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Your home Residents handbook Contents 4 Welcome 5 Who is Housing Care 21 6 How to contact us 8 Your court manager service 10 Your call monitoring service 11 Your home 14 Useful publications 15 Useful information 16 Pets 16 Rent and other charges 19 Safety and security 21 Repairs and maintenance 25 Your cooker 26 Transfers mutual exchanges and ending your tenancy 27 Help with benefits 29 Anti-social behaviour and harassment 31 Safeguarding 32 Getting involved 34 Fairness and equality 35 Data protection and your right to know R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 3 Contents 3 2 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Welcome 4 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Welcome to your residents handbook. This handbook has been put together in partnership with residents and replaces all other versions of the residents or tenants handbook including the Housing 21 Tenants Handbook Guidance on your tenancy. There is a separate handbook for leaseholders and shared ownership leaseholders. Please note your tenancy agreement defines precisely your entitlement to any services provided and is your contract with Housing Care 21. The handbook is divided into separate sections and will be updated or amended at regular intervals. Who is Housing Care 21 Housing Care 21 is a leading non-profit housing and care provider for older people. Weve been around since 1964 and are proud of our wide ranging knowledge and specialist expertise. Our service is designed to promote choice and independence. We aim to provide a better experience for our residents and services fit for the 21st century. We own or manage over 18000 retirement and extra care apartments and bungalows across England and are one of the largest providers of home care services. We are a Registered Social Landlord with charitable status and are non-profit making. Our care and support services are for residents of our courts and older people in the wider community. These services include domestic and personal care services live-in care services and specialist services such as dementia care and end of life care. Many of our extra care courts also have facilities such as a hairdressers restaurant a small shop or a gym. We realise that you may need additional support services as you get older or if you are unwell and we hope we can provide support if or when you need more assistance. At Housing Care 21 we aim to ensure that residents receive a first class service throughout their time with us. As part of our commitment to the well-being of residents we provide a financial wellbeing service. This will help to ensure that you receive your maximum benefit entitlement and identify any extra benefit income that you may be entitled to. All court managers are trained to help you apply for all welfare benefits that you may be entitled to receive. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 5 Welcome How to contact us How to contact us When contacting Housing Care 21 we aim to ensure that All those who come into contact with Housing Care 21 staff will be treated with courtesy honesty and respect and according to their individual needs. Confidentiality will be respected at all times. Our staff will be polite professional and helpful. Our staff will deal with enquiries efficiently and quickly. All Housing Care 21 staff will respect your privacy. Housing Care 21 head office Housing Care 21 10th Floor Tricorn House 51 - 53 Hagley Road Birmingham B16 8TP Tel 0370 192 4000 You can contact us by e-mail using or via our website Customer services and rent enquiries Tel 0345 607 0272 Email propertyincomeadministration Opening hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm closed on weekends and bank holidays. Contact us out of hours Repairs All repairs should be reported to your court manager but out of hours or if your court manager is away from the court please call 0345 603 0099. Care If you need to contact us about a care issue your care provider details will be recorded on the front cover of your care folder. Suggestions comments and complaints Suggestions and comments We genuinely welcome any suggestions or comments you may have. For example you may not wish to complain but think we could improve one of our services or you may wish to pass on a compliment for good service. If this is the case then please tell your Court Manager or Housing Manager. You might also sign up for Partner Shop or volunteer to attend one of our Improvement Groups where we meet with residents. See page 32 about getting involved. Do you have a complaint We define a complaint as any service we provide that you are not happy with that cannot be resolved initially and that requires a response. We welcome complaints so we can learn from them and improve our services in the future. We have a one-stage complaints process with the aim of resolving complaints in a timely manner first time round. This means that you dont need to appeal to a second stage before taking a complaint to others outside Housing Care 21. 6 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 7 How to contact us What to do if you have a complaint Please tell us about it Contact the court manager or housing or care manager and explain fully the nature of your complaint. You do not need to fill in a specific form. We will allocate your complaint to the relevant member of staff and will contact you within two working days to check the details of your complaint and to let you know the name of the person dealing with it. We can send you a written acknowledgement and will at this point set a date to meet you or talk further. There is a 15 working day deadline for handling and dealing with your complaint. You will receive a full response answering all the issues you have raised and giving details of any actions or compensation if appropriate. If it looks like the investigation will take longer we will discuss this with you. All responses will be reviewed by a Head of Service before being sent and recorded by the Customer Service Manager. If you arent happy with the response There are two other options to consider Referral to a Designated Person such as a local councillor MP or our Residents Panel. Referral to our Residents Panel who will discuss the complaint and either fast-track it to the Housing Ombudsman advise us the decision should be reconsidered or that the complaint was handled well. Tel 0303 123 1622 Email H21complaintsuggestionline Letter to FREEPOST RTJE-LEHY-SGLJ Housing Care 21 Tricorn House 10th Floor 51 53 Hagley Road Birmingham B16 8TP More information can be found in the Guide to making a suggestion comment or complaint leaflet on your court. 