The Right to Repair Scheme enables Housing Association tenants to have urgent, minor repairs which affect health or safety completed quickly at no cost to them. The Scheme also provides for tenants to be compensated where such repairs have not been completed within a prescribed period.
Conditions for scheme
The Right to Repair Scheme covers small, urgent repairs costing up to £250 which, if not carried out within a reasonable short, prescribed period of time, are likely to jeopardise the health or safety of the tenant.
Association response times endeavour to ensure that all repairs that are the responsibility of the landlord are completed within this prescribed timescale.
Tenants will become entitled to compensation when the contractor fails to complete qualifying repairs within the prescribed period. The timescale of this period will be twice the stated response time for any of the qualifying repairs, thus allowing the Association a reasonable time to act. The amount of compensation should be moderate to reflect the delay in completing the repair and not the cost.
Entitlement to compensation is removed if exceptional circumstances occur which are beyond the control of the Association.
A qualifying repair will be considered a repair which does not cost in excess of £250 to carry out, but if not completed within a specified time is likely to jeopardise the health or safety of the tenant. The majority of these repairs would be electrical or plumbing work, although there will be instances where building repairs will be deemed as qualifying repairs.
The suggested list of repairs which could be classified as qualifying under the Right to Repair Scheme is as follows:
- total or partial loss of electrical power
- unsafe power, lighting socket or electrical fitting
- total or partial loss of water supply
- total or partial loss of gas or oil supply
- blocked flue to open fire or boiler
- total or partial loss of space or water heating
- blocked or leaking foul drain, soil stack or (where there is no other working toilet in the dwelling house) toilet pan
- toilet not flushing (where there is no other toilet in the house)
- blocked sink, bath or basin
- tap which cannot be turned
- leaking from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern
- leaking roof
- insecure external window, door or lock
- loose or detached banister or handrail
- rotten timber flooring or stair tread.
- door entry phone not working.
- mechanical extractor fan in internal kitchen or bathroom not working.
This list has been prepared for guidance and should not be considered exhaustive.
The Association will advise tenants of all repairs that are deemed to be qualifying when acknowledging receipt of a repair request. When a reported repair is deemed be a qualifying repair the tenant will be informed in writing, giving the last date for completion and the name of the designated contractor. All Works Orders sent to contractors under the Right to Repair Scheme must identify the repair as qualifying and state the last date for completion.
To avail of the Right to Repair Scheme the tenant must contact the Association advising that:
- the reported repair has not been carried out within the agreed and published response time
- the repair has been reported and acknowledged by the Association as being qualifying
Where there is doubt about the status of a reported repair, and after investigation the Association is satisfied that the repair does not qualify, the tenant must be advised of this in writing.
Exemptions from the scheme
The Right to Repair Scheme does not apply where:
- the tenant has told the Association that they no longer want the qualifying repair to be carried out
- the tenant has failed to provide reasonable access details for the contractor
- the tenant has failed to provide access for an inspection or for the repair to be carried out
The Right to Repair Scheme is limited to the dwelling house and does not normally extend to common parts. As qualifying repairs are those which the Association is obliged to carry out as part of its landlord responsibilities, they do not include cases where the Association is not compelled to carry out the repair because the tenant has failed to comply with an obligation imposed upon them under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement eg by causing a drain or a pipe to be blocked.
Response time for right to repair
The response time for the completion of all reported repairs that have been identified as the responsibility of the Association must be set out in the Tenants' Handbook or otherwise published.
Where a repair has not been completed by the end of the response time compensation will be payable to the tenant.
The Association will identify the length of time the repair remains outstanding after the end of the prescribed period and pay compensation to the tenant of £10 for the first day or part thereof, and £2 for each day or part day that the repair remains outstanding up to a limit of £50.
Associations will be responsible for funding the payment of compensation under this Scheme from their own resources and must allow for these costs to be met from either the repairs budget or reserves. Ideally where the need for compensation arises due to a defaulting contractor the Association should strive to ensure that it will be able to reclaim any compensation it has made to the tenant from the contractor under the terms of the contract.
If both the Association and the contractor are at fault the costs should be shared.