Our service standards

Our service standards are there to be open about the high level of service to expect from us

 

Working with our customers we’ve put together a set of service standards to make it easier for you to understand the high level of service to expect from us and to help you hold us to account.

We’ll regularly check we’re meeting our service standards and provide quarterly updates on our performance.

If you feel our services are not meeting our standards, or they could be improved, get in touch to make a suggestion or complaint.

 

Our service standards:

Our repairs standard

How we keep our homes and communal spaces in good condition

We want your home to be warm, safe, secure and a comfortable place to live in. 

We will….

     - be with you within an hour should you become stuck in a lift

     - attend lift breakdowns within 4 hours

     - complete emergency repairs within 24 hours

     - complete urgent repairs within 7 calendar days

     - complete routine repairs in your home at a time convenient to both of us.

     - complete routine repairs to communal areas within 28 calendar days.

Please note: timescales for attending defect repairs (repairs needed in the first year of a property being built) will vary depending on the agreement in place with the developer of your home.

  •  offer you a choice of appointments, between Monday and Friday, for any urgent or routine repairs in your home. Appointments available are; morning, afternoon, avoid school-run or all day (between 8am and 4pm). If your repair is being carried out by one of our contractors, the contractor will contact you to arrange an appointment.
  • aim to complete your repair in one visit. Where this is not possible, we’ll either provide you with a new follow on appointment whilst in your home or let you know what we need to do to resolve your repair 
  • carry out minor alterations to your home (e.g. grab rails, extra handrails, ramps, lever taps etc.) to help you live safely and independently should you have a disability.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you consistently rate our repairs service as 8.9 or above out of 10
  • we keep over 95% of the repair appointments we make with you
  • we completed over 99% of our emergency repairs within 24 hours

Our planned maintenance standards

How we invest in your home

We want your home to be warm, safe, secure and a comfortable place to live in and ensure our rental homes and communal areas continue to be in good condition.

We will….

  • make sure your home meets the Government ‘Decent Homes Standard’.
  • carry out redecorations, and appropriate repairs, of our internal and external communal areas. This is usually carried out when it’s in poor condition or as per the terms of any leases.
  • replace or upgrade parts of your home when they are in poor condition and/or become unable to be repaired. Click here for more information about our replacement programmes.Where the poor condition has been found to be due to wilful damage or neglect, we will aim to recover the costs from customers
  • explain in detail what to expect when we are carrying out home improvement or decorative works. This will include; how long the work will take, what work is involved, what choices you may have, what we will do to try and minimise disruption, what disruption we can’t avoid and what you may need to do to help.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you are consistently rating our planned maintenance activities 8 or above out of 10.
  • you are consistently rating the quality of their home 8 or above out of 10.
  • 100% of our homes meet the Government ‘Decent Homes Standard’.

Our safety standard

How we meet our safety legal obligations

We want you to live in a home that is warm, safe and secure. 

We will….

  • carry out regular safety checks of our rented properties:

     - yearly gas safety checks (where there is a gas supply).

     - yearly servicing of any non-gas and non-electric heating systems (e.g. air source heat pumps, solid fuel etc).

     - electrical safety test and inspections every 10 years

Whilst in your home we’ll check your smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide detectors. Please also take the time to regularly test your smoke alarms.

  • carry out fire risk assessments of our communal areas, producing appropriate fire procedures and fitting detection/protection equipment as required.
  • ensure any installed fire detection/protection equipment in our communal areas are in good condition by carrying out:

     - monthly fire alarm sound tests (as a minimum)

     - 6 monthly fire alarm system services (as a minimum)

     - yearly test and recharge of fire extinguishers

     - 6 monthly tests of automatic opening smoke vents

     - 6 monthly inspections of dry risers

     - 5 yearly electrical safety test and inspection

     - monthly emergency lighting function tests and yearly full duration tests.

More information on fire safety can be found here.

  • hold and keep up to date an Asbestos register, recording the type and location of any asbestos containing materials in your home or communal areas. More information on our management of asbestos can be found here.
  • carry out water hygiene risk assessments of our communal water systems, undertaking regular water sampling (at least yearly), temperature testing and system flushing (at least monthly) to manage any risks identified.
  • carry out 6 monthly inspections of our lifting and mechanical equipment (e.g. passenger lifts, stairlifts, hoists, automatic/electronic gates and doors). Servicing our passenger lifts monthly.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you consistently rate us 8 and above out of 10 for providing a home that is safe and secure.
  • we are 100% compliant with our health and safety obligations (gas safety, electrical safety, fire safety, asbestos, water safety and lift safety).

