standard that you can
             expect of your council home
             Meter readings
             Pay as you go home contents insurance
             General safety advice
             Hints on home security
             Renting a garage from Rugby Borough Council




                                     43
                             Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Lettable Standard - The standard                  •   A decoration allowance will be
that you can expect of your council                   awarded, where appropriate. If
home                                                  you are unable to do your own
                                                      decorating then you should let us
Inspecting your home                                  know.
Before you view your home it will
already have been inspected by a                  •   All glazing will have been inspected
property maintenance officer, who will                to make sure that it is intact and that
have made sure that it is fit to let. They            the windows shut properly, with no
will also have recorded the condition of              excess draughts. Where necessary,
the property and noted all necessary                  windows will have been re-glazed
repairs and clearance work that is                    and a minimum of two window keys
needed.                                               will be provided.

                                                  •   Smoke alarms will have been tested
For your own safety, any repairs that
                                                      and left fully working.
are needed to ensure that the property
is safe will have been carried out before         •   Any non-standard alterations by
you are invited to view it. Although                  the previous tenant will have been
we try to ensure that as many repairs                 removed if they have not been done
as possible are carried out while the                 to an acceptable standard.
property is empty, some more minor
repairs may be outstanding when you               •   All plumbing will be in working
move in. A contractor will contact you                order with valves and waste pipes
to arrange a convenient appointment to                installed for a washing machine,
carry out such repairs.                               where possible.

The general standards you can expect              •   The property will have been checked
of your home:                                         to make sure it is safe, secure,
•   Two full sets of keys will be                     weatherproof and that there is no
    immediately available at the start                sign of damp, mould or woodworm.
    of tenancy. All door locks to the
                                                  •   Vents will be clear allowing for free
    property will have been changed
                                                      flow of air.
    after the previous tenancy.
                                                  •   Ceilings and walls will not have any
•   All cupboards and the property will
                                                      major defects and any damaged
    be cleared.
                                                      plaster will be repaired.
•   Internal and external doors will be
                                                  •   Polystyrene ceiling tiles, or similar
    intact, and with working latches,
                                                      fire hazards will be removed.
    locks and handles.
                                                  •   Any mobility adaptations will be safe
•   All carpets will already have been
                                                      and secure.
    removed, unless in a very good
    condition. You may wish to keep the           •   Staircases and handrails will be safe
    carpets. If not, then we will remove              and secure.
    them for you.




                                             44
Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Gas, electrics and solid fuel heating              •   The sealant around the bath and
systems                                                sink should be intact and in good
Gas appliance/s and solid fuel heating                 condition.
systems will have been serviced within
                                                   •   Toilet seats will be replaced.
the last 12 months. During the time the
property was empty, the gas appliance/s            •   Sanitary ware will have been
will have been tested and a copy of the                cleaned if it is excessively soiled.
test certificate and the annual service
certificate will both be made available to         •   There should be no defects to the
you as part of the lettings pack.                      kitchen sink.

In some instances the gas appliance(s)             •   Tiling should not be cracked,
will have been due to be serviced while                missing or loose.
the property was empty, and in this case
only a copy of the annual gas certificate          •   The drawers in kitchen units should
will be available.                                     open and close, with the drawer
                                                       fronts in place.
The electrics will have been inspected to          •   Kitchen cupboard doors, shelves
make sure that they are safe.                          and handles should be intact.

There should be no sign of leakage from            •   Kitchen worktops should be in a
pipework.                                              good condition.

It is up to you to enter into an agreement         •   Any defects to the floor finishing will
with a supplier for gas and electricity to             be noted for repair/replacement.
your home.                                         •   Basic food storage and preparation
                                                       areas will be provided.
In the interests of your own safety, if
you have a gas cooker you should make
arrangements for it to be installed by a
registered gas fitter.                             Decoration allowance
                                                   The housing maintenance officer may
Either an electric or gas cooker point will        have decided that some rooms, or
be available.                                      indeed all of your new home may merit
                                                   a decoration allowance being given to
                                                   the incoming tenant. Issues around the
                                                   taste of the existing décor are not taken
Bathrooms and kitchens
                                                   into account when assessing whether or
•   Taps should be clean, not drip and             not a room is eligible for an allowance.
    turn off properly.
                                                   The decoration allowance is a
•   Any leaks to water pipes which are
                                                   contribution from the council toward the
    evident at the time of our inspection
                                                   cost of decorating your home. It is not
    will be repaired.
                                                   intended to cover the whole of the cost
•   Damaged or defective sanitary-ware             as this will vary according to individual
    will be replaced.                              tastes and requirements.



                                              45
                           Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


If the incoming tenant is being                  Outside and the garden
transferred from one council property            The exterior of the property will have
to another, and a decoration allowance           been inspected for faults, for example
is given against the property they               defective guttering.
are leaving, this will be taken off the
                                                 However, it should be noted that:
amount they could possibly be awarded
on the new property. New tenants will            •   any leaks might not be evident if the
be given the full amount allowed for the             property was inspected on a dry day
property.
                                                 •   defective manhole covers and
                                                     footpaths will be repaired/replaced
Please note that the council will
only decorate on your behalf (as an
                                                 •   overgrown gardens and lawns will
alternative to being paid the allowance)
                                                     be cut back and cleared to assist
if:
                                                     you to create a maintainable garden
•   you are moving into sheltered
    housing and would like the council           •   faulty fencing, erected by a previous
    to carry out this work on your behalf            tenant will be removed and replaced
                                                     with post and wire
•   there are exceptional
    circumstances such as illness or             •   the council standard for party
    disability                                       fences is for post and wire only,
                                                     which the council will maintain
Please note that being young or
                                                 •   any additional fencing erected by
having no experience of decorating
                                                     previous tenants can be retained
is not deemed as an acceptable
                                                     - if you choose - but the future
reason for the council to decorate on
                                                     maintenance of it will be at your
your behalf.
                                                     own expense

If an allowance is being awarded, the            •   gutters and rainwater pipes will be
first half will be released by BACS                  in good working order
payment (for which we would need
bank details), or by giro cheque                 •   any dangerous structures - eg:
posted to the tenant which can be                    garages, outbuildings, etc will be
cashed at a Post Office. When work                   removed.
has commenced and progress can be
shown, an appointment should be made
with the housing maintenance officer.            Cleanliness
If the work has been done to their               When the keys to a property have been
satisfaction then they will authorise            returned to the council, we will arrange
the release of the second half of the            for the property to be cleaned, in the
allowance. This too will be posted               week before it is ready to re-let.
to your home. The first half of the
required decoration must be completed            Please note that this is a basic clean
within six months of the start of tenancy        only.
to qualify for the release of the second
half of the allowance.



                                            46
Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Cleaners work to an agreed                        Meter readings
specification of works:
                                                  You should arrange for final meter
Remove:                                           readings to be taken at your old
                                                  address ie. gas, electricity. Failure to
•   all loose dust from skirting and sills
                                                  do this could result in you paying for
    throughout
                                                  someone else’s supply.
•   cobwebs from ceiling areas
                                                  You should also take the meter
                                                  readings and notify the suppliers when
Kitchen:                                          you move into your new home.
•   clean worktops and outside of units,
    using a neutral detergent
•   clean sink unit

•   wipe and dry tiled areas


Bathroom:
•   clean toilet bowl, seat and pedestal
•   clean and rinse bath/shower
•   clean sink and pedestal
•   wipe and dry tiled areas


Floors:
•   sweep/vacuum all areas and mop if
    necessary

What if you are dissatisfied with the
condition of the property?
If you are dissatisfied with the standard
of your new home then please contact
the Housing Maintenance team on
(01788) 533888.




                                             47
                            Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Pay as you go Home Contents                       •   monthly by Direct Debit
Insurance
                                                  •   annually by cheque, postal order or
The council does not insure the contents              Debt/Credit card.
of your home - things like your furniture,
belongings or decorations against
theft, fire, vandalism and burst pipes or         For further information
glazing. It is your responsibility to take        For further information about this
out your own contents insurance, which            scheme, please either request a
should include glazing cover.                     Home Contents Insurance leaflet and
                                                  application form from the Contact
Some accommodation can have                       Centre or contact the Participation and
a higher risk of incidents, such as               Development Team on the telephone
water ingress from another flat so                number on the front page.
it is strongly recommended that
you consider taking out a contents
insurance policy, as this will give
you peace of mind should something
untoward happen.

A special scheme has been arranged
which even allows you to pay your
premiums fortnightly, and will replace
your contents on a ‘new for old’ basis
with no excess.



What is covered?
When you take out this insurance most
of your household goods and contents
will be insured in your home. The
insurance also covers replacement of
external locks if your keys are stolen,
the contents of your freezer and the
costs of re-glazing following vandalism
or anti-social behaviour.



How can I pay for the contents
insurance?
You can pay easily by three different
methods:
•   fortnightly by cash, using a swipe
    card at any Post Office or Payzone
    point



                                             48
Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


General safety advice                            ⎷ Do use childproof covers on unused
                                                     sockets.

FIRE                                             ⎷ Do ensure all appliances are correctly
                                                     connected.
Do’s and Don’ts                                  X   Don’t use portable appliances in the
                                                     bathroom.
⎷ Do guard open fires
                                                 X   Don’t join two pieces of flex together
⎷ Do unplug electrical appliances if not             with tape.
    in use.
                                                 X   Don’t use damaged plugs.
⎷ Do check cigarettes have not been
    left burning.

⎷ Do ensure fire doors are closed.               Gas

⎷ Do check on a regular basis that your          Do’s and Don’ts
    smoke alarm is working.                      If you smell gas ring National Grid Gas on

X   Don’t put clothes directly on to                       0800 111 999
    heaters to dry or air.

X   Don’t overload electrical points.            ⎷ Do open doors and windows.
X   Don’t leave matches in easy reach of         ⎷ Do check that gas appliances are
    children.                                        switched off.
X   Don’t leave chip pans unattended.            ⎷ Do turn off supply at the meter.
                                                 X   Don’t operate electrical switches.

GAS and ELECTRICS                                X   Don’t use a naked flame.


All council properties have an electrical        Your gas appliances should be checked
supply and many have a gas service.              every year. Rugby Borough Council will
There are controls to turn off these             send a contractor to your property to
supplies and for your own benefit you            undertake these vital checks. Help us
should know where these controls are.            to help you by ensuring our contractor is
                                                 able to access your property to do a gas
                                                 safety inspection.
Electrics
Do’s and Don’ts

⎷ Do replace worn or damaged flexes.

⎷ Do turn off mains electricity supply
    before replacing a fuse.


                                            49
                            Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Hints on Home Security                            Renting a garage from Rugby
                                                  Borough Council
Do’s and Don’ts
                                                  The council has a number of garage
⎷ If you go out in the evening draw               sites around the borough which are
    the curtains and leave a light on in          available to rent.
    the room as opposed to the hall.
                                                  Who can rent the garages?
⎷ Fit a timer device to a lamp to make
    a property look occupied.                     Whilst garages can be rented by
                                                  anyone, council tenants will always be
⎷ Use heavy duty padlocks on                      given priority if there is more than one
    garages and sheds                             person on the waiting list for a particular
                                                  site.
⎷ Chain the door before you open it.
                                                  How many garages can I rent at a
⎷ Always ask for callers identity                 time?
    cards. If you are suspicious do not           You can only rent one garage at any
    open the door.                                time and garages must be used for
                                                  domestic parking and not for storage
⎷ If you go away for a long period of             or business use. The garage site must
    time, notify your housing officer, and        also be in walking distance of your
    unplug electrical appliances.                 home.

⎷ If you believe that there are
    criminal activities taking place on           How much does it cost to rent a
    your estate you may report this to            garage?
    Crime Stoppers anonymously on                 Garage rents are considered each year
    freephone:                                    and if the charges are to increase,
                                                  letters are sent to everyone who is
         0800 555 111                             renting a garage advising them of the
                                                  new charges.
X   Never leave your door key under
    the mat or on a piece of string               Ways of paying
    behind the letterbox.                         You can pay for your garage rent by
                                                  monthly direct debit, or six months
⎷ If you have ladders, padlock them               payment in advance by cheque or debit
    on to something secure.
                                                  card. If you are a council tenant, your
                                                  main rent account must be up to date.

                                                  If you want to apply for a garage please
                                                  complete an application form and
                                                  send this in along with the required
                                                  documentation, if there are no garages
                                                  available you will be accepted onto the
                                                  waiting list.




                                             50
Helpful hints for moving in and living in your home


Termination of garage rental
You are required to give one week’s
written notice starting and ending on a
Monday.

Where are the garages located?
The garage locations are divided into
urban and rural locations. Some sites
are not being re-let at the moment. If
you are interested in finding out more
about renting a garage, please contact
the Estates Management team.




                                          51
Section 4: notes




                   52
Section 5




PAYING YOUR RENT




This section contains:
             Ways to pay
             Paying your rent by Direct Debit
             Housing Benefit
             Rent payment incentive schemes




                                   53
                                                                     Paying your rent


Ways to pay
At your sign-up interview you will have
received your rent payment card and
details of the weekly rent, plus any other
charges that may be due.

You must pay these charges on time to
avoid falling into arrears. For a hassle free
way to pay your rent we recommend direct
debit as a preferred payment method.
To help you, we can also offer several
alternative ways of paying your rent:


                    By Direct Debit or Standing Order
                    You can pay by direct debit or standing order and forms are
                    available on request. Direct debit payments can be taken from
                    your bank account on the 1st, 12th or 26th of each month.

                    At	any	Post	Office	or	Payzone	retailer
                    Take your Rent Payment Card together with your payment to any
                    Post Office. If you require a replacement payment card contact the
                    Contact Centre on (01788) 533533.
                    You can now also use your Rent Payment Card to pay your rent at
                    participating Payzone outlets which include garages, convenience
                    stores, off licences and newsagents.


                    By telephone
                    You can pay via your debit card over the telephone on (01788)
                    533463, (24 hour facility). During working hours you can call (01788)
                    533777 and make a payment over the telephone with an advisor.

                    By post
                    Send a cheque or postal order (made payable to Rugby Borough
                    Council) and send to the Town Hall. (Please do not send cash).
                    Write your 16 digit rent account reference number and your name
                    and address on the back and ensure your cheque is crossed with
                    the word Account Payee’.
                    If you require a receipt you must request one with the payment.

