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General Repairs Information

 

Introduction – Your Repair Service

When you become a Hexagon tenant you enter into a contract with us. As part of the contract, you agree to look after your home and we agree to carry out certain repairs.

In general, those repairs are to keep the structure and outside of your home in good repair and to maintain installations for water, electricity, gas and drainage inside your home.

You agree to allow us to enter your home to:

  • Inspect the state of the property.
  • Carry out pest control treatments.
  • Service your gas installations.
  • Carry out any of our duties under the tenancy agreement, including any repairs

We expect you to report repairs as soon as they are needed. We will then aim to carry them out as quickly as reasonably possible within the timescales for carrying out repairs set out here.

Are There any Repairs that Hexagon Won’t do?

It is Hexagon’s responsibility to carry out most repairs to the outside of your home, the main structure and communal areas. We also cover standard fittings, such as kitchen, bathrooms and heating systems that we have provided within your home, along with the systems for supplying gas, electricity and water. We are also responsible for floors, ceiling and plastering, and will ‘make good’ internal decorations after carrying out repairs.
There are various minor repairs that you are responsible for. These include:

  • Unblocking sinks, hand basins and baths.
  • Small repair jobs such as broken glass, electrical fuses and replacing toilet seats.
  • Fitting new locks if you lose your keys (if keys are stolen we will replace locks if you have a crime number from the police).
  • Damage caused by you, someone living with you or a visitor.
  • Internal doors (except fire doors), internal door latches and locks, handles, hinges, keys and rubber door stops.
  • Replacing cupboard catches, handles and hinges.
  • Plugs and chains to sinks, hand basins and baths.
  • Accidental damage to sinks and toilets.
  • Replacing broken glass in windows and doors, unless it is criminal damage (you will need to provide an official crime number from the police).
  • Decorating the inside of your home.
  • Replacing door bell and smoke alarm batteries and testing smoke alarms.
  • TV aerials, apart from shared ones.
  • Replacing bulbs, fluorescent light tubes or starter switches, unless they are in shared areas.
  • Anything that you have fitted to your home, inside or outside.
  • Any non-standard items that were given to you at the start of your tenancy.
  • Plumbing to washing machines or dishwashers.
  • Draught exclusion to doors and windows.
  • Minor plaster cracks and gaps between skirting boards and floors.
  • Adapting doors for carpets.
  • Bleeding radiators.
  • Repairing/replacing tidy-dryers, washing lines, etc.
  • Shelving and curtain rails.
  • Gardening (unless covered by service charge).
  • Pest control not covered by statute.
  • Window locks.
  • Broken glass inside your home.
  • Floor tiles/lino.
  • Small cracks to plaster.

In some circumstances we may do some of this work for you if you are elderly, disabled, or have children aged under 5 in your household.

How do I Report Repairs?

There are lots of different ways of reporting repairs to Hexagon:

  • On-line through our website by clicking here.
  • You can call us on 0208 778 6699 or 0800 393 338 – you can ring between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays). The busiest time tends to be between 9:00 am and 11:00 am – so it is often a good idea to ring at other times if possible. If the repair you are reporting is an emergency, it is always best to telephone. For gas repairs, please contact our contractors, BSW Heating, on free phone number 0800 206 1367 or you can email them on generalenquiries@bsw-heating.com
  • In person at Hexagon’s Office 130 – 136 Sydenham Road, London, SE26 5JY
  • By e-mail – customer_desk@hexagon.org.uk If you do send an e-mail please let us have a telephone number too, as we might need to speak to you before raising an order
  • To any member of Hexagon’s staff, if they are visiting you at home. They will report it to the Customer Services Desk on your behalf
  • You can write to us at the same address as above – but as this may take several days to reach us it is not a good idea for anything that is at all urgent

What do I do if a repair is needed when your office is closed?

