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Repair responsibilities

Hillingdon Council is responsible for most repairs but tenants are expected to carry out some minor repairs to their home or to arrange for a suitably-qualified person (other than a council operative) to carry them out.

Man using a drill

Here is a full list of these repairs, which are also in section five of the Tenant Handbook.

Am I exempt from my repairing responsibilities?

We recognise that some tenants need to be exempted from some of the repairing responsibilities. We will make exemptions in respect of a repair that arises as a direct result of:

  • domestic violence (for example damage caused to the front door of a property by an estranged partner)
  • harassment or victimisation (for example removal of graffiti from the walls of a house when this has been sprayed by perpetrators of racial harassment)
  • mental disability (for example getting a tenant back into their house after they locked themselves out, because they suffer with dementia)
  • physical, sight, or hearing disability (for example a repair to the door frames and architraves in a house because these get damaged by the tenant's wheelchair)

Tenants are not automatically exempt from all repair responsibilities just because, for example, they have a disability. It only applies when that disability is the cause of that repair need.

To manage these exemptions we have set up an exemptions register. You can apply to go onto the register by phoning, emailing or writing to the Repairs Reporting Centre. You may be asked to provide information to support your application.

Tenant repair responsibilities

You are responsible for keeping your home in a reasonable condition and for dealing with minor problems, and insuring the contents of your home. You are normally expected to do or arrange for the following:

Looking after your home

  • ensure water pipes don't freeze up in absence / cold weather (the Council will insulate pipes and water tanks)
  • take reasonable precautions against fire, flood and additional damage
  • take reasonable precautions to prevent and control condensation [155kb], including wiping up moisture from surfaces, cleaning off mould, ensuring that ventilation provided by the Council is used and kept clear of obstructions.
  • lubricate and clean window and door hinges, catches and ventilators in windows
  • clean glass in doors and windows, and wash down door and window frames (the Council will do this in the shared parts of blocks of flats)
  • clean sanitary fittings, sink tops and kitchen units, and ensuring that water spillage from use of the fittings is mopped up to prevent damage to adjacent surfaces (i.e. worktops, cupboards and floors)
  • repair damage caused by overflowing baths, sinks, washing machines etc.
  • report repairs promptly to prevent further deterioration, and allow the Council entry to carry out repairs
  • allow the council access to carry out the annual service and safety check of gas appliances fitted by the Council. This also includes supply pipes even when no appliance has been fitted. The council will take the most appropriate action to carry out this safety check of gas appliances. This may mean court action to enforce its right of entry
  • take action to limit damage from water leaks (e.g. putting a bucket or container under the leak, and/or turning off the mains water at the stopcock and draining down the cold water storage system if necessary)
  • ensure gas and electricity meters are charged or bills are paid
  • decorating inside the home to keep it in reasonable decorative order. The Council will make good decorations that become damaged by repairs it has carried out. The tenant is responsible for making good any damage to decorations caused by the actual fault (e.g. where a roof leak has damaged the paint finish on the ceiling) unless the damage is due to the negligence of the Council
  • maintaining individual gardens and keeping them tidy, including hedge and lawn cutting and clearing away rubbish
  • cleaning the grille (and changing any filter fitted) to ventilation extractor fans and the like
  • repairs needed as a result of damage caused by the tenant, their family or visitors, even if it is something the Council would normally do
  • clear gullies of leaves or debris
  • keeping the damp proof course and airbricks for sub floor ventilation clear of ground levels, soil and refuse etc
  • arrange for wasp nests to be removed and for the eradication of other pests from your home (the Council will deal with pests and infestations in the shared parts, or if the infestation spreads to a number of dwellings, including eradication of rats)
  • on ending a tenancy, removing all unwanted furnishings and fittings (such as carpets, laminate flooring or other additions), clear rubbish from the dwelling and the garden, repairing any damage to the property or its fixtures and fittings that is not due to fair wear and tear, removing unauthorised alterations and reinstating any missing or non standard fittings (unless the Council has given permission under the right to carry out improvements)

Repairing and maintaining your own appliances, fittings and fixtures

  • providing and wiring plugs for your own electrical appliances
  • replacing light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and starters (the Council will maintain the lighting in blocks of flats and on estates)
  • fixing shelves, curtain rails and the like to walls
  • connecting and disconnecting appliances to services (e.g. washing machine, cooker). Each property will have a connection for either a gas or electric cooker (some properties may have both, while others may have just one or the other). If your preferred choice of gas or electricity is not available in the property, you must also arrange for the new supply to be fitted
  • putting up, adjusting and maintaining TV aerials, satellite dishes and cables (unless it is a shared system provided by the council) following approval from us, and planning permission if required. You must use a specialist aerial fitting company and you are responsible for any damage caused in the fixing of the aerial or any damage due to inadequate fixing. Aerials and satellite dishes must not be fixed to the shared parts of blocks of flats
  • repairs to your own appliances and fixtures, including items such as showers, taps, kitchen units, electric fires, shaver sockets, and fittings such as towel rails and toilet roll holders (i.e. anything that you may remove from the property).This includes your own cooker, fridge/freezer, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher and any plumbing to these
  • repairs due to damage caused by your own appliances, either when installing or when in use, including consequential loss and damage (e.g. water leak from a washing machine affecting other flats in a block)
  • servicing and maintaining heating appliances not owned by the council
  • temporarily lifting and then replacing floor coverings (e.g. mats, carpets, laminate flooring and other sheet floorings) provided by you or gifted to you as may be required in order to allow the Council to carry out a repair
  • maintaining your own alterations and/or additions made under the right to improve, including any garage, carport, hardstanding, patio, shed, outbuilding, fence, wall or similar

