A guide to HomeRepairs

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - repairs to your home.

As part of our commitment to quality services, The Gateshead Housing Company aims to provide a reliable and quick repair service to our tenants.

This page tells you about the HomeRepairs service and explains our responsibilities as the service provider, as well as your responsibilities as a tenant.

Reporting repairs

Please note: If you demand an out-of-hours emergency call out when the repair could have been dealt with reasonably within normal working hours, there may be a charge.

  • Text: ‘REPAIR’ and your message to 0778 620 8277
  • Email: repairs@gatesheadhousing.co.uk
  • Fax: 0191 433 5354
  • Visiting any housing office
  • Each of our housing offices and Concierge stations have a phone that you can use to call the service free of charge.
  • Telling any employee of the housing company if they visit you at home, or are on your estate.

When you report a repair you need to tell us:

  • Your name, address and home phone number if you have one
  • Leaving your phone number will help us if we need to contact you
  • As full a description of the problem as possible
  • When it would be convenient for the work to be done
  • Details of any special needs. For example, if it may take you a bit longer to answer the door
  • Whether you would like an appointment. This guide explains what work will be done by appointment.
  • If in doubt about the offer of an appointment please ask when you report the repair.

What will happen next?

We will first make sure that it is our responsibility to do the repair. 

If it is, and we have enough information about the repair, an order will be placed with a contractor to carry out the work. 

Wherever possible the order will be placed immediately.

Repairs appointments

When you report your repair we aim to offer an appointment for all urgent and routine repairs, at a time that is convenient to you. 

As well as explaining what day we will call, we will also confirm a morning or afternoon appointment. 

We also aim to offer you an appointment for planned repairs, which generally require an inspection before work is done.

We will offer you an appointment for the inspection and at the time of inspection will arrange an appointment for the work to be completed. 

However, not all repairs need an appointment – for example, work to the outside of your home.

For emergency repairs you will need to guarantee access to our contractor for the next 24 hours. 

You will not be given an appointment but we will discuss a time when you will be at home, to make sure the emergency work can be done. 

We will then write to you to confirm details of your repair as well as any appointment made. 

You will also get a satisfaction survey to fill in and return to us once the repair has been done.

Missed appointments

If you are not in when the contractor calls, they will leave a card asking you to make a new appointment. 

If you continue to miss appointments for repair work you may be charged. 

If the contractor is unable to keep an appointment, they will contact you to explain the delay and make arrangements to call at a later time. 

If an appointment is missed and you haven’t been contacted, please contact HomeRepairs.

Repair timescales

We have guidelines on how long different repairs should take. This makes sure that everyone is treated fairly. 

The main types of repairs are:

Emergency work – we aim to complete within 24 hours
These are repairs which, if not dealt with very quickly, could cause injuries or further damage – things like burst pipes, blocked drains, non-secure windows or doors and loss of electricity.

In an emergency contact HomeRepairs for advice on what actions can make the property safe. 

If you can’t carry out the advice yourself and a neighbour, family member or friend can’t help, then a worker will call that day. 

If you call between 3pm and 8am Monday to Friday, or at weekends, the contractor will call and make the property safe.

Where the contractor makes the property safe, a return visit will be arranged to finish the repair the next working day. 

This will happen unless parts are not available or it is not an emergency, then it will be done within the relevant category and timescale.

If that happens the repair will be completed at the earliest opportunity. We will advise you of progress until the repair is complete. 

If you are vulnerable or have special needs we will take appropriate measures in addition to the make-safe policy – for example, temporary heating may be provided in certain circumstances.

Vulnerable tenants will receive a quicker response to emergency work such as heating and hot-water repairs, all year round.

Urgent work – we aim to complete within three working days
These are repairs which need quick attention and don’t require an inspection first. 

These include re-fixing toilet seats and repairing minor leaks.

Routine work – we aim to complete within 20 working days (four weeks)
These are less urgent repairs such as leaks to a gutter, repairing a noisy heating system or fitting a light switch. 

Some of these repairs may need to be inspected before the repair can be done.

Planned repairs – we aim to complete within 40 working days (eight weeks)
These are less urgent repairs such as renewing floor tiles or floorboards, or supplying and fitting a new kitchen unit, which should be finished any time up to eight weeks from reporting it. 

Some of these jobs need to be inspected before the contractor can start the work. 

The inspector will call at your property at an agreed time, and they will arrange another appointment to call back and finish the repair.

When an item in your property needs to be replaced, we will try our best to source materials which are the same as the existing ones.

If this is not possible, then we will replace with the items we hold in stock.

For example, if you have a coloured bathroom suite and the bath needs to be renewed, this item may be replaced with a standard white suite which we hold in stock.

We would not replace all items, only the ones that are required.

Programmed work – some work to your home is done as part of a planned maintenance programme
This covers things like outside painting and annual gas servicing.

We will tell you in advance when any work like this will happen. 

If your repair can’t wait until the programme we will carry it out within the normal timescales. Programmed work also includes an annual service of your gas appliances.

We are legally bound, under the Gas Regulations, to check that your gas appliances are working safely. 

Allowing us to carry out a gas service every year is a requirement of your tenancy agreement. Not allowing us access would be a breach of tenancy, for which you can be taken to court and even evicted. 

If we don’t service your appliances we are also liable for prosecution.

Please contact your nearest housing office for more information.

Communal repairs

Repairs to communal areas which affect large numbers of residents – such as stairwells, lighting, doors and windows in communal areas – will be given priority.