                    At the Town Hall or online
                    By cheque or postal order only at the Town Hall (using the box
                    provided).
                    Online via the council’s website www.rugby.gov.uk


                                                54
Paying your rent


Paying your rent by Direct Debit                   Housing benefit
Your home is in safe hands when you                If you are in receipt of benefits or on a
pay by Direct Debit.                               low income you may qualify for housing
                                                   benefit. Claims can only be assessed and
What is it?                                        paid once the Benefits Unit has received
Direct Debit is a much easier, cheaper             all the required information. It is your
and more efficient way to pay your rent.           responsibility to make a claim and provide
You do not need to worry about renewing            all the information required.
it and it also keeps our collection costs
and your rent as low as possible.                  Housing Benefit claim forms are available
                                                   from the Town Hall. Benefit assessors are
You pay in instalments, so you have no             on hand every day between 9am and 5pm
worries about remembering to pay.                  to help you complete a claim form. You
                                                   can also pre-book an appointment with
                                                   a benefit assessor on the hour between
What is in it for me?                              9am and 4pm.
•   you can choose when in the month
    to pay - either the 1st, 12th or 26th –        If you are already in receipt of housing
                                                   benefit and there is a change in your
•   whichever is more convenient for you           circumstances you must contact the
                                                   Benefits Unit at the Town Hall as a matter
•   no worries about remembering to                of urgency. Failure to do this may result in
    pay                                            your benefit being overpaid or temporarily
•   no cheques to write or cash to carry           stopped.

•   no stamps or envelopes                         If you get a letter about your housing
                                                   benefit payments you must respond.
•   no queues.                                     Failure to respond will result in your
                                                   benefit being stopped and you will be
                                                   responsible for paying your rent.
How does it work?
•   Firstly, you need to have a bank or
    building society account.

•   Fill out an information form available
    on request or in your sign-up pack.

•   We need to receive your completed
    form at least 18 days before the
    required Direct Debit date.

•   We will let you know how much and
    when the payments will start.

•   If there are any changes we will
    inform you 14 days before the
    payment due date.



                                              55
                                                                        Paying your rent


What are Rent Free Weeks?                          Do I have to pay for service charges?
Your rent is calculated over 48 weeks and          When you accepted your tenancy
not 52. Therefore, tenants have four rent          you agreed to the pay the rent and
free weeks in a year. These are:                   all charges as detailed on the rent
                                                   agreement. The amount of rent and
•   last week in March                             charges payable are subject to variation
                                                   by the council. Service charge arrears
•   first week in April                            are dealt with in the same way as
•   August Bank Holiday week                       rent arrears and therefore you should
                                                   contact your housing officer if you are
•   Christmas week                                 experiencing any problems in paying
                                                   your rent or your service charges.
Tenants in arrears are encouraged to
continue to pay on these weeks as the full         Do service charges qualify for
payment reduces their arrears as no rent           housing	benefit?
is charged for that week.
                                                   Most service charges qualify for housing
                                                   benefit in the same way as your rent.
                                                   However, there is one exception and
                                                   that is personal heating provided by a
How we set your rent and service
                                                   communal boiler.
charge
The council sets and charges its rents             Communal heating charges are only
via the Government’s rent restructuring            applicable to Tanser Court, Lesley
model and all tenants receive a letter             Souter House and Albert Square and all
advising of any changes to their weekly            tenants living in those schemes have to
rent on an annual basis.                           pay the heating charges themselves.

What is a service charge?                          I do not think I am getting the service
A service charge is an additional charge           that I am paying for?
for services that you may receive if you           In the first instance you should contact
live in a flat or housing for older people.        your housing officer to explain your
This is because, unlike someone living             concerns. If you are still unhappy then
in a house, you may receive additional             you should make a complaint under the
services.                                          council’s formal Complaints Policy.

Service charges pay for things like:
                                                   When are service charges reviewed?
•   cleaning and lighting of communal              Service charges are reviewed annually
    areas                                          at the same time as the council carry out
                                                   their annual rent review. All tenants and
•   Home Alarm Service for older
                                                   leaseholders receive a minimum of 28
    people
                                                   days written notification of any service
•   the estate officer service at the high-        charge increases.
    rise blocks

•   communal heating.


                                              56
Paying your rent


Difficulty in paying your rent?                     THIS IS THE LAST RESORT. We
                                                    do not want to evict you if this can
It is very important that you know
                                                    be prevented. Firstly, we will serve a
when your rent is due and to make the
                                                    Notice of Seeking Possession which is
necessary arrangements to pay it on
                                                    a legal notice telling you that we intend
time.
                                                    to take action if you do not pay your
                                                    arrears.
However, if you do miss a payment
or are having difficultly in paying your
                                                    If you still do not make contact or reduce
arrears, you MUST contact your housing
                                                    your arrears we will apply for your case
team without delay. If you do not
                                                    to be heard in the county court and ask
make contact, we will contact you by
                                                    a judge for a possession order.
telephone, letter or home visit.

We will work with you to make an                    Do not ignore arrears and do not
agreement which is at a level you can               ignore	any	leaflets	or	letters	we	may	
afford so that you pay your future rent             send to you.
payments and reduce your arrears. If
you make an agreement and keep to it                Ignoring your arrears may result in
no further action will be taken. If you feel        you losing your home.
you are unable to keep to the agreement
at anytime you must tell us.

                                                    Rent Payment Incentive Schemes
If you have lots of debts and need
help                                                The council has introduced two new
                                                    reward schemes for tenants and
If you have other debts please do tell              leaseholders, to say thank you to
us as we will be able to help you with              tenants and leaseholders who keep their
general debt advice or refer you to                 rent or service charge accounts up to
other agencies such as Citizens Advice              date, or who help us by paying by direct
who will be able to help you with debt              debit.
counselling and money advice. Citizens
Advice have drop-in sessions at the
Town Hall every Thursday between                    Clear rent accounts
10am to 12 noon.
                                                    Every three months one rent account
                                                    or service charge account that has
If you are in receipt of benefits or require
                                                    been up-to-date for the previous three
assistance regarding housing benefit
                                                    months, will be chosen at random and
please call in to see a benefits advisor
                                                    the holder of that account will win £50.
at the Town Hall.

                                                    Direct debits
What Rugby Borough Council will do
if you do not clear your arrears                    Every three months one rent account or
                                                    service charge account that is paid by
If you do not clear your rent arrears we
                                                    direct debit, will be chosen at random
may take legal action to recover the
                                                    and the holder of that account will win
debt.
                                                    £50.


                                               57
Section 5: notes




                   58
Section 6




YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
         & COMMUNITY



Everyone has the right to enjoy life in their own way, as long as they do
not upset other people who live nearby. Being a good neighbour can
have many advantages, and a friendly ‘hello’ is always better than an
exchange of heated words.
Neighbours can easily disturb one another without realising it, or
meaning to. However, you should try to be considerate towards your
neighbours and those who live around you.
This section contains:
              Being neighbourly
              Anti-social behaviour
              Keeping pets
              What action will be taken if I report an incident of anti-
              social behaviour?
              Useful contacts




                                        59
                                            Your neighbourhood and community


Being Neighbourly                               X   DO NOT use your property for
                                                    business or illegal purposes,
Everyone is entitled to enjoy their home
                                                    including drug dealing.
in peace. There are things you can
do to keep good relations with your
                                                X   DO NOT harass other people in any
neighbours.
                                                    way.

⎷ Be considerate towards your                   X   DO NOT use violent or abusive
   neighbours when you are doing                    behaviour.
   something noisy. Let them know
   before you start and try and avoid
   making noise when people are likely          ⎷ If your dog barks when left alone,
   to be sleeping.                                  arrange to leave it with a friend.

⎷ Consider the position of your sound
   system, how loud your television is
   and the effect of walking around on          Anti-Social Behaviour
   uncarpeted floors, as noise carries
   easily through walls, floors and             Rugby Borough Council uses the
   doors.                                       following definition of anti-social
                                                behaviour based on the Crime and
                                                Disorder Act 1998: “Behaviour that
⎷ Co-operate if a neighbour asks you
                                                causes or is likely to cause harassment,
   to reduce noise.
                                                alarm or distress to one or more persons
                                                not of the same household as the
⎷ If you go away from home, arrange             perpetrator”.
   for someone to respond to and
                                                (Warwickshire Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy, 2008)
   reset your house or car alarms.
   We get many complaints every
   year about house alarms sounding.            We recognise that failure to effectively
   When these cause a nuisance,                 tackle anti-social behaviour could:
   an Environmental Health Officer              •   substantially affect the lives of
   has to silence them. If we need                  those individuals who are living with
   to we will cut the alarm off and                 nuisance or anti-social behaviour
   pass this cost onto the owner or
   occupier of the house. The bill              •   impact on the local environment
   can run into hundreds of pounds.                 and culture of an area, which in turn
   If you let us know who your key                  could damage our ability to develop
   holders are, we can contact them                 sustainable communities
   for you, and get your alarm turned
   off without it costing you anything.
   Please contact us for a key holder           Anti-social Behaviour Policy
   registration form.                           The Anti-social Behaviour Policy sets
                                                out our commitment to dealing with
⎷ Try to be tolerant towards your               nuisance and anti-social behaviour on
   neighbours and their lifestyles.             our estates.




                                           60
Your neighbourhood and community


We recognise that by providing a strong          How can I report an incident of Anti-
housing management service a real                Social Behaviour?
difference can be made to residents’             If you are having problems with a
quality of life.                                 neighbour talk to them to see if you can
                                                 sort the matter out between you in a
How will we prevent anti-social                  friendly way. They may not be aware
behaviour?                                       that their behaviour is causing problems.
                                                 Give them a reasonable period of time
We will work closely with other agencies
                                                 to change their behaviour then let them
to try and prevent nuisance and anti-
                                                 know things have not improved.
social behaviour, as we understand that
preventing it is the best approach to
                                                 If that does not work you may want to
dealing with it. We will, where possible,
                                                 ask us to get involved. Please keep a
make environmental improvements,
                                                 note of the anti-social behaviour, together
such as improving lighting and removing
                                                 with the dates and times it is happening.
graffiti.
                                                 You can report the problems by:
Do I have any responsibilities?                  •   telephoning our contact centre on
Yes, according to your tenancy                       (01788) 533533
agreement you must not cause, allow
or permit excessive noise, nuisance,             •   writing to us at:
annoyance, or harassment to other                        Rugby Borough Council
people. You are responsible for your                      Town Hall, Evreux Way,
behaviour and that of members of your                        Rugby CV21 2RR
family and your household, your visitors
and guests.                                      •   emailing us at:
                                                     contact.centre@rugby.gov.uk
Examples of anti-social behaviour
                                                 •   going online at: www.rugby.gov.uk
include:
•   dealing or using drugs                       •   contacting the Community Safety
                                                     Wardens on: 0800 096 8800 or
•   threatening another person with                  email: communitysafety@rugby.
    violence                                         gov.uk

•   using violence against another               You could also seek advice from
    person                                       Citizens Advice or a solicitor.
•   causing a noise nuisance
                                                 If you have been threatened or assaulted
•   verbal abuse                                 you must report it to the police immediately.

•   alcohol related nuisance                     If you report anti-social behaviour to
                                                 us, please keep in touch with us whilst
                                                 we investigate your complaint. Please
                                                 answer our calls and letters, collect
                                                 information on the nuisance and keep
                                                 appointments for meetings or home
                                                 visits.

                                            61
                                             Your neighbourhood and community


If you do not stay in contact with               •   occasional slamming doors
us, we may stop investigating your
complaint and close the case.                    •   toilet flushing
                                                 •   babies crying
Domestic Abuse
                                                 •   children playing
Where a complaint is received regarding
neighbour nuisance, we will deal with            •   washing machines or vacuum
it as outlined within the Anti-social                cleaners, lawnmowers etc used
Behaviour Policy. However, where we                  during normal day-time hours
suspect that the cause of the nuisance
                                                 •   DIY work conducted at reasonable
is domestic abuse, we will refer to our
                                                     times.
Domestic Abuse Policy.
                                                 This is because case law from the
We will offer advice, assistance and
                                                 House of Lords states that noise
support in taking legal action against
                                                 from the ordinary and reasonable
tenants, or members of their household
                                                 use of residential premises cannot be
that are causing domestic abuse.
                                                 considered a nuisance.
Harassment
                                                 If you do make a complaint about noise,
Complaints of this nature are classified         we will initially write to your neighbour
as very serious.                                 to advise them a complaint has been
                                                 made. We will also ask you to fill in
All complainants and witnesses in these          nuisance log sheets with details of
cases will be dealt with in a sensitive,         incidents for a period of at least two
supportive and understanding way and             weeks.
we will provide supportive measures.
We will also offer to refer complainants
                                                 Once log sheets have been returned
and witnesses to an appropriate support
                                                 measures will need to be put into
agency who will be able to provide
                                                 place to witness the noise. This will be
them with additional support, such
                                                 by either installing noise monitoring
as the Warwickshire Race Equalities
                                                 equipment into your property or having it
Partnership (WREP) and Warwickshire
                                                 witnessed by an independent authorised
Police Hate Crime Help Line.
                                                 officer of the council.
Noise
                                                 If the evidence supports your complaint
It would be unreasonable to expect               we will pass the evidence to the
complete silence therefore we cannot             Environmental Protection Team (EPT).
take action for everyday noises such as:         To reach a decision that a statutory
•   dropping objects/moving furniture            nuisance exists the EPT will examine
                                                 the facts of the complaint, the evidence
•   light switches being switched on/off         compiled during the investigation
•   general talking                              and consider any legal precedents.
                                                 Please note if there is a statutory noise
•   shouting and singing, except in              nuisance a Noise Abatement Notice
    cases where disturbance is caused            might be served. This could jeopardise
    frequently at night and for prolonged        a tenancy agreement or we may need
    periods                                      to take further legal action against your

                                            62
Your neighbourhood and community


neighbour if the noise continues. This            Looking after your garden
would also involve gathering more                 It is your responsibility to look after
evidence to prove a notice is not being           your own garden. Overgrown gardens
complied with.                                    are not only an eyesore; they can also
                                                  cause problems for your neighbours.
If, after completing our investigation,           You must not store any bulky or
we consider that there is insufficient            unsightly items in your garden. You
evidence to prove the existence of a              must seek permission from Rugby
statutory noise nuisance or indicates             Borough Council before parking large
that the noise is not a nuisance in law,          items such as trailers or caravans on
we will tell you and the case will be             your garden.
closed.
                                                  If you are unable to maintain your
Section 82 of the Environmental                   garden due to ill health or disability,
Protection Act allows you to take your            there may be support and assistance
own action by complaining directly to             you can call upon. Please contact your
the Magistrates Court. You would have             housing team.
to produce evidence to satisfy the
court that the noise problem amounts
to a nuisance. If you would like further          Bulky Items
information about this procedure please           Arrangements can be made to collect
contact the EPT on (01788) 533533.                bulky items for a standard charge.
                                                  These will be removed from outside your
Please note we will not be able to                home.
continue to investigate your complaint if:
•   you do not return your log sheets             If you live in a block of flats, either ask
                                                  the concierge, the estate officer or
•   if the noise cannot be independently          housing officer, if there is somewhere
    witnessed                                     they can be placed awaiting removal.
                                                  Never block communal walkways,
•   if the EPT does not consider the
                                                  stairwells or communal areas.
    evidence gathered confirms a
    statutory noise nuisance is in
    existence.                                    Car Parking
                                                  •   You may only park roadworthy
Graffiti                                              vehicles that are taxed on our land.
We have a specialist team that removes            •   You must not park any vehicle on
graffiti from our properties and council              grassed areas.
buildings across the borough. Racist or
offensive graffiti will be removed as soon        •   You should only park vehicles in
as possible after its been reported as a              garages, in designated parking
maximum within 24 hours.                              areas, or on a proper driveway.

