Statutory and Discretionary Payments Policy

Introduction

Estuary Housing Association aims to provide excellent services at all times. The aim of this policy is to ensure that, where our services fall below an acceptable standard, we have a fair, efficient and consistent approach to offering good will and/or discretionary payment awards.

This policy applies to:

  • All staff employed by Estuary Housing Association
  • Our repairs and maintenance contractors
  • Contractors working with Estuary Housing Association

This policy covers all residents who live in Estuary Housing Association’s properties, including tenants, leaseholders and shared owners, our service users, as well as others who might be affected by our action or inaction.

Customers in Debt to the Association

Where a customer is in debt to the Association, i.e. rent arrears, service charge arrears or outstanding rechargeable repairs, payment must be made onto their account, with rent arrears taking precedence. The customer must then be notified in writing by the relevant manager.

When in doubt, staff will contact Income to clarify whether there is ‘true arrears’ on the account prior to making a payment to the customer.

Statutory Payments

Home Loss and Disturbance

The Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations 2016 will be applied in cases of displacement. The payment is variable and will be calculated by statute.

A person will be entitled to a home loss payment when they are displaced from a dwelling by compulsory purchase or in the other circumstances specified in section 29 of the Act. Such circumstances include demolition, major works and improvements.

Right to Repair

The right to repair is a contractual right given to all tenants. It allows tenants the right to claim compensation when ‘qualifying ‘repairs are not carried out within our published timescales.  A qualifying repair is a small, ‘emergency’ or ‘urgent’ repair costing up to £250 (excluding VAT) that could jeopardise the health, safety and security of a customer if not completed. If we do not carry out a qualifying repair within the agreed timescale, we will offer the customer a second target date. If we fail to meet the second target date we will award the customer compensation for every day the repair remains outstanding up to a capped limit.

Payments will not be made where, having been given a reasonable opportunity to do so, the customer has failed to provide access for an inspection or for the repair to be carried out.

If the delay in carrying out the repair is out of the Association’s control i.e. bad weather, force majeure, compensation will not be paid.

We will offset an award of compensation against any debt the customer owes Estuary Housing. Rent arrears will take precedence, followed by service charge arrears.

Such compensation will be paid in line with legislative requirements;

  • A £10 one-off payment, and
  • £2 for each day on which the repair continues to be outstanding after the second deadline (up to a maximum of £50)

Right to Financial Redress for Home Improvements

The statutory duties that apply to Local Housing Authorities under The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 are applicable to Registered Providers, by requirement of our Regulator.

We may compensate customers for some specified improvements at the end of their tenancy, if we gave them permission to make these improvements. This will be calculated based on a formula set by the Government.

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

EHA will comply fully with any HCA or Ombudsman compensation requirements in accordance with The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

Non-Statutory Compensation

Set Payments

Redress is offered in recognition of our failure to deliver a particular service. It will be paid in the following circumstances;

  • Full or partial loss of use of rooms as a result of the failure of Estuary to discharge its legal obligations (including the right to repair).
  • Full or partial loss of a utility service to the property.
  • Failure to deliver services which form part of communal service charges.
  • Officers’ and Contractors’ failure to keep appointments, including arriving more than an hour late for an appointment where the delay has not previously been communicated to our customer, (by voucher).
  • Failure to respond to communication (e.g. letter, telephone message or email), (by voucher)
  • Failure of staff to follow published procedures;
  • Failure of staff to provide a service;
  • Delays by staff in following a procedure or delivering a service;
  • Failure of staff to act in a reasonable manner, including maladministration

3.2 Discretionary payments

In some instances, particularly involving complaints, officers may decide to offer discretionary non-monetary payments, by way of an apology. The following parameters are adopted;

  • Front line staff can recognise and deal with service failures by offering discretionary gifts or voucher awards of up to £15 to customers, as an apology payment.
  • Non-monetary awards referred to above, such as flowers or vouchers, will only be made when the service failure has been rectified or an appropriate action plan agreed, as these will be used to reinforce an apology.
  • Where our service failure gives rise to a financial loss or severe inconvenience to the customer, a decision on whether a customer has experienced ‘severe     inconvenience’ will be made by the relevant Manager.
  • Claims should be dealt with in line with the timescales set out in this policy and the Statutory and Discretionary Payments procedure and those contained in the Customer Feedback Policy.
  • All awards must be authorised at an appropriate level in accordance with our delegated authorities and recorded on the recipients records, with a clear audit  trail placed on file.

3.3 Insurance Claims

Claims for damages, where customers have suffered loss because of a negligent act or action by Estuary or one of its appointed agents or contractors. These claims will be dealt with through our insurers and are not covered by this policy.

 

Statute:

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (Right to Repair)

Land Compensation Act 1973 (Home Loss and Disturbance)

The Secure Tenants of Local Authorities Regulations 1994 (qualifying improvements)

HCA Regulatory Framework:

Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard: Customer Service, Choice and

Complaints

Related EHA Policies and Procedures:

Statutory and Discretionary Payments Procedure

Customer Feedback Policy and Procedure

Decant Procedure

Resident Improvement Application Procedure