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Local Authority Tenants: How to Use the Right to Repair Scheme

Blog22 September 2020

Tenants of local housing authorities can get repairs to many common issues in their rental properties fixed quickly, with all costs covered thanks to the UK’s Right to Repair Scheme. Whether it’s your central heating or an electrical fitting causing problems, you could be covered.

This regulation is fantastic news for tenants’ rights and covers small and urgent jobs costing up to £250 (or £350 if you’re renting in Scotland). To help, we’ve brought together all of the information you need to benefit from the scheme, as well as which repairs it does and doesn't cover.

What Qualifies for the Right to Repair Scheme?

There are a wide range of problems that can affect your rented property and would qualify for you to claim against the Right to Repair Scheme. 

Under your renters’ rights that list includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • The total or partial loss of your electric power

  • One or more unsafe power or lighting sockets

  • One or more unsafe electrical fittings

  • The total or partial loss of your gas or water supply

  • A blockage to the flue of your open fire or boiler

  • The total or partial loss of space or water heating

  • Leaking from water or a heating pipe, tank or cistern

To keep on top of any problems that could affect your boiler, why not take a look at our top tips for a healthy heating system?

If you’re concerned there might be a blockage to the flue of your boiler, you can also find out more information on the Ideal site about protecting your home from carbon monoxide poisoning

Timescales for Making Repairs

Depending on the problem, your landlord will have a set amount of time to complete the repairs. For example, total loss of water or electric power needs to be restored within one working day. A blocked sink, bath or basin would need to be fixed within three working days.

The timescale for repairs may also depend on the time of year. For example, the total or partial loss of space or water heating will need to be fixed within one working day between October 31st  and May 1st, or within three working days between April 30th and November 1st.

Which Repairs Will Not Qualify for the Scheme?

Not every repair needed in a rented property can be claimed for under this scheme. 

Jobs will not qualify if the local authority you’re renting from is responsible for fewer than 100 properties, they can demonstrate that they aren’t responsible for the repair, or if the task is estimated to cost more than £250 (or £350 in Scotland). 

In addition, you won’t qualify for the scheme if you refuse to let your landlord take a look at the problem in an inspection, or refuse to allow access for the repair to be carried out.

How Can I Claim Under the Right to Repair Scheme?

If you get in touch with your landlord to make a claim through the scheme, they may decide to make an inspection of your property to decide whether they agree it’s a qualifying repair. 

If your landlord agrees that the job is a valid qualifying repair, they will get in touch with a contractor with instruction to repair the problem. They will also send you information about how the scheme works. As discussed in the section above, your landlord should give the contractor a set time to complete the job, in line with the details of the Right to Repair Scheme.

When Will the Work be Carried Out?

As soon as your landlord has arranged for a contractor, they need to let you know the date and time that the work will be carried out. It’s important to make sure there is someone at your rented property when the work’s due to be carried out, otherwise you may find yourself needing to restart the whole procedure. 

If your landlord disagrees with your claim that the job counts as a qualifying repair, they should put their decision in writing and explain why the job does not meet the criteria of the scheme.

Does All Social Housing Qualify for the Right to Repair Scheme?

All local authorities are part of the Right To Repair Scheme, but not all social housing landlords will have similar measures in place. The best plan of action is to take a close look at your tenancy agreement or handbook. If you don’t find the information you need there, try getting in touch with your landlord directly to ask whether they have a Right to Repair Scheme in place.

What Happens if the Repairs Aren’t Completed in Time?

In most cases, the work should be completed in plenty of time. However, if you’re left waiting for the contractor to arrive and fix the problem after the timeframe you were given, you need to contact your local authority landlord to let them know.

The time limit will begin again from when a second contractor is approached to fix the problem with the property. If the timeframe for the work to be done passes yet again, you can make a claim for compensation of £10. For every day that passes without the work being completed, you can claim a further £2 up to a total of £50. 

Useful Links for the Right to Repair Scheme

It’s important to note that the exact details of the Right to Repair Scheme can vary depending on where you are in the UK. 

Click the following links for more information about the details of the Right to Repair Scheme for Scotland and Northern Ireland. For details of the full legislation for the scheme in England and Wales, pay a visit to the government’s website.

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