Graffiti	is	a	criminal	offence.		If	you	          You can help us keep Rugby tidy, by
know	anyone	responsible	for	graffiti,	            reporting any abandoned vehicles on
please report them to the Police.                 your estate. The number to call is
                                                  (01788) 533857


                                             63
                                                Your neighbourhood and community


Keeping Pets                                        disturbance to anyone in the local area,
                                                    including our employees and contractors.
You cannot keep a pet that is likely to
cause a nuisance to your neighbours or
other visitors to your property.                    You must get our written permission to
                                                    keep livestock such as horses, donkeys,
Dogs are not permitted in high rise                 goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens or
flats.                                              any reptiles in your home or on any land
                                                    owned by us.
Being a Responsible Pet Owner
Irresponsible pet ownership can cause               You must not allow any animals that
suffering to animals and nuisance to your           you keep to foul any shared areas of
neighbours. There are now laws to make              your property or on roads, footpaths or
sure that if you keep a pet you care for it         play areas in the local areas. You must
properly (The Animal Welfare Act 2006).             remove and dispose of any pet droppings
This means making sure the pet has a                hygienically.
suitable place to live, is given the right
food to eat and is protected from pain,             You must not keep any animal that is
suffering, injury and disease.                      prohibited by law (Dangerous Wild
                                                    Animals Act 1976) on safety grounds.
Factors to consider when you are thinking
about keeping a pet or pets:                        As a responsible pet owner, you should
•   the type of property you live in and            make sure that no animal you keep
    the facilities available to you                 causes a nuisance or annoyance to others
                                                    or damages our property.
•   the size of your garden or whether
    you have suitable open space nearby             We would encourage you to have your
                                                    dog permanently identified by microchip
•   the breed, size, number and
                                                    or tattoo. We would also encourage you to
    temperament of the pets you are
                                                    have your cat permanently identified.
    asking permission to keep

•   whether the pet(s) will have special            You must keep your dog under control at
    needs                                           all times and make sure it does not cause
                                                    a nuisance or distress to others.
•   in flats: whether the number of pets
    you want to keep is appropriate to              You must never:
    the size of the flat and the facilities
    available                                       •   keep any breed of dog banned under
                                                        the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act or any
•   whether you can promise that your                   other UK legislation
    pet(s) will get enough exercise, with
    good access to a safe and suitable              •   keep animals on balconies or in
    exercise area outside the home.                     communal walkways

                                                    •   chain or tether animals on any
You should not keep in your home,                       council-owned land
garden or any shared communal area
any animals (including cats, dogs, farm             •   leave your pet(s) alone or unattended
livestock, reptiles, insects or birds) that,            overnight or for long periods of time.
in our opinion, may cause nuisance or

                                               64
Your neighbourhood and community


Keeping small mammals                            Keeping chickens or other fowl and
In the case of very small animals such           other livestock
as rats, mice, gerbils and hamsters, you         If you wish to keep livestock, you must
must limit them to manageable numbers,           show you have appropriate facilities
and make sure they are suitable for their        and know how to meet all care and
living conditions.                               welfare needs and that the animals will
                                                 not cause nuisance or distress to other
In the case of rabbits and guinea pigs,          people living nearby. We will limit the
you should normally keep them outside            number of chickens or fowl you keep.
the home. You must have access                   We will consult the RSPCA about any
to an outside space where you can                other livestock.
put a secure exercise run away from
prolonged direct sunlight and safe from          You must not keep cockerels on
predators. You must keep their home              council property.
free from excess droppings.
                                                 Straying and fouling
Keeping caged birds                              If you continually allow your pet or pets
                                                 to roam and stray unattended, or allow
You can keep small caged birds in                them to foul and do not immediately
the home provided their cage is large            remove and dispose of the mess, you
enough to allow them to spread their             will get a written warning that you must
wings fully in any direction and they            put things right immediately. If you fail
have enough space to perch. Ideally you          to do so, we will take formal action
should also let them exercise outside            against you for breach of your tenancy
the cage, provided they can’t escape.            agreement.
You must keep their home free from
excess droppings.
                                                 Note: this could mean you have to
                                                 re-home the pet or face possession
Keeping aviary birds outside                     proceedings to end your tenancy.

You must show you have adequate
outside facilities for the birds and             Excessive noise
that you can look after them properly.           If pets, in particular dogs, cause
You must show how you will prevent               noise nuisance by barking, howling or
potential nuisance to people living              scratching, then you must stop them
nearby, for example early morning                doing so at once.
noise, or rodent infestation.
                                                 You can get help and advice from a
                                                 vet, dog warden or other appropriate
Keeping reptiles and spiders                     expert. If the problem persists, we will
These types of animal need specialised           take action for breach of the tenancy
care and living conditions. If you wish          agreement.
to keep a reptile or spider in the home
you must show that you know how to               Note: this could mean you have to
meet the care and welfare needs of the           re-home the pet or face possession
animal, including providing a suitable           proceedings to end your tenancy.
environment.

                                            65
                                            Your neighbourhood and community


Flea and vermin infestation                     All tenants who choose to keep
All tenants must keep their home clean          pets take full responsibility for their
and tidy so as not to cause a nuisance          care, welfare and behaviour. You are
or endanger health. If you fail to keep         responsible for ensuring your pet does
your home clean, tidy and free from             not cause nuisance to others or breach
animal mess, fleas or vermin, you must          the terms of your tenancy agreement.
put things right immediately and seek
any help you need. However, if the              Anyone who knowingly does not look
problem persists, we will take action           after their pet properly is committing
for breach of the tenancy agreement             a criminal offence (The Animal
and you may have to re-home your pet            Welfare Act 2006).
or face possession proceedings to end
your tenancy.


Pets that are or could be aggressive            Protecting your pets
If we think your pet may threaten,              Tenants are responsible for making
frighten or harm other people and stop          sure arrangements are in place
them going about their business or              for their animals to be looked after
enjoying their home, you must put things        in emergencies such as illness or
right at once.                                  hospitalisation.

You should seek advice from a vet, dog          One solution is to carry a card giving the
warden or other expert.                         details of who should be contacted in an
                                                emergency to provide care for your pets.
If you cannot keep the animal
under control, or where we think a
particular type or breed of animal is
inappropriate to where you live, we
will tell you to re-home the pet or face
action for breach of tenancy, which
may lead to possession proceedings
to end your tenancy.

Other activities that are considered
a breach of your tenancy agreement
include:
•   allowing pets to wander unattended
    in communal areas, landings and
    walkways

•   allowing pets to urinate or foul in
    communal areas

•   failing to keep dogs on a lead in
    communal areas.


                                           66
Your neighbourhood and community


What action will be taken if I                   getting an injunction, using professional
report an incident of anti-social                witnesses or applying for an anti-social
behaviour?                                       behaviour order (ASBO).

When we get details of the problems              We will continue to monitor the situation
you are experiencing, we will tell you           until you are happy we have taken all
what help, if any, we can give you.              reasonable steps to solve the problem.
                                                 We will then ask you to complete a
With your permission, we may contact             customer satisfaction questionnaire so
the person responsible to let them               you can give us feedback on our service
know that they are causing anti-social           and suggest how we can improve it.
behaviour and what we will do if it does
not stop.
                                                 How will you support witnesses who
If you ask us to get involved, we will           give evidence regarding anti-social
monitor the situation carefully to check         behaviour?
things are improving. If there are no
                                                 When we are preparing to take action
more incidents of anti-social behaviour,
                                                 against someone for anti-social
we will stop investigating and close the
                                                 behaviour, we understand that it can be
case.
                                                 a frightening and distressing time if you
                                                 are a witness. We will do everything
If both you and the person causing the
                                                 that we can to make acting as a witness
nuisance agree, we may arrange a
                                                 as easy as possible.
meeting with an independent mediator
so you and the person responsible can
try to reach a solution that you are both        If you are giving evidence in court, we
happy with.                                      will provide a full explanation of what to
                                                 expect and will offer to visit you before
                                                 the court hearing if we can.
We will work with other organisations,
such as the police, environmental
services, social services, drug                  You can also expect to receive the
advisory services, victim support and            following support throughout court
others.                                          hearings:
                                                 •   transport to and from the court
We will use acceptable behaviour
contracts (ABCs), particularly when the          •   a separate waiting room for
problem involves young people aged                   witnesses if possible
between 10 and 17. ABCs are voluntary
agreements, usually between the young            •   an escort during the hearing (this
person, the police, parents and us.                  will usually be the housing officer
                                                     who has been managing your case)
In serious cases of anti-social
behaviour, for example as racial                 •   compensation for loss of earnings
harassment, intimidation, violence or
threats of violence, and when we have            •   refreshments.
evidence, we will consider a number of
courses of action including possession
proceedings, demoted tenancies,


                                            67
                                              Your neighbourhood and community


We will review the safety and security of         We can reopen cases after we have
your property and make it more secure if          closed them, but this will be because
necessary. Added security could include:          there has been a further witnessed
•   more window locks                             incidence of nuisance.

•   movement-sensitive lighting

•   letterbox covers

•   smoke alarms

•   installing closed-circuit television
    camera

•   work to the property’s surroundings

•   a 24-hour panic alarm

•   if you give evidence in court, we will
    continue to provide support until you
    feel that you no longer need it.



What happens when you close a
case?
We will stop investigating a case when
the problem has been sorted out and
you are happy for us to close it.

Sometimes we will close a case even
if you are not happy for us to do so.
We will do this if we are satisfied that
we have done everything we can, that
is reasonable and in proportion to the
complaint to sort it out.

We will not assume that a situation has
improved if we have not heard from you
after a while. We will try and contact
you before closing a case. We will do
this by writing to you, phoning you or
visiting you at your home.

If we try and contact you several times
and fail, we will close your case. We
will also close your case if you do not
answer our requests for information.



                                             68
Your neighbourhood and community


               NUISANCE AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
                        USEFUL CONTACTS

                        If it is an emergency: 999

           Rugby Police                        Animal Warden Service
          (01788) 541111                          (01788) 533859

          Crimestoppers                              Social Care
           0800 555111                             (01926) 410410

        Rugby Fire Service                     Victim Support Rugby
         (01788) 572727                            (01788) 561771

     Rugby Borough Council                 Warwickshire Against Domestic
        (01788) 533533                                Abuse
                                                   0800 4081552
    Community Safety Wardens
         0800 0968800                    Warwickshire Drug and Alcohol Action
                                                        Team
 Abandoned and burnt out vehicles                  (01926) 410410
         (01788) 533332
                                            Warwickshire Race Equality
                                                   Partnership
     Litter and Street Cleaning
                                                  0844 8009990
           (01788) 533332

                                                Hate Crime Help Line
              Graffiti
                                                   0845 1292221
          (01788) 533324

                                             Family Information Service
  Refuse collection/wheeled bins
                                                   0845 0908044
          (01788) 533324

                                            Community Alcohol Service
          Street Lighting
                                                (01788) 565970
          (01926) 736547

                                           Rugby Citizens’ Advice Bureau
 Mediation and community support
                                                  0844 8552322
          (01926) 424250




                                    69
Section 6: notes




                   70
Section 7




MOVING ON
                         AND ENDING YOUR TENANCY




Rugby Borough Council hopes that you enjoy your home in peace
and comfort and that you keep your tenancy for as long as possible.
However, there may come a time when you feel you would like to move
on to a new home and we also want to make this process as easy and
stress-free as possible.
This section contains:
             UChoose Homes
             High-rise charter
             Mutual exchanges
             Homeswapper
             Incentive moves
             Moving out and ending your tenancy
             Terminating a tenancy following a bereavement
             Can I buy my council house?
             Can I buy my council flat?



                                    71
                                                   Moving on and ending your tenancy


UChoose Homes                                      Will all available properties be
                                                   advertised through UChoose?
                                                   Rugby Borough Council will advertise
                                                   all vacant properties through UChoose.
                                                   Other housing associations that
                                                   operate in the Rugby area will also be
                                                   advertising through UChoose. A small
                                                   amount of properties will be made
What is UChoose?                                   available for allocations between local
UChoose is a choice-based lettings                 authority areas.
scheme, which has been designed to
give you improved access to affordable             How will I know which properties are
rented properties in Rugby. The council            available?
has joined forces with other councils and
housing associations across northern               Properties will be advertised on the
Warwickshire and southern Staffordshire            UChoose website and on advertising
to offer more choice.                              boards located in the Town Hall reception
                                                   and various public buildings throughout
                                                   the borough. The advert will advise you
Who can apply to join the scheme?                  of each property’s landlord, location, rent,
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply                size, special features etc, and will clearly
to register onto the UChoose Homes                 state any eligibility requirements.
scheme. If you are 16 or 17 you may
require a guarantor.                               How can I let you know I am
                                                   interested in a property?
How are applicants prioritised?                    If you see a property advertised and
All customers will be assessed based on            you meet the criteria, you can express
the information given in their registration        interest via our website, by telephone,
form to determine their housing need               text message or in person at the Town
and which of the five bands they would             Hall. The closing date for expressions
be placed under these are:                         of interest will be clearly stated in the
                                                   advert.
•   Band 1 + applicants who are
    statutory homeless
                                                   How often are the properties
•   Band 1 applicants with the greatest            advertised?
    need for housing                               We will advertise properties on a weekly
                                                   basis.
•   Band 2 applicants with medium
    need for housing
                                                   Can I express interest in more than
•   Band 3 applicants with low need for            one property at a time?
    housing                                        You can express an interest for as many
                                                   properties as you like. You will only be
•   Band 4 applicants with no housing              considered for a vacancy if you meet all
    need.                                          the criteria stated in the advert.




