5 Repairs, Maintenance, Improvements and Alterations
Repairs and maintenance: our responsibilities and rights
5.1 In this Agreement, the words "repair" and "repairs" includes any work necessary to put the house into a state which is wind and watertight, habitable and in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation.
5.2 Before the start of the tenancy, we will inspect your house to ensure that it is wind and watertight, habitable and in all other respects reasonably fit for human habitation. If repair or other work needs to be done to bring the house up to that standard, we will do so before the tenancy begins. We will notify you about any such work. Any other repairs may be carried out after the tenancy begins.
5.3 During the course of your tenancy, we will carry out repairs or other work necessary to keep the house in a condition which is habitable, wind and watertight and in all respects reasonably fit for human habitation. We will carry out all repairs within a reasonable period of becoming aware that the repairs need to be done. Once begun, the repairs will be finished as soon as reasonably possible. All repairs will be done to the standard of a reasonably competent contractor, using good quality material.
5.4 We will carry out a reasonably diligent inspection of the common parts before the tenancy begins. We will take reasonable steps to remove any danger we find before you move into your house. We will repair any other defect we find which will significantly affect your use of the common parts, or the house, within a reasonable period. We will repair any damage to boundary walls and fences within a reasonable period if the damage significantly affects your use of the common parts of your house or if it poses a danger to any user. During the course of the tenancy, we will carry out inspections, at reasonable intervals, of the common parts.
5.5 If we need the co-operation or permission of another person to carry out repairs or other work to the house or common parts, or to inspect, we will do our best to get it. We may be unable to do non-emergency repairs until we get such permission.
5.6 Our general repair obligations contained in paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 include a duty to carry out repairs relating to water penetration, rising dampness and condensation dampness as well as the obligations contained in this paragraph. We will provide and maintain the house so that any tenant who we might reasonably expect to live in the house can heat the house to a reasonable temperature at a reasonable cost, so as to avoid condensation dampness and mould. If during the tenancy, the house suffers from condensation dampness which is partially or wholly caused by a deficiency in, or absence of, any feature of the house (including insulation, provision for heating or ventilation), we will carry out repairs (including, where appropriate, replacement, addition or provision of insulation, ventilation or heating systems) within a reasonable time so that that feature is not a cause of the condensation dampness.
5.7 Our duty to repair includes a duty to take into account the extent to which the house falls short of the current building regulations by reason of disrepair or sanitary defects.
5.8 We will:
- keep in repair the structure and exterior of the house;
- keep in repair and in proper working order, any installations in the house provided by us for:
- the supply of water, gas and electricity;
- sanitation (for example basins, sinks, baths, showers, toilets),
- hot water heating;
- space heating (for example central heating) including fireplaces, flues and chimneys.
Installations include those which we own or lease which directly or indirectly serve the house. We will not, however, be responsible for repair of any fixtures and fittings not belonging to us which make use of gas, electricity or water. Neither will we be responsible for the repair or maintenance of anything installed by you or belonging to you which you would be entitled to remove from the house at the end of the tenancy unless we have specifically agreed.
We will inspect annually any gas installations in the house provided by us. We will provide you with a copy of the inspection report within 28 days of the inspection. If the inspection reveals the need for repair or replacement of any such installation, we will do so within a reasonable period. We will give you a copy of the current inspection record before the beginning of the tenancy.
If your house is served by a communal television or communications aerial provided by us, we will take reasonable steps to repair any defect within a reasonable period. Where repairs or maintenance have to be done, we will make reasonable efforts to minimise disruption to you.
[5.9 We will take all reasonable steps, together with any other joint owners of the water supply installations, to comply with the Water Bye-Laws in force in your area. The Bye-Laws, among other things, specify that:
- all storage cisterns must be properly installed having regard to the need for prevention of waste and contamination and insulation against frost;
- the stopcocks and servicing valves must be placed so that they can be readily examined, maintained and operated with reasonable practicability;
- the water pipes, both inside and outside the house, must be effectively protected against freezing and damage from other causes.
We will inspect the installations for the storage and supply of water we are responsible for at the beginning of the tenancy and at reasonable intervals thereafter so as to comply with the Water Bye-Laws.]
5.10 Nothing contained in this Agreement makes us responsible for repairing damage caused wilfully, accidentally or negligently by you, anyone living with you or an invited visitor to your house. If we decide to carry out the work, you must pay us for the cost of the repair. This paragraph does not apply to damage caused by:
- fair wear and tear;
- vandals (provided that you have reported the damage to the police and us as soon as the damage is discovered).