8 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Your court manager service On most of our retirement and extra care courts Housing Care 21 employs a court manager depending on the type of court. On our extra care courts there is often staffing cover available 24 hours a day. Court managers are entitled to annual leave and public holidays. At each court we will advise you of the court managers regular hours of work. There is some flexibility in working hours and sometimes court managers need to attend meetings off-site. We will let you know when this happens. The court manager is your main point of contact with Housing Care 21 with regard to your housing and support needs. The court manager is employed to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. In addition to this main duty the court manager will offer assistance and advice whenever it is needed. They will also be a useful point of contact for you to discuss anything else you may need. The court manager is expected to Welcome and introduce new residents to the scheme. Provide background support without interference and to respect your privacy and independence. Agree how often they contact you. This could range from none to daily on their working days. Help in an emergency by summoning relatives calling a doctor or any other professional help that may be needed. Keep on file the names and telephone numbers of your nearest relatives or friends and of your doctor so that they can act quickly in case of emergency. Work with other organisations and professionals who support you and provide help in arranging assistance from family Social Services and other agencies to meet your changing needs so that you can remain independent and in your own home. Encourage residents social activities and to participate where appropriate. Your court manager service Support the Residents Association or Court Voice who is a residents representative. Take responsibility for the security safety and cleanliness of the court. Look after the building and its equipment and appoint contractors to carry out repairs. Deal with bookings of the guest room or arrangements for use of communal facilities. Manage the ancillary staff working at the court such as cleaners and liaise with gardeners and window cleaners. Support you to access care services provided either by Housing Care 21 or another provider working on site this applies to extra care court managers. Develop services on court for you and which may also be available for other older people in the community. The court manager will inform you about the range of activities taking place on your court and in the local community. Undertake administration associated with the running of the court. When the court manager is not on duty The court manager will let you know their hours of work and any planned absences such as annual leave. A relief court manager may be employed when your court manager is on annual leave or off work due to ill health for a significant period of time. We will agree with residents what arrangements should be put in place. When the court manager is not on duty any emergencies are dealt with by the call monitoring centre which residents can access via their emergency call system. Calls are automatically routed to the call monitoring centre when the court manager is not available or not on site. For more information please see the chapter on Your Call Monitoring Service. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 9 Your court manager service 1 0 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Your call monitoring service The majority of our courts are connected to a call monitoring service Appello. Call monitoring centres are manned by trained and experienced personnel who deliver community support services throughout the UK. They have teams of trained operators working within their response centres which are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week providing immediate help and reassurance in the event of you pulling the pull cord using your pendant or phoning in. If you need help when the court manager is not available an Appello operator will answer your call quickly and arrange the necessary support for you. They will enable the emergency services to access the front door of the court and the key safe so there is swift access in case of any emergency. Please dont worry about pressing your pendant or pulling your cord by accident. Court managers test the pull cords and pendants regularly and the call monitoring company will test the dedicated telephone lines to ensure that the service is always working. If you experience any problems with the alarm system in your home then please let your court manager know as soon as possible. They will inform the call monitoring company to rectify the situation. If your call monitoring system has failed and you need to report an emergency when the court manager is off duty you should ring the following number 0345 603 0099. We may need to make temporary cover arrangements if the court manager is away either on holiday or sick leave. Your call monitoring service R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 1 1 Your home Your home Communal facilities and lounge Some courts have communal facilities for use by the residents including a communal lounge. These facilities can normally be used by all residents at any reasonable time during the day and evening. Sometimes the communal facilities may have been made available for the use of a meeting or other group. Residents will be made aware of instances where this is the case. The communal lounge can be used for formal and informal social and recreational activities for all residents living on the court and for older people living in the wider community. The communal lounge can sometimes be used for private occasions however this is subject to it being used in a way that is fair to all those living on the court. Many of our communal lounges are fitted with a hearing loop to assist those who have hearing difficulties. The court manager is responsible for co- ordinating the maintenance care and cleaning of these facilities. If you want to use the facilities for your own purposes please talk to your court manager. Social activities Residents are encouraged to arrange social events and activities themselves liaising with either the court manager or other groups in the local community. All residents living on the court have equal opportunity to take part in resident-led social activities. Guest room Guest rooms are provided on most Housing Care 21 retirement and extra care courts. These facilities are provided for the use of residents families and friends for short visits. The guest room may also be made available to Housing Care 21 residents from other courts wishing to visit the area however priority will be given to relatives or friends who are providing support to a resident who is unwell. If you have guests to stay you are responsible for their behaviour and for ensuring the guest room is left in a clean and tidy condition. The court manager will arrange for the linen provided to be laundered and the room to be cleaned. Laundry The laundry is for the exclusive use of residents. The residents at some courts have agreed a rota so that you do your laundry on certain days. You will find the details of your courts arrangements in the laundry room. Other facilities Some of our courts have other facilities such as a hairdressing salon. On some of our extra care courts there may also be a gym a bar a restaurant or shop. Grounds and gardens The grounds and gardens surrounding the court are provided for all residents to enjoy. We employ a garden maintenance service to maintain them. If you are interested you may be able to cultivate