                                              72
Moving on and ending your tenancy


How do you decide who is offered a                 website. We will provide the number
property?                                          of interested customers who met the
Once the closing date has ended, all               required criteria and the date the
expressions of interest are compiled               successful applicant registered. This
as a shortlist, ranked according to the            information will give you a better idea
advertised criteria. An offer will then be         of how popular a particular area is and
made by the relevant landlord to the               how long you would typically wait.
person who best meets the criteria.

How will I know if I have been                     For more information visit the
successful?                                        UChoose website on
                                                   www.uchoosehomes.co.uk
The successful applicant will be
informed that they are to be made an
offer within five days of the closing date.
If you have not heard by then you can
assume that you were not successful
and you will be able to continue                   High Rise Charter
expressing interest in other properties.           The council operates a High Rise
                                                   Charter which gives priority to families
What will happen if I am made an                   living in one of our high-rise flats or
offer?                                             accommodation on the second floor or
                                                   above. Priority will be given after two
The landlord will make an offer,                   years in their tenancy or two years since
either verbally or in writing, and may             the birth of their first child. The child
arrange for you to attend a viewing of             must be under 12 when the eligibility
the property before you make a final               date is reached, and children must
decision about whether you want to take            reside with the family on a permanent
the tenancy.                                       basis.

What if I turn down the offer?
If you do not like the property you will
remain on the register and will be free
to express further interest in other
properties.

Can somebody express an interest on
my behalf?
Yes. If you are unable to express an
interest, and you have made alternative
arrangements with us, the nominated
person can place an expression of
interest for a property on your behalf.

How will the results be published?
Information about properties that
have been let will be published via the

                                              73
                                                  Moving on and ending your tenancy


Mutual exchanges                                  Homeswapper
We know that people’s circumstances               Homeswapper is a service designed to
and needs change over time and your               help council and housing association
council home may become unsuitable                tenants mutually exchange properties
for you for a number of reasons,                  throughout the country. Tenants can
including overcrowding, health reasons,           register with Homeswapper who will then
family support or needing to move                 find properties to match their needs.
because of a new job.
                                                  Rugby Borough Council is registered
Mutual Exchanging is a popular way for            with the Homeswapper scheme. Tenants
tenants to move home and is likely to             who are interested in Homeswapper
be quicker than waiting for a transfer.           can register for free on-line at www.
If you find someone whose home you                homeswapper.co.uk
would like and they have agreed to
swap homes a mutual exchange might                If you do not have access to the internet,
be the solution for you.                          there are facilities available in the Town
                                                  Hall or at the local library.
If you have a secure tenancy you can              When you have registered the system
apply to exchange your home with                  immediately checks for possible swaps for
another tenant of Rugby Borough                   you. It then saves these and you can log
Council, or any other council or housing          in at anytime to see them. To make sure
association tenant nationally. Council            you do not miss any, regular match alerts
tenants with an introductory tenancy              will be sent to you either by email, text or
do not have the right to exchange,                letter. If you are interested in a match you
but requests will be considered. If an            can then use the other tenants contact
exchange is granted for an introductory           details and get in touch. It is a good
tenant the introductory period will run on        idea to visit the property several times at
the new tenancy.                                  different times of the day to get a better
                                                  picture of the property and area.
If you are interested in a mutual
exchange you must receive the                     If you want the exchange to go ahead
permission of your landlord prior to              you will need to complete an exchange
moving and be eligible for the type of            application form. You can get one from
property that you wish to move into.              the Contact Centre on (01788) 533533
                                                  and we can post you one or you can
                                                  download one from the council’s website.

                                                  Both parties need to complete an
                                                  exchange form and inform the landlords
                                                  concerned that they wish to exchange.

                                                  We will need to give you permission
                                                  before any exchange can go ahead. If
                                                  you exchange without permission you
                                                  may be forced to move back. Any
                                                  Housing Benefit entitlement will also end
                                                  on the day you moved without permission.


                                             74
Moving on and ending your tenancy


We normally approve exchanges, except                  When you exchange both tenants
where;                                                 must accept the other property in the
•   either tenant has breached their                   condition in which it is left (including
    tenancy agreement                                  the decoration). The council will carry
                                                       out routine repairs in accordance with
•   either landlord is in the process of               your tenancy agreement but it will be
    taking legal action against either                 your responsibility to repair any damage
    tenant for breach of their tenancy                 caused by the previous tenant.
    conditions

•   either property is considered too                  Points to consider
    big or too small or has had disabled               Some general advice before you mutually
    adaptations that are no longer needed              exchange properties.
•   the other landlord does not allow
    exchanges.                                         •   Do not move until you have
                                                           had written permission from the
Before we give approval for the exchange                   landlord(s) of all properties in the
we do some checks. Firstly we will need                    mutual exchange chain.
to inspect your current home to ensure
that it is still in good condition and identify        •   Make sure that you thoroughly check
any repairs that are your responsibility                   the other tenant’s house and gardens
before you leave. A follow up visit will                   for things like outstanding repairs,
be done to check that these have been                      damage, rubbish etc.
carried out.
                                                       •   Leave your home in a reasonable
Secondly we will check your rent account                   state of repair and cleanliness.
– if you owe any rent your move will be
delayed until your arrears or any other                •   Remove all furniture, carpets and
housing related debts have been paid off.                  personal belongings, including items
                                                           stored in outhouses and lofts.
By law we must make a decision within
six weeks (42 days) from the date of your              •   Remove any rubbish from the
application. Our target is to let you know                 property and gardens.
within four weeks.
                                                       •   Make sure that your rent is paid up to
Once we write to give you permission                       date.
for the exchange to go ahead you must
attend to the things the council has asked             •   Attend to the meter readings and
you to do before you move e.g. any                         advise your power and water
repairs that are required, resulting from                  companies of them.
damage or neglect. We will check to
                                                       •   Let the television licensing authority
make sure these repairs have been done
                                                           know that you have moved.
and that any outstanding rent arrears or
other debts to the council have been paid.             •   Make sure that you notify people,
Both tenants will have to agree a move                     including your doctor etc. of your new
date and let the council know. New                         address.
tenancies start on a Monday but we will                •   Arrange for the redirection of mail.
ask you to sign the tenancy on the Friday
prior to the tenancy date.

                                                  75
                                                 Moving on and ending your tenancy


Incentive moves                                  There are obvious advantages for the
                                                 tenant who moves from a large family
Sometimes an elderly couple or an
                                                 house to a smaller unit of sheltered
elderly single person ends up living
                                                 housing:
alone in a three or four bedroom
property. This may be because their              •   they are smaller properties and
family has grown up and left home.                   therefore easier to clean and
                                                     cheaper to heat
As long as a tenant adheres to their
                                                 •   they do not have large gardens to
conditions of tenancy then they have
                                                     look after
the legal right to stay in their home for
life, regardless of whether or not they          •   they benefit from the support and
are under-occupying it.                              peace of mind of the Community
                                                     Alarm Service
To try and make better use of its limited
housing stock, the council offers an             •   there are often community activities
incentive scheme for tenants aged 60                 available – it’s up to you to take it or
or above, who want to move out of large              leave it.
family council houses into sheltered
housing.                                         If you would like to know more about the
                                                 council’s incentive scheme then please
To be eligible, tenants must:                    contact the Housing Options Team
•   have a housing application in to             (contact details listed on page 2).
    transfer to sheltered accommodation

•   live in council housing that is
    suitable for a family, ie a two or           Moving out and ending your
    three bedroom house (not a flat).            tenancy
                                                 If you want to end your tenancy you are
What incentives does the council                 required to give four full weeks written
offer under this scheme?                         notice, starting and ending on a Monday
                                                 date. If your written notice to end your
Under this scheme the council will pay
                                                 tenancy is received on any day other than
for the tenant’s removals as well as
                                                 a Monday then the four week notice period
the disconnection and reconnection of
                                                 will start with effect from the following
their cooker and the transfer of their
                                                 Monday.
telephone line.
                                                 If you do not want to submit a letter
A payment of £500 is also made by the            giving notice of your intention to end your
council toward the miscellaneous costs           tenancy then you can complete a standard
associated with moving.                          termination form, which is available via the
                                                 Contact Centre and on our website.
Although you will technically be renting
two properties for one week while you            Please ensure that you advise us of the
are moving, rent will only be charged on         date you intend to move out and your
one of them.                                     forwarding address (as your rent account
                                                 must be up-to-date).


                                            76
Moving on and ending your tenancy


Giving a shorter notice period                   If you made any improvements
There are limited circumstances where a          If you made any improvements to your
shorter notice period may be acceptable,         property (that you sought permission
most often when a tenant is offered              from the council for) you may be eligible
a move from one council property to              for compensation (see the government
another, or when a sole tenant has died.         leaflet A better deal for tenants - your new
                                                 right to compensation for improvements)
                                                 copies of which are available on our
What to do when you move out                     website, the Town Hall reception and via
                                                 www.communities.gov.uk.
On the day you move out you are
required to return two full sets of keys
to the Town Hall reception by 11am. If
                                                 Points to consider
you are in one of the high rise blocks
please ensure that your keys and fob are         Finally, although this is not intended as
handed to your Estate Officer.                   a comprehensive checklist of things that
                                                 you should do before you return the keys
Failure to do so may result in another           to your home, we recommend that you:
week’s rent being charged.                       •   contact your energy suppliers with a
                                                     final meter reading and confirmation
When you vacate the property you are                 of your forwarding address
required to clear it in full. That is:
                                                 •   let your water supplier and the
•   removing all furniture, household                National Television Licensing
    and personal effects                             Authority know your new address
•   clearing the contents of the attic,          •   arrange for the disconnection of
    shed and any outbuildings                        your telephone
•   clearing all rubbish from the garden,        •   arrange for your gas cooker to
    yards, paths and passageways                     be disconnected, and the supply
                                                     capped off at the connection point
•   clearing everything out of all
                                                     by a Gas Safe registered gas fitter
    cupboards.
                                                 •   arrange for your post to be
                                                     redirected to your new home. You
Inspecting the property                              will not be allowed back into the
                                                     property to collect post after the
The council will inspect your property               tenancy has been terminated
prior to re-letting it. We may charge
you for the cost of putting things right,        •   turn off the water, gas and electricity
whether that be replacing damaged
fixtures and fittings which you or your          •   check all doors and windows are
family damaged, broke or removed,                    locked
clearing or cleaning your property if it
was left in a poor condition or replacing        •   contact: Housing	Benefits, if
locks if you failed to return all your               applicable, Rugby Borough Council
keys.                                                Tax	Office and the Department for
                                                     Work and Pensions, if applicable.

                                            77
                                                     Moving on and ending your tenancy


Terminating a tenancy following                      return of the keys. Any outstanding rent
a bereavement                                        or overpaid Housing Benefit is payable
                                                     from the estate of the deceased tenant.
When a family member or a close friend               Likewise any credit on the account is
passes away dealing with their affairs can           refunded to the estate.
appear daunting.

Please note that the process is                      Returning property supplied by other
different if one tenant has died and                 organisations
another tenant or eligible occupant                  Any mobility aids that have been
remains in the property.                             supplied by Warwickshire County
                                                     Council Social Services Department, or
Please contact your housing team:                    the University Hospitals of Coventry and
•   Advise them of the date of death.                Warwickshire, must be returned before
                                                     the keys are handed in. Adaptations
•   Produce a copy of the death certificate.         that have been carried out to the
                                                     property, by the council, should be left
•   Provide written notice of the date when          intact.
    you expect the tenancy to end. (Please
    note that all tenancies start and end
    on a Monday and a minimum of one                 Points to consider
    week’s notice is required).                      A number of other organisations will
                                                     also need to know when a tenant has
•   Confirm contact details for the next of          passed away.
    kin of the tenant.
                                                     This is not meant as a
Wherever possible, the property should               comprehensive list, but may include:
be handed back completely empty of all
furniture, carpets, curtains and rubbish.            •   housing benefit and council tax
Unfortunately, if there are any articles left
in the property, the council may have to             •   The Benefits Agency
charge for disposal.
                                                     •   Royal Mail (to redirect post)
Two full sets of keys should be returned
to the Town Hall reception by 11am on                •   pension providers
the date of the tenancy termination.
Unfortunately, if the keys are not returned          •   energy suppliers
on time the termination of the tenancy
date will be delayed and further rent                •   telephone companies
charges will be incurred.
                                                     •   banks and building societies

If the tenant was receiving Housing                  •   National Television Licensing
Benefit                                                  Authority
Please note that if the tenant was
                                                     •   DVLA.
receiving Housing Benefit this stops on
the date of death. However, rent will
continue to be charged on the property
until the termination of tenancy and

                                                78
Moving on and ending your tenancy



Can I buy my council house?                       You cannot exercise the Right to Buy if it
                                                  is a condition of employment that you live
You may have the Right to Buy your                in the property to be near to your work.
council house if, continuously for two
years or more prior to 18 January 2005,
you have either:                                  You do not have the Right to Buy if
                                                  your home is particularly suitable for
•   been a secure tenant of the council           occupation by elderly persons, taking into
                                                  account its location, size, design, heating
•   been a tenant of another public               system and other features; was let to
    sector landlord (for example; another         you or the previous tenant for occupation
    council or housing association)               by a person aged 60 or over, whether
    or                                            they were the tenant or not; and was first
                                                  let (to you or someone else) before 1
•   live in armed forces accommodation.           January 1990.
For anyone else, you will not have the
Right to Buy until you have spent at least        This is in accordance with paragraph 11
five years as a public sector tenant.             of Schedule 5 to the Housing Act 1985.
                                                  If you are denied on these grounds,
                                                  then you are able to ask a Residential
How much discount will you receive?               Property Tribunal to decide if the decision
The discount you will receive is based            is correct. This request must be made
upon the number of years you have been            within 56 days after the Landlord has
a tenant.                                         denied your application.


Are there any instances where I                   How do I apply?
cannot buy my home?                               Start by asking the council for a Right
The exceptions to the Right to Buy set            to Buy claim form (RTB1). Please read
out in Schedule 5 of the Housing Act              the form carefully and complete as much
1985.                                             information as you can.

