Most of the time, tenants won’t be charged for repairs as we do not charge for fair wear and tear however, you will be charged for repairing or replacing anything due to neglect, misuse, theft or deliberate damage by you or anyone you, as a tenant, are responsible for (including children, visitors or pets).
This is called a Maintenance Recovery Charge (MRC).
What type of repair could I be charged for?
You will be charged for anything that needs:
- Repairing or replacing due to neglect, misuse, theft, or deliberate damage by you or anyone you, as a tenant, are responsible for (including children, visitors or pets). You can be charged for this whether it happens in your home, in any communal areas or at a neighbouring property.
- Removing or reinstating something you have changed or installed without our permission, or if you can no longer maintain any alterations you had made with our permission.
Types of repairs that would incur charge, but not limited to, are:
- Losing your keys and ask us to get you back in or replacing the lock (unless you are in an "exempt group" of tenants)
- When your bath or washing machine overflows into the property below
- Breaking a window, and it needing glazing again
- When a door slams in the wind, breaking a glass panel
- Cracking a washbasin by dropping something into it
- Blocking your toilet with a nappy, toilet block or toys
- Blocking your sink by pouring hot fat down your sink, which goes to block your waste pipes
- Taking our gas fire with you when moving out of the property
- Leaving belongings behind which we then have to clear
- When we have to force entry because you have not let us in to do gas servicing
Those exempt from charges
As long as the damage was not due to neglect, misuse, theft or deliberate damage by you or anyone you, as a tenant, are responsible for (including children, visitors or pets), we will not charge you if you are in the “exempt group”
Those in this group are:
- Those ages 70 years or over
- Those living in a supported housing scheme for older people
- Those with a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (1995)
- Damage to the property was due to crime (please see the next section below on what we will need from you)
However, you will still be charged if we have to remove or reinstate something you did not get our permission to alter or do or we have to force entry because you did not let us in to do essential or emergency work, such as a gas servicing.
What if someone else has damaged my home?
If damage to the property was due to a crime (e.g. vandalism or a burglary), you will need to report it to the police and obtain an occurrence (crime) reference number from them. You, or anyone you are responsible for (as our tenant), must not have committed the crime.
We are unable to waive the charge until you can provide us with an occurrence (crime) number. The only time we will accept a police incident number, rather than an occurrence (crime) number, is for repairs to a shed you have as part of your tenancy of a property.
Once you have this number, please provide this to us at the time of reporting the repair so we can waive the charge.
Remember: If the damage has been done by you or by anyone you are responsible for and you do not put it right, you will have broken the conditions of your tenancy by not keeping the property in good condition and you will be charged if we have to put the damage right.
How will I know if I will be charged?
If we decide to charge you then, in most cases, you will be asked to sign an agreement to pay the charge before the works are carried out.
However, sometimes we will not be able to ask you to do this before we charge you, for example:
- You have moved out and we need to do the work to let the property again
- In emergency situations, for example your washing machine is overflowing into the flat below
- You do not let us in to do essential works such as gas servicing and we have to force entry to get it done
In these cases, you will be sent the bill, which is kept separate from your rent account. It can be paid:
- Online using the Invoice number found on the bill
- At The Cash Office. You will need to bring your bill with you when you go to pay it.
How much can I expect to pay?
Most Maintenance Recovery Charges are based on the time spent on the work (using an hourly rate) and the materials used, with administration costs added on.
Some common repairs, particularly emergency work, will have set, standard charges. Some work to clear rubbish, for example clearing rubbish bags dumped in communal areas, will also have a standard charge. These charges are subject to a regular, usually annual, review.
What if I can't or don't pay?
If you cannot pay the entire bill at once, you can make arrangements to pay a fixed amount each week until it is paid off. Please contact us to help set this up.
Those who do not pay are taken to court for the outstanding amount and this could affect your qualification for housing in the future.
If you apply to us to move to another home and you have broken the conditions of your tenancy by owing us any housing debt, including owing Maintenance Recovery Charges, you may not qualify for housing.
If you move out without giving us a forwarding address but you still owe Maintenance Recovery Charges, the debt will remain. We may use an agency to trace you and if you re-apply for housing, we will do a standard check for housing debts which will include this.
What if I want to dispute the charge?
If you feel the charge was incorrectly given or that you now have an occurrence/police incident number you would like to provide us, you can dispute the charge by filling in this online form.
In this form, you will need to tell us:
- Your Invoice number
- Main reason and a brief explanation for disputing the charge
- Your job reference number or a brief description of the repair
- Occurrence/police incident number (if applicable)
- Full name and address of where the repair was for