Our moving standard

How we’ll make moving into one of our rental homes as effortless as we can

We recognise that moving home is one of life’s major events. 

Renting a home

We will….

  • be open and honest about the costs involved in renting one of our homes, including any advanced payments and service charges.
  • give you the opportunity to view your future home before you decide if it’s the right home for you.
  • keep you informed about the progress of your home, letting you know your moving in date at the earliest opportunity.
  •  ensure your home is safe, by:

     - carrying out electrical and gas safety checks (including testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors)

     - undertaking an asbestos check (making safe any damaged asbestos material or removing it)

     - completing a visual structural check (removing or repairing any unsafe structures)

     - carrying out water quality checks and treatments (if your home has been empty for a long time)

     - checking that flats that open into a communal area have a fire rated door

  • ensure your home is secure by:

     - checking doors and windows are working correctly

     - changing external door locks (if there has been a previous occupant)

     - providing fencing along any boundaries with public footpaths or highways

 

  • ensure your home is clean by

     - cleaning inside your home, and clearing it and any gardens of all rubbish and debris

     - cleaning and vacuuming carpets (removing these if they are unable to be cleaned)

     - treating any areas of mould growth

 

  • ensure your home is warm by

     - making sure your home has adequate and appropriate methods of heating

     - carrying out an energy performance assessment​

 

  • ensure your home is in good repair by checking all the key parts of the property, making sure these are useable/in working order, completing any repairs we find and giving you surfaces you can easily decorate.
  •  contact our new customers within the first 6 weeks of moving into their home, checking on how they’re settling in.

 

Swapping or moving home

We will….

  • support you if you’re a social rented customer looking to swap home by providing you free access to HomeSwapper, the national mutual exchange service.
  • keep you informed about the progress of your swap application, providing you with a decision within 42 days.
  • ensure your home is safe to swap by carrying out gas and electrical checks prior to a swap.
  • support you if you’re a social rented customer looking to:

     - downsize or move to specialist housing,

     - move due to an urgent need or risk

     - move (either temporarily or permanently) due to your home needing major repair or is due for disposal.

 

Moving out of one of our homes

We will….

  • provide a range of ways to let us know if you wish to end your tenancy and let you know when you would need to return your keys, how you would need to leave your home and any money owed.
  • arrange and carry out an inspection of your home before you move out, informing you of any repairs you have to do and the amount you’ll be recharged should they not be done

 

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you are consistently rating your moving in experience 8 or above out of 10

Our customer contact standard

How we’ll handle your enquiries

We want to be easy to contact, helpful, responsive and efficient. 

We will…

  • have a range of ways you can get in touch, being available Monday to Friday (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and to 4.30pm on a Friday) or out of hours in an emergency.
  • be happy to meet you face to face either in your home, in your community, or in our offices.
  • aim to answer telephone calls within 2 minutes and respond to your enquiry there and then. If we’re not able to answer your query there and then, we’ll call you back by the end of the next working day with a response.
  • reply to your digital contacts (i.e. emails, texts, website forms, social media posts and your online account messages) by the end of the next working day.
  • reply to your letters by acknowledging these by the end of the next working day and providing a full reply within 10 working days.
  • be polite and professional when dealing with your enquiries, respecting your confidentiality at all times.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • You’re rating your experience of contacting us as 8.9 and above out of 10
  • You’re rating your ease of contact as 8 and above out of 10
  • You’re rating the ease of dealing with us as 8 and above out of 10
  • You’re rating our professionalism as 8 and above out of 10

Our customer engagement standard

How we provide opportunities for involvement

We aim to put our customers and communities at the heart of what we do and work with you to shape our services and support your communities.

We will….

  • Offer you a range of opportunities to influence and be involved.
  • work with you as an involved customer to co-design our housing-related policies, to set our strategic priorities and make decisions about how housing-related services are delivered.
  • be open and honest with you about our performance and the impact of customer involvement, sharing this information on our website so that you can hold us to account and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Communicate, through our monthly e-newsletter, information that is relevant to you.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for the way we listen to your views and take notice.
  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for the way we engage with you.

Our ‘putting things right’ standard

How we handle and resolve any problems

We want to consistently deliver all our services but recognise there may be times where we don’t fully meet your expectations. 