You cannot buy your home if a court               The information supplied on your form
makes a possession order, which says              will be used to decide whether you have
you must leave your home. Neither                 the Right to Buy and how much discount
can you buy your home if you are an               you will get.
undischarged bankrupt.
                                                  All completed forms should be signed
The Right to Buy cannot be exercised              and returned to the Town Hall.
when a tenancy is held on a property
which is sheltered housing. Special
rules must be met in these cases.                 Remember, this is an important legal
‘Sheltered Housing’ normally means that           document and it is a good idea to use
the property is one of a group of such            recorded delivery, or deliver it by hand
dwellings, where a warden service is              and get a receipt, otherwise you may
provided, and that there is a common-             be unable to prove the council has
room nearby.                                      received the form.


                                             79
                                                   Moving on and ending your tenancy

Landlord’s Response Notice (form                   •   It will give estimates of service
RTB2)                                                  charge and improvement costs
Once your application has been                         expected if the property is a flat or
received, the council must send a                      maisonette.
notice (form RTB2) telling you whether
                                                   •   It will describe any structural defects
you have the Right to Buy. This notice
                                                       that are known.
must be issued within four weeks of
the council receiving the RTB1. If you             •   It will contain terms and conditions
have been a tenant with Rugby Borough                  which the council thinks should be
Council for less than two years (or five               attached to the sale.
years if applicable) and have previous
tenancies with another Local Authority,
the notice must be issued within eight             The delay notice procedures for
weeks. If it is decided that you do not            tenants and council
have the Right to Buy your home, the               Most sales go through the process
reason will be stated on the notice.               quickly, but sometimes there are
                                                   problems or delays. If the council
Landlord’s Offer Notice                            does not send you form RTB2 or the
                                                   Landlord’s Offer Notice within the times
Once the valuation has been completed,             mentioned earlier, or the application is
the council must issue a Landlord’s                held up at a later stage in the process,
Offer Notice. If your property is a house          you may be entitled to a reduction in the
the Notice must be issued within eight             purchase price. To get this reduction,
weeks of issuing form RTB2, and if your            you first need to fill in an Initial Notice
property is a flat or maisonette, then this        of Delay (form RTB6) and send it to the
Notice must be issued within 12 weeks              council. You must give the council one
of issuing the form RTB2.                          month to take the next step in the sale
                                                   process. The council may send you a
The notice is an important legal                   counter notice if a response notice or an
document and will form the basis of                offer notice has already been served, or
the sale of the property to you. You               there is no action that can be taken by
should read it very carefully.                     the council to speed up the sale.

It will tell you five main things:                 If the council does not send you a
•   It will contain the name(s) of                 counter notice within the time allowed,
    persons included in the application            you can send the council an Operative
    and the full address of the property.          Notice of Delay (form RTB8). The rent
                                                   you pay during the delay period will be
•   It will contain the price the council          taken off the price of the property at
    thinks you should pay for it. To               the eventual sale of the property. If the
    calculate this, the council has the            council delays the sale again, then this
    property valued, assesses the                  procedure can be repeated.
    market value as at the date of
    your application and then deducts              If you have received the Landlord’s
    the discount. If you have made                 Office Notice and confirmed to the
    improvements to the property, these            council that you wish to proceed further
    will not be included in the market             with your purchase and delay the
    value.                                         sale, the council can issue a Notice

                                              80
Moving on and ending your tenancy

under Section 140 which asks that you               •	   Stamp	Duty
complete the sale within 56 days of the                  You may have to pay stamp duty,
Notice. If you do not, the Council can                   which is a tax that people pay when
issue a further Notice under Section 141                 becoming new homeowners. Stamp
which requires you to complete the sale                  Duty is worked out as a percentage of
within a further 56 days of the further                  the price you pay for a property that
Notice. If you do not, the application will              is worth more than £125,000. For
be withdrawn.                                            property values between £125,000
                                                         and £250,000, the cost is one percent.
Initial costs
Buying your home is a major financial               Regular payments as an owner of a
commitment. Apart from paying for it in             dwelling
either cash or with a loan, there will be
                                                    When you purchase your property,
other one off costs of buying your home.
                                                    you will, as a home owner, incur other
                                                    regular costs in relation to the property
•	   Solicitor                                      which should be considered before you
     You should employ a solicitor                  purchase. This will include whether you
     or licensed conveyancer to look                will be able to afford to both finance the
     after the legal side of buying your            actual purchase of the property and then
     home. Before employing anyone,                 the continued costs of property ownership.
     always ask how much the advice
     will cost. Advice will be offered on           You	will	not	receive	any	housing	benefit	
     the suitability of obtaining searches          to help with your mortgage costs.
     in relation to your home such as a
     Coal Mining Report. The cost of this
                                                    If you are elderly and own your own
     advice is varied and depends on the
                                                    home, its value may be taken into account
     complexity of individual cases.
                                                    in assessing whether you are eligible for
                                                    financial help with residential care.
•	   Survey
     You should have a survey of your               Some of the regular costs as well as the
     home done. These can cost between              cost of the mortgage loan repayment
     £250 and £600, or more if your home            and mortgage payment protection, are
     has any special problems.                      things such as buildings insurance,
                                                    council tax, water/sewage charges,
•	   Arranging	a	mortgage                           life assurance, gas, electricity, internal
     If you take out a mortgage loan, you           upkeep, external repairs/improvements.
     may have to pay the cost of arranging          This is, of course, not an exhaustive list.
     it and you also have to pay a valuation        If the property which you purchase is a
     fee (average cost £200 to £300).               flat or maisonette, then it will have been
                                                    sold to you on a leasehold basis and
•	   Land	Registry                                  in addition to the above mentioned, a
                                                    yearly service charge is also payable.
     When the sale is completed, you
                                                    For this type of sale, there may be other
     must pay the Land Registry to
                                                    significant costs in relation to major
     register you as the new owner. The
                                                    works/improvements which may be
     cost of this depends upon the value
                                                    carried out to the block/building in which
     of the property.
                                                    your property is situated.

                                               81
                                                   Moving on and ending your tenancy


Please be advised that your home may               The council will normally write to you
be at risk of repossession if you fall             after three months to ask whether you
behind with mortgage repayments. This              intend to carry on with your application
may mean that you will be homeless.                or whether you wish to withdraw it.


Property Deeds
Once a property is sold to you under the
Right to Buy Scheme, the council does              Can I buy my council flat?
not retain the deeds to the property.
These are issued to the solicitor who              In most cases yes. Certain flats which
acted in the matter, then if the purchase          are particularly suitable for occupation
is financed through a mortage or loan,             by the elderly are excluded from the
the deeds will be forwarded to the lender          Right to Buy.
to be retained until the mortgage or loan
is repaid.                                         If you buy a flat, you will become a
                                                   leaseholder. Normally this means that
If the property is bought outright, then           you will be responsible for the interior
the deeds will initially be issued to your         of your home whilst the landlord will
solicitor and advice should be given on            be responsible for looking after the
how best to store securely.                        structure and the exterior of the block.


Selling your property                              You will be asked to pay for major
                                                   repair and improvement works, through
The amount of discount to be repaid if a           services and the cost of insuring the
property is resold within five years is now        fabric of the building. These can be
a percentage of the market value of the            high - sometimes as much as several
property when it is resold.                        hundred pounds each year. You will
                                                   also have to pay ground rent which is
Tenants who agree to sell their home to            currently £10 per year.
a third party during the discount period
must repay some or all of their discount
as if they had actually sold their home            Can	I	sell	my	flat	once	I	have	bought	
at the time of the agreement. This is              it from the council?
dealt with as a clause in the deed and             You may sell your home whenever you
is actioned by the selling solicitors at           like. But if you sell within a prescribed
the time of resale. Owners who wish                period of time following your buying it,
to resell their home within 10 years of            you will have to repay some or all of the
it having been sold under the Right to             discount and possibly a percentage of
Buy must first offer it at market value to         the ‘profit’ made on the property in the
their former landlord or to another body           interim period.
prescribed by the Secretary of State.
                                                   The Department for Communities and
Can I withdraw from buying my home                 Local Government has published a
once I have applied?                               booklet Your Right to Buy Your Home,
                                                   which gives advice on buying your
Yes, you can withdraw your application at          home. It is available upon request or by
any time by sending a letter signed by all         visiting www.communities.gov.uk
applicants to the council.

                                              82
Moving on and ending your tenancy


Please note the council will
administer your Right to Buy
application for free. There are
specialist companies which will
offer to help you buy your property,
and may say that they are acting on
our behalf. They will not be acting
on our behalf and will charge you
money.




                                       83
Section 7: notes




                   84
Section 8




HAVING YOUR SAY
                                  AND GETTING INVOLVED




Rugby Borough Council is committed to providing quality housing and
excellent services to all its tenants and leaseholders. To ensure that high
standards are reached and maintained we need to create opportunities
for you to have your say about your homes, estates and services.
This section contains:
              Having your say
              The Tenant Participation Compact
              Ways to get involved




                                        85
                                             Having your say and getting involved


Having your say                                   What are we trying to do?
The council knows that the more it                •     Improve homes and estates.
involves its tenants in what we do,
the more satisfied you will be with the           •     Improve services.
services we offer – which is why we
                                                  •     Improve quality of life.
encourage all tenants to have their say.
                                                  •     Make the council more accountable.
We understand that if you are going to
be able to do this then you may need
some help and support. This is why we             Getting involved - what's in it for me?
provide training, and will pay expenses
that you may incur when giving up your            •     Making a difference - knowing
time to talk to us, for example child-care              that your views are valued and you
or travel costs to attend meetings.                     actually have a strong influence
                                                        over the services you receive on
Listening to what you have to say                       your estates.
is only the start. The next step is to
ensure that we use what you tell us               •     Learning new skills - to help you
to change things for the better. We                     in your tenant representative role.
then need to ensure that you know you
have been listened to and what has                •     Having fun - although you are
happened as a result                                    doing an important job it is not all
                                                        serious!
We believe that tenant involvement is
a vital part of managing your homes               •     Meeting other people - learning
and estates. It is only by working in                   from other people's experiences
partnership that we can provide the best                and making new friends.
possible housing service.
                                                  “It’s important to get involved – you
The council encourages all tenants to             need to be able to have your say on
get involved and also provides:                   what you want in your area and on the
•   access to training to help you                things that are going on in your area.
    develop your skills and knowledge
                                                  I go to meetings to hear not just about
                                                  what the council is doing but what
•   facilities including access to meeting
                                                  residents are doing about being a
    rooms, photocopying and stationery
                                                  community.
•   access to support for typing and
                                                  It’s good to know what the council has
    distributing meeting notes, agendas,
                                                  planned for the future and they want
    and local newsletters
                                                  our feedback. And if you don’t go to
                                                  meetings you can’t really sit down and
                                                  moan that the council are doing this
                                                  and that because you won’t know.”

                                                      Source; Mrs O, Rugby Borough Council
                                                                            tenant, (2009).


                                             86
Having your say and getting involved


The Tenant Participation Compact                 Ways to get involved
The Rugby Tenant Participation Compact           Tenants and the council have worked
is a formal partnership agreement drawn          closely together to introduce a range of
up between the council and tenants. It           involvement opportunities for tenants,
sets out opportunities for tenants to be         this forms the Menu of Involvement.
involved in developing and monitoring            Some activities will only take a few
the council’s housing service, so that it        minutes, and others will take up more
meets their needs and is a service that          time.
they value. The Compact is supported
by an Action Plan which sets out what            It is up to you to decide how much time
the council will do, as well as how and          you want to give and how often. The
when they will do it.                            council understands that meetings
                                                 are not for everyone, which is why our
For more information on the Tenant               involvement options are so flexible. You
Participation Compact, or to request a           don’t even have to leave your home to
copy, please contact the Participation           have your say!
and Development Team.


                                Menu of Involvement


   Get involved by…                      What it means…                  Time it takes...

 Attending community        Have fun and have your say at the
                                                                      Every once in a while
        events              same time.
 Attending information
                            Receive information and have your          An hour or so, every
 sharing sessions and
                            say in an informal environment                 few months
   informal meetings
 Completing surveys by      Complete short questionnaires on a
                                                                      A few minutes, a few
post, telephone or on the   range of topics, to help us know what
                                                                          times a year
           web.             are tenants want
                                                                      From a few minutes,
  View web pages and        Keep up to date via the internet, and
                                                                         when you visit
        surveys             feedback your comments
                                                                       www.rugby.gov.uk
                            Read and evaluate standard letters,
                                                                      About an hour, up to a
 Join our readers’ panel    leaflets, customer care cards and
                                                                        few times a year
                            questionnaires and newsletters etc
                            Attend occasional informal sessions
                            on a specific theme, to help us shape
                                                                  About two hours, once
 Attend Focus Groups        our services for specific groups
                                                                     or twice a year
                            (eg older, younger, leaseholders,
                            disabilities, BME etc)




                                            87
                                            Having your say and getting involved


                        Menu of Involvement (continued)




  Get involved by…                 What it means…                      Time it takes...

                        Carrying out reality checks of our
                        services to make sure we are               Two to three days, up to
  Tenant Inspectors
                        delivering them to the levels set in our     four times per year
                        Service Standards

                        Monitor and report on communal              An hour or so, once a
  Tenant Champions
                        cleaning standards                                 month


  Estate Inspections    Accompany housing management staff
                                                              Two hours, twice a year
    (Walkabouts)        on twice-yearly inspection of estates


                        Join, or start up, a local tenant or
                        resident association to help strengthen    One to two hours every
    Local Groups
                        community spirit and help people to                month
                        improve the area and quality of life

                        Attend regular meetings and help us        About two hours every
Tenants’ Associations
                        shape our services                                 month

                        Get involved in consultation and
                                                                     Two to three hours
     Workshops          awareness sessions to ensure we are
                                                                        periodically
                        delivering an excellent service

                      Help us develop and improve key
                      service areas including housing              About two hours every
Service Review Groups management, sheltered housing,
                                                                           month
                      property maintenance




                                          88
Having your say and getting involved


Service Review Groups                             What do the tenant inspectors do?
Service Review Groups are small groups            A tenant inspector’s role is potentially
of tenants and staff who work together            varied. For example, they may
to act as a ‘sounding board’ for matters          telephone the housing service to record
affecting specific areas of the housing           how long it takes for their call to be
service. They also discuss policies               answered, how they are greeted, and
and procedures that affect the housing            the advice that was offered. They
services we provide. Tenants play an              might also look at the council’s repair
important role in bringing a tenants’             programmes to identify how they may
perspective to the decision-making                do things better, from a customer’s
process.                                          point-of-view.

