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Repair responsibilities

Our Moving In Standard document contains details on the standard to which all council homes are required to meet prior to them being let.  At the viewing, your Neighbourhood Management Officer will go through this standard with you and use a checklist to make sure it has been met.  To minimise any delays in the property becoming available for you, some repairs may be completed after you move in.  We will, however, ensure that the property:

  • is safe to move in to
  • is secure and water tight
  • has received a gas safety check (where appropriate)
  • has received an electrical safety check

A copy of our Moving In Standard can be found in our ‘How to guides, videos and useful downloads’ section.

As part of your Tenancy Agreement, there are certain repairs that we will carry out to your home.  These include:

  • the structure and exterior of the property (including any stone walls, but not fencing, surrounding the property)
  • the roof, chimney stack and chimney pots
  • walls, ceilings, floors and foundations
  • gutters, soffits and fascias, pipes and drains
  • door and window frame furniture
  • removing and replacing fluorescent lighting - in the longer term these will be replaced with LED lighting
  • paths and steps giving access to the property
  • sanitary installations such as baths, washbasins, sinks, WCs and soil pipes
  • service installations such as water pipes and taps (including stop taps), gas piping from the meter, electric supply from the consumer unit including sockets and switches
  • water heaters, fireplaces, fitted fires and central heating
  • boundary fences, gates and walls connected to public land

As a tenant, you are responsible for minor repairs, maintenance and replacements.  These include:

  • damage caused by you, your family or visitors to your home
  • lock changes
  • decorating the inside of your home and keeping it in a good state of decoration
  • woodwork and plaster
  • providing and maintaining TV aerials (except shared services)
  • your own electrical appliances
  • garden fences and gates (except those connected to public land)
  • garden sheds and greenhouses
  • repairing and replacing small items such as keys, washing lines, WC seats and shower curtains (except those in shared areas such as sheltered housing schemes)
  • electric showers (except those installed by the council or those not designated as tenant’s responsibility when they took on the tenancy)

We may use our discretion in circumstances where a tenant has a vulnerability.

If your décor is damaged through no fault of your own (because of fire, flood, storm or through work carried out by us), we will give you a decoration voucher to help with the cost of redecorating.

You are responsible for damage that you, your family, visitors or pets have caused.  This includes repairs caused by accidental damage, misuse or neglect, poor DIY and alterations made without permission.  We will charge you for any damages and subsequent repair work caused in these circumstances.

If we have to gain entry and/or secure your property, we will charge you for the full cost of the work.  Where any works, that are your responsibility, are not undertaken within a reasonable time, the council reserves the right to organise the work and recharge you.

If a repair is needed as a result of criminal activity that has not been caused by you, a member of your family or a visitor to your home, you will not be charged for the cost of any works providing written confirmation with a crime reference number is obtained from the Police (an Incident Number is not sufficient).

A list of our rechargeable repairs and their estimated costs can be found in our ‘How to guides, videos and useful downloads’ section.

With our permission, you have the right to carry out improvements to your home if you are a secure tenant.  Before carrying out any work, you must apply for permission, in writing*, to your Housing Officer.  Such work includes the installation of a hot tub.  You must provide details of the alteration, with detailed plans and specifications, where necessary.  In some circumstances, a Technical Officer will visit you to discuss your request. 

You will also need to satisfy planning and building regulations. 

We will not turn down applications for improvements without good reason.  When considering each application, we will take into account whether the improvement could:

  • be non-compliant with legislation
  • be unduly expensive to maintain
  • make the property difficult to let in future
  • be unsuitable to possible future tenants

We will write to you within 10 working days to let you know whether or not we will give consent for you to carry out an improvement to your home.  If we grant consent, we may specify certain requirements and restrictions.

You will be responsible for the cost of any repairs required as a result of faulty installation, poor workmanship or defective materials.  You will also be responsible for the maintenance of alterations or improvements you have carried out.

The inside decoration of your property is your responsibility. 

You don’t need permission to decorate your home or carry out minor improvements such as putting up shelving.

When your tenancy ends, the improvements must be left or restored to the original condition.

* Permission for the installation of a wood burner will be refused as there are significant risks in respect of health and safety.


The right to compensation for improvements


To qualify for compensation for improvements, you must make a claim, in writing, detailing the improvement and its original cost (including copies of invoices) and demonstrate that:

  • the work was carried out after 1 April 1994
  • you held the secure tenancy of the property at the time the work was undertaken
  • you obtained the council’s written consent prior to carrying out the improvement and the work currently meets any conditions imposed on that consent
  • you submit your claim within the 28-day period before the end of your tenancy or 14 days after the termination of your tenancy
  • your tenancy did not end as a result of an eviction or right to buy application
  • you have invoices for work done which includes the costs of labour and materials
  • your claim is for less than £3,000 per improvement and more than £50
  • the work is listed as a ‘qualifying improvement’ and there is a formula for the calculation of compensation. A copy of this can be found in our ‘How to guides, videos and useful downloads’ section.

For further information, please read our Compensation Policy and Procedure, which can be found in our ‘Policies and Performance’ section.

If you are looking to move out of your home, you must provide us with sufficient notice and ensure you leave your property in a satisfactory condition.  Our Moving Out Standard document details your obligations and sets the condition your property should be left in prior to you leaving your home.  Failure to comply with this Standard will result in you being recharged for any associated repairs and prevent you from transferring to another SDC property.  It may also affect any future references when applying to other landlords.

A copy of our Moving Out Standard can be found in our ‘How to guides, videos and useful downloads’ section.

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