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Last updated: 6 January 2022

Tenant repairs - permission and responsibilities

You must ask permission before doing any work repairing or altering something in a home we are responsible for. Also, all work must comply with building standards and regulations. If planning permission or building control approval is required, you must pay for this.

What you need permission for

  • Anything that will change the appearance of your property, eg installing a satellite dish
  • Repairing or altering something we're responsible for eg replacing windows or painting outside
  • Any major alterations, like removing a wall

All work you do must comply with building standards. If it goes wrong, you’ll be responsible for repairing it. 

What you can’t get permission for

  • Anything that risks disturbing asbestos
  • Laying laminates if you live in a flat, if in doubt contact your housing officer
  • Anything that requires planning permission
  • Something that causes structural damage to the property

If you do repairs without permission

  • You could be asked to return your home to the condition it was before - at your own expense.
  • And you’ll be held responsible for any damage to other properties

How do you get permission?

To get permission, simply contact the Building Services team

Email buildingservices@walthamforest.gov.uk

Tenant responsibilities

As a tenant, some repairs are your responsibility, but others are ours.

General responsibilities

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Maintaining items you provided yourself eg furniture/ washing machine

You

Wear and tear, damage caused by you or guests

You

Minimising damp and mould

You

Communal areas

Waltham Forest

Light fittings and light bulbs

You

Bathroom/kitchen/plumbing

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Basin/sink replacement

Waltham Forest

Bath sinks and toilets – panels, blockages, plug/chain replacement, shower curtains

You

Blocked bath/basin/sink/planned replacements shower/toilet

You

Plug and chain replacement

You

Plumbing in or fitting domestic appliances

You, however it must be fitted by the Council

Sealant (kitchen work surfaces, baths, sinks)

You

Shower curtain

You

Tap washer

Waltham Forest

Unblocking external waste pipes (in houses only)

You

Water supply and water pipes

Waltham Forest

Electrical

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Electrical wiring

Waltham Forest

Fluorescent tubes

You

Fuses, plugs and light bulbs

You

Resetting trip switch

You

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Chimneys (excluding sweep), fireplaces, fitted fires and central heating

Waltham Forest

Gas cookers* (not provided by us)

You

Gas pipes and appliances provided by us - for example water heaters, boilers gas fires

Waltham Forest

* If a gas leak to a cooker is found, the cooker will be capped off. You’ll be responsible for replacement and reinstatement. Works must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Inside areas 

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Communal areas

Waltham Forest

Cracks (minor, thinner than a pound coin) in walls or ceiling patching.

You

Curtain pole, rail or track replacement

You

Doors: including adaptations (to accommodate carpets), frames, hinges, skirting, fitting additional locks/catches, doorbells

You

Draught proofing

You

Fixtures and fittings provided

by Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest

Fixtures you have fitted

You

Floor coverings (excluding kitchen and bathroom, unless fitted by you)

You

Handles and latches on inside doors/cupboards

You

Front door keys / communal keys / fobs

You – if lost, requiring a replacement or additional fob/key, it will be chargeable.

Waltham Forest – if defective

Painting  and decorating

You

Smoke alarm

Waltham Forest

TV aerial, points or satellite dishes you’ve fitted

You

Outside areas

Type of repair

Who's responsible for repair?

Boundary walls

Waltham Forest

Front doors (excluding letter boxes)

Waltham Forest

Doorsteps

Waltham Forest

Drains, gutters and outside pipes

Waltham Forest

Fencing works will be carried out if the fencing provides an estate boundary, is adjacent to a public highway, footpath, open park/ grounds, cemetery or allotment

You

Garages and stores (excluding sheds)

Waltham Forest

Overall structure of your home

Waltham Forest

Paths and walkways (main access)

Waltham Forest

Roof

Waltham Forest

Walls

Waltham Forest

Washing lines or rotary dryers

You

Windowsills, catches, sash cords and window frames

Waltham Forest

If you're unable to do repairs yourself

You might not be able to do repairs yourself because of your health or age. If you can’t get a friend/ family/ contractor to help you, then you can ask us.

This is called a discretionary repair.

To get assessed, you’ll need to contact your housing services officer first. They’ll ask you some questions and assess whether a contractor can do out the work on your behalf.

To report a repair, call: 020 8496 4197