small areas of the garden and have space for tubs and baskets. Please let your court manager know if you are interested. TV licence Some but not all of our retirement and extra care courts have a concessionary TV licence and receive their TV reception through a communal TV aerial. If your picture is poor please tell your court manager who can arrange for an engineer to rectify it. Please talk with us about options available if you want access to Sky. 1 2 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Your home continued Car parking Most schemes have car parking on the site for residents visitors and staff members. We do not allocate specific parking spaces to individual residents although we do try to provide a very limited number of disabled bays if you have severe mobility problems please talk with us about what you need so we can find a solution where possible. If parking at the court is limited we may request that visitors park elsewhere. It is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle is insured and taxed correctly or that the DVLA are informed that the vehicle is being kept off-road by making a Statutory Off Road Notification SORN. If car parking at the court is limited we may request that a car which has been declared SORN be removed from the car park. On courts where car parking is limited we will take a common sense approach to resolving any issues. Scooters and motorised wheelchairs Housing Care 21 supports where practical the use and storage of scooters and motorised wheelchairs. However not all courts have suitable storage facilities for storage of such items. If your court has access to a buggy store and there is room you will be able to use it. If your court does not have a buggy store please talk to your court manager who will try and find an alternative place to safely store your scooter or motorised wheelchair. When looking for alternative storage areas we have to be aware of our responsibilities for health and safety of the court including guidance issued by the Fire Service. It may not always be possible to find suitable storage areas for your scooter or motorised wheelchair and you will need to store it outside in your home or wait until there is room available. Please check that suitable storage and charging facilities are available before buying a vehicle. Your home Where we agree that you are able to store a motorised scooter you will need to provide a current and valid copy of the certificate of insurance covering the motorised scooter on request. The insurance certificate should cover third party liability. Communal door entry systems Communal door entry systems are designed for your safety and the security of your home. Please dont let strangers in for someone else or leave communal doors open. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 1 3 Your home 1 4 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Useful publications My Time We publish a residents magazine three times a year called My Time. My Time contains information about our services as well as news from around our courts your contributions and interviews and stories. My Money Each year in spring we publish a supplement to My Time called My Money. My Money provides you with the latest information on benefi ts and welfare reform along with other useful information to help you make the most of your money. On Target On Target is published annually in My Time. It contains our annual service review where you can see if we are meeting our service targets and standards. Other publications There are a number of leafl ets that are available on your court or from your court manager that give you more information. If you need any other information please ask your court manager who will be happy to help. Useful publications leafl ets that are available on your court or from your court manager that give you more information. If you need any other information please ask your court manager who will be happy to help. Useful information A few things to bear in mind in order to make the court a happy place to live The court manager will let you know any general guidelines in place on your court in order to ensure that it remains a safe and secure place for communal living. We all prefer to have considerate neighbours and avoid too much noise. Please try not to bang doors and place televisions and music away from shared walls if possible. Special equipment can help those who are hard of hearing. If there is a problem let your neighbour know in a friendly and sensitive way what the problem is. If the situation continues please inform the court manager who will try to find a solution. See section on anti-social behaviour for further details. Litter and untidy bin areas are unpleasant and may become a health hazard. Please keep bin areas clean and tidy. Your court manager will be able to advise you about disposal of large household items. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 1 5 Useful information Useful information 1 6 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Pets Rent and other charges Pets We will support residents wishes in having a pet as long as the property is suitable and the resident is able to look after the pet without it creating a problem for neighbours. You will need to obtain the court managers permission before keeping a pet. More information can be found in our Pets Policy. Your rent and related charges The rent and related charges cover the costs of providing your accommodation and are made up of Net rent Service Charge Support Charge where applicable Charge for utilities where applicable If you choose to pay the total weekly rent at any frequency other than 4 weeks your rent account must remain in advance. This is in line with your Tenancy Agreement. You can pay your rent in the following ways 1 Direct Debit We prefer that you pay your rent and related charges by Direct Debit. If you would like to set up a direct debit please speak to your court manager or phone 0370 192 4000 and ask for the Property Income Team. 2 By debit or credit card You can now pay your rent in advance electronically instead of by cheque. This speeds up the payment and avoids cheques getting lost. To do this you should telephone 0370 192 4000 and ask for the Property Income Management Team. You should have your debit or credit card to hand and payment will be taken by phone during normal offi ce hours Monday to Friday. Pets Rent and other charges 3 Using your Housing Care 21 AllPay Card In person You can pay your rent and associated charges by cash or cheque it will depend on the shop as to what they accept using your Housing Care 21 AllPay card at all Post Offices and any shop showing these signs Internet - you can also pay online using your Housing Care 21 AllPayCard. Visit our website where you can use the link for payments online. By telephone - if you have a swipecard you can also pay over the telephone using your debit card by calling 0844 557 8321. 