Repairs and servicing - Luton Council

 

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You can report a repair in a number of ways

Non-emergency repairs can be reported online using Tenancy self-service. You can also use it for other Housing services such as checking and paying your rent.

Emergency repairs:

An emergency repair is where there is immediate danger to people or the structure of the property. The repair will be made safe as a priority and additional visits may be necessary to complete the repair in full.

If you need to report an emergency repair outside of normal office hours (including at weekends and bank holidays) you can use the telephone number above. The out of hours service should not be used for repairs that can be safely left until normal working hours. If you call the out of hours service and the repair is found not to be an emergency, we may charge you for the cost of the call out.

 

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Repair rights and responsibilities

Our responsibility

  • the structure and exterior of your home
  • the services for utilities - gas, electricity and water
  • baths, basins, sinks and toilets
  • fixtures and fittings installed by us
  • communal areas in blocks

Your responsibility

These include (but may not be limited to):

  • to allow access for the annual gas safety check
  • to report any damage or defects to your property immediately
  • to allow access to carry out repairs
  • to carry out some minor repairs and replacements as detailed in your tenancy agreement
  • to keep your home clean and tidy and in a condition that does not cause a risk to the health of you or others
  • to decorate the inside of your home when necessary
  • to repair any damage caused by carelessness from you, or from anyone who lives with you or who visits you

If you have any doubt as to who is responsible for a repair, please call us on 0800 0147 333

 

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Chargeable repairs

Paying for repairs

Most of the services you receive are paid for through your rent however some repairs are your responsibility. We will tell you if this is the case when you report it. We can do these repairs for you if you want us to and charge you for the work later. If you owe us money for rent we may ask you to pay some of this in advance.

Criminal damage

If the repair is caused as a result of a criminal offence that has been reported to the police and a crime reference number has been obtained, we will carry out the repairs without charging you. We will seek to recover the costs of criminal damage where the person responsible is known and convicted of the offence.

Missed appointments

You may also have to pay for missing two pre-arranged appointments where you have not given us notice of your need to cancel or rearrange.

 

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When will my repair take place?

We assess the repair based on its severity and will assign one of the following priorities:

  • Emergency – response within one hour to twenty-four hours. This is for repairs that pose and threat to safety or security of any site, property or person; or would leave people without essential services or could cause further serious damage if not rectified
  • Urgent – response within five working days. This is for repairs that cause some inconvenience or would lead to further difficulties if not rectified
  • Routine – response within 30 working days. These are non-urgent jobs

When you report a repair you will be told the priority it has been given and we will arrange an appointment with you.

We want to make sure that our repairs are of a high standard. When we have done the work, we will ask you to tell us your views on the quality of the service and the repair.

    Provide feedback about a repair

     

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    Gas servicing

    Gas Safety Inspection

    As your landlord, we have a duty to make sure that every gas appliance in your council home is safe, energy efficient and well maintained. All council installed gas appliances are serviced within 12 months of their previous service.​

    The annual gas safety check is a legal requirement. If it does not take place, we will postpone repairs and maintenance to your property until you allow us access to carry this out. If you do not allow us access to complete the works, your details will be passed over to our legal department, who will go to court to obtain an injunction. This is an expensive process and you will be asked to repay the costs.

    Why is the gas safety inspection important?

    • regular servicing reduces the chance of serious risks to life from fires, explosions or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
    • gas boilers that have not been serviced cost more to run and are at risk of breaking down when most needed
    • deposits build up inside the boiler and central heating system which reduce the efficiency of the system
    • over time parts become worn and may break down causing the system to stop working

    A regular service will address all of the above and keep the equipment working efficiently.

    Gas appliances and your health

    Every year in the UK some 30 people are killed and many others are affected by carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas installations such as fires and boilers in their homes.

    Your property has been fitted with a carbon monoxide detector. If the alarm sounds, immediately contact the National Grid Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.

    Carbon monoxide is a particularly dangerous gas because you cannot smell it. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nausea (feeling sick). Some of these symptoms can be mistaken for flu and other common viruses, or even food poisoning.

    If you believe that you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning you should seek immediate medical attention and contact us to check the heating system.

     

    What is involved in a gas safety inspection?

    The service, which usually takes no more than an hour, will be carried out by a Gas Safe registered contractor, and will leave you with the peace of mind that your appliances are safe and working well.

    During the inspection procedure the following will be cleaned and checked:

    • gas soundness test
    • gas fire/boiler
    • the whole system - by testing the pressure at the gas meter all other council installed gas appliances
    • obstructions and ventilation
    • loft water tanks
    • radiators and pumps
    • flues
    • we will show you how to use the time clocks properly, should you wish
    • we will give you a copy of the Landlords Gas Safety Record (CP12) which you will need to sign

    If the contractor calls, and you are not home, they will leave another appointment card. If this is unsuitable please call the number immediately to book another appointment at a suitable time.