The time commitment consists of attending         They decide, as a group, the areas of
one meeting per month and you can                 service they would like to inspect and
decide which area of the Housing Service          meet regularly to plan, carry out, and
you would like to become involved in.             report on each inspection. With support
                                                  from the council staff, tenant inspectors
Service Review Groups you can join are:           use a variety of means to carry out
•     Estate Management                           inspections which include face to face
                                                  contact with tenants, surveys, mystery-
•     Sheltered Housing                           shopping and internet research.

•     Repairs and Maintenance                     After each inspection the team meet
                                                  to evaluate the results and make
•     The Capital Programme
                                                  recommendations for housing mangers
•     Housing Options                             to consider.

For more information on joining a Service         You don’t need to be a member of a
Review Group please contact the                   tenants’ association to be a tenant
Participation and Development Team.               inspector. You don’t need any specialist
                                                  knowledge or qualifications, just an
                                                  interest in finding out how things work
Tenant inspectors
                                                  in order to suggest improvements and a
Tenant inspectors are tenants who                 willingness to work in a small team. All
volunteer to inspect the council’s housing        tenant inspectors will be provided with
services to identify opportunities for            training.
improving what we do and how we do it
to ensure better outcomes for tenants.
                                                  If you are interested in becoming a
                                                  tenant inspector then please contact
The aim of having tenant inspectors is to         the Participation and Development
help:                                             Team.
•   improve service standards

•   identify good and bad practice

•   provide a positive partnership with
    tenants.

                                             89
                                               Having your say and getting involved


Tenant groups                                      One of the ways in which we are doing
Sometimes there are issues on your                 this is by arranging a series of Estate
estate that need resolving to improve              Walkabouts. The Walkabouts will
the quality of life for all residents. By          look to identify issues that are causing
setting up a local group you can bring             particular concern to residents. This
your concerns to the attention of those            can include anything from overgrown
agencies that can help you to sort things          gardens to dog fouling, abandoned cars,
out.                                               dumped rubbish and graffiti.


There are already a number of local                If you are interested in taking part in
groups within the borough. You may                 Estate Walkabouts, then please contact
decide that you would like to join one             the Participation and Development
of these groups and you would be                   Team.
welcome to do so. If there is not already
a local group, you may consider setting            Tenant Times
one up.
                                                   Periodically will receive a copy of
                                                   Tenant Times – a newsletter that
For more information on local groups,              includes details of our performance,
or on setting one up, please contact the           useful information and an update on our
Participation and Development Team.                services.

Readers Panel                                      To submit an article for Tenant Times,
                                                   or to request in a copy in large print
The Readers' Panel is a group of people
                                                   or audio format, please contact the
who have volunteered to read new and
                                                   Participation and Development Team.
updated information. This can be via the
post or email.
                                                   Other ways we keep you informed
We need members to volunteer to read               •   Through rent statements (twice a
information and help us make sure our                  year).
information is clear and user-friendly. It
is important to us that we know we are             •   Through service charge and rent
using the right words, in the right way, to            increase letters (once a year).
get our message across.
                                                   •   Through updates to this handbook,
If you are interested in becoming a                    which will be included with Tenant
member of the Readers' Panel, then                     Times and posted on our website.
please contact the Participation and
Development Team.


Estate Walkabouts
The council wants to work with tenants
to find out how to improve the quality of
our neighbourhoods. We believe that the
quality of the area where you live is just
as important as the home you live in.


                                              90
Having your say and getting involved




                                   91
Section 8: notes




                   92
Section 9




ADDITIONAL SECTION:


MULTI-STOREY PROPERTIES




This section contains:
             Rounds Gardens and Biart Place - general information
             What to do if the standards haven’t been met
             Rounds Gardens and Biart Place - Estate Officer
             Service charges
             Rounds Gardens and Biart Place - CCTV monitoring
             and the concierge service
             Frequently asked questions
             The Multi storey Charter




                                   93
                                                                  Multi-storey properties


Rugby Borough Council Service                     Rounds Gardens and Biart Place
Standards - Multi-storey flats                    - general information
These service standards should be read            Noise Nuisance
in conjunction with the Housing Service           Noise from loud music or televisions is a
Standards which are available on request.         common source of nuisance. In blocks of
                                                  flats, the noise can travel up, down and
We will:                                          across floors of a block, and via the lift
•   inspect every high rise block on a            shafts, disturbing many residents.
    weekly basis and do daily camera
    checks                                        If you are experiencing noise nuisance
                                                  from another flat, it is important that you
•   investigate and remedy all faults to          are able to identify from which flat the
    fobs within 48 hours                          alleged noise nuisance is coming as
                                                  it is almost impossible to investigate a
•   arrange for the removal of all fly            complaint without this information.
    tipped and hazardous rubbish within
    24 hours of it being reported                 You should attempt to establish the
                                                  source of the noise from other landings
•   remove all graffiti within 24 hours of        only if it is reasonable and safe to do so.
    it being reported
                                                  If you feel that it is safe then please tell
•   hold Surgeries twice a week                   your neighbour that their behaviour is
    and advertise them widely on                  causing a problem.
    noticeboards and in our lettings packs
                                                  They may be unaware that what they are
•   liaise with the CCTV control centre           doing is causing a problem. It is always
    on a daily basis                              inadvisable to engage in a confrontational
                                                  situation with a neighbour.
•   maintain notice boards with accurate
    and up-to-date information on a               If you do not feel that you can approach
    weekly basis                                  your neighbour, or you have tried
                                                  talking to them and it has not resolved
•   inspect the grounds and car parks             the problem, then please contact the
    on a weekly basis to identify issues          concierge who will take a report of the
    such as abandoned and untaxed                 noise nuisance, noting the date and time it
    vehicles, discarded needles                   was reported.

•   carry out a residents survey for the          The concierge will also make a note of
    multi storey blocks every two years           any attempts to contact the tenant of the
                                                  flat where the alleged noise is coming
•   encourage residents to attend                 from. If the concierge is able to make
    the twice yearly formal estate                contact, they will request that the tenant
    walkabouts and feedback to all                turns the music or television down. This
    residents any outcomes from these             report is then passed to the estate officer/
    inspections.                                  Estate Management Team, where it will be
                                                  assigned to a housing officer to deal with.
                                                  Further action will be taken depending on


                                             94
Multi-storey properties


whether it is an isolated incident or an           The Communal Laundry
on-going complaint.                                The council provides laundry facilities
                                                   on the ground floor of each block. The
When a noise nuisance is taking place              running and maintenance costs for the
out of office hours it should still be             equipment are included in the service
reported to the concierge, who will try to         charge for your flat.
contact the tenant allegedly causing the
noise nuisance and request that they               Tenants using the equipment should
turn the music or television down.                 do so responsibly and report any
                                                   breakdowns promptly to the estate
If the noise nuisance is so severe                 officer.
that it is causing a problem to several
residents, the concierge may consider              Tenants are advised not to leave their
calling out the police to deal with the            washing unattended in the laundry
matter.                                            areas, as the council will not accept
                                                   responsibility for any lost items.

Secure Car Parking
                                                   Plumbing for washing machines is
The secure car parking facilities are              also provided in your flats. If you have
there for the benefit of residents to park         your own washing machine, please
their cars and motorbikes.                         ensure that it is plumbed in correctly.
                                                   In the past, there have been incidents
The secure parking areas are accessed              where leaking washing machines and
by fob, and only taxed and roadworthy              overflowing sinks and baths have
vehicles are eligible to use this facility.        caused damage in flats several floors
The council will make arrangements to              below.
remove any vehicles that are making
use of this facility and should not be             Tenants should be aware that while
doing so. If you require fob access to             the council will undertake repairs
the secure parking area you should                 to any structural defects, it will not
contact the estates officer in the first           be responsible for making good any
instance.                                          damage to personal effects and décor.
                                                   Tenants should ensure that they have
Tenants do not have any right to any               adequate home contents insurance to
of the parking spaces, as they are only            cover for such eventualities.
available on a first come first served
basis.
                                                   Communal Cleaning
Tenants should not park on grassed
areas or in areas for emergency                    The lobby areas, communal landings,
services.                                          lifts and stairwells are cleaned on a
                                                   regular basis and cleaning standards
You will be required to prove ownership            are monitored by the estate officer on
of the vehicle and that it is appropriately        site. If you are dissatisfied with any
taxed and insured, before you are given            aspect of the cleaning services then
permission to use this facility.                   please contact the estate officer, in the
                                                   first instance.


                                              95
                                                                  Multi-storey properties


Emergency Evacuation and Fire                      If you note that a lift is out of order and
Safety                                             there is no obvious sign that staff are
In the event of an emergency requiring             already aware of the breakdown, then
the evacuation of one or more blocks,              please advise the concierge.
the Emergency Services will co-ordinate
activities. All tenants, their families            Grass-cutting
and their visitors should follow their
instructions.                                      The cutting of all the grassed areas
                                                   around the blocks is included in a formal
In the event of fire please notify the             grounds maintenance service level
concierge immediately, as long as it               agreement, which is administered by the
is safe to do so.                                  council’s Environmental Services Team
                                                   and housing service.
Instructions are clearly displayed on
every landing, advising what to do in the          Grass cutting only takes place during
event of fire. There are fire safety doors         the grass-growing season. How often
fitted on all landings which should be             the grass is cut is dependent upon the
kept closed at all times for your safety.          weather.
As an added precaution, individual
flats are all fitted with fire retardant           Office	Opening	Hours
doors, manufactured to British Safety
Standards.                                         Site offices at Rounds Gardens and
                                                   Biart Place are staffed by the estate
                                                   officer on two days a week.
Window Safety
The council is committed to looking                The site office opening hours are as
after the health and safety of all                 follows;
tenants, their families and visitors to the
blocks. Therefore, all flat windows in the         Biart Place
high-rise blocks are fitted with window            Tuesdays: 9.30am to 10.30am
restrictor devices, fitted to prevent the          Thursdays: 11am to 12 noon
windows from being fully opened.
                                                   Rounds Gardens
For safety reasons, you should not
interfere with the window restrictors. If          Tuesdays: 11am to 12noon
you believe that there may be a problem            Thursdays: 9am to 10.30am
with one or more of the devices, then
you should report this to the estate
officer who will arrange for the windows
to be inspected.


Lift Maintenance
All lift equipment is checked and
serviced on a monthly basis. The lift
company is required to complete a
monthly service sheet, which is held by
the Housing Maintenance Team.


                                              96
Multi-storey properties


What to do if the service                          Daily Inspections
standards have not been met                        Part of the estate officer’s role is to
Every effort is made to ensure that the            carry out a weekly inspection of each
service that tenants receive is up to              block. This enables them to:
standard. If you are unhappy and feel              •   identify any repairs and issues that
that standards are not being met in                    need to be acted upon to ensure
a particular area, then please tell us                 that the communal areas remain
about it.                                              safe and hazard free

We cannot start to put something                   •   help ensure that communal areas
right until it has been brought to our                 are being cleaned to an acceptable
attention. In the first instance, please               standard
contact the estate officer at one of the
site offices or via the concierge. If they         •   identify any breaches of tenancy
are unable to resolve your problem on                  conditions that need to be acted on
site, they will pass your comments on                  immediately or be brought to the
to the Estate Management Team for                      attention of the Estate Management
further action.                                        Team

                                                   •   identify any properties that may
                                                       have been abandoned

Rounds Gardens and Biart Place –                   •   ensure that any empty properties
Estate Officer                                         remain secure until they have been
                                                       re-let.
The estate officer helps to manage the
high-rise sites and the control centre
CCTV, in conjunction with housing
                                                   Support for new and prospective
officers from the Estates Management
                                                   residents
Team.
                                                   The estate officer also offers support to
The role of the estate officer is varied.          new tenants, by advising them how to
A vital part of their job is to foster good        use:
relations with tenants by providing a              •   the door-entry system
friendly and reliable presence on the
estate.                                            •   the lifts

He is also on hand to discuss problems             •   the refuse chutes
and complaints with tenants, and
to manage the estate offices during                •   the laundry
opening hours.
                                                   •   the heating system.
The estate officer is also fully trained
to help release people trapped in                  They will also accompany prospective
the lifts when failures occur and are              tenants to view a flat and to sign the
fully Security Industry Authority (SIA)            paperwork should they wish to accept
Licensed which means that they can                 the property.
monitor the CCTV cameras.


                                              97
                                                                  Multi-storey properties


The estate officer will try to visit new           The estate officer will not:
tenants, in their home, to complete a              •   let you into your home in the event
post-tenancy interview, within three                   that you have locked yourself out. It
weeks of their tenancy starting. The                   is up to you to make arrangements
aims of the visit are to ensure that:                  to leave a spare key with a friend
•   everything ran smoothly during the                 or family for you to collect in an
    housing application process                        emergency. Exceptions to this rule
                                                       will only be made in an absolute
•   the condition of the property was                  emergency.
    acceptable when it was let to you
                                                   •   supervise your washing in the
•   there are no problems that are                     communal laundry, or view the CCTV
    making it difficult to maintain your               footage should an incident occur.
    new tenancy.                                       The onus is on you to look after your
                                                       own washing
Annual	flat	inspections                            •   assist in carrying shopping etc up the
The estate officer will visit you in your              stairs in the event of lift breakdown
home to conduct annual flat inspections
in all high rise blocks.                           •   be routinely available outside of
                                                       their contracted working hours in
The purpose of the inspection is to                    neighbour disputes
ensure that the flat is in good order
and there is no damage or outstanding              •   act as a mediator in neighbour
repairs needed. The inspection forms                   disputes.
part of the additional high rise conditions
of tenancy and takes no longer than 30
minutes to do.
                                                   Service charges
The Caretaking Role
                                                   A service charge is an additional charge
The estate officer also carries out a              for services that you may receive if you
number of caretaking roles. These                  live in a flat or housing for older people.
include:                                           This is because, unlike someone living
•   conducting weekly zone inspections             in a house, you may receive additional
    to identify any issues in the grounds          services.
    that need attention
                                                   What do service charges pay for?
•   rotating the refuse bins daily
                                                   Service charges pay for things like:
•   litter picking                                 •   cleaning and lighting of communal
                                                       areas
•   graffiti removal.
                                                   •   home alarm service for older people
The estate officer also provides active
support for resident involvement by                •   the estate officer service at the
helping to circulate publicity material                high-rise blocks
when required, and promoting
involvement among other residents.                 •   communal heating.

