Below you will find information on:
- Daytime Repairs
Inside normal office hours, you can report your repair by phoning the Service Centre on 01349 886602 or visiting your nearest Service Point
- We would advise you to always report your repair by phone or in person if possible, as this means our trained Service Centre staff can discuss the repair with you to ensure it is properly logged in the system, that the correct priority is awarded and that access arrangements can be agreed. If you wish to log your repair by e-mail, please send full details as outlined under "Our Service" below to Service.firstname.lastname@example.org. The jobfax manual issued to you at tenancy sign up will assist you to describe your repair. Please also make sure you give your preferred contact telephone number, so that staff can phone you if they need further clarification.
- Emergencies outwith office hours
Outside normal office hours (Monday - Friday, 9-5), we handle emergency calls through a single number 0845 700 2005.
Highland Council no longer provide Lochaber Housing Association's out of hours service. Please contact the Association direct on 01397 702530.
- Gas Leaks
Do not ring us - telephone National Gas Emergency Service (formerly TRANSCO) immediately on 0800 111 999.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can contact Minicom/Textphone line 0800 371 787.
Use a phone outside your home to avoid the risk of sparking an explosion. Turn off the gas at the mains and open windows. Do not smoke, light a match, use a lighter or switch anything electrical on or off until the problem is fixed.
- Electricity Power Cuts
Scottish Hydro Electric 0800 300 999.
- Energy Advice Line (run by the Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre)
0800 512 012
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When you contact us, let us know:
- Your name, address and phone number.
- Details of the item which needs repairing.
- Times when you will be at home for the repair to be carried out.
We will discuss the repair with you and will let you know:
- If an order can be placed immediately with a Council Trades Operative or a contractor or whether an inspection by a Housing Maintenance Officer is needed to assess exactly what needs to be done.
- If an order is placed, we will tell you the response category your repair falls into and the target date by which it should be completed. If it is not completed by that date, please contact us again, so we can investigate.
The details of your repair will be entered onto our computer system and you will be given an id number you can quote if you need to contact us again about your problem (you can ask for written proof of contact if you wish). We have also introduced an appointment system for repairs - more details below.
A sample (5%) of tenants will be asked if they are satisfied with the service and these contacts will be made by telephone shortly after the repairs are completed.
What repairs are carried out by The Highland Council?
We are responsible for the outside of your property, the main structure and any fittings and appliances we have provided. We are also responsible for maintenance of communal areas. You must take care of the inside of your property and do certain repairs (see Responsibilities).
What if I cannot carry out the repairs I am responsible for?
The repair book which is issued to all council tenants contains some handy hints about carrying out some repairs. You are not necessarily expected to carry out these yourself. You might ask friends, relatives or neighbours for help or advice. If you are elderly or disabled and have no-one who can help, we will give you advice on how you can get the repair done. We can do them for you but we will charge you at a commercial rate (see also Rechargeable Repairs).
What about general maintenance and improvements?
All our properties are included in a rolling programme of painting and repair to the outside of the property. We also have planned programmes of major repairs such as replacement of windows, doors or central heating. You will be informed of any improvement work planned.
Do I have to pay for any repairs?
Apart from those repairs which are rechargeable, if any damage you report has been caused by you or by someone in your home, we will charge you for the repair, including administration costs.
Repairs arising from break-ins or vandalism
We will replace all glass windows and panels inside and outside the house which have been broken. We also no longer ask for a police incident number when you report a repair that has been caused by vandalism or a break-in. However, we recommend that you report any incidents of serious damage or vandalism to the Police. Furthermore, if there are repeated repairs to any property or we suspect that vandalism or deliberate damage has been caused by a member of the household or visitor, we will investigate and may charge you the cost of the repair.
Can I claim for damage?
If damage is caused by the negligence of our contractors, you should contact us to discuss the problem. Otherwise you are responsible for any accidental damage to your own possessions, carpets, fittings etc. and for internal decoration. We advise you strongly to take out household contents insurance to protect your possessions. The Council offers a Home Contents Insurance Scheme. which you can pay along with your rent.
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We are responsible for repairing and maintaining the structure of the property you live in. This includes all pipes, wiring, fixtures and fittings for heating, drainage, power and lighting, all the external parts and any internal fixtures and fittings originally provided by us.
