Thurrock Council undertakes to consult with tenants affected by any capital improvement scheme - major or minor. This document sets out the protocol to be followed in all consultation, to ensure that we provide a consistent service to tenants throughout the borough.
There are two main methods of consultation that we will use, these will be:
This method of consultation will be used in the following situations:
We will use this method of consultation when the following situations occur:
Tenant consultation meetings will be held monthly during the consultation period (and where major works are involved, until the work is completed), and will include tenant representatives and all staff involved.
We aim to give tenants maximum opportunities to have a choice about the type of materials and design of schemes. In most cases where there is an element of choice, tenants will be able to make decisions on a collective basis. The method, in which this collective choice will be determined, will be discussed and decided at each scheme tenant consultation meeting (the tenant participation team will, if required, provide advice on which method of consultation to use and practical support in carrying it out). It may be possible in some cases for tenants to have a choice on an individual basis within a range of pre-determined choices.
The following examples outline some situations in which we would welcome tenants to make a choice:
It is suggested that all other schemes would include consultation with tenants, but cost and technical considerations would generally take priority where there was a conflict with tenants' choices.
All consultation will begin at the earliest feasible opportunity that is appropriate to the type of scheme. (for example, a new security system, such as concierge scheme or blocking off footpaths, or a landscaping scheme, would require consultation from the onset - this would confirm whether such a scheme was needed/desirable and what the design should be).
A scheme that was on a rolling programme and that was of a routine standard type (for example window replacement or insulation works etc) would require consultation after the contractor had been appointed, but a programmed scheme that included non-standard designs or features, would require consultation at the pre-tender stage.
Compensation would normally only be given where tenants had suffered some financial loss as a result of the actions or inactions of the Council and/or its contractors. This would include missed appointments to carry out work, where the tenant has lost earnings through time off work, damage to tenants' property, burglaries as a result of security issues (unprotected scaffolding etc), injuries to tenants and their households etc.
Compensation for delays in completing jobs would depend on issues such as the nature and degree of disruption and inconvenience caused. If this were minimal, there would be no compensation. Examples of serious disruption would be where tenants were without heat and hot water and sanitation for longer than a couple of days, where scaffolding was blocking out light to living areas, and where the work involved excessive dust and noise.
Generally, such compensation issues would need to be considered by Area Managers in consultation with affected tenants, and Property Services. Depending on who is responsible, compensation may be payable by the Council or contractor.
If any dispute should arise between tenants and the council, the Area Manager involved, should refer this to be settled by the Tenant Participation Team.
In every instance, there will be an agreed consultation period, which will be established by the Area Manager and the relevant surveyor in the Property Services Department. The period of consultation should be sufficient to allow a reasonable time for the type of consultation needed. Where there are many tenants involved and a meeting or two is needed, the consultation period could be as long as two months, however, if all that is needed is a letter, it could be as short as two weeks.
If the consultation period has passed, and the consultation has not been finished, the scheme may start. However, it is recommended that there is discussion between the Area Manager and the surveyor beforehand.
No scheme will be able to start during the consultation period until the Area Manager has signed off the certificate.
Copies of consultation certificates should be sent to the Tenant Participation Team (TPT) for statistics. The TPT will monitor consultation and report on progress to the HMMG. Scheme start dates will need to be given to the TPT on a monthly basis for monitoring.
You have the right to make improvements to your home with prior written permission from the council. Such improvements might include for example: showers, new windows, central heating, a porch, a new wall or fence or patio etc.
We will not refuse permission unless there is a good reason, for example, a need for planning permission or a breach of building regulations.
We will not allow alterations that reduce the bedroom size or number of rooms in a property. Thus, knocking one room into another is not permitted. The only exception is where adaptations need to be carried out by the council for a person with a disability.
Any damage caused during, or as a result of your alterations, will be re-chargeable to you by the council. Also, when you vacate the property, the council may require you to re-instate it as it was at the start of your tenancy or pay the council to carry out the work on your behalf. You will be advised about this at the time you apply for permission.
When permission is given, the council may attach conditions to the permission, such as the way in which the work is carried out or the maximum height or position of a wall etc.
You have the right to dispute the reasonableness of a refusal or any conditions we might try to attach to your request. You may use the council's complaints procedure to do this (see chapter on Customer Care).
The burden of proving reasonableness is on the council, so if you think the council is unreasonable in its refusal to grant permission or the conditions it seeks to attach, you could go ahead and do the improvements anyway. However, we might then decide to take the matter to court for a breach of tenancy, and if the court accepted our argument, we would get an order for possession of your home.
If you do get into a dispute with us on this question, you are strongly advised to get independent advice from the Housing Advice service in Grays, the CAB or a solicitor before doing any works.
The Council operates a scheme of compensation for tenants who carry out improvements to their home in accordance with S99A of the Housing Act 1985. This would become payable at the end of the tenancy.
In summary, you would be able to get compensation for any improvement that qualifies and for which you have had written permission at the end of your tenancy.
A qualifying improvement is one of the following:
|Qualifying Improvement||Notional Life
|Bath or shower||12|
|Wash hand basin||12|
|Kitchen or bathroom cupboards||10|
|Work surfaces in kitchens||10|
|Space or water heating||12|
|Thermostatic radiator valves||7|
|Insulation of pipes. Water tank||10|
|Cavity wall insulation||20|
|Draught-proofing - external doors/windows||8|
|Double-glazing or external window replacement||20|
|Rewiring or provision of power and other electrical fittings (eg smoke detectors)||15|
|Any object which improves security, excluding burglar alarms||10|
Only the tenant can qualify for this compensation.
There are situations when compensation would not be paid, for example:
We would work out the compensation that you were entitled to by using the basic cost and relating that to the notional life of the fitting. So the cost would be multiplied by the number of actual years that the fitting had been in place, divided by the notional life >
Compensation for a kitchen sink that has been in the property for 2 years and cost £200.
£200 × (1- 2/10)= £160 in compensation payable.
The maximum amount is £3000. We would deduct any other charges that you might owe, such as rent arrears first, and we might also reduce the compensation for excessive wear and tear.
The claim would need to be submitted in writing not more than 14 days after the tenancy ends. Please make enquiries for further details from your local office.
Council tenants may make insurance claims against Thurrock Council for any damage that the council causes to the tenants' possessions, or injury to the tenant or members of their family. This includes damage caused by contractors working on behalf of the council.
Tenants are permitted to carry out simple DIY in their properties. However, your estate officer must agree any alterations in writing. An example is that you can decorate your home, but if you want to put in a new kitchen or bathroom, you must get permission from your estate officer.
If you carry out alterations to your home without written permission, you may be charged the cost of reinstating any council fixtures and fittings when you vacate. If in doubt, please check with your estate officer.