4 Cheque You can pay your rent and related charges by cheque. Please make cheques payable to Housing Care 21 and write your name address and tenancy number on the reverse of the cheque. Please send your cheque to Housing Care 21 10th Floor Tricorn House 51-53 Hagley Road Birmingham B16 8TP Changes in rent and rent arrears We will generally review your rent service charge and any other charges annually. We will tell you of any change in your charges at least four weeks before the change takes place. If you are having difficulties paying your rent and related charges please let your court manager know immediately alternatively call us on 0370 192 4000 and ask for the Property Income Management Team. If you dont tell us about financial difficulties or you continue to build up further arrears we may as a last resort have to follow legal procedures to collect the debt or gain possession of your home. You may also find that financial advice is available from other organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 1 7 Rent and other charges 1 8 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Rent and other charges continued Rent and other charges Other services and charges In addition to your rent and related charges you will be liable for the following charges Council Tax you are responsible for paying your own Council Tax. Your rent does not cover this. You may be eligible to help with payment of this charge through your local Council Tax Benefit section. Television licence the television licence is free to everyone over 75 years of age. For those residents below this age some courts qualify for the concessionary TV licence. If your court qualifies and you or your partner are over retirement age you may be able to benefit from the concession. Housing Care 21 cannot claim the concession as a right and it is possible that the National TV Licensing Authority may decide to withdraw the concession should the circumstances of the court change. Your court manager will be able to keep you up to date. Utility charges some residents will be subject to a utility charge to cover the cost of providing heat energy and water and this will be included in your service charge. On some of our courts residents will have individual meters and will pay a bill to a utility company. On other courts these costs are included as part of the overall charges and will be identified separately on your tenancy agreement and in any other correspondence relating to the charges for your accommodation. Usage charge this is our charge for the use of furnishings and equipment in the communal areas on your court. Housing Care 21 charges a fee for each item used by residents on court. We then undertake to replace the item if it is no longer functional or fails to meet an acceptable standard due to wear and tear. We will always try and ensure that we only replace when the item is unfit for purpose not just due to its age. Some examples of items subject to the usage charge are cookers cooker hoods communal chairs and tables other communal furnishings guest room furnishings office equipment laundry equipment communal kitchen equipment. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 1 9 Safety and security Safety and security Safety Housing Care 21 is committed to ensuring the health and safety of residents staff and anyone else connected with the court. Residents have a part to play in helping us to keep courts safe. Please let your court manager know if you have any health and safety concerns. Fire safety Housing Care 21 complies with fire regulations and the arrangements are regularly reviewed and updated. We carry out fire risk assessments every 15 months and when there is a material change to the court. Fire advice and where appropriate fire drills are held regularly. All residents should be aware of the action to be taken in the event of a fire. Notices advising the correct fire evacuation procedures are displayed at appropriate points throughout the court. In the event of a fire please do not attempt to tackle the blaze yourself. In those courts with fire alarm systems the court manager carries out a regular test of the system. All courts have a no smoking policy in communal areas. You may smoke in your home and please be sensitive to visitors contractors and staff. Fire hazards in the home Most fires in homes are caused by careless use of matches and smoking materials careless use of cooking appliances e.g. chip pans airing of clothes over electric heaters defective electric blankets failure to disconnect TV sets and other electrical appliances at night or when away from home overloading of electric sockets and using incorrect fuses in plugs paraffin heaters please do not use. Snow and ice Snow and ice clearance together with gritting are dealt with by a suitable contractor and not the court manager. The court manager will let all residents know if there are any uncleared footpaths which are dangerous. Appropriate notices will be placed at all entrance doors and on the courts notice board if a contractor is unable to clear the snow immediately. Accidents within communal areas If you have an accident within the communal areas it should be reported to your court manager as soon as possible. This will allow us to investigate and where necessary make changes to ensure that it wont happen again. Insurance Housing Care 21 is responsible for insuring the structure fittings communal furnishings and equipment of all our housing. You are responsible for insuring the contents of your home and your possessions against accidental breakages flood fire and theft. 2 0 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Safety and security Safety and security continued Security in your home It is the responsibility of residents to take sensible precautions to maintain security. Some hints and tips are At night and when you go out even for short periods make sure you have closed all windows and locked all doors. Your front door should be locked at all times. Check the identity of all callers to your home before letting them in. All Housing Care 21 staff who visit residents in their homes have identification. Please dont leave a key under the mat or on a string inside the letter box. If you use an external communal door please ensure that it is properly closed after use. The court manager is also responsible for checking external communal doors and windows before going off duty. Use of the master key The court manager may have a master key which operates the lock on your front door. It will only be used in emergencies or with your prior permission and with a witness present. If you fit additional locks bolts or chains then the court manager will be unable to gain easy access in an emergency. If a forced entry is necessary you are responsible for the cost of making good any damage. When the court manager is absent the master key is locked in the key safe. The call centre can remotely unlock the safe in an emergency. The court manager is able to advise you on how to obtain additional keys for family members any additional keys can only be obtained with our permission. Duty manager system and court emergencies If you experience an emergency outside of office hours or the court manager is not on site you should make use of the emergency alarm system. Normally those operating the emergency alarm system will deal with emergencies. In the case of a serious incident such as a fire or flood the call monitoring service may on occasion contact the out of hours duty manager for advice. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 2 1 Repairs and maintenance Repairs and maintenance Who is responsible for repairs Your rent includes a contribution towards the cost of repairing your home. The tenancy agreement lists the repairs Housing Care 21 is responsible for. In summary We carry out most items of maintenance to Housing Care 21s property fi xtures fi ttings except where damage has resulted from misuse or neglect or has been caused by yourself or visitors to your home. We redecorate and maintain the communal areas of your court and the outside of your home regularly. Except in emergencies we will give you notice of work being done. Items that you are responsible for your own possessions fi ttings and appliances that you have installed yourself drains sinks and toilets blocked from disposing of unsuitable items the cost of gaining access if door keys are lost including replacement locks andor keys items damaged by yourself or relatives insurance cover for damage to to your possessions electric plugs or fuses light bulbs in your home excluding fl uorescent strip tubes and bathroom sealed units internal decorations inc fi lling minor plaster cracks and holes adjusting internal doors for new carpet fl ooring you fi t TVsatellite aerials non-communal you fi t fi tting or adjusting curtain poles plugs and chains to sinks and baths repairs necessary as a result of alterations you have carried out clearing of all personal possessions including carpets at the end of your tenancy We can if requested assist with fi nding a suitable contractor to undertake repairs that are not our responsibility but you would have to pay the contractor for these works. 2 2 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Repairs and maintenance Repairs and maintenance continued How do I report a repair For suspected gas leaks at any time immediately contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. For all other repairs During normal offi ce hours repair requests should be reported to your court manager. If your court manager is away we will advise you how to report repairs. If an emergency occurs when there is no Court Manager outside of normal offi ce hours at weekends and bank holidays faults should be reported via your call monitoring pull cord system. Please give as much information as you can about the repair needed e.g. exact location clear description gas or electric make and model of appliance major or minor leak etc. The court manager will also need to know when you will be in so that they can arrange an appointment with the contractor within the timescales set out above. Workmen will not enter your fl at to carry out work in your absence without permission except in an emergency. How long will my repair take Housing Care 21 classifi es repairs according to how urgent they are and will respond to repairs requests within the following time limits. When a repair is reported we will tell you how long it will take to be carried out. Emergency repairs a defect that puts the health safety or security of the resident in immediate risk will be done within 24 hours of us being advised. Emergencies are defined as total loss of power excl. local power cuts total loss of water total loss of gas supply total loss of heat to your home or water heating severe water leak through roofceiling water or heating pipe tank or cistern blocked fl ue to open fi re or boiler blocked or leaking toilet pan soil pipe or foul drain where there is no other toilet available tap that cannot be turned off kitchen sink blocked and unusable door entry phone not working insecure external window door or lock where vulnerable e.g. ground fl oor rotten timber fl ooring loose or detached hand rail stair tread unsafe power or lighting socket failure of passenger lifts failure of emergency call monitoring system failure of fi re alarm system racist or abusive graffi ti. Urgent repairs will be done within 7 calendar days of us being advised partial loss of water partial loss of power excl. local power cuts partial loss of heating e.g. individual radiator or heater not working toilet not fl ushing properly when there is no other working toilet available blocked bath shower or basin tap that cannot be turned on R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 2 3 Repairs and maintenance mechanical extractor fan in internal kitchen bathroom not working where there is no other ventilation insecure window locks above ground floor minor water leaks faulty communal TVsatellite aerials white goods subject to a usage charge minor electrical faults blocked drain minor roof leaks. Routine non-urgent repairs will be done within 28 working days of us being advised unless re-programmed for planned maintenance in which case you will be informed. Examples include minor plaster or painting repairs following other repairs carried out non urgent carpentry joinery plastering plumbing or electrical works non urgent external repairs e.g. paths fencing guttering dripping taps wall tiling non-hazardous flooring repairs non-offensive graffiti. What if a problem occurs Housing Care 21 will issue a works order to the contractor describing the work required and including a date for completion. If the contractor does not carry out the repair within the timescale you will need to inform your court manager who will decide whether to follow up with that contractor or cancel the order and raise it with a different contractor. We are committed to ensuring that repairs are carried out right first time and within our clearly laid out timescales. If you are concerned about the performance of one of our contractors then please let your court manager know. Your right to repair to get an urgent repair done and charge Housing Care 21 If you believe that we have failed to carry out an urgent repair to your home effectively for repairs under 250 you have a statutory right to repair. This means that you can arrange to have the work done yourself and claim the money back from us. However you must fully follow our repairs procedures If you are not happy with the standard of repair work you should firstly speak to your court manager who will try to get the situation remedied. If there is no court manager for your court please contact the housing manager. If you are still not satisfied please refer to our complaints procedure. If we still fail to remedy the problem then you may be entitled to arrange to have the work done yourself and claim the costs back from us. We recommend that you take advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau your solicitor or ourselves before taking any further steps. 