Investment work 

Where a tenant is due to have investment work carried out on their property, repairs will continue to be undertaken until the work is done.

Right to Repair

The Right to Repair is a scheme for tenants to make sure certain small urgent repairs which might affect your health, safety or security are done quickly and easily. 

The Gateshead Housing Company is told by law to carry out these repairs within a certain time. 

Our contractors

All contractors carrying out work will show you an identity card. Always ask to see this card before letting anyone into your home. 

If they can’t show you a card, or you have any other reason to be suspicious, don’t let them in.

Any contractor doing work on our behalf will treat you and your home with courtesy and respect. 

They will try to cause as little mess and disruption as possible and will use dustsheets to protect your home. 

They will do their best to clear up when finished and remove any rubble or materials that day.

The contractor will tell you:

  • What work they have come to do
  • Which rooms they will need to work in
  • Roughly how long the work will take
  • Whether your gas, electricity or water will need to be turned off and for roughly how long.

Additional minor repairs

The contractor can generally only do the work that has been ordered. However, if you have other repairs that are outstanding you should ask the contractor.

Depending on the nature of the job, they will try to complete that work wherever possible. However, contractors also have other appointments they must keep, and they do not always have the necessary equipment and materials to carry out other work.

For safety reasons some work can only be carried out by certain contractors – for example gas repairs can only be done by Gas Safe registered plumbers.

Chargeable repairs

The vast majority of repairs are paid for out of the money we collect in rent. 

You will be asked to pay for any repairs that have been caused by damage or misuse of your home by you, your family or friends. However, the contractor will not ask you for any money when they call.

Your nearest housing office will be able to tell you more about what repairs you may be asked to pay for and how to pay. 

You have the right to appeal if you don’t agree with a decision to charge you for repairs.

What can I do if I have a complaint or a compliment? 

The first thing to do if you have a complaint is to let us know. 

We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receiving it and let you know the outcome within ten working days.

The letter you receive answering your complaint will explain what you can do if you are still unhappy.

You can make a complaint or a compliment in a number of ways. You can:

  • Visit the ‘Complaints, compliments and suggestions’ section of this website
  • Email HomeRepairs
  • Text ‘COMPL’ or ‘SUGG’ and your message to 0778 620 8277
  • Write to us at: The Gateshead Housing Company, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1JN
  • Tel: 0191 433 5353
  • Fax: 0191 433 5354
  • Call HomeRepairs on 0800 408 6008
  • Visit or phone any housing office.

Compensation for damage

We will pay compensation for damage which is our fault or the fault of our contractors. You should report any damage to your housing office.

We will need to look at what has been damaged so please don’t throw anything away. 

We strongly advise you to take out your own insurance against loss of, or damage to, your belongings.

As a tenant you are not automatically covered for any of your home contents. 

All tenants are advised to take out insurance to fully cover their contents against potential loss through theft, fire, vandalism or burst pipes. 

While you are free to make your own arrangements, Gateshead Council has negotiated exclusive low-cost cover for tenants. 

Please ask at your housing office for details.

DIY home improvements

If you want to improve your home you must consult the ‘Making improvements to your home’ section of this website or ask at your housing office for more details. 

Providing a tenant has obtained permission for the improvement, we will take responsibility for it after 12 months.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

You must take reasonable care of your home, inside and out, and you must report any repairs to The Gateshead Housing Company. 

This will help stop the damage getting worse and allow us to get repairs done as quickly as possible.

You are also responsible for:

  • Decorating the inside of your home
  • Internal fittings (things like curtain rails and light bulbs)
  • Anything that you have installed yourself
  • Items you damage or break
  • Keeping your garden and any shared areas clean and tidy.

You are also responsible for other minor repairs such as:

  • Changing fuses
  • Bleeding radiators
  • Unblocking sinks or baths
  • Repairing minor cracks in plaster
  • Repairing doorbells or knockers
  • Replacing toilet seats
  • Minor repairs to kitchen cupboards and drawers
  • Repairs to internal door handles
  • TV aerials (except communal ones)
  • Renewing plugs and chains on sinks or baths
  • Cleaning warm air grilles
  • Any accidental damage caused by you, your family or visitors to your property will be your responsibility.

In addition, you are also responsible for any work you request we do to get you back into your home if you are locked out. 

If you have a faulty gas or electric fire we will repair it. However, if it cannot be repaired, we will not provide a replacement.

We strongly advise you to take out your own insurance against loss of, or damage to, your belongings, including re-glazing broken windows and renewing locks when keys are lost.

Gateshead Council’s contents insurance scheme provides cover for any accidental breakage to the external glazing of your home. 

The scheme also covers replacement of locks for external doors or burglar alarms if keys are lost.

Your housing office will be able to offer you advice and assistance on the insurance scheme.

You have the right to appeal if you disagree with a decision to charge you for repairs.

What standards of service can I expect?

We, or the contractors working for us, will:

  • Help you identify the repair needed
  • Tell you the maximum time we will take to complete the repair
  • Offer you an appointment for all urgent and routine repairs at a time that is convenient to you
  • Confirm details of your repair, as well as any appointment that we made for you
  • Take care to protect your furnishings while doing repairs
  • Tidy up mess and remove rubbish within two working days of finishing the repair
  • Inspect ten per cent of all completed repairs to check the quality of work
  • Monitor our performance and quality of service and publish performance figures.