We’ve just reviewed our policy and procedure relating to recharges, and although most of the changes are to our internal processes, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind all residents about our approach to recharges.
A recharge is a charge that we have incurred which we ask a resident to pay back to us.
We will recharge a resident for something which we have had to pay for which is required because of a residents behaviour or is the residents responsibility. This includes things like the costs associated with court applications, replacing lost key fobs or repairs required as result of resident damage.
We ask residents to pay recharges so that our limited resources are not used for things which are not our responsibility. It also means that the rent you pay is not being used to pay for the repair of damage caused by others.
The biggest change to our procedure is that having a Police Crime Reference will not automatically mean that you do not need to pay a recharge.
You will usually be asked to pay for repairs required because of:
Accidental damage: A light pull cord broken by a child pulling it too hard, a window damaged by slamming shut in the wind or water damage within your home from a bath being allowed to overflow.
Inappropriate/irresponsible behaviour: A toilet blocked due to a nappy being put down it, hole in a door that has been hit, allowing a pet to chew a door or a sink blocked as a result of fat being put down it.
Criminal damage: A window that is smashed by an unknown person or a door forced to gain entry. Even if you obtain a Crime Reference Number you will be asked to pay for the repair. In exceptional cases we will take into account the vulnerability and individual ability to pay – we want to make sure that no undue hardship is suffered by vulnerable residents.
We will usually be able to tell you if a repair you are requesting is rechargeable before we do it so you can either make an agreement to pay or find your own contractor. However, sometimes we don’t have enough information when the repair is reported and it will only be afterwards that we know this.
Most of the recharges we invoice residents for relate to repairs and maintenance of the property however, there are some other circumstances when you may be asked to pay a recharge. For example:
If you lose your keys or they are stolen meaning you need a replacement fob or communal entrance key you will be asked to pay for this even if you have a Crime Reference Number.
If we have taken you to court and the judge has agreed that you should be responsible for the court costs you will be asked to pay this back.If you have rent arrears the court costs will usually be paid once the arrears are cleared.
If we have to remove rubbish which you have left in a communal area.
If you move out of a property and leave it in poor condition.
If you have contents insurance, you may be able to claim for some repairs such as accidental damage or criminal damage through this. It will depend on the terms of your individual insurance.
We strongly recommend that you have contents insurance for this reason but recognise that some people may struggle to afford this. If this is the case, you may wish to consider using the National Housing Federation insurance scheme. It offers very competitive rates and a range of ways to pay.
You can find out more details about the scheme by calling 0345 450 7288 or visiting www.thistlemyhome.co.uk
If you have any queries about recharges please speak to your Housing Officer or our Maintenance team on 01454 411172.