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New deposit process for bathroom and kitchen lightbulb replacements

25 February 2022

From 1 March 2022, if you contact us to report a faulty kitchen or bathroom light, you will be asked for a £50 deposit from our repairs contractors. This charge will be refunded after the visit if the issue does not require the lightbulb or starter to be replaced. Residents living on sheltered schemes, and residents over the age of 80 or disabled and living in a general needs home will be exempt from this charge. This new process is being introduced following a successful six-month pilot which we ran last year with residents living in Hertford and other areas outside London, plus those living in East and North London, who receive a repairs service from our contractors MCP Property Services. 

How does it work?

When you contact us to report a faulty kitchen or bathroom light, you will need to pay a £50 deposit before we send a contractor out. This will be explained before transferring you to the repairs contractor for your area. The contractor (either MCP or Wates) will take the payment, schedule the repair and refund this £50 deposit after visiting if it is found that the issue is not related to a faulty light bulb or starter. 

Before beginning the pilot of this process in July 2021, we listened to feedback from our residents and local panels and agreed some amendments and exceptions including:

  • The reduction of the charge from £80 to £50.
  • Ensuring residents on our sheltered scheme were excluded from the pilot.
  • Ensuring residents over 80 or disabled and living in a general needs property would be excluded from the project.

To make sure all the relevant people were aware of the pilot, we ensured our contractors and our Customer Service Team were trained and briefed on the project, and we added a message to our call system to inform residents. We also shared details of the pilot on our website and provided additional guidance about repairs, including information on repairs responsibility and a video tutorial on changing light bulbs .

Why is this being introduced?

We launched the pilot project because more than half of the kitchen and bathroom light repairs our contractors attended were due to the light bulb or starter. These instances can only be solved by residents buying a new lightbulb or starter which is your responsibility to replace under your tenancy agreement. By implementing this deposit, our repairs contractors are able to dedicate more time to using their expertise to maintain your homes and resolve day-to-day repairs in a timely manner.

Results of the pilot

The pilot ended in January 2022 and we’re pleased to say that it has gone really well. The process is much clearer now, it has ensured residents are receiving a consistent service and that they're more aware of their responsibilities with the lightbulbs in their home. In terms of statistics, the results of the pilot are:

  • We received little feedback from residents, despite ensuring communications on our website and also placing a recording on our call system. The Customer Service Centre confirm they have received no complaints from residents about the process.
  • MCP have confirmed their electrical orders have dropped by 30 orders each and every month since July 2021, with only 14 orders raised specifically for kitchen and bathroom lights. Of these, it was identified that 10 did not relate to a faulty light bulb. Refunds were made on these 10 and the other four repairs were undertaken. 
  • Using the cost we would have incurred (an average repair order cost of £80), we have achieved savings of £2,400 each month or a total of £14,400 between July and end of December 2021. These savings can be reinvested into the resident services we provide.
  • MCP has confirmed that all refunds have been made within 5 working days.

Next steps

As the pilot has been successful, we have decided to continue this charge and we have arranged for our other repairs contractor Wates to introduce the charge across their contract area from 1 March 2022. This means from 1 March 2022, all residents calling in about a faulty kitchen or bathroom light, will be asked for a £50 deposit from our contractor.  This charge will be refunded after the visit if it did not relate to a faulty bulb. Residents living on sheltered schemes, and residents over the age of 80 or disabled and living in a general needs home will continue to be exempt from this charge.

If you have any questions about this, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0300 373 3000 or email customerservice@networkhomes.org.uk  

 

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