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Repairs and Maintenance

Your lease explains the responsibilities of the Landlord and leaseholder for repairs to your property.

If you live in a house, you will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance costs. If you live in a flat, you will usually be responsible for repairs inside your home and NCHA will carry out repairs to the structure of the building and any communal areas. These repairs will be paid for out of the service charge.

The only exception to this is for repairs which may be covered under a Defects Liability Period (DLP). The defects liability period relates to newly-built homes and usually covers the first 6 months following completion of the building work.

Defects Liability Period

Your newly built home has a defects liability period provided by the developer. This period began when NCHA took handover of the completed building from the developer, and its length will vary depending on the developer.

Please note that the defects liability period may already have ended by the time you complete your purchase. In this case, NCHA would provide a short period in which it will rectify defects at its own cost in accordance with NCHA's Defects Service Standards, a copy of which is available on request.

You will receive a letter from NCHA following the completion of your purchase, and this will confirm the expiry date of the defect liability period.

It is customary to compile and submit a defects list when you first move in. If you would like help doing this a technical officer from NCHA is available to visit (contact details on the letter). NCHA will then forward your list to the developer for action.

Whether or not you compile a defects list, defects can be reported at any time during the defects liability period to NCHA.

Acclimatisation

Your newly constructed home needs to be acclimatised gently so that it can be dried out gradually. When you move in, there is moisture present, which was absorbed by the building materials during construction. This needs to evaporate slowly and be ventilated away. Slow evaporation minimizes shrinkage/ cracking. This can be achieved by keeping your home at an even temperature at all times, during the drying out period.

As drying out progresses and your home is lived in and heated, the material may shrink which causes small cracks to appear. These cracks are not structural defects. Minor cracks should be left for the drying out period, usually 3-6 months. These minor cracks are not classified as defects.
If you have any large cracks that you are concerned about please report them during the defects period and we will check them as part of the defects procedure.

You may also find “nail pops” appearing – plaster coming away from the nail heads used to fix the plasterboard. Quite reasonably, most developers will only attend to these defects at the end of the defect liability period, when they will arrange to do every house or flat over the course of a few days.

If you want to redecorate before the end of the defect liability period, you can make good to cracks and nail pops yourself using decorators filler. The developer will still attend at the end of the defect liability period to make good to any new cracks or nail pops, but will not make good to your new decorations, so it is advisable to keep a small amount of each colour paint that you have used.

Electrical appliances

Newbuild houses are not covered under the Sale of Goods Act, and this lack of cover extends to all the appliances and electrical goods supplied with the house. You will not be able to go back to the developer if any of these appliances goes wrong. It is therefore advisable to register with the manufacturer any electrical appliances which came with the house or flat (e.g. boiler, cooker, cooker hood, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.), so that you can make a claim under the warranty should anything go wrong. NCHA will not accept any repairs responsibility for such items. 

Decorations

If you live in a house, you will be responsible for decorating your home, both inside and out. NCHA will arrange to redecorate the exterior of flats and any communal areas, and this work will be charged to the service charge. Flat owners are responsible for their own internal decorations.

Alterations and Improvements

If you want to carry out any alterations or improvements you must write to NCHA for permission before beginning any work. A member of our technical staff may visit your property to assess the proposed work. You must have our written approval before starting the work. As well as Landlord's permission, you may also need to apply for Planning & Building consents. Failure to do so may result in court action or the need to obtain Retrospective Consent which is more costly.

If your improvements increase the value of your home, the value of the improvements will be disregarded if you buy another share in the property.

Gas Safety

If you have fixed gas appliances in your home, such as a central heating boiler, gas fire or gas hob it will have a warranty from the manufacturer, usually for one year from the date it was installed. After that it is essential for the safety of you and your family that you get these serviced every year by a Gas Safety approved engineer. Failure to maintain your gas appliances correctly can lead to a Carbon Monoxide leak.
It is important to be aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide in the home:
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas with no colour, taste or smell.
  • Symptoms of CO poisoning can easily be confused with flu, and include headaches, nausea, dizziness, chest or stomach pains and general lethargy.
To protect yourself and your family:
  • Get your gas appliances checked annually by a GAS SAFETY registered Installer. Appliances that are properly installed and serviced, and have sufficient ventilation, are efficient and safe. 
  • Make sure rooms and heaters are well ventilated. 
  • Have your chimneys and flues checked regularly. 
  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm. These are available from most good DIY stores or your GAS SAFETY registered installer. A CO alarm will measure the concentration of Carbon Monoxide in a room and sound an alarm if the CO concentration is at a dangerous level. Alarms cost around £25 – a small price to pay if it saves a life. 
  • If you buy a CO alarm, make sure it meets current British and European safety standards and choose an audible one so that you could be alerted even if you are asleep. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before you install it. 
  • CO alarms must never be used instead of an annual gas safety check. 

GAS SAFETY registered installers

A GAS SAFETY registered installer is a gas expert. They have undergone extensive training in order to be qualified to gain registration. The majority of work carried out by illegal gas workers has been found to have serious safety defects. By using a tradesperson that isn't GAS SAFETY registered you are taking your life into your own hands.

However, GAS SAFETY registration does not automatically cover all areas of gas work – most installers specialise in one or more areas – so you must check they are qualified to do the work you require i.e. fit a boiler. You can check with GAS SAFETY's Customer Services team or look on the back of the installer's ID card.


All property owners are legally responsible for ensuring their gas fittings and appliances are safe and in good working order – you are advised to have everything checked annually by a Gas Safe registered installer. If you sub-let, you have this responsibility towards your tenant.