Responsive Repairs and Voids Maintenance Policy

Part of the Trust’s Responsive Repairs and Voids Maintenance Framework Level 1 policy approval - version 3 approved 24 September 2020

1.         Purpose of the Policy

1.1    To outline the Trust’s approach to providing an effective responsive repairs service including gas servicing, electrical testing and void maintenance service to its tenants.

1.2     To meet the Trust’s agreed core values, objectives, service standards and Homes England Standards, all relevant legislation, Health and Safety Standards and National Housing Federation guidance.

1.3       The policy applies to works carried out on individual residential properties, communal areas of multiple occupancy dwellings and garages.

2.         Statement of Intent

2.1     The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust will keep those elements of its homes for which it is responsible for in good repair, whilst ensuring tenants fulfil their obligations regarding the maintenance of their homes, as set out in the Tenants Handbook.

3.         Aims of the Policy

3.1      The Trust aims to:

  • Deliver an efficient and effective responsive repairs service which offers a range of appointments to tenants

  • Provide a full 24 hour, 365 day per year emergency repairs service;

  • Engage effectively with residents about their homes;

  • Maintain all properties up to agreed standards;

  • Set a strategic, long term approach to maintaining decent, sustainable homes;

  • Effectively deliver a high quality refurbished void property, creating a safe and secure home;

  • Continuously improve performance and procurement methods to deliver a cost effective, high quality service.

4.         Range of Services

4.1     The Trust is committed to delivering a range of services including, but not limited to:

  • Day to Day Responsive Repairs

  • Repairs to Void Properties

  • Out of Hours Emergency Repairs

  • Gas Safety, Repairs and Servicing

  • Electrical testing

5.         Outline of Service

5.1      Reporting Repairs

5.1.1  Repairs can be reported in a number of ways including by phone, resident portal and other electronic means that meet the residents’ needs.

5.2      Repairs Priorities

5.2.1  Repair requests will be prioritised as an “Emergency Repair” , an “Essential Repair or a “Routine Repair.

5.3      Emergency Repairs

5.3.1   An emergency repair is a fault which threatens danger or risk to the health of the occupants or which could cause serious damage to the property.

5.3.2  The Trust will operate a 24 hour emergency repairs service for certain works detailed in section 2 of Appendix A.  All emergency calls will be attended to within 24 hrs of the repair being notified to the Trust.

5.3.3  The Trust will expect the tenant to remain at the property to allow the Trust to gain access.

5.4      Out of Hours Emergency Repairs

5.4.1  Access for emergency repairs outside of normal working hours can be made by the freephone number.

5.4.2 If the appointment is to deal with an emergency repair, which is causing immediate damage to the property or where there is an immediate health and safety risk, and where access is not made available, it may be necessary to force access to the property. Depending upon the circumstances the cost of this may be passed on to the tenant.

5.5      Essential Repairs

5.5.1   An essential repair is a fault that, whilst not an emergency, requires completion to prevent further damage being caused to the property or on-going inconvenience to the resident.

5.5.2  Appointments will be offered for all internal repair needs.

5.5.3  For external and communal area work, the tenant can request an appointment.

5.5.4  In  some  circumstances  it  may  be  necessary  to  arrange  a  pre-inspection appointment to determine the scope of the works prior to the repairs appointment being made.

5.5.5   All essential repairs will be attended to within 5 working days of the repair being notified to the Trust.

5.5.6   A schedule of repairs that are typically classed as ‘Essential’ is contained within Appendix B.

5.6      Routine Repairs

5.6.1   Routine repairs are faults that can be planned to be repaired and a longer timescale will not cause on-going damage to the property and which do not cause excessive inconvenience to the resident.

5.6.2  Appointments will be offered for all internal repair needs.

5.6.3  For external and communal area work, the tenant can request an appointment.

5.6.4  In  some  circumstances  it  may  be  necessary  to  arrange  a  pre-inspection appointment to determine the scope of the works prior to the repairs appointment being made.

5.6.5   All routine repairs will be attended to within 20 working days of the repair being notified to the Trust.

5.6.5   A schedule of repairs that are typically classed as ‘Routine’ is contained within Appendix C.

5.7      Missed Appointments

5.7.1   Missed appointments cost the Trust time and money and this cost is ultimately borne by all of the Trust’s tenants.  If a confirmed appointment is missed a card will be left informing the tenant that the job has been cancelled and they will need to contact the Trust to re-book the appointment. Failure to keep repairs appointment may result in the tenant being recharged (as per the Recharge Policy).

5.8      Gas Safety Inspection and Servicing

5.8.1  In compliance with legislation we will operate a programme for safety inspections and servicing gas appliances and equipment in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions within the required 12-month period.

5.9       Electrical EICR Testing

5.9.1   In line with best practice, we will operate a programme for electrical testing based on a 5 year rolling programme. The migration from a 10 year programme to a 5 year programme is due to be complete by 2025.

