Repairs FAQs

We've answered some frequently asked questions about repairs at SHP.

Which repairs am I responsible for? 

Taking care of your home is a partnership between you, us and the contractors we use to complete repairs.

You are responsible for keeping your home clean, decorating inside, not causing damage and carrying out certain repairs.

We are responsible for carrying out repairs which are the council’s responsibility in your tenancy agreement or lease.

Find out which repairs you are responsible for 

How do I report a repair?

Simple! You can report a repair online.

If you have an emergency repair (immediate danger to your safety or major damage to your property) please call us immediately on 020 8915 2000 (this includes any emergencies that happen after 5pm or at weekends). 

If your repair is about gas or heating (emergency or non-emergency), you can call Smith and Byford on 0800 389 0867 (freephone), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Remember - if you smell gas or believe that gas is leaking:

  • Open all your windows and doors

  • Do not turn on or off any light switches, electrical switches or do anything to create a spark

  • Do not smoke or light any matches or cigarettes

  • Put out naked flames

  • Turn off the gas supply at the meter if you can

  • Leave the property

  • Contact the National Gas Emergency free phone immediately on 0800 111 999 (free phone)

  • Wait outside for the emergency engineer and keep people away from the area.

How long will my repair take?

How quickly we do a repair will depend on how urgent it is. We take circumstances into account and prioritise work for disabled, older or vulnerable residents if appropriate.

Our target timescales are:

Responsive repairs 

  • Emergency repairs (category A) - three hours.
    e.g. reporting electric shocks or exposed wires.
  • Emergency repairs (category B) - 24 working hours.
    e.g. A broken WC or toilet pan which is leaking
  • Urgent repair (category C) - within five working days
    e.g. Replacing faulty accessories including light fittings
  • Routine repair (category D) - within 20 working days
    e.g. Repairing outside brickwork
  • Planned responsive repairs (category H) - within 90 working days
    e.g. Replacing a component after the situation has been made safe, e.g. renewing a whole garden fence.

Heating and gas (Smith & Byford)

  • Emergency - respond within two hours,  complete within 24 hours
    e.g. gas leaks, siginificant water leak, complete loss of heating in property, immediate health and safety issue
  • Summer loss of heating / other urgent works - five days
  • Winter loss of heating / other urgent works - 24 hours
  • Scheduled works - 28 days

How do repairs appointments work?

Internal and communal repairs 

  1. When you report a repair you will be given an appointment with a two hour arrival time slot and a works order reference number.

  2. Our contractors should arrive during the two hour period you have been given. If you have provided a mobile phone number, the contractor may let you know when they are on route by text message.

  3. If you do not answer the door when the contractor visits they will leave a card to let you know they have been. You will need to contact us to make a new appointment.

  4. If you do not rearrange, or we are unable to gain access a second time, the repair will be cancelled and you will be notified.

  5. If the contractor cannot complete the repair they will arrange another appointment with you before they leave.

Please note that some repairs cannot be done in a single visit. For example, replacing a front door requires a visit to measure the door and order it, followed by another visit to fit it. Some jobs, such as plastering and painting, require time for drying between coats. The contractor will tell you the next steps and your next appointment.

Gas and heating repairs - Smith and Byford

When you report a gas or heating repair to Smith and Byford, they agree an appointment based on the urgency of the repair.

If you decide not to accept the appointment offered because it is not convenient, you will be offered an alternative appointment. This may fall outside for the target timescale. If you choose to accept this appointment instead, you will not be eligible for the right to repair scheme and the target timescale will be extended.

We monitor our contractors to measure how well they meet their appointments.

What should I do if a repair isn't finished, or done well enough?

If a repair is not completed or you are unhappy with the work, you should contact us as soon as possible so we can investigate and put things right. You may be able to request a different contractor under the right to repair scheme.

We welcome feedback on our performance and the service provided by our contractors. If there's something we should know about, please submit a complaint, compliment or suggestion

Do I have to pay for repairs?

Not if they are caused by fair wear and tear.

You should repair any damage you, your family members or other people living in or visiting your home cause. If you don’t, we will charge you for repairing the damage or redoing a repair if you haven’t done it properly. We will also charge you for removing any unauthorised alterations to your home.