2 4 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Repairs and maintenance Repairs and maintenance continued What about major building works Occasionally it may be necessary to do major building works such as a roof renewal or other refurbishment of the court or your accommodation. On these occasions you will be consulted before we do any major works and receive notice of when the works will start. Whilst to do so is unusual if it becomes necessary to move you before or during the works we will organise any temporary housing and pay additional costs. What do I have to do if I want to make improvements to my home If you wish to make improvements to your home such as fitting a new shower or cupboards you must get our written permission before you do the work. This work must be carried out by an approved contractor. You may also submit a claim if you end your tenancy for the residual value of any improvements that you are leaving behind provided that the improvements have been carried out in accordance with our policy. Failure to obtain our written permission will make you liable for the full costs incurred to reinstate the property back to its original condition should you end your tenancy. Where you require support in making improvements to your home you should speak to your court manager in the first instance. What should I expect of the maintenance contractors Maintenance contractors used by Housing Care 21 are expected to follow a code of conduct which includes health and safety and to work to a good standard. They should contact the court manager on arrival at the court keep appointments and be punctual never smoke on court introduce themselves and show identification to you be polite presentable friendly and professional at all times be patient be aware of the cultural needs of all residents respect your home at all times leave everything safe clean and tidy. If you are not happy with the conduct of any contractor or the quality of the work please inform your court manager. The full code of conduct that we give to all maintenance contractors is available from your court manager. Resident satisfaction survey We want to ensure that we are continuously improving the services you receive from us. With this in mind we will carry out regular satisfaction surveys of all aspects of our service to you including repairs and maintenance. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 2 5 Your cooker and refrigerator Your cooker On most of our retirement housing and extra care courts we provide a cooker for your use. If you wish to install your own appliance this can be arranged with your court manager. If you notice a fault please contact your court manager who will call a service engineer to come and fix the fault. New appliances that we supply are covered by a two-year warranty. We will undertake reasonable repairs for those residents who decide to install their own white goods where they also pay us a usage charge. 2 6 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Transfers mutant exchanges and ending your tenancy Transfers As a Housing Care 21 resident you are entitled to apply for a transfer to another property owned by Housing Care 21. Your court manager will be able to give you more information. Your application will be reviewed in date order along with any external applicants as long as you fulfil the criteria You have an assured tenancy. Your rent account has been clear for the last six months. If there are exceptional needs your case can be presented to the Exceptions Panel. The condition of your home will be inspected by your court manager and it is expected that you will vacate your home in good condition. Mutual exchange You have the right to exchange your home with another Housing Care 21 resident or a resident from any other housing association or local authority. Both landlords must give their written consent before the exchange goes ahead. Our criteria includes Any incoming resident must satisfy the criteria for living in one of our properties. Your rent account must be clear of any arrears. The condition of your home will be inspected by your court manager and it is expected that you will vacate your home in good condition as per the conditions of your tenancy. Your court manager can give you more information. Ending your tenancy You can end your tenancy by giving four written weeks notice your court manager can give you more details about this. Our tenancies start on Monday. We are able to receive the keys before 12 noon of the following Monday without you incurring any further rent. Rent will continue to be charged until the keys are received. Before you move from your home the property should be cleared of all possessions unwanted items and rubbish including carpets and other floor coverings except for Housing Care 21 items such as any cookers and fridges. The property should be left in a good condition as per the conditions of your tenancy. If the property is not left in a clean and good decorative order or there is damage which is not associated with normal wear and tear Housing Care 21 reserve the right to re- charge you to put right these items. As a reminder you may also want to notify your bank building society pension and benefits office council and utility companies and any other interested parties of your change of address cancel any standing order payments or direct debits if applicable notify the council if you are claiming Housing Benefit. HomeSwapper This is a national subscription service which enables you to swap your home with another subscribed tenant anywhere in the country. To meet the criteria you must have held your tenancy for 12 months and have a clear rent account. Please speak to your court manager for more information. Transfers mutual exchanges and ending your tenancy R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 2 7 Help with benefits Help with benefits Where can I find information about benefits I may be entitled to Each court has information about benefits that are available to older people. We also employ a Financial Wellbeing Team who provide benefit health-checks and give benefits advice. Many residents have increased their income by using the benefit health-check service often by significant amounts. Your court manager with support from our Financial Wellbeing Managers where necessary can advise on many benefit issues. The main benefits that you could be eligible for are Pension Credit Housing Benefit Council Tax Support Attendance Allowance Personal Independence Payment. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support these are paid by your local council. They are paid to help people with their rent and service charges and their Council Tax liability. In some cases Housing Benefit may be also be payable to people who own a lease on their home to help with the service charge they have to pay. Where people own part of their home and rent part of it Housing Benefit may be payable for the rent and some of the service charge. Since April 2013 local councils have been able to set up their own schemes to help people on low incomes with their Council Tax liability. These schemes vary across the country. Housing and Council Tax Support entitlement depends on your level of income and savings. Claim forms for Housing Benefit include a claim for help with payment of Council Tax. Council Tax Support is calculated using the same information provided for a Housing Benefit application. Your court manager can help with the completion of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support application forms. Independent help and advice is also available from local agencies such as Citizens Advice. Responsibility for ensuring the rent andor service charge is paid remains with you even when Housing Benefit is in payment. The