Council tenants handbook

Maintenance and improvements

Looking after your home

Here are a few things that you can do to help prevent future problems:

  • find your mains water stopcock. Check that it turns easily and that you can shut off the water supply to the property in an emergency. It is usually near the kitchen sink
  • leave the heating on in winter to prevent pipes freezing, even when you’re away
  • prevent sink blockages in the kitchen sink waste pipes by disposing of food waste in your food bin. Buy a plunger (without a metal disk) to help you clear blockages.
  • keep outside gullies clear of leaves and other debris so that surface water drains away easily
  • remove limescale from baths, sinks, showerheads and taps with descaler. You can buy descaler in supermarkets and DIY stores
  • check your roof at least once a year to make sure there are no broken or missing tiles or slates.
  • prevent mould by stopping condensation forming in your home. This includes: using an extractor fan, covering pans when boiling food, and keeping doors closed when you’re showering.

Our responsibilities

are responsible for repairing and maintaining:

  • the structure and exterior of your property
  • most of the items we provided in the property when your tenancy started
  • items we have provided since you moved in to your home
  • fences that border onto the highway.

We will only repair or replace items that are damaged by fair wear and tear.

The fences between your property and your neighbours’ properties are your responsibility. We will not repair or replace those fences.

Your responsibilities

You are responsible for:

  • keeping your home in a reasonable condition
  • managing condensation to prevent mould
  • taking reasonable precautions to prevent damage to the property by fire, frost, the bursting of pipes or the blocking of drains and sinks
  • servicing your own appliances
  • clearing minor blockages in baths, basins or sinks
  • replacing waste plugs and chains to baths, basins or sinks
  • replacing damaged toilet seats
  • cleaning and descaling shower heads
  • replacing damaged shower pull cords
  • venting and 'bleeding' all radiators regularly
  • tightening and adjusting kitchen cupboard doors and handles
  • tightening and fixing of internal door handles
  • minor plastering jobs, including filling small cracks
  • decorating the inside of your home
  • resetting the trip switches in the electrical fuse box if it is within your home
  • changing light bulbs
  • setting time thermostats
  • clearing external gullies (drains)
  • repairing fences
  • repairing washing lines and rotary dryers
  • maintaining all DIY structures, patios and paths
  • maintaining your garden
  • reporting any faults promptly.

Regular safety checks

You must provide us with access to the property for regular safety checks. You agreed this when you signed your tenancy agreement.

These checks include:

  • gas safety checks (every year)
  • electrical safety checks (every five years)
  • fire safety checks in blocks of flats and mains wired smoke alarms
  • legionella tests on water tanks
  • lifts.

Each year we will send you an appointment letter to carry out the gas safety, immersion heater and smoke detector check. If the appointment is not suitable for you, please let us know as soon as possible and we will rearrange it.

It is a legal requirement to carry out an annual check and for you to allow access to your home. Under your tenancy agreement, you must let us into your home to carry out these checks. 

If you do not let us in, we will take legal action against you and charge you the full cost of taking this action.

Alterations and home improvements

Secure council tenants have the right to carry out their own alterations and improvements to their home. You must:

To request written permission from SBC Housing, visit the making changes and improvements to your council home page.

If you do not have all the correct permissions, you will have to either:

  • return the property to its original state at your own cost straight away
  • pay to put everything back to its original state when you move out.

Planned maintenance, major repairs and improvements

We carry out planned maintenance, major repairs and improvement work to make sure your home continues to meet Slough’s Decent Homes Standard.

This work includes:

  • repainting the outside of the property
  • re-roofing the property
  • installing new thermal efficient external doors and windows
  • replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings
  • improving insulation levels within the property
  • installing new efficient central heating and hot water systems
  • rewiring or upgrading electrical installations
  • renewing fences, gates and paths.

Before starting any work, we will write to you to let you know we are coming. We will visit your home to carry out a survey to decide what work needs to be done. After the survey, we will tell you:

  • what work we are going to do
  • the name of the contractor
  • the arrangements for carrying out the work.

This type of work may take several days or even weeks to complete and may involve erecting scaffolding around your property.

We may also need to inspect the works a number of times during the work and again after the work has been completed.

Accidental and deliberate damage to your property

You are responsible for repairing or replacing all items that are accidentally or deliberately damaged:

  • by you, your pets, or anyone living in or visiting your home
  • through carelessness or neglect, even if it is not your fault.

We strongly advise you to get contents insurance to cover you against damage to your own possessions.

If someone damages or vandalises your home, you must:

  • report the matter immediately to the police on 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency
  • get a crime reference number from the police
  • report the repair to us and tell us the crime reference number
  • co-operate with the police during their investigation into the incident
  • co-operate with your repairs team to repair any damages made.

If you ask us to repair damaged items without a crime reference number, we will charge you for the full cost of the work.