Repairs, maintenance and improvements (section 7)

This page provides information about your responsibilities for repairs, maintenance, and improvements, and how to get permissions for them.

On this page:

Your rights as a council tenant

7.1 You have the right to have certain repairs carried out to your home. You must tell us when repairs need doing as you, and we, are both responsible for looking after your home properly.

Your responsibilities as a council tenant

7.2 You must keep the interior of your home in good condition. This means carrying out any small repairs that are needed such as unblocking sinks, replacing internal door handles, etc. You must also keep your home adequately heated and ventilated so as to prevent condensation.

7.3 You are responsible for decorating the inside of your own home and for repairing and maintaining your own equipment (such as your washing machine).

7.4 You are responsible for repairing and maintaining any improvements you have made yourself or taken responsibility for. The improvement you have made yourself or taken responsibility for may result in an increase in rent. If you do not maintain your improvements (including sheds and outbuildings) and they become a risk to health and/or safety or are detrimental to the maintenance of our property, we will tell you to remove the improvement and return the property to its original state. If you do not do this, we will do the work and charge you for it.

7.5 If you ask us to leave in place any alteration, improvement or other structure left by the previous tenant, for example a shed, garden pond, greenhouse, and if your request is granted, the responsibility for repairing and maintaining them will be yours.

7.6 You can request that we take over responsibility for the repair and maintenance of your improvements. If we agree, we will increase your rent to cover the cost of this.

7.7 Gas cookers and hobs are your responsibility to install through a registered provider. You are responsible for getting a gas safety check by a gas safe-registered contractor on any appliance you own.

Allowing us to have access to your home

7.8 You must give us, including contractors acting on our behalf, reasonable access to your home to carry out any repairs, servicing or inspections for which your agreement, or the law, makes us responsible or to do any other repairs or improvement work to your property or adjoining properties.

7.9 We will normally give you at least 24 hours’ notice if we need to visit your home to carry out an inspection or any repairs or improvement work. If you refuse to allow us in, we may instead get a court order and you may be charged for our costs.

You may also have to pay to us the cost of any visits by contractors where you fail to keep an appointment that has been made.

7.10 In an emergency we may need to get into your home immediately. Where there is no-one at your home to let us in, you agree that we may force our way in if needed, and you agree that you may be charged for all associated costs in relation to works that are carried out.

7.11 An emergency for the purposes of 7.10 above is a situation that puts someone’s health or life or a property in danger. Examples of emergencies when we may need immediate access to your home include:

  • fire or flood 
  • a gas or water leak
  • if we think somebody may be  injured, or 
  • if the structure of your home or adjoining property is dangerous

This is not a full list.

7.12 We are legally responsible for making sure that gas appliances (except ones you are entitled to remove), gas pipe work and flues are in a safe condition. We will do this in an annual gas safety check.

7.13 You must allow us into your home to carry out this gas safety check. This is a health and safety requirement. If you refuse us entry, you agree that we may make forcible entry, providing we have given you reasonable opportunity to let us in voluntarily. If we gain entry by force, you are liable for any costs the council might incur and these will be recovered from you by way of a recharge. We may apply to evict you for repeatedly failing to allow us access to your home.

7.14 To reduce the risk of legionella bacteria occurring in your property, it is your responsibility to clean, disinfect and descale any showerhead at least every 6 months. In addition any little used outlets (e.g. taps, etc.) must be flushed for at least 2 minutes when they have not been used for more than 1 week.

Getting permission for repairs and alterations

7.15 With the exception of painting and decorating, you must not carry out alterations or additions either inside or outside your home without first obtaining our written permission. 

7.16 Examples of additions or alterations where you need our written permission include: aerials, conservatories, driveways, fences, garages, garden ponds, greenhouses, hard-standing for vehicles, outbuildings, satellite dishes, surveillance equipment and sheds. This is not a full list.

7.17 We may refuse permission if there is a good reason and will tell you why. We may give permission, but subject to some conditions that you must keep to.

7.18 If you fail to obtain written permission before you carry out any additions or alterations, we may (by giving you a reasonable period of time) ask you to return the property to its original state. If you don’t do this, we may do the works and charge you for it. You must obtain our written permission before you carry out any gas or electrical work at your home. This work must only be carried out by a qualified and competent contractor and inspected by us. If you fail to do this, you will be asked to put this right within a specified time frame and, if you don’t do this, we will do the works and charge you for it.

7.19 Before you start work, you must also make sure you get any planning or building regulations approval that you need. If you don’t get our written agreement and necessary approvals, we may tell you to return the property to how it was before. If you fail to do so, we may do the work and charge you for it.

7.20 If you have made improvements with our permission, then you may be entitled to compensation when you move out. Contact us for more information.

If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have the right to make alterations, additions or improvements to your home.

Repairs we will charge you for

7.21 You are responsible for meeting the costs of repairing any damage to your home, its fixtures or fittings or any communal area or Council property, caused by you or by the actions of others living with or visiting you.  The damage could be caused either accidentally or deliberately (e.g. smashed windows) or by your own neglect (e.g. by not reporting a leak).

7.22 We have the discretion to decide whether we will carry out the work (and recharge you) or you will carry out the work at your cost.  

7.23 If we carry out the work, we will charge you the costs of:

  • repairing any damage to your home or communal area
  • replacing any Council property you have destroyed or damaged

7.24 We will also charge you any costs we have to pay as a result of you breaking your tenancy agreement.

7.25 You are responsible for the cost of any repairs required following lawful entry by the police to detect or prevent crime.

Carrying out major repairs to your home

7.26 If your home needs major repairs and you have to move out so we can do the work, we will offer you a suitable home. This may be on a temporary or permanent basis. If we offer you temporary accommodation, you must move into it when we ask and return to your home when we have done the repairs.

Solar panels

7.27 We may install a solar panel system at your home and retain it there. The inverter is usually installed in your loft space which means that we may need access to your loft space from time to time.

We may, at any time, alter the solar panel system or remove it from your home either permanently or for a period of time

If the solar panel system, or any part thereof, fails and becomes uneconomic to repair or replace, the solar panel system can be left in place until it is economic to repair or replace or the solar panel system is removed.

7.28 If you apply to buy your home and you wish to continue to receive the electricity generated by the solar panel system, the cost of purchasing your home will take into consideration the cost of the equipment and the length of time it has been installed.

7.29 You must allow us (and our employees or contractors acting on our behalf) access at reasonable times and following reasonable notice to install, maintain, repair, replace or undertake other works to, or inspect the condition of the solar panel system and to take meter readings.

You must not cause any damage to or interfere with the solar panel system (including any cables) and will pay us any reasonable costs for any damage to the solar panel system by you, members of your household or visitors to your home.

You must ensure that trees or vegetation at your home do not grow so that they overshadow the solar panel system.

You must ensure that nothing is constructed or erected at your home which overshadows the Solar Panel system.

You must tell us as soon as you are aware of any damage to either the solar panel system or part of your home to which it is attached or in which it is contained.

Last updated on 29/05/2024