                                              98
Multi-storey properties


Do I have to pay for service charges?            For further information
When you accepted your tenancy                   For more information regarding service
you agreed to the pay ‘the rent and              charges, please contact the Estates
all charges as detailed on the rent              Management Team on the telephone
agreement’. The amount of rent and               numbers on the front page.
charges payable are subject to variation
by the council.

Service charge arrears are dealt with
in the same way as rent arrears and              Rounds Gardens and Biart
therefore you should contact your                Place – CCTV monitoring and
housing officer if you are experiencing
                                                 concierge service
any problems in paying your rent or
your service charges.                            (including Skiddaw and 30-76
                                                 Pettiver Crescent)
Do service charges qualify for
                                                 What is the monitoring and concierge
housing benefit?
                                                 service?
Most service charges qualify for
                                                 We provide a surveillance and
housing benefit in the same way as your
                                                 concierge service to your block of
rent. However, there is one exception
                                                 flats. This service uses closed circuit
and that is communal heating which is
                                                 television (CCTV) to monitor the
not covered by housing benefit.
                                                 block from a control centre at Rounds
                                                 Gardens, which is staffed 24 hours
Communal heating charges are only                a day, seven days a week, 365 days
applicable to Tanser Court, Lesley               a year. You can speak to concierge
Souter House and Albert Square and all           officers in the control centre by pressing
tenants living in those schemes have to          the concierge button on the intercom
pay the heating charges themselves.              handset which is installed in your
                                                 property.
What if I don’t think I am getting the
service that I am paying for?                    We are not a “security service”. We
In the first instance you should contact         rely on other agencies, such as the
your housing officer to explain your             police, to carry out arrests and other
concerns. If you are still unhappy then          enforcement activities.
you should make a complaint under the
council’s formal complaints policy.
                                                 We know it is very important that you
                                                 live in a safe and secure home. With
When are service charges reviewed?               this in mind, we have a number of
                                                 safety and security measures in the
Service charges are reviewed annually
                                                 blocks. These are outlined below.
at the same time as the council carry
out their annual rent review. All tenants
and leaseholders receive a minimum
of 28 days written notification of any
service charge increases.


                                            99
                                                                   Multi-storey properties


Closed Circuit Television cameras                 which you operate by using your key fob.
(CCTV)                                            When you pass your fob over the reader
There are CCTV cameras in every                   at the front of the block, it recognises
block. The cameras are positioned in              your name and the door will unlock to let
the ground floor lobby area, covering             you in. Please carry your fob with you.
the external area, in the lift and front          We suggest you attach it to your house
entrances. Staff based in our control             keys. Do not pass your fob to other
centre keep an eye on what’s going                people for them to access the block.
on within the blocks with the aid of
surveillance equipment. We record all             Fobs are issued for residents’
images from the cameras 24 hours a                personal use only.
day. We can also contact the emergency
services (i.e. police, fire or ambulance)         If you lose your fob or it is stolen, please
to respond to an emergency and we will            report this to the estate officer by calling
assist them as appropriate.                       our control centre on (01788) 536408.
                                                  They will delete it from the system so that
Viewing of CCTV Footage                           anyone trying to use your lost fob will not
                                                  be able to gain access to your block.
Due to Data Protection Act regulations,
residents cannot routinely request to
view CCTV footage.                                If your fob does not work, please contact
                                                  your estate officer. If it is faulty, staff will
                                                  issue you with a new one, free of charge.
In the event that CCTV footage may
be able to assist the police with their
enquiries in a criminal investigation,            Replacement fobs can be provided on
the police must request footage from              payment of a fee. Fobs are issued to
the Head of Housing by completing the             each person named on the tenancy
appropriate documentation, within seven           agreement. Additional fobs for other
days of the date of the incident.                 people living with you can be considered
                                                  when:

Housing officers will also use CCTV               •   they have lived with you for six
footage as evidence to support any                    months
court action being taken in respect
of breaches of tenancy conditions,                •   your children are aged 14 years or over
nuisance or anti-social behaviour.
                                                  Requests for additional fobs must be
                                                  submitted in writing to the Estates
Door entry/Intercom system                        Management Team.
Every flat has an intercom handset,
which is connected to the control centre.         We will not issue a fob to anyone other
You can contact our staff at any time             than a resident. If you have a carer,
by using the concierge button on your             friend or family member who needs to
intercom. If they need to, our staff can          gain access to your property while you
also contact you by using the intercom.           are not at home, please contact us and
                                                  we will arrange to include their details
                                                  on our fob management system so that
Fob Management System
                                                  our concierge officers will allow them
Each block has a door access system,              access.

                                            100
Multi-storey properties


A safer environment for residents can              If you notice anything within the
only be achieved with co-operation. This           block that concerns you, please
means that, where possible, you should             call the control centre using the
not allow people to follow you into the            concierge button on the intercom.
block without their gaining permission
via the concierge first. However, for              What duties do the CCTV Monitoring
reasons of health and safety, we do not            and concierge service carry out?
encourage residents to challenge such
persons. If someone gains unauthorised             •   We monitor the CCTV cameras in
access behind you then please alert the                your block 24 hours a day, seven
concierge.                                             days a week, 365 days a year.

                                                   •   We take calls on the door entry
Help us to help you                                    system from residents, visitors and
You can play an important part in                      staff, assisting where appropriate.
keeping your block secure, clean and
cared for. We encourage you to:                    •   We contact the emergency services
                                                       to respond to serious incidents and
•   always carry your key fob with you.                emergencies and assist them as
    If you forget your fob, our operators              appropriate.
    may ask for identification and this
    will cause a delay in letting you into         •   We provide evidence to the
    your block                                         relevant enforcement agencies to
                                                       secure convictions and anti-social
•   keep your front door locked at all                 behaviour remedies.
    times
                                                   •   We work with the Estates
•   only let people you know into the                  Management Team to take firm action
    block. Please do not let strangers                 against anti social behaviour and
    into the block. If you are unsure or               send all incident reports for action.
    worried ask the concierge operator
    to deal with the call                          What you cannot expect the concierge
                                                   to do:
•   dispose of your rubbish in a
                                                   •   arrest people
    responsible manner. Make sure
    you do not leave black bags or
                                                   •   attend incidents of anti-social
    bulky rubbish in communal areas
                                                       behaviour or neighbour complaints
    or outside bin areas. Anyone found
    doing this may be charged.                     •   take parcels, messages or allow
                                                       access for door-to-door sales people
In every case where you feel that your
personal safety or possessions are at              •   act as security guards
risk you should always:
•   ring the emergency services first on           •   take and pass on messages for
    999                                                tenants

•   contact the concierge operator                 •   help people carry shopping and
    using your intercom.                               pushchairs etc into the block and up
                                                       to their floors

                                             101
                                                                   Multi-storey properties


•     any duties that require them to               I forgot to take my key fob with me
      leave the control centre as this              when I left my block of flats. Why did
      would mean that they cannot control           the control centre not let me into the
      access to the blocks and monitor              block immediately?
      the surveillance equipment.
                                                      • Our staff need to ask you a number
                                                        of questions to make sure you are
                                                        the resident. They then need to
Frequently asked questions                              check this information against our
I’m not sure how to use the intercom                    records. They do not want to let in
handset. Can the control centre help                    the wrong person.
me?

    • Yes, call our contact centre and we
      will arrange for an estate officer
      to visit you and show you how the             The Multi-Storey Charter
      intercom system works.                        The Multi-Storey Charter applies to
                                                    tenants of Rugby Borough Council
How can I contact the control centre?               only.

    • You can contact the concierge staff
                                                    The council recognises that families
      by using the intercom handset in your
                                                    who have young children and live in
      flat. If you have a problem getting
                                                    flats on the second storey or above
      in touch with us from your handset,
                                                    are classed as adequately housed and
      please ring us on (01788) 536408.
                                                    therefore do not attract enough points to
                                                    be offered alternative accommodation.
Can I leave my black bags outside
the bin area in the foyer?                          To provide these families with the
    • No, you must dispose of all                   opportunity to move on, the council
      household domestic waste using                operates the Multi-Storey Charter.
      the chutes within the block. If you
      are identified leaving black bags             The charter is a commitment to secure
      or other bulky rubbish anywhere in            eligible families with children under
      or around the block, you may be               the age of 12 a reasonable offer of a
      charged for its removal.                      move to a house (unless the applicant
                                                    indicates that they are prepared to
                                                    accept a flat) after they have lived in a
My next door neighbour had her                      second floor flat or above for two years,
music turned up very loud last night.               with a child. This means that if you
I reported it to the Monitoring Centre              moved into your flat with a child it will
but they told me they could only                    be two years from the commencement
record the incident.                                of your tenancy. If your child was born
    • This is correct. The CCTV                     after you moved in, it will be two years
      monitoring and concierge service              from their date of birth.
      are here to maintain the security
      of the block and you as residents.            For full details of the scheme, or to
      They are not able to deal with                check your eligibility, please contact the
      tenancy matters.                              Housing Options Team.

                                              102
Section 9: notes




                   103
92
Section 10




ADDITIONAL SECTION:


SHELTERED HOUSING




This section contains:
             Sheltered housing
             Service charges
             Communal facilities
             The role of the warden
             Accidents in communal areas
             Protection from abuse
             Fire/Emergency evacuation procedures
             Home alarm service




                                      93
                                                                      Sheltered housing


Sheltered housing                                 Types of properties available
The purpose of sheltered housing is to            The council owns and manages
offer additional support enabling older           approximately 1,500 sheltered housing
people, and people with disabilities,             properties throughout the borough. Most
to continue to live independently. This           of these properties are one-bedroom
support takes the form of:                        flats. There are also two-bedroom flats
                                                  and one or two-bedroom bungalows, but
•   a Home Alarm service – a                      these are in short supply, and demand
    computerised link between a                   is high.
    resident’s home and a Control Centre
    which is staffed 24 hours a day
                                                  You will probably find that sheltered
•   the Locality and Home Warden                  housing properties are smaller than
    service, which is designed to steer           the home you live in at the moment,
    residents in the right direction,             particularly if you are living in a house
    should they require additional care or        designed for a family.
    support.
                                                  The advantages of sheltered housing
                                                  units are that they:
Eligibility for sheltered housing
                                                  •   are easier to clean and cheaper to
A fundamental condition for                           heat
consideration for sheltered housing
is that an applicant must be able to              •   do not have gardens to look after
live reasonably independently within a
scheme with the aid – where appropriate           •   benefit from the support and peace
– of a care package or family support.                of mind of the Home Alarm Service

Priority is given to persons over the age         •   often have community activities
of 60. However, if an empty property                  available for those that wish to join.
cannot be let to anyone over 60 or, if
there is no one who has expressed a
preference for that scheme, an offer may          Where are sheltered housing
be made to someone over the age of 50.            properties within Rugby?
Where an offer is made to an applicant            A comprehensive list of where the
aged below 60 years, this shall be at the         properties are can be provided on
discretion of officers in the Sheltered           request.
Housing Team, who will consider if this
is conducive to the good management of
                                                  There are also a number of private
the scheme.
                                                  residential developments for older
                                                  people to rent or purchase locally and
In some exceptional cases, applicants             these are usually advertised at estate
under 50 years of age can be housed               agents or in the press.
in sheltered schemes. This option is
available if someone has severe medical
factors and their housing need would be
best addressed by a suitable sheltered
property.


                                             94
Sheltered housing


Who can apply for sheltered housing                Portable Gas Heaters
in Rugby?                                          The council recommends that tenants
If you are over 50 years old you can               do not keep portable gas heaters in
apply for the council’s sheltered                  their home. This advice is due to the
housing.                                           possible danger of explosion and in the
However, preference will be given to               increased likelihood of condensation
applicants aged 60 and above or people             within the home.
with disabilities.

                                                   I have a mobility scooter, can I bring
Incentive moves for residents of                   it with me?
Rugby Borough Council                              Mobility scooters must be stored within
Sometimes, older people end up living              your home. They must also be charged
alone in a three or four bedroom council           via your own electricity supply. If you
property. As long as a tenant adheres to           are considering purchasing a mobility
their conditions of tenancy they have the          scooter or want to bring one with you
legal right to stay in their home for life,        and you are unable to store it within
regardless of whether or not they are              your home, then please contact the
under-occupying it.                                Sheltered Housing Team for advice,
                                                   prior to purchase.
To try and make better use of its limited
housing stock, the council offers an
incentive scheme for older people
wanting to move out of larger family
housing into sheltered accommodation.
Under this scheme, the council will
pay for removals as well as the
disconnection and reconnection of
telephones and cookers. A small grant
is also paid to assist with miscellaneous
expenses.


Can I bring my pet with me?
When you apply for sheltered housing
please note that pets are not permitted
in Albert Square, Lesley Souter House
or Tanser Court. Some domestic pets
are allowed in other schemes. If you
have a pet you would like to live with
you in sheltered housing please make
this clear when you apply for housing.

Please see the section Keeping pets
on pages 67 - 69.




                                              95
                                                                      Sheltered housing


Service charges                                    Communal heating charges are only
                                                   applicable to Tanser Court, Lesley
A service charge is an additional charge
                                                   Souter House and Albert Square and all
for services that you may receive if you
                                                   tenants living in those schemes have to
live in a flat or housing for older people.
                                                   pay the heating charges themselves.
This is because, unlike someone living
in a house, you may receive additional
services.                                          What if I don’t think I am getting the
                                                   service that I am paying for?
What do service charges pay for?                   In the first instance you should contact
                                                   your housing officer to explain your
Service charges pay for things like:
                                                   concerns. If you are still unhappy then
•   cleaning and lighting of communal              you should make a complaint under the
    areas                                          council’s formal complaints policy.

•   home alarm service for older people
                                                   When are service charges reviewed?
•   the estate officer service at the              Service charges are reviewed annually
    high-rise blocks                               at the same time as the council carry
                                                   out their annual rent review. All tenants
•   communal heating.                              and leaseholders receive a minimum
                                                   of 28 days written notification of any
                                                   service charge increases.
Do I have to pay for service charges?
When you accepted your tenancy
you agreed to the pay ‘the rent and                For further information
all charges as detailed on the rent                For more information regarding service
agreement’. The amount of rent and                 charges, please contact the Sheltered
charges payable are subject to variation           Housing Team on the telephone
by the council.                                    numbers on the front page.

Service charge arrears are dealt with
in the same way as rent arrears and
therefore you should contact your
housing officer if you are experiencing
any problems in paying your rent or
your service charges.


Do service charges qualify for
housing benefit?
Most service charges qualify for
housing benefit in the same way as your
rent. However, there is one exception
and that is communal heating which is
not covered by housing benefit.