initial and continuing claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support is also your responsibility and you must make sure that all necessary information is given to the benefit section at your local council to ensure your claim is correct at all times. You must also ensure that you provide them with any further information and updates regarding any changes in your circumstances as and when they occur. Pension Credit if you are over Pension Credit qualifying age and your income is below the minimum level set by Government you may be entitled to Pension Credit guarantee credit. If you get Attendance Allowance or are the carer for someone who does you may be entitled to some Pension Credit guarantee credit. You may get this even if your income is above the minimum level. This is because the minimum income levels that apply to people in receipt of Attendance Allowance or who are carers are usually higher. If you own a lease on your property and are required to pay a servicemaintenance charge as a condition of you living in your home some of the charge you pay is likely to be allowable in the calculation of Pension Credit. This will increase the minimum income level so again you may qualify for Pension Credit guarantee credit even if your income is higher than the basic minimum guarantee income level. People entitled to Pension Credit guarantee 2 8 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Help with benefi ts credit are automatically entitled to maximum Housing Benefi t and Council Tax Support. In addition to the guarantee credit Pension Credit has a separate component called savings credit. This can be paid on top of the guarantee credit or on its own if your income is over the minimum level that applies to your own particular circumstances. Information about Pension Credit and how to claim can be found in the Benefi t Information Centre on your court and at Attendance AllowancePersonal Independence Payment the benefi t that has superseded Disability Living Allowance - you may be eligible for these allowances if you have ongoing health issues that result in support needs andor mobility diffi culties. Your court manager can assist in claiming these benefi ts and more information is available from the on court Benefi t Information Centre or at These allowances are not affected by income or savings and do not have an adverse effect on any of the income related benefi ts Housing Benefi t Council Tax Support Pension Credit. They may even allow for extra amounts of these benefi ts to be paid. Support charges Some courts have a support element included within the rent or service charge. This is for housing related support services which are services designed to enable and support vulnerable people to live as independently as possible. Housing related support is provided to many different vulnerable adults including older people. In most cases the support charge covers the cost of the emergency alarm system and an element of the court manager service. Local council fairer charging If you are not receiving Housing Benefi t it may still be possible to get some assistance with paying the support charge. Your local council may have a Fairer Charging Policy in place. This is used to work out what people can reasonably afford to pay towards the cost of the services that they receive. If you feel you cannot afford to pay the support charge please contact your local council to request a fairer charging assessment. Help with benefi ts continued R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 2 9 Anti-social behaviour and harassment Anti-social behaviour and harassment Housing Care 21 is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour ASB. We will not tolerate ASB and have published a policy to reaffi rm our strong approach to tackling it. We take our responsibilities towards protecting our residents very seriously. In doing so we will work closely with relevant partner agencies to tackle instances of ASB in our properties. If you wish to see the full policy statement then please contact your court manager who will be happy to provide this to you. What is anti-social behaviour Examples of ASB may include but are not limited to the following bullying criminal damage drunkenness graffi ti loud music noise nuisance pet nuisance racial harassment and hate crime sexual offences verbal abuse threats harassment and intimidation violence or threats of violence. Residents have a responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement or lease. Those agreements require residents not to cause ASB and not to allow members of their households invited visitors or pets to cause ASB. 3 0 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Anti-social behaviour and harassment Anti-social behaviour and harassment continued Below are some of the ways in which we can help prevent or manage ASB. In certain cases it is possible that we will work through the list of options in this order. However it is equally possible that the circumstances of a particular case will justify one or more of the options being missed out or used in a different order. Verbal warning from Housing Care 21 to the perpetrator. Warning letter from Housing Care 21 to the perpetrator. Mediation. Acceptable Behaviour Contract between Housing Care 21 and the perpetrator. Notice Seeking PossessionForfeiture from Housing Care 21 to the perpetrator. Refusing Mutual Exchange requests. Injunction including Exclusion Orders Powers of Arrest and Undertakings. Anti Social Behaviour Order ASBO including Parenting Orders and other associated Orders. PossessionForfeiture proceedings including Demotion. If you wish to report an incident of anti-social behaviour or nuisance that you or any other resident are experiencing please contact your court manager immediately. Protection of staff Housing Care 21 will not tolerate any ASB directed at our staff agents or contractors. We will take a tough approach against anyone who directs ASB at our staff. Housing Care 21 may intervene immediately and seek an Injunction or Possession against the perpetrator without taking any preliminary steps. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 3 1 Safeguarding Safeguarding Housing Care 21 is committed to preventing and detecting any form of abuse or neglect that may harm residents or visitors. See the courts notice board for details of how to report suspected abuse. Housing Care 21 works in partnership with the local authority and other organisations to investigate any incidents of suspected or actual abuse. If you have any concerns speak to your court manager or use the telephone help line advertised on your court. Financial abuse We have produced a leafl et available on your court which gives you specifi c information about how you can prevent fi nancial abuse from happening to you. Wills and bequests Most solicitors offer a cheap and simple service or advice can be obtained from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Age UK area representative. Court managers because of their position can develop close personal relationships with those living on their court and sometimes people wish to acknowledge this by giving the court manager a gift in their will. The court managers