    Gas leaks

    If you smell gas:

    • call the National Grid Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999
    • do not turn electric switches on/off or do anything else that could create an electric spark
    • do not smoke
    • do not use naked flames and extinguish any that are present
    • turn off your gas supply at the meter
    • open your doors and windows
    • keep people away from the area

    They will attend immediately to identify and isolate the cause of the leak. When you report it to them they will give you a reference number. Call us immediately to let us know and we will repair the fault once they have completed their work.

     

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    Contents and buildings insurance

    There are two types of household insurance policies:

    • buildings insurance to protect against damage to the structure of your home together with its fixtures and fittings
    • home contents insurance that protects you against damage or loss of your possessions

    You are responsible for making sure you have home contents insurance. As a council tenant, you can choose to insure your possessions with us. We strongly advise you to purchase home contents insurance that covers against:

    • fire
    • theft
    • vandalism
    • water damage to your possessions

     

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    When can I expect routine maintenance on my council home?

    We have a rolling programme of improvement to all our buildings in order to ensure they are of a certain standard.

    This standard is what the government calls Decent Homes and it expects all social housing to be of this standard. The definition of a decent home is one that is wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities. It must:

    • be in a reasonable state of repair
    • have reasonably modern facilities and services
    • provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
    • meet current statutory minimum standard housing requirements
    • be free of disrepair
    • structurally stable
    • have a suitable WC etc

     

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    Making additions or alterations to your council home

    Once you have been a council tenant for 12 months, with no breaches of your tenancy agreement, your tenancy will be made ‘secure’. As a secure tenant you can make improvements to your home, provided you obtain permission in writing from us before the works begin, and that they are completed to an agreed standard.

    Fitting flooring

    If you wish to fit laminate flooring or tiles to the floors in your home you need to obtain permission from us, and you will be responsible for lifting the flooring should access be required to carry out repairs. You would also be responsible for lifting and refitting any carpets for the same reason. If repairs are needed we would make every effort to avoid causing damage, but it is important you are aware that difficulties can arise. 

    Your right to compensation for improvements

    As a secure council tenant you may be able to get compensation for certain qualifying improvements you have made in your home.
     
    A statutory ‘Right to Compensation’ came into effect on 1 April 1994 and these ‘Secure Tenants of Local Authorities (Compensation for Improvements) Regulations 1994’ apply to improvements carried out by secure tenants after this date.
     
    To be eligible for compensation you must satisfy the following criteria:
    • your tenancy must be secure. Introductory tenants do not qualify
    • if you are a ‘successor tenant’ or the tenancy was assigned to you by the court, you may still qualify
    • if you are transferring to another Luton Borough Council property, or carrying out a mutual exchange, you may be eligible at the time of the transfer or exchange
    • the improvement work you are claiming for must have begun on or after 1st April 1994
    • you must have proof of our written consent to the improvement work being carried out
    • the improvement you are claiming for must be a ‘qualifying’ improvement. For a list of qualifying improvements, please download our Right to Compensation for Improvements leaflet below.

    To apply for compensation for improvements

    If you wish to make an application please download the Right to Compensation for Improvements application form, below.

    Right to compensation - Leaflet

    Right to compensation - application form

     

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    Asbestos

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant.

    Many people have worries about asbestos, but left undisturbed, it usually poses no problems. However, care should be taken to prevent the release of asbestos fibres as they can cause serious damage to health.

    Some areas in your home where you may find asbestos include:

    • eaves, gutters and rainwater fall pipes
    • fire blankets
    • garage and shed roofs
    • linings to doors
    • flexible coatings to ceiling and walls (Artex)
    • insulation panels in some storage heaters
    • bath panels
    • central heating flues
    • loose asbestos packing between floors and in partition walls
    • floor tiles
    • duct panels

    What to do if you think you have asbestos in your council home

    • contact us on 0800 014 7333
    • do not undertake any work that may involve removing asbestos-based materials
    • leave asbestos alone
    • never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
    • always seek professional advice if you need to work on or near it

    What to do if you think you have asbestos and you live in a privately owned/rented accommodation

    • contact us on 01582 546937
    • do not undertake any work that may involve removing asbestos-based materials
    • leave asbestos alone
    • never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
    • always seek professional advice if you need to work on or near it

    What we are doing about asbestos in council-owned buildings?

    We carry out an annual rolling survey of council-owned homes and manage our asbestos responsibly, only removing it when necessary, due to damage or work requirements.

    Information on asbestos in properties is available to all staff prior to visiting your home so they can determine whether asbestos is present and what appropriate action they will need to take to protect you, your family and themselves.

    For further details on asbestos in general, you can download the Asbestos factsheet or contact the Health & Safety Executive.​​

    Asbestos factsheet

     

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