                                              96
Sheltered housing


Communal facilities                                  Bookings and payments can
                                                     be arranged via the warden, or
Many sheltered schemes have
                                                     in the absence of the warden,
communal facilities, which are available
                                                     arrangements can be made via the
to everyone to use. The cost of these
                                                     control centre.
communal services are paid in addition
to the weekly rent via a service charge.
                                                 •   Communal heating systems
Some examples of communal facilities                 Tanser Court, Albert Square and
are described below.                                 Lesley Souter House all benefit
                                                     from communal heating and hot
•   Community rooms                                  water systems.

    Many of the council’s sheltered                  Residents are charged a non-
    housing schemes benefit from                     rebatable service charge for the
    community rooms, which residents                 heating and hot water on these
    of the scheme can use for social                 schemes.
    activities, or simply as a place to
    meet and talk.                               •   Communal cleaning
    Residents are encouraged to work                 The council employs cleaners to
    together with support from the                   clean the communal areas. The
    warden, either formally (through a               cleaning is performed according to
    committee) or informally (without a              a schedule of tasks that has been
    committee) to ensure that there are              drawn up by housing officers.
    social activities which take place in
    the community room.                          •   Communal parking
                                                     The council does not allocate car
    Wardens are responsible for the                  parking spaces, or arbitrate in
    overall management of these                      disputes over parking. The limited
    rooms.                                           spaces available are strictly on a
                                                     first come first served basis.
•   Communal laundry facilities
    Some schemes have communal                       Residents and their visitors are
    laundry facilities, which are                    reminded to be:
    exclusively for the use of the                   • mindful of how they park to
    scheme’s residents and are not                     ensure that emergency vehicles
    for hire. Some schemes also have                   can access the scheme without
    communal drying areas, again for                   hindrance
    the sole use of residents.
                                                     • respectful of the fact that disabled
                                                       spaces are provided for use of
•   Booking and paying for guest                       disabled people.
    bedrooms
    Some sites have a guest bedroom              •   Communal television aerials
    which is available for the use of
                                                     Some schemes have communal
    relatives or friends who are visiting
                                                     television aerials which are
    residents for a short period. A small
                                                     maintained by the council.
    charge is made for this service.

                                            97
                                                                     Sheltered housing


•   Regular inspections of schemes               The role of the warden
    Wardens spend a lot of time on the           The council’s sheltered housing is
    schemes and will report any health           accommodation where residents live
    and safety issues that they identify         independently, albeit in some cases with
    directly to the Sheltered Housing            help from support services, in their own
    Team. They will also report any              home.
    repairs that are required to communal
    areas.                                       The role of the warden is to offer
                                                 residents support in living independently,
    The communal areas will also be              and help the smooth running of the
    formally inspected by a housing              scheme and communal facilities.
    officer and a housing maintenance            Wardens are unable to offer direct care
    officer once a year. These dates             services to residents.
    are widely publicised and residents
    are invited to attend.
                                                 The warden will:
                                                 •   offer a rapid response when the
                                                     home alarm is activated when they
Gardens and the outside
                                                     are working on site
Communal gardens are maintained
by the council. Residents are required           •   maintain face-to-face contact with
however, to look after any private                   residents to identify individual
garden attached to their property                    needs, and be aware of changes in
according to the standards laid down in              medical or social circumstances
the tenancy agreement.
                                                 •   where possible, arrange appropriate
Grit bins are provided, and replenished              support for residents from voluntary
by the council, for the use of residents.            and statutory agencies
Please note that neither the council nor
its employees are able to grit paths on          •   encourage and promote
sheltered housing schemes.                           participation in leisure and
                                                     community based activities
Likewise, neither the council nor its            •   management of the community room
employees clear leaves from the paths                and other communal facilities on site
of sheltered housing schemes at any
time of year. Communal drying areas              •   report any health and safety issues
are treated for moss growth twice a                  and report repairs required to the
year.                                                communal areas

                                                 •   test your home alarm every three
                                                     months. If you are out when the
                                                     warden calls to do this you will be
                                                     left a calling card asking you to
                                                     activate the system to test it. Please
                                                     remember that it is in your interests
                                                     to ensure that your equipment
                                                     works.


                                            98
Sheltered housing


The warden will complete an annual                      What happens when the warden is ill
review of the personal information held                 or on holiday?
on the control centre’s records. Please                 If the warden is absent from the scheme
tell your warden as soon as possible                    for a period of more than two consecutive
if you know your circumstances have                     weeks then arrangements will be made
changed - eg one of your relatives you                  for relief cover. Please remember that
have nominated as an emergency contact                  emergency cover is supplied via the
has moved. This will help us to provide                 control centre 24 hours a day.
a more efficient service in the event of an
emergency.
                                                        If a tenant has been hospitalised during
                                                        a warden’s absence, the warden will be
The Warden will not:                                    notified on their return to duty. However,
•   do shopping for residents                           please note that it is not possible to
                                                        keep your warden advised of any minor
•   collect prescriptions or medicines                  illnesses that you may have had during
                                                        their absence.
•   administer any form of medication
                                                        What happens in an emergency?
•   assist with personal care (i.e. laundry,
    bathing etc)                                        In an emergency, residents can activate
                                                        the emergency alarm, which runs through
•   lift anyone off the floor, following a fall.        their telephone line, by:
    The emergency services would be                     •   activating the Intellilink unit that is
    contacted immediately for assistance                    installed in the property

•   assist residents to gain access to their                or by
    home if they lose / mislay their keys. All          •   activating the lightweight alarm
    residents are strongly advised to leave                 trigger that is provided. This can be
    a spare set with a friend or a relative                 worn around the neck or wrist, or can
                                                            be attached to clothing. It enables an
•   report repairs to individual properties,                alarm call to be raised from anywhere
    on behalf of a tenant.                                  in or around the property, by simply
                                                            pressing it.
How do I contact the warden?
                                                        When an emergency call comes through,
During working hours, the warden can
                                                        the computerised system automatically
be contacted by pressing the trigger
                                                        lets the control operator know who is
provided or by activating the Intellilink
                                                        making the call, where they live, any
unit in the property.
                                                        medical conditions that they may have
                                                        and emergency contact details for their
When does the warden work?                              family. The control operator will then act
                                                        on the call as necessary.
The wardens work flexi-time, between
8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
                                                        Please note that occasionally calls
Emergency cover is supplied via the
                                                        may not be answered immediately if
control centre 24 hours a day.
                                                        the control operators are dealing with
                                                        a prior call.

                                                   99
                                                     Sheltered housing


Accidents in communal areas
When the council is notified of anyone
having an accident in a communal area of
a sheltered housing scheme, the incident
will be logged. A housing officer will visit
as soon as possible after the accident
to confirm the circumstances around the
accident.



Protection from abuse
Many elderly or vulnerable adults may be
unable to protect themselves from abuse.

Abuse may happen as the result of
deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance,
and can take many forms:
•   Physical abuse includes hitting,
    slapping, kicking etc.

•   Psychological abuse includes
    emotional abuse, threats of harm,
    humiliation, verbal abuse, or isolation
    from others.

•   Financial abuse includes theft, fraud,
    misuse of property and can also
    include pressure in connection with
    wills or inheritance.

•   Neglect is a form of abuse and this
    includes ignoring medical or physical
    care needs or preventing access to
    care.

If you are concerned about abuse, or
think a vulnerable adult is being abused or
neglected in your family or community, you
should report it to Adult Social Care on:

          01926 410410
or to Warwickshire Police on:

          01926 415000

                                               100
Sheltered housing


            FIRE/EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURES
                         For sheltered housing premises


Good housekeeping                                   Once	out	of	the	flat
⎷ Keep all internal doors closed when               ⎷ Close the front door to help contain
    not in use – this will restrict the                 the fire within the flat
    spread of a fire and help to contain it
    at its source.                                  ⎷ Alert the fire service – Use a
                                                        telephone / mobile or a neighbour’s
⎷ Plan your escape routes and keep                      phone to call 999.
    your exit clear.
                                                    ⎷ Leave the building by the staircase
⎷ Keep the front door key handy so                      – do not use the lifts.
    you always know where it is.
                                                    X   Do not return to the building until
                                                        you have been told it is safe to do
                                                        so.
Stay-put procedure
If you hear the Fire Alarm ringing and
the	fire	is	not	in	your	flat,	stay	in	your	
flat	until	the	Fire	Service	arrives	to	             Arrival	of	the	fire	service
give you assistance.                                The senior fire officer on arrival at the
                                                    scene will take control of the situation
                                                    and depending on the severity of the
                                                    incident will decide on the evacuation
What	to	do	if	a	fire	starts	within	your	
                                                    procedure to be adopted.
flat
⎷ If you have an emergency cord –                   The construction of these buildings is
    pull cord / activate LIFELINE to                such that a fire should not normally
    raise the alarm.                                spread from one flat to another.

⎷ Try and remain calm, get everyone                 •   If you have not been advised to
    out as quickly as possible closing                  evacuate the premises then you
    doors behind you as you leave.                      should remain in your flat until
                                                        requested to leave by the fire
⎷ If there is smoke, keep low where                     service
    air is cleaner and crawl along the
    floor to the front door                         •   Fire fighters will visit nearby flats
                                                        to re-assure occupants that the
X   Don’t waste time investigating or                   situation is under control and advise
    rescuing valuables.                                 you what to do.

                                                    •   You will be advised when the fire is
                                                        out and the building is safe.



                                              101
                                                                        Sheltered housing


Home Alarm Service                                  How does the home alarm work?
What is a home alarm?                               As part of the home alarm system,
                                                    you will have a pendant to wear. This
A home alarm is a telephone alarm
                                                    will have a button on it that you can
unit which is installed in your home.
                                                    press to activate the home alarm in an
It provides a quick and simple way
                                                    emergency. This means that you can
of getting help should you have an
                                                    operate the alarm without needing to be
accident or emergency in your home.
                                                    near to the telephone.
Easy to install, the unit simply plugs into
a telephone and an electrical socket.
                                                    What happens when you press the
                                                    button in an emergency?
How much does the service cost?
                                                    When you press the button, the home
The weekly charge is £4 (plus VAT)
                                                    alarm unit will automatically contact the
which covers both the rental of the home
                                                    council’s control centre, which is open
alarm unit and the monitoring service
                                                    24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
provided by central control. Payments
                                                    The alarm call will be answered by an
can be made by direct debit or bank
                                                    operator at the control centre.
standing order.
                                                    The operator will automatically be
What	are	the	benefits	of	the	home	                  provided with your details on their
alarm?                                              computer screen. This will ensure that,
•   It is easy to use - you can summon              even if you are unable to talk, they will
    help at any time, from anywhere in              know who you are, where you live and
    your home, at the touch of a button.            what, if any, existing health problems you
                                                    may have notified them of. The operator
•   The service brings peace of mind to             will then ask you a few questions to
    you, your family and friends.                   verify the nature of the emergency, and
                                                    then arrange for one of your nominated
•   It is a tool to help you stay living
                                                    representatives, or the emergency
    independently in your own home for
                                                    services to attend your home, as
    longer.
                                                    appropriate.

Who can have a home alarm?
                                                    What next?
Anyone of any age can have a home
                                                    You can find out more, arrange a
alarm. You do not necessarily have
                                                    demonstration, or apply for the service
to have an illness or disability and we
                                                    by telephoning: (01788) 579706.
install alarms anywhere in the Rugby
Borough area.

The service will not suit every personal
circumstance but we will always try to
provide advice and information about
other services more appropriate to your
needs. Customers of the service will
need to nominate up to four keyholders,
who live locally and are willing to be
called out in an emergency.                                 an example of the home alarm
                                                                   The Home Alarm

                                              102
Section 10: notes




                    103
TENANCY DOCUMENTS




This section contains:
             Moving-in checklist
             Space for your tenancy documents
             Tenancy Agreement
             Conditions of Tenancy
             Gas Safety Certificate
             Asbestos Survey
Tenancy documents


Checklist

This check-list has been designed to help remind you of things you need to do as you
move into your new home.
Further information can be found in the section 4: Helpful hints for moving in & living in
your home.
1.   Take your meter readings and notify the utility companies of your new
     address. (Electricity, Gas & Water)
2.   Establish your rent payment method. (See section 5: Paying your rent)
     Note:This may be include setting up a direct debit, applying for a rent
     payment card, applying for housing benefit, or notifying housing benefits of
     your change of address.
3.   Arrange Home Contents Insurance, or notify your insurance company of
     your change of address.
4.   Register for council tax, or notify them of your change of address.
5.   Inform the electoral role of your change of address – to be able to vote in
     elections.
6.   Arrange your TV licence (where applicable)
7.   Make yourself familiar with your heating system
8.   Make yourself familiar with the evacuation procedures (multi-storey and
     some sheltered housing. See Additional section 9: Multi-storey properties
     or Additional section 10: Sheltered housing)
9.   Make yourself familiar with the conditions of your tenancy
10. Check your home meets the lettable standard
11. Complete the satisfaction survey.
12. Other people you may wish to notify your change of address to include:
     Bank and or building society                      Your employer
     Credit or store cards                             Rent or hire purchase
     Cataolgue companies                               Pension
     Doctor                                            Dentist
     Optician                                          National Insurance/DSS Benefits
     Health visitors/social workers/carers             School/college/nursery
     DVLA for car & driving licence                    car insurance company
     Club cards eg: Tesco, Sainsburys, etc             Library
     Club memberships                                  Telephone, mobile telephone,
                                                       internet providers, satellite or
     Prescription delivery or repeat
                                                       cable TV
     prescription services
                                            Tenancy documents


Useful contact numbers for
moving-in

To find out who supplies your :

•   GAS: 08706 081524

•   ELECTRIC: 0845 603 0618

•   WATER: 08457 500 500


RBC Council Tax
(01788) 533488
council.tax@rugby.gov.uk

RBC	Housing	&	Council	Tax	benefits	
(01788) 533433
benefits.unit@rugby.gov.uk

Electoral Register
(01788) 533595
elections@rugby.gov.uk


TV Licence
TV Licensing, Bristol, BS98 1TL.
Tel:0844 800 6722
Web: www.tvlicensing.co.uk

It's easy to update your details. Simply
log on to www.tvlicensing.co.uk or call
and follow the instructions.
You’ll be asked for your TV Licence
number and new address. It only takes
a minute or two to transfer your licence,
and then you’ll be licensed to watch TV
in your new home.


Petlog
If your dog is microchipped, then phone
Petlog on 0870 6066751

				
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