We will….

  • provide us with a variety of ways to tells us how we’re doing, including through our satisfaction surveys and customer engagement opportunities.
  • aim to respond to your problems when you first tell us, or if not by the end of the next working day. Where this is not possible or you have requested a formal investigation, we will handle these through our complaint process with the investigating lead getting in touch by the end of the next working day.
  • respond to your complaint within 10 working days, contacting you by phone to discuss our outcome and following this up by email or letter.
  • be clear when handling your complaint about what options you have for progressing your issues, including how to contact the Housing Ombudsman service.
  • respond to enquiries or complaints made by MP’s or Councillors on your behalf within seven working days.
  • use your feedback from complaints, compliments and satisfaction surveys to help us learn and improve our services.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you are consistently rating us 6 and above out of 10 for how we handled your complaint.
  • we’re resolving 95% of your complaints within the timescales of our policy.

Our housing management standard

How we'll work with you to manage your tenancy

We want to create vibrant, sustainable communities which are a pleasant place to live. 

We will….

  • make you aware who your dedicated Neighbourhood Officer is, display this information in communal areas.
  • investigate the concerns you raise about other customers (i.e. abandoned properties, abandoned vehicles, welfare concerns, condition of gardens/properties, nuisance pets, subletting) within 5 working days, taking appropriate action to resolve any housing management concerns. We’ll not be able to report back our findings due to data protection.
  • acknowledge any requests you make (i.e. changes to your tenancy or lease, permission for a lodger, permission for home improvement, application for the right to buy or to acquire your home) by the end of the next working day.
  • aim to complete tenancy change requests, lodger requests and home improvement requests within 10 working days of us receiving all the required information from you. We’ll process RTB/RTA applications in line with legislative timelines
  • be clear and honest if we’re unable to undertake your requests/changes/grant permission, explaining to you the reasons why and follow this up in writing.
  • check in with you every now and again, prioritising those who are new customers or where we may have concerns 

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • You’re consistently rating us 7 and above out of 10 for the way we handle your tenancy enquiries.

Our neighbourhood standard

How we manage our estates

We want your neighbourhood to be safe, clean and a pleasant place to live. 

Estate management

We will….

  • keep your estates fire safe by removing and disposing of any items that continue to be left in the communal areas without our permission, and acting on any issues posing a fire risk
  • check on the quality and safety of your estate and communal areas through our estate inspections (monthly, 3 monthly or every 6 months depending on risk) and our neighbourhood volunteers’ walkabouts, raising any communal repairs and acting on any abandoned vehicles and/or abandoned properties we find.

 

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)

We will….

  • be in touch the same day you report high risk ASB incidents (category A), or the end of the next working day for all other ASB incidents.
  • be open, honest and realistic about what we can do and how we can respect your confidentiality. We will agree a plan of action with you (signposting you to the police if necessary), explain things you need to do to help and offering support to victims/witnesses.
  • contact suspected offenders of ASB, to help them recognise the impact of their behaviour, understand the consequences if it continues, and help them in making lasting changes.
  • Work with other agencies and use enforcement measures (where appropriate and where we have enough evidence) to help resolve your ASB case.
  • let you know if we are closing your ASB case and explaining our decision.
  • make you aware on our website, in our ASB policy and in this offer of your right to make a Community Trigger application should you think that no action has been taken. The Community Trigger is managed by the Community Safety Partnerships and you can contact your local council for more information.

 

Grounds maintenance and caretaking

We will….

  • carry out regular grounds maintenance to the communal land owned by us (either 26 or 19 visits a year, depending on where you live). Click here to see what is done during our visits.
  • carry out inspections of the trees owned by us every two years, carrying out any hight risk tree works.
  • carry out regular cleaning of internal communal areas (a minimum of 46 visits for those with a weekly service and a minimum of 17 visits for those with a three-weekly service). Click here to see what is done during our visits.
  • respond to your reports of fly-tipping within 24 hours for hazardous waste or 5 days for all other types of waste.
  • remove graffiti within 5 working days and offensive graffiti within 24 hours of being reported.

Please note the frequency and service offer for grounds maintenance and caretaking may vary where these services are overseen by a managing agent.

