We recently consulted with tenants on the draft recharge policy. Maggie Ward, Head of Housing Services & Business Planning, who wrote the draft Recharge Policy discusses some of the concerns tenants raised and their suggestions.
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What is a recharge?
A recharge is when we charge Council 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 financially responsible for their actions.
What was the policy proposing?
The draft Recharge Policy outlined what the tenant’s responsibilities are and what costs we are entitled to recover through responsive repairs, void works, household clearances, and garden maintenance. Tenants can also benefit, as they would have access to rechargeable repairs that they may struggle to arrange.
We produced a shortened version of the policy on our website, emailed the tenants we have email addresses for, and asked the Runnymede Council Residents’ Association, to share their views on the proposed policy.
80 tenants in total responded to our policy, and here is what they said
- 92.5% agreed that tenants should be recharged for neglecting or willfully damaging their home
- 76% agreed that tenants should be recharged if they do not maintain their garden
- 74% agreed with our proposal to provide a service to tenants to access repairs that are their responsibility but are not able to rearrange
- 81% agreed that tenants should be recharged for alterations and DIY that has damaged the fabrics/structure of the property
- 65% agreed that a new social home should be withheld until the tenants has paid for the rechargeable repairs
There was very strong support for the use of recharges but concern that this should be proportionate, flexible and the individual circumstances of tenants should be taken into consideration.
We are considering a process that ensures tenants who may be vulnerable or in difficult circumstances are not unfairly treated or worse off due to the council recovering costs.
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