Most tenants never get charged for any 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).
You can be charged for this whether it happens in your home, in any communal areas or at a neighbouring property.
You will also be charged if we need to remove or reinstate something you have changed or installed without our permission, or if you can no longer maintain any alterations you had made with our permission. This charge is called a Maintenance Recovery Charge (MRC).
The following list are examples of the sort of repair work that would incur a Maintenance Recovery Charge:
- You lose your keys and ask us to get you back in or replace the lock (unless you are in an “exempt group” of tenants)
- Your bath or washing machine overflows into the flat below
- Your child breaks a window, and it needs glazing again
- A door slams in the wind and a glass panel breaks
- You drop something into the washbasin and it cracks
- A nappy, toilet block or toy blocks your toilet
- Hot fat is poured down your sink, goes solid in the waste pipe and blocks it
- You move out taking our gas fire with you, or leaving belongings behind which we then have to clear
- We have to force entry because you have not let us in to do gas servicing
This is a list of examples but they are not the only things you can be charged for.
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
You will then be sent the bill, which is kept separate from your rent account. It can be paid at Gateway, Southampton in the Civic Centre or online
You can pay an invoice via our housing repair payment page.
It will help to bring your bill with you when you go to pay it. 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. Those who do not pay are taken to court for the money.
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 a Maintenance Recovery Charge you may not qualify for housing.
If you move without giving us a forwarding address but owing a Maintenance Recovery Charge the debt will remain.
We may use an agency to trace you. If you reapply for housing we will do a standard check for housing debts, including this one.
We will not charge you if you are in an “exempt group” of tenants, specifically:
- You are aged 70 years or over
- You live in a supported housing scheme for older people
- You have a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). This is a “physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term effect on a persons ability to carry out day to day activities
- Damage to the property was due to a crime
In these instances you must have reported it to the police and obtained an occurrence (crime) number from them. You, or anyone you are responsible for (as our tenant), must not have committed the crime.
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 flat.
We will charge you, even if you are in an “exempt group” of tenants, if the repairs are needed due to:
- Deliberate damage by you, your household or visitors (including children or pets)
You will also 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.
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 someone else has damaged my home?
Damage from vandalism or a burglary must be reported to the police.
We will not order any repairs unless the police have given you an occurrence (crime) number or you are to pay for it. The only time we will accept a police incident number is for any shed you have as part of the tenancy of a flat.
You can report these repairs to Actionline or, if it is an emergency, to our out of hours repairs service as with any other repair.
Please note that 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.
You will also be charged if we have to put the damage right.