Carrying out minor household tasks

  • setting and using heating controls and systems
  • re-lighting pilot lights (e.g. to the boiler)
  • checking and resetting fuses and trip switches (except the main service fuses which are the responsibility of the electricity supply company), and if necessary turning off the mains supply
  • unplugging faulty appliances such as cookers, kettles, fires and table lamps that may be causing the fuse to blow or the trip switch to cut out, and having the appliance checked by a qualified electrician
  • sweeping chimneys to solid fuel burning appliances and open fires on a regular basis (at least once a year) and keeping them free from obstruction
  • filling in and decorating cracks in plaster to walls and ceilings that are possible to carry out without the need for special tools or expensive materials
  • clearing blocked sinks, baths, and basins (the council will deal with this on request but may charge if the blockage was caused by misuse, for example by cooking fat or tea leaves. The council will deal with blocked toilets, soil pipes and drains but will charge if the blockage was caused through misuse, for example by nappies or baby wipes)
  • adjusting the closing of kitchen unit doors

Repairing and replacing components in your home, even if originally provided by the Council

  • replacing batteries in door bells
  • regularly testing and cleaning any smoke alarm fitted by the council
  • replacing low energy lamps and the like in light fittings and other equipment originally provided by the Council (the Council will only provide a lamp when first installing the fitting or piece of equipment)
  • adjusting internal doors after new carpet or other floor covering has been laid by the tenant
  • replacing lost keys and/or putting in new locks
  • replacing locks and keys when locked out, including to garages and out buildings, as well as the cost of gaining entry and making good any damage caused as a result
  • arranging for additional keys as required by the tenant, including fobs and keys for door entry systems
  • replacing plugs and chains to sinks, basins and baths
  • providing, repairing or replacing washing lines and posts (the Council will provide these in shared drying areas)
  • repairing or replacing internal clothes driers/retractable lines
  • replacing broken glass to doors or windows unless due to burglary or vandalism (and for which the tenant provides a police crime number) or due to a fault in the frame or its installation. The council will provide temporary boarding or similar to secure the property and also repair doors and windows after a break-in provided that the tenant provides a police crime number
  • replacing broken glass to internal doors and screens
  • repairing or replacing minor fittings such as coat hooks, door knockers and numbers
  • replacing cracked or broken wall tiles in splash backs or on walls generally (unless required as part of a repair to the sanitary fittings for which the council is responsible)
  • repairing or replacing skirtings, architraves, window boards and internal cills, and other trims (unless required as part of a repair for which the council is responsible)
  • repairing or replacing internal and cupboard doors (the council will do this if it is a fire door but will charge if you have caused the damage)
  • adjusting, repairing and replacing hinges, locks, latches and handles to internal doors (the council will do this if it is a fire door but will charge if you have caused the damage)
  • repairing or replacing bath panels (the council will do this if the panel contains asbestos)
  • repairing floor coverings such as plastic tiles and other sheet coverings that are possible to carry out without the need for special tools or materials - in the case of flooring this is repairs under one square metre or up to nine tiles (the council will carry out all repairs to floor coverings that contain asbestos)
  • repairing or replacing hinges, catches and locks to timber gates (the council will repair metal gates and shared gates)
  • replacing missing gulley gratings (the council will replace these in the shared parts of estates)
  • replacing toilet seats and lids
  • paths, patios, hardstandings and other concrete or paved areas within the curtilage of the property: the council will repair or replace the path from the street to the front door of the property, and where provided, to a side or rear access door, and any hardstandings. We will only carry out such repairs as necessary to keep safe any other paths, patios, and other concrete or paved areas within the curtilage of the property. Otherwise you are responsible for repairing and replacing paths (the council will maintain shared paths provided on an estate or to a block of flats)
  • garages, sheds, greenhouses, and summerhouses etc - unless they are part of the structure of the dwelling, the council will only carry out such repairs as necessary to keep safe such outbuildings, and may remove them if beyond economic repair and no longer required by you but will not replace them. Otherwise you are responsible for all repairs to sheds and outbuildings
  • fences and gates, including boundary / dividing fences between adjoining gardens at the side and rear of the property: the council will generally only repair or replace fencing on housing estates on a responsive basis in the following circumstances:
    • fences where there is a safety aspect, such as bordering a canal or motorway and where the ground is lower on one side so as to be considered a danger
    • fences which form the boundary between council and privately owned land (not generally adjacent dwellings) fences separating the property from a public right of way (e.g. alleyway)
    • fences bordering schools and open spaces not maintained by other departments of the council
    • division fences erected where required on good housing management grounds, for example privacy screening
    • fences erected as a security fence to prevent access to property or land (not generally adjacent dwellings)
    • fences that are unsafe (we may remove these if beyond economic repair and not replace them)

We will generally not do any more fencing repairs than those listed. This is because fencing is an area where demand, and spend, can be never ending. We therefore need to restrict what we will spend on fencing so as to allow sufficient money to meet the cost of other repairs to the dwellings themselves.
In respect of flats and maisonettes sold on a long lease, the council has a duty to repair fence boundaries under the terms of the lease.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 22 Oct 2015 at 11:56