 

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for the handling of your ASB cases.
  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for the way we keep communal areas clean and safe.
  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for our landscaping/grounds maintenance.
  • you consistently rate us 7 or above out of 10 for our contribution to the neighbourhood where you live

Our support standard

How we're here to support you if you need it

We want you to enjoy living independently in your home. However, when things aren’t going as well as they could you may need advice and support. 

We will….

  • provide a range of ways of how we can support you, including:

     - supporting you with your benefits

     - helping you with money management

     - helping you with digital skills and accessing the internet

     - helping you to find work or work experience

     - supporting you in managing your tenancy and where your tenancy is at risk

     - wellbeing support, supporting you with your mental health and in continuing to live independently in your home.

 

  • respond to referrals for support within 2 working days, discussing with you in more detail your specific support needs or signposting you to other support available.
  • allocate you a named support officer who will contact you to develop a support plan with you, with goals tailored just for you and work with you for the duration of your support plan.
  • let you know when we are closing your support case.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • we recover more than £5 million each year in unclaimed benefits for our customers.
  • we support more than 200 customers into training or employment.

Our homeowner standard

Our service to shared owners and leaseholders

We recognise that becoming a homeowner can be daunting and can be a big commitment. We want to help our homeowner customers enjoy living in their home by being clear, open and honest about each of our responsibilities and by being easy to deal with. 

When buying or selling one of our homes, we will….

  • be open and honest when advertising our homes, providing as much information as possible including the costs (e.g. fees, deposits and service charges) and the responsibilities of a homeowner.
  • keep you informed about the progress of your purchase, letting you know the next steps required by you in your purchase.
  • provide you with a Home user guide on the day you move, giving you all the information, you need to enjoy your home.
  • offer shared ownership customers with the opportunity to apply for a greater share of their home. We’ll be clear on the application process, what you would need to do and costs you would be responsible for.
  •  provide a specialist team to help our shared owner customers if they are looking to move and sell their home.

Although you’re responsible for repairs in your home, we will….

  • be responsible for any defects (repairs needed in the first year of a property being built), communal repairs and improvements. See our Repairs and Planned Maintenance standards for more information. 
  • come visit you after the end of the first year of the property being built to make sure there are no outstanding defects.
  • provide our new build homes with a building warranty, covering the building for any major structural problems. This cover can be for 10 or 12 years.
  • let you know in advance of any communal repairs or improvements that will cost you more than £250, making you aware of the cost and involving you in selecting who does the work

To help you manage your charges, we will….

  • send you a service charge statement prior to April each year, outlining your estimated service charge for the coming year and how this compares to the previous year.
  • provide you, on request, a report detailing the quarterly or annual repairs carried out to the communal areas that you are being charged for.
  • contact you each September advising of what has been spent in the previous financial year, provide an annual statement confirming any over or under charges for the previous year and apply an adjustment to your account by the end of October.
  • send you an annual sinking fund statement (where applicable) giving details of; the balance of the fund, interest earned after tax and the money that has been paid in and out. See our Paying standard for more information on how we will encourage, support and enable customers to manage their accounts.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you’re consistently rating your moving in experience 8 or above out of 10.
  • You’re consistently rating your overall satisfaction with us a 7 or above out of 10.

Our rent and payments standard

How we encourage, support and enable you to manage your accounts

We want you, and as many future customers as possible, to be able to live in a home that is warm, safe and secure. To achieve this, we need our customers to take responsibility for their rent and other payments. 

We will….

  • provide you a range of secure ways to pay, encouraging Direct Debit as our preferred method of payment.
  • annually review and set your rent (within Government guidelines or market rent levels) and your service charges (so they only cover our reasonable costs), sending you a new Direct Debit schedule.
  • let you know with at least 28 days’ notice if there are any changes to your rent and service charges. If your Direct Debit changes, we'll give you at least 10 days’ notice (i.e. the amount, the date or frequency of your payments).
  • provide you with access to your rent statements through your online customer account, or by sending out paper copies on request.
  • take reasonable steps to work with you to clear any arrears. This includes referrals to our own inhouse support teams, referrals to appropriate agencies and agreeing repayment plans.

If you are struggling to cover your rent payments and other charges, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

We know we’re delivering our standard when…

  • you consistently rate us 7 and above out of 10 for services we provide for the rent you pay.
  • you consistently rate us 8 and above out of 10 for the way we handle rent payment enquiries.

Find out how we're performing

We regularly check that you’re getting the service that should expect and provide quarterly updates on our performance against our service standards.

Find out more