conditions of employment do not allow them to receive gifts of money bequests or presents. Nor should they be asked to act as Executors for the Estate of a resident or to be a witness to the will. Court managers should also not ever be signatories to any other legal document. Staff - professional boundaries Whilst we recognise that staff must establish a rapport with residents and provide friendly and accessible services they are responsible for establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries between themselves and residents. Staff must ensure that working relationships are not misread or confused with friendship or other personal relationships. This is essential in order to protect residents and staff from any risk. Court managers because of their position can develop close personal relationships with those living on their court and sometimes people wish to acknowledge this by giving the court manager 3 2 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Getting involved Getting involved We want you to participate in the improvement and development of our services nationally and locally. Your views count and you can have a real influence over the way in which we operate. This is your home. You should not only know what is going on but be able to influence decisions that affect it if you choose to do so. By involving you regularly and in different ways we hope that you feel able to influence policy we use your ideas to constantly improve our service we offer you value for money. We will consult you regularly on issues affecting your home such as management maintenance or improvements to your home the provision of services nationally and locally proposals to change any terms of conditions of your tenancy agreement changes in our policies capital investment programme and performance our service performance. Housing Managers meet with residents frequently to communicate and engage with residents locally. We also give residents regular information on the work of Housing Care 21 through our magazine My Time which is published three times a year. How will we consult you Consultation takes various forms. We may contact you by letter by personal visit hold a general meeting at your court liaise with you through the Residents Association or ask you to be involved in other ways. Some examples of the ways you can become involved are Court meetings we seek your views on what you would like to be done on your court from major works through to more social activities. We aim to hold local court meetings on an annual basis. Your views will be recorded and you can discuss services which you may like to see provided locally. The court manager will then provide feedback on how these issues and requests are being dealt with and any cost implications they may have. All residents the court manager and your Residents Association representative or Court Voice can play a part in these meetings. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 3 3 Getting involved Annual residents conference We hold annual residents conferences which you will have an opportunity to attend. The conference receives an update on all activities that have been taking place throughout the year and focuses on improvements that we want to deliver over the course of the next year. It is an opportunity to contribute your views and comments to help shape our services in future. Partner Shop provides an opportunity to share your views. This might be through an occasional telephone survey or you may be interested in attending a focus group on communications but not one on repairs. Improvement Groups Its important when were improving and changing various things in the organisation that we listen to customers views and ideas. Therefore we hold sessions with residents to understand their experiences and gain their opinions to help shape our services. Court Voice or Residents Association The role of the Court Voice and Residents Associations is important. The Court Voice is a resident who is willing and able to help with feedback and representing the views of residents. A Residents Association is a similar more formal way of doing this. Resident satisfaction surveys We run surveys from time to time to give residents the opportunity to make their views and priorities known. The results are published so that everyone can see the general view of how our service is improving. If you wish to get involved in any activities or have any views on other ways in which we can involve you then please speak to your court manager or contact the Engagement Team on 0303 123 4601 email bettertogether 3 4 R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K Fairness and equality Fairness and equality Meeting your needs We all have the right to be treated with respect and dignity and want to make sure that others are treated in this way too. Housing Care 21 is committed to providing equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all. We will not discriminate because of disability age gender reassignment marital or civil partnership status race ethnic origin colour nationality religion or belief sex or sexual orientation Protected Characteristics. We aim to make sure that there are no barriers to our services that prevent people with different needs and requirements from accessing them. We are committed to embracing and valuing the diversity of our workforce customers volunteers and the communities in which we work and will not tolerate any form of discrimination. When we ask you to tell us if you have a disability this information will be recorded to ensure that we deliver the service in the way you need. For example if you have a visual impairment we may provide reading material in a different format such as large print CD or Braille. Any information you provide will be treated confidentially and only used to ensure you receive the services and information you need. R E S I D E N T S H A N D B O O K 3 5 Data protection and your right to know Data protection and your right to know Your rights under the Data Protection Act All information relating to you and your tenancy is confidential. You have the right to see information held about you on computer or paper files. Housing Care 21 has a computerised system for dealing with rent and service charge accounts repairs and re-housing and holds paper files about properties and tenancies. If you wish to see this data please write to our Policy Data Protection Officer at our Head Office address in Birmingham page 6. Housing Care 21 reserves the right to charge 10 in respect of each request for information. Right to information You have the right to receive information about our performance for example how long it takes us to do repairs or how we have performed in meeting our service offers. This will be reported to you every year. We also report to you on performance and many other issues at meetings we have with residents. Housing Care 21 10th Floor Tricorn House 51 - 53 Hagley Road Birmingham B16 8TP Tel 0370 192 4000 If you need any information in a different format for example large print Braille audio tapeCD or another language please contact your court manager or nearest office. 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