Planned home improvements
This page gives information about our planned home improvement programmes and how we look after your home.
Maintaining our properties and keeping estates in good conditions is important to us as it means that our residents will have fewer problems in their homes. If you do have any issues please report them to our repairs team.
The standards we meet
As a minimum all our homes meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard and the Regulator of Social Housing’s Home Standard.
We make sure that we meet these standards through our Stock Condition Survey - each year we visit more than a thousand homes to identify what future work may be needed.
Any non-compliant homes we identify will be addressed within 12 months.
A Stock Condition Survey is a visual inspection of the inside and outside of your home which helps us plan improvements.
We look at all parts of your home including:
- Outside – roofs, walls, windows and doors, fences, paths.
- Inside – kitchens, bathrooms, heating system, electrical wiring, insulation.
- The common and external parts of a block of flats such as corridors, lifts, fire alarms, communal lighting, door entry systems and pathways.
A Stock Condition Survey will not pick up maintenance issues. General, day-to-day repairs should all be reported to our repairs team
We aim to survey one in five of our homes each year, so you can expect a survey visit about once every five years. We’ll write to you before we visit.
Our surveyor may need access to all the rooms in your house as well as the loft and outside areas. The surveyor will ask you about your home, make some notes and take photographs. The visit will normally take up to 30 minutes.
The year that replacements such as kitchens or windows will be completed in your home is decided provisionally, based on the survey and other information we hold about the property. Information about any replacement works due within five years of the survey date can be found in your MyHomeOnline account. If you don’t have access to the internet you can contact us for this information.
Kitchen and bathroom renewal
It’s important to us that your home has modern facilities and is maintained in good condition. This includes the kitchen and bathroom.
Each year we replace hundreds of kitchens and bathrooms as part of our programme to improve homes.
The information below tells you how we decide when it’s time for a kitchen or bathroom to be replaced.
When will my kitchen / bathroom be replaced?
You can find out when your kitchen and bathroom is due for renewal through the MyHomeOnline customer site.
We assess the condition of your kitchen and bathroom through the stock condition survey.
However, we assume that:
- Kitchens will not be replaced until they are at least 20 years old
- Bathrooms will not be replaced until they are at least 30 years old
These lifespans are shorter than set out in the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. However, we only fit replacements if items are both old and in poor condition. We always assume that your kitchen or bathroom is in good order unless we receive a referral from one of our repair contractors or if we identify any issues during a stock condition survey.
The decision to replace kitchens and bathrooms is made by Town and Country Housing and so requests from residents or comments from contractors do not guarantee a replacement.
Can I replace my kitchen or bathroom myself if it is not going to be renewed?
Yes, you can replace your kitchen / bathroom yourself but will need our approval in advance. If you do renew your kitchen or bathroom you will then be responsible for any repairs to it. We will not carry out repairs to items such as baths or showers you have fitted.
Contact us if you would like to request permission.
What will happen when your kitchen or bathroom is due for renewal?
We will write to you when the work is due to start and tell you the name of the contractor that will be carrying it out.
The contractor will then contact you and:
- Arrange to survey your home
- Agree an installation date
- Consult with you about the design, choices and options.
- Carry out the installation, which may take up to 10 working days
- Inspect the work on completion.
What to expect during the work
Unfortunately disruption is unavoidable. Work inside your home may require temporary loss of the use of your toilet, bath, etc and services such as electricity and water supplies may be turned off. The work may cause dust and fumes.
Support if you have health or other needs
We recognise that the installation of a kitchen and bathroom can create upheaval and cause anxiety. In most circumstances we expect residents to assist us for example by clearing rooms and allowing access to contractors. However, if you have a health or other reason that makes this difficult for you, please let us know and we can discuss how we can help you.
How can I get my home adapted for my needs?
We want to ensure you live comfortably in your home and our adaptations service can help if your circumstances change. There are two categories of adaptation:
Include things such as:
- lever taps
- small ramps
We do not provide mobile aids such as bath boards and toilet support frames.
Usually, you will need to get a letter from your doctor, hospital or, occupational therapist giving details of the work you need done. Once a request is accepted, our contractor will carry out the work and we will pay for it. We aim to complete the work within 20 working days, or sooner if it is urgent
Include things such as:
- level access showers
- additional toilet facilities
- lifts and access improvements
You will need to contact Social Services who will assess your needs and then contact us. Our surveyor will then visit you to consider the proposals. Plans will be drawn up, building regulations approval sought (if necessary) and the works sent for pricing. The work is usually funded through a Disabled Facilities Grant (subject to means testing). Your local council will look at your income and savings and assess how much, if anything, you will have to pay. You can get a form from your local council. If you do have to make a payment, Social Services may be able to help. Once the funding is agreed, works will be carried out by our contractor.
Our external planned maintenance programme
It’s important that our homes and estates are kept in good condition. This includes items such as doors and windows, roofs, external paintwork fences, bin stores, paths and communal stairwells.
We undertake external planned works every seven years.
Meeting everyone’s needs
Wherever possible we introduce colour schemes with visual contrast in communal areas to meet the needs of the partially sighted. When improving block access and security, we follow guidance on such things as step-free approaches, handrails, door widths, and positioning of door entry panels.
What will happen when work is due to the outside or communal area of my home?
If your home is in the programme we will write to tell you. We include a questionnaire that gives you the chance to tell us about any problems with your home.
The process is then managed by the contractor we employ. The contractor will:
- Agree an appointment with you
- consult with you over access, choices and options
- erect scaffold, if it is needed
- carry out the works within an agreed number of working days
- inspect the completed works.
The process will be a little more involved if we have to replace things such as roofs, doors or windows, or communal flooring in blocks of flats.
Heating and insulation programmes
We want all our homes to be comfortable and free from damp and mould. We will achieve this by fitting efficient heating and effective insulation. Our objective is for all our homes to have a minimum Band C EPC energy rating by 2030.
How long will boilers and heaters last before they need replacing?
We assume that central heating boilers have a life of 15 years, and electric heating will need replacing after 30 years. This is in accordance with the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. In practice, modern boilers rarely last this long and it is often necessary to replace newer boilers that have failed.
When we replace boilers we upgrade system controls, insulate tanks and pipes and fit room thermostats where they are not already fitted.
The majority of our electrically heated homes are fitted with storage heaters. As well as replacing these when they fail, we have planned programme to upgrade electric heating systems across our housing schemes.
We are phasing out oil heating systems as oil is a high carbon fuel. Houses will be provided with air source heat pumps. Electric storage heaters will be installed in flats and bungalows.
A sample of new boilers and heating systems are inspected by an independent engineer.
How do you assess my home for insulation?
If you moved into your home after 2007 you would have been given an energy performance certificate, known as an EPC. The EPC shows the energy rating of your home, with “A” being the most energy efficient and “G” the least. EPC’s are valid for 10 years.
If your home has an energy rating of “D” or below it is a priority for improvement. Town and Country Housing has many such homes and we are working to improve them though our insulation programme. We will contact you if your home has been chosen for improvement.
We might also look for ways to improve insulation to homes affected by damp and mould.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Your views on our home improvement programmes are important to us as they help us improve services in the future. If you had work done in or around your home and are contacted by our survey company Kwest please spare a few minutes to complete our customer satisfaction survey.
Our contractors might also conduct their own surveys.