Service Charter

Updated 21 June 2021

This is our Service Charter. It explains what you can expect as a Network Homes tenant or leaseholder.

We’ve put this charter together by working with our residents and it’s been approved by our Customer Service Committee.

Our aim is to provide a reliable housing service to you, which meets our legal and contractual responsibilities, in good time, every time. 

Your tenancy agreement or lease explain what these responsibilities are. These documents set out what our obligations are as your landlord, and what your obligations are as a resident. 

To make sure we have the resources to provide a reliable housing service, we will not agree to do things outside of our responsibilities. We ask that you appreciate this and recognise that our role is to provide you with a home and a reasonable housing management service. 

But this means that if ever we fail to provide you with a quality service and fall below the standards we set out, we will prioritise putting things right as soon as possible. 

Ensuring your home is safe is our top priority. We have a dedicated Building Safety team who are currently undertaking work in line with government guidance to investigate any buildings identified as high risk to ensure they are safe. If any issues are discovered which might compromise the safety of your building, we will take action to resolve them.  

We have a Compliance team who undertake a range of compliance checks monthly, quarterly and annually in line with legislation or best practice (if there is no legislation).  

If you are a tenant, there are compliance checks we need to undertake within your home. To help us do this, we expect you to allow us into your home when we need to carry out checks – it’s essential you give us access when we need it. 

If you’re a leaseholder, you’re responsible for most of the safety of your home yourself. If your lease allows you to rent your home to a sub-tenant and you choose to do so, you need to carry out the same safety checks that we do for tenants. 

We will proactively provide you with the information you need about the protections that are in place to keep your building safe.  

We also need you to take your responsibilities for fire safety seriously. As well as carefully following any specific advice for the block in which you live, you should: 

  • ensure you only smoke in a safe place (including making sure you always fully extinguish your cigarette and dispose of it safely) 
  • never use a barbecue or open flame on your balcony 
  • ensure common areas are free from obstructions.  

In order to keep everyone safe you should also remind any of your neighbours who may not have received these messages or forgotten them of their importance. If you do not feel comfortable doing this and have a safety concern, you can raise this with us. 

We are committed to being radically transparent. We publish our key performance measures on our website which includes our repairs, complaints and safety information. We publish an annual report and our financial statement each year to explain how we spend the money we collect from rent/services charges/sale of new homes. This enables you to hold us to account. 

We have a 2 stage complaints process that enables you to raise any issues with us when things go wrong. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service provided by us and/or our service partners, actions or lack of action by Network Homes, our colleagues, or anyone else  acting on our behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents’ This includes complaints about:  

  1. a delay in providing a service  
  2. a failure to provide a service  
  3. a mistake made in the way we provided a service  
  4. the failure to act in a proper way  
  5. the provision of an unfair service  

A stage one complaint will be investigated and responded to within 10 working days. If you are unhappy with the outcome you can request to escalate your complaint to stage two. This stage will be investigated by the Central Complaints team who will respond within 20 working days.  

Complaints are a valuable form of feedback about our services. We will learn from them and use them to help drive forward improvements and to respond positively to our customers’ needs and expectations.  

We want to resolve all complaints quickly and effectively. Our aim is to resolve any problems straight away where possible. 

Our relationship with you will be based on openness, honesty and transparency. We’ll always treat you as an individual. We will listen to you when you get in touch, and when our staff members respond to your queries, they’ll be empathetic.  

We’re proud that we have a workforce that reflects the diversity of residents living in our homes. We will never discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or any other aspect of who you are. And equally we will not tolerate any discriminatory behaviour towards our colleagues. 

Always assume good faith when communicating with us, and remember we are people with our own feelings just like you. We will not tolerate people who are persistently abusive. 

We will provide you with clear, accessible and timely information about issues that matter to you, including important information about your home and local community and how we are addressing issues. When you contact us we will aim to respond to your query within five working days. It may not always be possible to provide a full response immediately. We will acknowledge your email and let you know our next steps and when you can expect a full response from us. 

 

We will continuously seek your views and will value all feedback received from you. We want every resident to feel we are listening to the issues that matter to them. We will use your views and experiences to shape the way we deliver our service. We will give you a say on decisions that may affect you. 

To do this we provide a range of ways for you to get involved depending on how much time you have to commit, what you are interested in and how you want to get involved (face to face or digitally). The full menu of involvement opportunities can be found here or by contacting our Resident Engagement Team on 0300 373 3000 or get-involved@networkhomes.org.uk 

Involved residents work in partnership with us to monitor our performance, hold us to account and help us improve the quality of your homes and the service we deliver to all residents. They are an important and influential part of our decision-making so are able to influence our services at the highest level of our organisation. 

We frequently survey residents so we can monitor satisfaction with our service, drive improvement and consult on various topics.  