This is called recharging. We do this to be fair, so that you are not paying for avoidable damage done to other people’s homes.

We will recharge you if damage has been caused by:

  • Something you have done or failed to do
  • Someone who lives in your home
  • Someone who visits you
  • Something that belongs to you or that you have installed

If the damage is caused by other people’s criminal activity we will consider the circumstances and we may waive the recharge for the repairs. You will need to provide a crime reference number. We will not recharge in circumstances of domestic abuse.

More information can be found in our Recharging Policy, available on request.

When you move out you will be recharged for any items which are missing or need to be repaired or replaced because of neglect, misuse or damage. Examples include:

  • Missing doors

  • Damage to a door resulting in either a repair or replacement

  • Re-hanging a door

  • Repairing door frames

  • Replacement of stair handrail or newel posts

  • Renewal/repair of kitchen units, drawers, worktops, etc.

  • Removal of skirting

  • Removal of ‘boxing in’ to pipe work, etc.

  • Damage to wall/ceiling plaster

  • Removal of artex wall finish

  • Replacement of floor tiles

  • Renewal of sanitary ware (toilet, wash hand basin, toilet cistern)

  • Missing toilet seat

  • Removal of unauthorised pipe work e.g. to washing machine, shower etc.

  • Replacement of sink/bath plugs and toilet cistern flush handle/chain

  • Removal of electrical fittings

  • Re-glazing broken or cracked glass panes

  • Clearance of property and stores/sheds

  • Clearance of gardens of rubbish and overgrown vegetation

  • Carpet gripper, carpets, furniture, personal effects and rubbish

  • Unauthorised DIY works e.g. removal of chimney breast, walls, built in larders and cupboards and the cost of any required reinstatement

  • Remedial works where you have not carried out work to a satisfactory standard

The above list is only a guide and is not exclusive. For specific guidance or questions, speak to your Housing Manager before you move.

Do I have to let SHP into my home to carry out safety checks and maintenance?

Yes. Please help us keep your home in a good condition by allowing our staff and contractors into your home.

If you do not allow us into your home to carry out essential inspections, maintenance and repairs, you may be in breach of your tenancy agreement or lease. If we need to apply for a court order to gain entry to your home, we will ask the court to make an order that you pay our legal costs.

Does SHP's insurance cover my personal belongings?

No. We strongly advise you to take out home contents insurance. Our insurers will only pay compensation if we are proven to have been negligent.

Sutton Council runs an affordable pay as you go home contents insurance scheme which is open to all SHP tenants. Premiums are collected with rent and there is no excess. The scheme covers fire, theft, water damage and other household risks, including freezer contents and theft/loss of keys. There’s no excess and no long term commitment.

Visit Sutton Council’s website for more information.

If there's an incident, you should contact your insurer immediately.

How do I turn the water supply to my home off?

A stopcock is a tap which controls your mains water supply. Make sure you know where this is, in case you need to turn off the water in an emergency. In many homes it is under the kitchen sink or in the bathroom.

The stopcock will cut off the water supply to your property until help arrives. You can find instructions on how to find your stop cock on Thames Water's website, or contact us if you need help.

If you plan to leave your home empty and unheated during very cold weather, we advise you take the following steps:

  • Turn off the main stopcock

  • Drain down the water system by opening all the taps until the water stops running

  • Flush the toilet to empty the cistern

  • Turn off all taps.

If your water supply fails, make sure all the taps are turned off and the plugs are left out of sinks, baths and hand basins to prevent the risk of flooding when the water supply comes back on.

Who is responsible for repairs if I apply to buy my home?

If you apply to buy your home through the Right to Buy scheme, the responsibility for carrying out repairs changes.

We will remove your home from ongoing or planned programmes of major works, and we will only carry out repairs that we legally have to (i.e. gas and electrical safety checks).

Major improvement work takes a long time to plan and organise, so if you withdraw your application to buy, your home may not automatically be included again in work already planned.

Am I allowed to make improvements to my home?

Yes, but with some restrictions. You will need to get written permission from us before carrying out any work. Find out more and request permission.