We maintain all common areas and facilities in blocks of flats or maisonettes. We also maintain communal gardens and open areas around our properties.
Outside the home, we are responsible for:
- Fences and walls that border public areas but not those that divide adjoining gardens.
- Steps and main paths that lead to your main doors.
- Garages, brick outhouses, stores or sheds originally provided by the Council.
- Clothes poles.
- Rotary driers in shared drying facilities.
You have certain general responsibilities:
- To keep your property clean and in good decorative order.
- To keep your garden tidy.
- To take precautions to prevent damage once a repair fault has been identified and to report it to us promptly.
- To repair damage caused by you, members of your household or any visitors.
- To maintain any appliances you have installed, e.g. fire, shower, cooker, etc.
- To report any criminal damage or vandalism to the Police.
Joint Responsibility for Gas Safety
- We are responsible for carrying out an annual gas safety check in every council house with a gas supply.
- You must allow us entry to your home to carry out these checks.
- You should let us know if you have not had such a check in the last 12 months.
- You must make sure that all air vents are clear from obstructions.
Tasks you have to do or get done:
- Replacing keys when broken, lost or stolen, or when you are locked out.
- Replacing doorbells (except in sheltered housing).
- Providing extra draught excluders where door fits reasonably well.
- Replacing door chains and house numbers.
- Maintaining internal doors, including easing when new carpets are fitted.
- Adjusting and renewing hinges, catches, latches and handles on doors and cupboards.
- Looking after any plastic windows or doors according to instructions given.
- Putting up, removing or repairing shelves, rails or coat hooks.
- Repairing minor damage, cracks or holes in wall or ceiling plaster.
- Resetting trip switches and replacing fuses, light bulbs, plugs and tubes and starters on fluorescent lights.
- Testing smoke detectors and replacing batteries in battery-operated smoke detectors (not wired into an electrical circuit).
- Maintaining TV aerials (unless these are communal and have a service charge)
- Replacing bath/sink/basin plugs and chains.
- Initial attempts to clear choked wastes, toilets or gullies and full clearance if choke caused by lack of care.
- Fitting waste and supply valves to washing machines, driers and dishwashers (if not already provided).
- Replacing ash pans, fire tools and fire surround tiles.
- Relighting pilot lights.
- Getting chimneys swept regularly where solid fuel is used, at least twice a year.
- Repairing coal bunkers where solid fuel is no longer used for central heating.
- Replacing pulleys and lines to clothes posts.
- Installing rotary driers unless in shared drying facilities.
- Repairing fences between gardens.
- Maintaining pigeon lofts, greenhouses, sheds, outbuildings or garages not originally provided by the Council.
- Maintaining garden paths other than main ones leading to your main doors.
- Maintaining driveways (except where they are the only pedestrian access to your home.
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When you report a repair to us, we assess the nature of the problem and tell you what category the repair falles into: emergency, high priority, routine or low priority and what the response time should be. We may need to inspect some repairs before we can give you an estimated response time. We have also introduced an appointment system for carrying out non-emergency repairs - see more details below.
Our Response Categories
Respond immediately and complete within 24 hours.
To remove immediate danger to people, avoid serious damage to the property or make the property secure. It may be that initially only enough work is done to make the situation safe.
- High Priority
Complete within 3 working days
To overcome serious inconvenience to the tenant, or to prevent further damage or a potential health or security problem.
Where the fault does not cause serious danger or inconvenience to occupants or the public
We aim to complete routine repairs within 20 days. However, if an inspection of the fault is required, then we will aim to arrange an inspection and complete the repair in 30 days.
- Low Priority
Some repairs may be allocated to a planned programme of work. You will be told when this happens.
Please note that during exceptionally cold, wet or stormy weather, our ability to respond will depend on whether it is safe for us to work.
Tenants' Right to Repair Scheme
We must complete certain "qualifying" repairs within the emergency or high priority time limits.
These repairs include:
- Total or partial loss of electrical power or unsafe sockets or electrical fittings.
- Total or partial loss of gas supply.
- Insecure window, door or lock.
- Unsafe access path or step.
- total or partial loss of heating or hot water where there is no other form of heating.
- Total or partial loss of water supply.
- Blocked sink, bath or basin.
- Blocked or leaking toilet (or not flushing) where there is no second toilet.