5.11 We will carry out necessary repairs due to fire, flood or Act of God, within a reasonable time or offer equivalent permanent rehousing as soon as such a house becomes available. Until that time, we will try to help you to get temporary accommodation if the house is uninhabitable.
5.12 We have the right to come into your house to inspect it and its fixtures and fittings or carry out repairs to it, or adjoining property, during reasonable times of the day. We will give you at least 24 hours' notice in writing. We have the right of access to your house in order to lay wires, cables and pipes for the purposes of telecommunications, water, gas, electricity, providing we give you reasonable notice in writing. We have the right of access to the common parts at any reasonable time. If you refuse us entry, we will have the right to make forcible entry provided we have given you every reasonable opportunity to let us in voluntarily. If we have to make forcible entry, in this situation, you are liable for the costs of any damage reasonably caused. In an emergency, we have the right to make forcible entry to your house without notice.
5.13 If we know that any house or flat adjoining your house, which we own, is likely to remain unoccupied for longer than four weeks, we will take reasonable steps to avoid damage or danger to you or your property arising from that house or flat being unoccupied. These steps may include, but are not limited to the following:
- to seeing that its doors and windows are properly secured;
- to seeing that the water, gas and electricity supplies to the house or flat are turned off where possible.
5.14 If we cause damage to the house or your property in connection with inspections, repairs or improvements or entry, we will reinstate the damage or compensate you for your losses. We have a right to require you to move temporarily to suitable alternative accommodation if this is necessary for the repairs to be done. If you are moved temporarily, we will reimburse you for any extra expenses you have as a result. You will be charged rent during this period but no more than you normally pay.
5.15 Our duties to repair contained in this part of the Agreement continue until this Agreement comes to an end.
Repairs and maintenance: your responsibilities and rights
5.16 You must report to us, as soon as reasonably possible, any damage to the house, the common parts or loss or damage to our property. You can do this in person or by telephone. You can arrange for someone else to do this on your behalf. [We operate an emergency telephone service outside office hours.]
5.17You are responsible for taking reasonable care of the house. This responsibility includes carrying out minor repairs and internal decoration. It also includes keeping the house in a reasonable state of cleanliness. However, you are not responsible for carrying out repairs which are due to fair wear and tear.
5.18 You have a right to have certain small repairs carried out within fixed time limits and instruct contractors specified by us if they are not done within those time limits. You may also have a right to compensation in the case of delay. We will tell you when you report the need for a repair whether that repair is one covered by this scheme.
5.19 If we have failed to carry out repairs that we should under this Agreement, you have the right to carry out the repairs yourself and deduct the reasonable cost of doing so from your rent. However, you may only do so if:
- you have notified us in writing about the need for the repairs; AND
- we have not done those repairs within a reasonable period; AND
- you have made a formal complaint under our complaints procedure (see paragraph 8.1); AND
- you have finished the complaints procedure and you are still dissatisfied; OR 3 months have passed since you made the formal complaint under the complaints procedure.
You are strongly advised to take legal advice before exercising your right under this paragraph. Your home is at risk if you wrongly exercise this right. All repair work instructed by you must be done by a reputable firm and must conform to all current legislation.
[5.20 You are strongly recommended to insure your personal possessions against loss or damage caused by fire, flood, theft, accident, etc. We operate such a scheme. Ask us for details.]
Alterations and improvements
5.21 If you want to:
- alter, improve or enlarge the house, fittings or fixtures;
- add new fittings or fixtures (for example kitchen or bathroom installations, central heating or other fixed heaters, double glazing, or any kind of external aerial or satellite dish);
- put up a garage, shed or other structure;
- decorate the outside of the house;
you must first get our written permission. We will not refuse permission unreasonably. We may grant permission with conditions including conditions regarding the standard of the work. See paragraph 9.2 for more details about the procedure.
5.22 If you have made alterations or improvements with our permission, you may be entitled to compensation at the end of your tenancy under regulations governing such arrangements. We also have the power, even if you do not qualify under these regulations, to make a discretionary payment.
5.23 If you carry out any alterations or improvements without our permission we are entitled to restore the house to its previous condition during or at the end of your tenancy. If we do so, we are entitled to charge you for this work.
Email: Pauline Brice