  • If an emergency repair (see below for what counts as an emergency) is needed outside our office hours, please ring the ‘Out of Hours’ repairs line 020 3701 3518. There will be a recorded message on 0208 778 6699 and 0800 393 338 which will also provide this contact number, but you can call the service directly. For emergency repairs related to heating and/or hot water, you can call BSW Heating on 0800 206 1367.
  • Repairs that are not emergencies can still be reported by e-mail or through the website. Alternatively, you can contact us when the office is next open.

What Happens when I Report a Repair?

Hexagon staff will ask you for lots of information about the repair. This will include:

  • What needs repairing or replacing.
  • What the problem is – e.g. is it leaking, broken, lose or stiff.
  • A description of the item that is broken – e.g. what type, shape, colour and size is it?
  • What it is made of – wood, metal, plastic, etc..
  • What you think is causing the problem.
  • Where in your home, block or estate the repair is needed.
  • Whether any other homes are affected.
  • When you can be in and the best way for the contractor to contact you.

It is a good idea to think about these things before contacting Hexagon.

We will tell you:

  • How long the repair should take to complete.
  • Your appointment time in the case of urgent or routine repairs booked via the Customer Services Centre, where we will make an appointment for you. This will usually be morning, afternoon or ‘avoid school runs’. If you later need to change this appointment, please call us at least 24 hours before it is due.
  • Who the contractor is.
  • Your Repair Order Number.

If a surveyor needs to inspect we will make an appointment for them to visit you when you ring – we will aim for this to be within 5 working days, although this will depend on you being able to be at home.

Apart from emergencies, if no appointment is made when you report the repair the contractor will usually try to give you at least 24 hours notice of coming to do it.

For most repair jobs, our contractor will need to get into your home during the day.

  • It is very important that you keep your appointment, as we could be completing other tenants’ repairs during this time. You may be recharged if you break appointments without adequate notice.
  • If you cannot be at home, ask a friend or neighbour if they can stand in for you.
  • If you are out when our contractor visits, they will leave a card asking you to ring to arrange another appointment. If you do not contact us, we will cancel your repair job.

How Long will the Repair Take?

The length of time a repair takes will vary depending on how serious the problem is.

Emergencies – target 24 hours

Real emergencies are potentially dangerous to the occupiers, or could cause serious damage to the building. They include:
Bad roof leaks: we will do a temporary repair, if the weather allows.

No cold water to the kitchen sink: check with neighbours first that it isn’t a more general supply problem in your area. If this is the problem, contact your local water company – for most tenants this will be Thames Water on 0845 920 0800.

Major water leak: before ringing, try to turn off the water at the mains stop-cock – in most homes this is a tap under the sink.

No electricity: If you have a key meter, check that it is charged before you contact us. You should also check with neighbours that there isn’t a power cut in your area. You should also check the miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) in your fuse box. If any of them are ‘off’, try switching them back on again. If the MCB will not stay on, turn off and unplug all electrical appliances items on that circuit. If there is more than one item, switch the MCB on after disconnecting each one to work out which is faulty.

Collapsed ceiling
Broken or blocked toilet
Gas leaks: report suspected gas leaks directly to Transco on 0800 111 999, rather than Hexagon. However, first you should:

  • Turn the gas off at the meter.
  • Open doors and windows.
  • Do not smoke, use light switches or naked flames.

We often have to make temporary repairs when emergencies happen at night or weekends because we cannot get the materials to carry out full repairs. The safety of you, your household and your home is our first concern, and attendance by the contractor should be within 2 hours. Our contractors will come back to repair the problem properly as soon as they can. We cannot offer an appointment in this instance, so you will need to wait in until contractor calls.

Urgent repairs – target 7 days

Urgent repairs are serious but are not likely to put life or health at serious risk. They include:

  • Toilets that will not flush – you can flush the toilet with a bucket of water while waiting for the repair to be completed.
  • Normal plumbing leaks.
  • No hot water.
  • No heating whatsoever, between 1st October and 31st March.
  • Blocked hand basin.
  • Several lights or sockets not working.

