Recharge policy consultation

Overview of Recharge Policy

Runnymede Borough Council values and respects all its tenants, and in return expect tenants to respect and value their home.

Most tenants act responsibly within the terms of their tenancy agreement or lease and maintain their property to a good standard, however some neglect their home. The Council has spent over £69,000 during 2021 on rubbish and garden clearances on empty properties.

The Recharge Policy outlines what the tenant’s responsibility is and what costs we are entitled to recover through responsive repairs, void works, household clearance, and garden maintenance.

What is a recharge?

A recharge is when we charge tenants for any costs we pay, where those costs are due to the tenant’s action or behaviour. For example, we may have to carry out repairs to a property because the resident has neglected or caused damage to their home. In such cases, we expect tenants and former tenants to be financially responsible for their actions.

Common recharge reasons

  • Wilful damage - for example, replacing a broken door damaged by someone in the household or visitor
  • DIY -  remedy work carried out by the tenant which has damaged the fabric/structure of the property
  • Neglect - for example, failure to keep the home in a clean and mould-free condition, missing keys (including windows locks)
  • Blocked sink, drain, bath and toilet - these should not be filled with inappropriate items, for example nappies and toilet fresheners
  • Misuse - for example, replace tiling, repair damage to walls (graffiti), allowing water damage through failure to report a leak, broken kitchen units
  • Accident - for example, damage or loss of function to a fixture and/or fitting that occurs suddenly because of an unexpected and non-deliberate external action e.g., broken sink or bath due to an item being dropped in it
  • Moving out - tenants will also be responsible for work that may be required when moving out of their home to ensure that the property is returned to the council in an acceptable standard. This includes cleaning of the property, replacing missing fixtures and fittings, clearing gardens
  • Untidy outside space including gardens - tenants are responsible for maintaining their gardens and outside space. This means keeping plant growth under control, trees must be safely maintained, water features are pet and children friendly, and lawns should be kept under control and not cause any damage. An outgoing tenant should leave the property in the condition expected. This includes failing to clear the garden or outside space of possessions or rubbish
  • Garage evictions - this includes clearance costs and lock changes
  • Breach of tenants obligation - repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility need to be carried out during or after their tenancy, including when they are served with Notice to Vacate/Possession Order/ Eviction, and in connection with Mutual Exchanges and Transfers
  • Repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility - the Council understands that repairs may be required but the tenant is unable to carry them out and for health and safety / safeguarding reasons, or financial hardship. The Council may agree to carry out the works using an approved contractor, and the tenant will be recharged.

Charges on termination of a tenancy

When the end of a tenancy approaches, the Council will arrange a visit to the property to carry out an inspection to identify any rechargeable repairs. These repairs should be carried out by the tenant to an appropriate standard before vacating the property. Should the tenant fail to do so, the Council will carry out the repairs and the tenant or the estate will be recharged.

This will be known as a Notice Inspection.

If the tenant is vacating because they are transferring to another social housing tenancy, the new home may be held or withdrawn until the rechargeable item is rectified.