 

We’ll ensure your block or estate is secure and maintained to an approved standard. We carry out periodic neighbourhood inspections and publish the outcomes, including any actions we take as a result. 

If you report anti-social behaviour (ASB) to us, we’ll take you seriously and take action if it’s appropriate to do so. But this will only be in cases where the perpetrator has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement. There are times when we will be unable to resolve neighbourly disputes. We understand there may be matters that cause frustrations, but certain behaviour may not always be anti-social. Different people have different lifestyles, and what may seem frustrating or unreasonable to you may just be a neighbour living their life. 

But remember we all live in close proximity to our neighbours so be mindful of how your actions may impact on others. This includes considering any noise that may affect your neighbours such as putting on a dishwasher or washing machine, especially before 7am or after 11pm. 

Civil courts exist to remedy serious disagreements between people, and the police exist to fight crime. As your housing provider we can only safeguard residents and enforce the terms of tenancy agreements and leases. We’ll work with you to respond to issues where there has been a breach of tenancy agreement or lease and will signpost you to other organisations who will be able to help you if this is not the case. 

 Our response and the action we take will vary depending on the behaviour you report. For more information on ASB please take a look at our toolkit.

Here’s how you can differentiate unwanted behaviour from anti-social behaviour: 

  • Is it a crime? You must report it to the police  
  • Is it ASB? Please see table below 
  • Is it inconsiderate or human behaviour that you find displeasing? Please see section entitled “Not anti-social behaviour” on table below. 

Serious anti-social behaviour

Less serious anti-social behaviour

Not anti-social behaviour

Physical violence

 

Threats of physical violence

 

Harassment based on ethnicity, religion or belief, gender identity or reassignment, sexuality, nationality, age, or disability, whether verbal or physical

 

Sexual offences

 

 

Persistent verbal abuse

 

Loud music playing both during the day and late at night on a frequent basis

 

Groups of people meeting together intentionally intimidating other residents

 

Fly tipping

 

Persistent dog barking

 

Misuse of communal areas, including persistent animal fouling

 

Vandalism and graffiti

 

Drug use

Neighbours hosting the occasional noisy party

 

Children playing or crying either within the property or outside area

 

Groups of people meeting together socially

 

Neighbours infrequently using their washing machine late at night

 

Infrequent verbal slurs or impolite behaviour

Residents should report such incidents to the police.

We will contact the person reporting ASB within 24 hours and start our investigation

We will contact the person reporting ASB within 5 working day and start our investigation

We will not take action but may signpost you to the relevant external agency

 

If you are our tenant, keeping your home in good repair is partly our responsibility and partly yours. Structural and permanent parts of your home are our responsibility to fix, unless you’ve damaged them, either accidentally or through lack of care. These include the roof, walls, windows, external doors, ceilings, plasterwork, drains, and the installation of gas and electricity.  

Other parts of the home are wholly your responsibility to maintain and repair. These include internal decorations, lighting and electricals like fuses, all fixtures and fittings that we didn’t provide, and all minor repairs to things like floor tiles, internal door handles, toilet seats, blocked sinks, and broken windows. More information on repairs can be found here.  

If you report a repair that is not our responsibility to fix, we will advise you to have it fixed yourself. 

If you are a leaseholder, communal repairs and major works are our responsibility but will be recharged to you via service charges. Everything else is your responsibility. If you are unsure you can refer to your lease or contact the Leasehold Team on 0300 373 3000 or leasehold.services@networkhomes.org.uk. Please refer to your home user guide for further information on the workings and operating procedures of your new home. 

We’re providing a service and would be unable to do this if residents didn’t pay their rent and/or service charge. 

We aim to provide you with your account statements four times a year and you can request a statement at any time. We will give you at least 28 days’ notice if your rent, service change, or ground rent is going to increase. 

If you fall into arrears, you must contact us immediately. We are here to support you so that you can remain in your home but if you fall into arrears your home is at risk. We’ll offer repayment terms that are affordable and fair. If you are a leaseholder we are only able to offer you up to 12 months to repay arrears in line with your lease agreement. We have a Welfare Team who can signpost you to support agencies that can help you manage your money or offer advice on claiming welfare benefits. 

You can find out more about the Welfare Team here or call them on 0300 373 3000 or email welfareadvisors@networkhomes.org.uk. We’ll always try to engage with you and agree a repayment plan before taking legal action. 

You are responsible for ensuring your housing costs are paid, even if welfare benefits cover some or all of your rent. 

We are your landlord
We will make sure your home is safe
We will let you know how we are performing
We will deal with your complaints promptly and fairly
We will treat each other with respect
We will involve you in decisions that affect your life
We will look after your neighbourhood
We will maintain your home where we have a responsibility to do so
We will provide an effective rents service
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