- Leaking water/heating pipe, tank or cistern
- Blocked flue to open fire or heat.
- Unsafe flooring, stair, banister or handrail.
- Broken mechanical extractor fan where there is no window in the room.
If we do not do so within the correct time, you have the right to ask us to have the work done by another contractor. You may also be able to claim compensation of £15 for the inconvenience caused which can rise to a maximum compensation payment of £100 for any one repair.
More details are contained in the Right to Repair Leaflet (480kb pdf). You can also see a list of approved contractors for housing repairs under Current Documents.
When you contact the Highland Council to report a non-emergency repair, you will receive a call back within 48 hours offering you an appointment time. If the work falls into the High Priority category, you will receive a call within 5 working hours. We do not make appointments for Emergency repairs, as we try to send the trades operatives out as soon as possible.
We will discuss which days and times of day it is most convenient for you to have the work done or for an inspection to be carried out and make the appointment on that basis.
What are the appointment times
Morning - 8am to 1pm
Afternoon - 1pm to 4.30pm
School run - 10am to 2pm
All day - 8am to 4.30pm
Will I always get an appointment with a Council Trades Operative?
Sometimes we have to issue work to a subcontractor. We will inform you of the name of the company who will be carrying out the work and they will contact you directly to arrange access.
What if the appointment cannot be kept?
If there are unforeseen circumstances and our trades operative is unable to attend, we will phone you to advise you and arrange another suitable appointment time.
If you are unable to be at home at the time originally agreed, please contact us to rearrange the appointment.
What if it is an emergency?
We treat repairs as emergencies if they are necessary to avoid danger, risk to the health of the occupants, or serious damage to the property. Outwith normal office hours we will only handle emergency repairs. These should be reported on our out-of hours emergency number - see ordering repairs.
We expect you to report high priority or routine repairs to your Housing and Property Office or Service Point during working hours on the next working day. We may charge you for the contractor's time if you call them out and they find the repair is not a genuine emergency or if you are not in when the contractor calls.
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What our Contractors should do
Our contractors will deal with you in a professional way. They must:
- Introduce themselves and show you their identification card before entering your home.
- Explain what they are going to do and how this will affect you.
- Take care of your property and possessions, protecting them from damage, dust and paint and make sure materials and tools do not cause danger to you or your visitors.
- Keep your home secure at all times.
- Clear up rubbish and remove it at the end of each working day.
- Make sure essential services are connected at the end of each day and when the repair is completed.
Our contractors should not:
- Smoke in your home.
- Play radios on site.
- Carry out any additional work unless instructed to do so by a Council officer.
You should be aware:
- Contractors cannot be left alone in your home or with just children present (under 16). If you go out they may have to leave the property and wait for your to return.
- You should not leave your key hidden, or with someone else, for a contractor to let themselves in and be alone in your home.
- In bad weather, contractors cannot, for their own safety, work at height, e.g. on ladders, scaffolding or the roof.
- You are expected to allow contractors to get on with their work. Keep children and pets out of their way and ensure the area they are working in is clear of furniture. If they are working outside, you should take action to protect precious plants, etc from damage.
- If furniture or carpets need to be moved before repair work can be done, you must do this before work starts. Contractors may be willing to help but cannot accept any responsibility for damage caused.
What standard of service can I expect?
We will respond to repair problems in an efficient and helpful way. All repairs are carried out by contractors we have selected carefully. The name of the contractor will be given on your repair acknowledgement. Our contractors must follow certain rules of behaviour when working in or around your home. See What our contractors should do above.
What if the work is not done on time?
We will have put your repair into a response time category. If the repair is not done within that response time, let us know and we will follow it up immediately. The Tenants' Right to Repair entitles you to have certain repairs done within set timescales.
Do you check up on the quality of workmanship?
We carry out regular quality control checks to make sure that our contractors work to high standards. These may be visit to properties or phone calls to tenants. They are selected on a random basis from all complete repairs.
What if I am not satisfied with the quality of work?
If the repair was not completed within the time allowed or if you are not satisfied with the work done or the service provided, pleased let us know. We will investigate all complaints thoroughly to make sure that work is completed without further delay.
A questionnaire is enclosed with your repair acknowledgement. Once your repair has been completed, please fill this in to let us know what you think of our service. If you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, you can make a formal complaint, through the Council's Complaints Procedure.
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