Normal repairs – target 28 days

These repairs, whilst essential, are not urgent and are given a lower priority. They include:

  • Most other day-to-day repairs to woodwork, brickwork and plaster.
  • Non-urgent plumbing and electrical work.

Planned repairs

There are some repairs that can be done over a longer-term basis. They include:

  • Some carpentry and fencing repairs.
  • Kitchen unit replacement.
  • Floor-covering replacement.

In some circumstances, we will ask the contractor to complete the work more quickly than is set out above. This may apply if you are elderly, disabled or have children aged under 5 in your household.

Much of the maintenance work we do is planned up to six years in advance. So if you ask us to do a non-urgent repair, we will usually check to see if it is already on our ‘to do’ list for the near future. If it is, we will let you know and ask you to wait.

Appointments and Working Hours

Normal working hours for non-urgent repairs are from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, and we will aim to make an appointment for all repairs. Some larger repairs will take some time to complete, so appointment times for those will be limited.

We are not able to offer timed appointments, but we can offer mornings (8.00 am to 12 noon) or  afternoons (12 noon to 6.00 pm).

Missed appointments cost time and money. If we make an appointment for a repair or an inspection and we break that appointment, we can offer compensation of £10 unless there is a reasonable excuse for us missing the appointment. Similarly, if you are not at home when we call for an appointment, we will charge you £10 unless there is a reasonable explanation for not keeping your appointment.

Do I Need to Report Repairs Needs Outside my Home?

If you notice leaking gutters, down pipes or water pouring from an overflow, please do let us know – even if it isn’t causing you a problem. It will help us to keep our repair costs down in the longer term. Also, let us know if you see that repairs are needed to communal areas around your house or block or around the estate on which you live. This might include repairs such as loose stair treads, broken handrails or uneven paving.

Inspections

Sometimes, an Area Surveyor may need to visit your home and check the repair before it can be ordered. Alternatively, you may request that an Area Surveyor visits your property to access the repairs that need to be carried out. If this is the case, we will arrange a convenient appointment with you.

Once the inspection has been completed, the Area Surveyor will authorise any works as necessary within 24 hours of the inspection. They will also inform you of when the works will be completed by.

We may also have to ask you to remove furniture, curtains or carpets from a room before the repair is started. Our staff will tell you this when making the appointment for the work. If you do not do so, the work maybe delayed.

Forcing Entry

There are certain situations where we will need to take action to protect your well-being. If we cannot carry such actions out under normal circumstances, we have the right to force entry to your home. We will only do this under exceptional circumstances, for example, if we need to:

  • Service your gas appliances and have not been able to contact you after 3 previous attempts.
  • Carry out emergency repairs that are affecting the health and safety of other tenants.
  • Carry out repairs that are damaging our property.

What if you are Unhappy with the Repair?

We are always trying to improve our repairs service, so we do need to know when you are not happy with the quality of the work.
To help us improve the service, we will ask you to fill out the satisfaction forms that you receive when an order is placed with us. We will also be introducing a prize draw for every returned satisfaction form we receive; you could win £20 in either Sainsbury’s or DIY vouchers.

We also carry out satisfaction surveys, so do not be surprised if one of our staff calls you when the work has been completed to ask how it went.

We use the most appropriate materials whenever we carry out any repair work. Sometimes however, things go wrong and you may not be happy with the quality of the repair. If this happens, the first thing you should do is call the freephone repairs line, and we will send someone around to either fix or inspect the problem.

If you are still not happy, you can make a formal complaint using our complaints form, and your complaint will be looked into by the Responsive Repairs Manager.

Who is Responsible for Maintaining Gardens?

Like other repairs and maintenance issues, both Hexagon and tenants are responsible for different things. Hexagon is responsible for repairing:

  • Access paths and steps to your front and back door, but not patios or garden paths.
  • Maintaining our dividing fences.
  • Fences bordering Hexagon land and owned by Hexagon.
  • Gardening – where we have agreed this with you and there is a service charge.