5.10    Asbestos Management

5.10.1 Matters regarding asbestos are dealt with by the Trust’s Asbestos Policy.

5.11    Garage Repairs

5.11.1  Garage repairs will be carried out in line with the repairs criteria within the appendices (Apendix A, B and C).

5.12    Vulnerable Tenants

5.12.1 The Trust recognises that whilst it endeavours to provide a standard, high-quality service  to  all  tenants there  may  be  a  need  to  provide  additional support  to residents in certain circumstances. Assessment of any additional need will be made based on individual specific circumstances during the initial contact. Typical examples of situations where additional support can be provided are:

  • Mother with young / small child (for no heating)

  • Impaired Vision (path and steps)

  • Someone who has a full time Carer, irrespective of their age

  • 65 years and over (for no heating)

5.13    Right to Repairs

5.13.1 The Trust has adopted the tenants “Right to Repair” and in certain circumstances compensation may be claimed if the Trust fails to complete qualifying repairs within the specified time periods as set out down by legislation.

5.14    Void Properties

5.14.1 The Trust undertakes to inspect all void properties and complete all minor works for re-letting in line with the Lettable Standard.  Every void property will receive gas and electric checks (where applicable) and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

5.15    Rechargeable Cost

5.15.1 As covered in its Recharge Policy, the Trust will seek to recover costs incurred that have arisen from the actions of tenants or service users wherever it is entitled to do so. The Trust will always consider individual circumstances as regards to vulnerability and sensitivity before processing such charges.

6.         Compensation

6.1   The Trust will make amends for persistent failure of the services, e.g. missed appointments.    Compensation does not have to be of a financial nature, it can also be made by way of replacement, apology or a gesture of goodwill.

6.2    Compensation will be considered in accordance with the Trust’s Compensation Policy.

7.          Implementation

7.1  The Policy will be implemented through effective use of service standards, procedures and budgets and monitored using appropriate performance measures to ensure that cost, quality and performance measures are met.

7.2     Work will be undertaken by skilled, trained Operatives employed directly by the Trust wherever possible.  Contractors may be employed to supplement the Trust’s resources.  They are required to comply with all relevant Trust policies and  will  be  commissioned  in  accordance  with  the  Trust’s Financial Regulations and Standing Orders.

8.          Performance Measures

8.1     Services will be  delivered with  a  view  to  minimising time  between reporting, ordering and completing the repair.

8.2      We will monitor the following against performance targets which are set annually:

  • Percentage of repairs, including gas and electrical, works completed within target time

  • Percentage of jobs completed at first visit

  • Percentage of appointments kept

  • Number of carded jobs

  • Customer satisfaction including complaint and compliment monitoring

  • Total cost per property of responsive repairs and voids

  • Time taken to re-let void properties and void rent loss

8.3     Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are regularly collected and the results notified to EMT, Board and the Residents Forum.

8.4     The Trust will seek to continuously improve the repairs service through:

  • Regular reviews of the repairs service standards and the repairs contracts

  • Regular one to ones and annual appraisals for all staff

  • The refinement of procedures and processes

  • The continuous development and training of our front line staff

  • Resident Focus groups and customer satisfaction feedback

  • Recruitment and retention of skilled trades

  • Adoption of suitable IT and digital working platforms

  • Post inspections

9.          Value for Money

9.1       The Trust has a responsibility to protect the value of its housing stock and to ensure that the promises and obligations made to our tenants, leaseholders and other users in respect of their homes are honoured.

9.2       The efficient management of resources continues to be one of the Trust’s highest priorities. Hence, there will be a continued focus on making more efficient and effective use of resources.

9.3       Procurement of  repair  work  will  be  in  accordance  with  the  Trust's  Financial Regulations.

9.4       The Trust will seek to recover from the tenant the cost of repairs carried out which are the tenant’s responsibility in line with the Recharge Policy

9.5       The Trust will benchmark performance against similar organisations to monitor quality, performance and cost effectiveness and strive to deliver best practice services and highlight areas of improvement.

9.6       Operatives, front line staff and their managers are actively encouraged and supported to acquire additional skills to increase their effectiveness and efficiency.

10.       Equality and Diversity

10.1    All works will be carried out in accordance with the Trust’s Equality and Diversity Policy. We will design the service policy, standards,  procedures  and  delivery  in  accordance  with  the individual needs of different resident groups.

10.2    We will work with our communities to ensure equality of access and service outcomes, taking into account the diversity of local communities.

10.3    The needs of vulnerable tenants will be taken into consideration when prioritising repairs.

11.       Consultation

11.1    Consultation has been carried out through the Residents Forum.

11.2    Tenants will be involved in monitoring performance through the established tenant involvement groups.

12.       Monitoring

12.1    The Assistant Director of Property is responsible for the day to day implementation and monitoring of performance measures of the Policy

13.       Review

13.1    This Policy will be reviewed within three years of the date of its approval.

14.       Relevant Trust Policies and Legislation and Other Documents

14.1    The following legislation and policies are relevant to this policy:

Relevant Documents

  • Strategy for Providing Quality Affordable Homes and Services (from August 2020 will be Community Strategy)

  • Complaints Policy

  • Compensation policy

  • Equality & Diversity Policy

  • Lettable Standard

  • Recharge Policy

  • Access and Customer Care Policy

  • Positively Engaging with Our Residents

  • Data Protection Policy

  • Tenancy Agreement

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

  • Gas Safety (Inst & Use) Regulations 1998

  • Asbestos Policy

  • ‘Your Quick Guide to Home Repairs and Maintenance’

  • ‘Guide to Your Tenancy’

Contact and publication details

Author: Andrew Rysdale

Job title: Assistant Director of Property

Publication: Public