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The content of this page applies to the Department of Infrastructure public sector houses, although the other housing authorities apply similar rules and guidelines. If in doubt, contact your housing authority.

Both you and the Department are responsible for looking after your home. We are responsible for most of the repairs but you are responsible for the general upkeep and for decorating the inside of your home. Alterations to your home may be possible but you must acquire permission from the Department first. Also, you must take care of your home and report any repairs or faults immediately.

Online form to request a repair

The Department has introduced a form which you can complete and submit online to request a repair.  Also, see the paragraph later in this page entitled reporting a repair to find out alternative ways in which you can report a repair to the Department.

Repairs tenants are responsible for

  • Anything that belongs to you
  • Decorating the inside of your home
  • Glass and glazing
  • Washing machine plumbing and fittings
  • The door bell, letter box and door number/nameplate
  • Replacing light bulbs/fluorescent tubes in your home including bulbs on gas/electric fires
  • Fixtures and fittings such as curtain rails and coat hooks
  • Clearance of blockages in drains, waste pipes and toilets caused by lack of care (for example, fat, cotton wool etc)
  • Sweeping chimneys and removing chimney obstructions due to tenant neglect
  • Replacing sink plugs and chains and renew ball tap washers
  • Repairing or renewing grate bottoms
  • Internal door fittings (including adjusting doors for carpet fitting)
  • Outdoor sheds and fitting clothes posts and lines
  • Repairing or replacing locks and lost keys/gaining access if you lose keys
  • Replacing toilet seats and flushing handles
  • Repairing or renewing gate catches
  • Replacing batteries in smoke alarms (except in sheltered housing)
  • Minor repairs to kitchen cupboards and drawers
  • Minor repairs to floor tiles and tiled fire surrounds
  • Repairing or renewing fire grates, all night burners, and electric fire elements
  • Keeping the property in good condition internally
  • Replacing broken window catches and stays
  • Easing swollen doors and windows (due to weather)
  • Renewing blown main fuses unless caused by circuit faults
  • Repairing or renewing gas and electric cookers
  • Supply or renewal of dustbins
  • Removal of all household rubbish on vacating the property
  • Repair or renewal of any other part of the premises or fittings damaged by the tenant or caused by their negligence

If, for special reasons, you are unable to carry out any of these tasks, for example, if you are elderly or have a disability, please discuss this with us by calling +44 1624 685955. We may be able to suggest special arrangements.

Repairs the Department is responsible for

The Department is responsible for maintaining the structure and exterior of your home, its main services, and the communal areas in blocks of flats.

For example we will repair:

  • Window frames and external doors
  • Plumbing
  • Heating systems including annual service and safety check
  • Kitchen units
  • Internal walls (plastering)
  • Floors
  • Roofs
  • Installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation
  • Communal equipment, including lifts, heating plant and lighting of communal areas.

Can you be charged for any repairs you are responsible for?

Yes, if you (or your family or visitors) damage or neglect your home, we will charge you for the cost of repairs. If there is evidence that the damage has been caused deliberately, you must pay for the cost of the repair before we can place an order for the work and we may take legal action.

When will the repairs be done?

This depends on the type of repair reported. There are various types of repair and different timescales for the work to be carried out. This information is detailed below.

Emergencies: where a vital service has broken down and is likely to cause risk to you, your family or neighbours, your home or your belongings. This will be made safe within 24 hours.

Examples may include:

  • Total loss of water supply
  • Major water leak (which is causing a flood)
  • Toilet blockage or toilet not flushing (where there is no alternative toilet)
  • Blocked flue to a boiler or open fire
  • Total loss of electric power

Urgent repairs: are those that can wait without causing major inconvenience. These will be done no later than 7 calendar days after they are reported.

Examples may include:

  • Blocked sink, bath or basin
  • Toilet blockage where there is another in the dwelling
  • Broken sanitary fittings when they can no longer be used
  • Overflows and taps continually running and
  • Extractor fan in kitchen or bathroom not working

Routine repairs: are those that can wait without causing inconvenience to the tenant. These will be done within 1 calendar month.

Examples may include:

  • heating replacements
  • leaking gutters
  • roof leaks to garages or outbuildings
  • window and roof repairs (where they are not leaking)
  • fences and gates
  • boundary walls

Deferred works: occasionally some repairs may be delayed for a period of time, this may be because we:

  • are aiming to get better value for money by putting together a number of the same type of jobs (for example, fencing repairs)
  • are limited by our repairs budgets for that year and need to delay the non urgent repair for a given time period
  • are unable to undertake certain jobs in some seasons (such as tree lopping and repairs to concrete paths)

Annual maintenance: all gas and electric appliances, mechanical and electrical equipment provided by us are serviced each year.

Planned maintenance: certain works are done on a rota basis so that a group of properties can all have the same work done at the same time. In planning work this way, we are able to save money and be more efficient. This means that works falling into this category will take longer than the timescales mentioned above.

Examples of planned works are: external decoration and repairs and internal decoration to communal areas.

Please see the page on maintenance for more information on how to care for your home.

Who carries out your repairs?

In most cases, we use the DOI maintenance staff, but sometimes the work is undertaken by outside contractors. This depends on the type and size of the repair request.

Alterations and maintenance

Alterations (including improvements) require permission from the Department before being carried out. For more information, please read the alterations page. The general maintenance of your home is up to you. For advice on how to look after your home, read the maintenance page.

Reporting a repair

You can report your repair:

  • by completing and submitting our online request a repair form
  • in person at the central counter in Markwell House
  • via the maintenance foreman or housing officer when you see them on your estate
  • over the phone to a member of the customer service team on +44 1624 685955
  • in writing or by email: Housing  or
  • out of hours, by the emergency telephone number +44 7624 494012

Please give us as much detail as possible. Once reported, you will be sent a repair receipt, with a reference number which you can quote if you have any queries.

Emailing us

If you want to report a repair by email it is important that you supply all the necessary information. The email should include your name, contact details, and what repair is needed (with a detailed description of the problem). You should also declare if you have any dogs and whether they are OK with people. If you can, you should make a note of what times you are usually free to let the maintenance team gain the necessary access to make the repair.

You may still receive a phone call from the Department's customer service team to confirm your details.

After you have reported the repair needed, you will be sent a receipt of your report, including a reference number to use if you need to request any further information.

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