It is down to you to make sure that you look after your own garden by:

  • Keeping it tidy and free of rubbish.
  • Making sure shrubs, hedges and trees do not become a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Maintaining garden paths and patios.
  • If you keep a dog, making sure that when it is in the garden it does not become a nuisance to neighbours.
  • You are also responsible for dealing with ordinary ants, bugs and fleas, plus bees (the local authority holds a list of bee-keepers who may help) and wasp nests (unless they are in a shared area).

We may be able to help you with some of these problems if you are elderly or disabled.

Can I Carry out Improvements to my Home?

You are only entitled to carry out changes and improvements to your home when you have received our permission in writing.

Within reasonable limits we will not normally refuse this permission, but you should expect a number of conditions to be applied.

If you want to carry out any home improvements you should write to the Responsive Repairs Manager explaining what work you want to do and who will be doing it. You should also check whether you need planning permission or building regulations approval. If you do, it is always best to get professional advice to help you with the work. You will only be able to do the works once you have received written permission from the Housing Association, as well as planning permission and building regulations approval. All works must be done at your own expense, and you must repair any damage that you cause.

If these improvements are permanent, you cannot remove them when you move out without our permission. You may be entitled to compensation for any improvements you have carried out when your tenancy ends.

Works that require permission includes:

  • Replacing a fireplace and/or surround.
  • Putting up extra kitchen cupboards.
  • Putting in a driveway.
  • Decorating the outside of the building.
  • Putting up a TV/radio aerial or satellite dish.
  • All structural works.

We will only refuse permission for specific reasons of safety, long-term repair implications or if it might make the property harder to let in the future. If you remove any of Hexagon’s fittings, we may require you to replace them at the end of your tenancy.

Vandalism and Neglect

We are not responsible for repairs caused as a result of damage or neglect by you, your family, your visitors or your pets, including any accidental damage or any alterations you have made. In some circumstances, if you damage our property we will consider that you have broken your tenancy agreement. If we have to carry out repairs caused by you we will charge you the full cost of the work, including our administration costs.

If you cause serious damage to our property, you risk losing your home.

If damage has been caused to your home by criminal action you must report this to the police so that they can investigate the matter.

Condensation

Condensation is caused when warm air meets a cold surface. It can damage your home, clothes and bedding if you leave it untreated. It can also cause mould to grow on walls and ceilings.

You can reduce condensation by:

  • Making sure your home is warm and well ventilated – so do not block up airbricks.
  • Opening windows or using any ventilation and closing the kitchen door when cooking.
  • Opening windows or using any ventilation and closing the bathroom door when washing and drying clothes. Dry clothes outside wherever possible.
  • Keeping your home warm by making sure that there is a gap between your radiators and any furniture.

Will Hexagon Adapt my Home if I am Disabled?

If you are elderly or, for some other permanent reason, are having problems moving about your home and you require some adaptation work, contact the Customer Services Centre for help.

Hexagon has a small annual budget for adaptations, but you may apply for a Disabled Facility Grant or a Minor Works Grant from your local Council for more expensive works. We will help you complete the application form. The sort of work that we might do could include minor adaptations:

  • Handrails.
  • Lever taps.
  • Widening doors.
  • Raising sockets.
  • Painting edges of steps.

It could also include major adaptations, such as:

  • Showers.
  • Ramps.
  • Stair lifts.
  • Widening pathways.
  • Extensions.

Can I Claim Compensation from Hexagon if you do not do my Repairs?

There is specific scheme known as Right to Repair, whereby certain actions must be taken if Hexagon fails to carry out an agreed repair in the timescales we have set out. A summary of this is:

  • If the work is not done by the expiry date of a works order, you have the right to request that a new order be raised for the same priority time.
  • If the work is still not completed after the second attempt, you may be entitled to compensation. You must have co-operated with attempts at gaining access, and the value of the repair must be less than the legal limit.

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