Housing Policies and Strategies

Customer Standards for the Housing Service

Watford Borough Council is constantly striving to improve the quality of the Housing service we offer you.  Below we set out how we will deliver our service to you and what we expect from you in return.

For everyone contacting the Housing Service we will:

  • Be polite, professional and helpful whenever you contact us
  • Treat you with respect and courtesy at all times
  • Ensure that your request for advice and/or assistance is dealt with in the strictest confidence and according to data protection principles 
  • Remove any barriers preventing you from accessing our services and ensure you are not excluded or discriminated against on grounds of age, gender reassignment, disability, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation and enable you to communicate easily with the council such as providing translation and interpreting services, documents in large print or braille, loops to help with hearing impairment  
  • Provide you with written correspondence regarding your application, including details of how you can request a review of any decisions the council has taken in your case
  • Explain what may happen next, including timescales, possible outcomes and the options available to you
  • Respond to your emails, letters or faxes within 10 working days and make sure our response is clear and easy to understand
  • Address any concerns/complaints you may have in an open, professional and fair manner
  • Listen to, and think positively on your feedback and suggestions on improving our service
  • Advise you if we make any significant changes to any of our policies

Where you are asking for the council's advice and assistance because you are threatened with or actually homeless, we will:

  • Aim to see you within 30 minutes of your arrival at the Customer Services Centre at the Town Hall
  • Work with you to prevent you becoming homeless
  • Provide you with the name and contact details of your Case Officer
  • Confirm in writing either on the day or within 2 working days the advice given and a Personal Housing Plan for any follow up work necessary
  • Provide you with information about other organisations who may be able to assist you, eg, the Citizens Advice Bureau, etc. No referrals will be made to other organisations without your permission/authorisation
  • If visiting you at your home, give you advanced notice when we can (except if we are dealing with your homelessness application), show our identification, and treat your home with respect
  • Where a Homeless Application is taken, we will work within the statutory guidelines so that,
    • if you are not yet homeless, we will try to prevent your homelessness within 56 days (the prevention duty period), or
    • if prevention fails and you become homeless or you are already homeless when you first ask for our help, we will work with you to find another place to live within 56 days (the relief duty period)
    • if it is not possible by the end of the relief period to find you another place to live, we will make a decision and inform you about whether we owe a duty to house you under the homelessness law within 15 days of the relief duty period ending
  • Keep in regular contact with you throughout the process of working with you

If you are applying to the Housing Register we will:

  • Process your application and send you a letter informing you of the outcome within 15 working days

If the council has provided you with temporary accommodation because you are homeless, we will:

  • Let you know you in writing the details of the temporary accommodation you are being offered including the type of property, its address, the cost, the move in date, who the landlord is and any local information available
  • Regularly visit you at your temporary accommodation to ensure the accommodation remains safe and appropriate for you and your family to live in. This will include a welcome visit which will happen within 2 weeks of when you move in, and will also visit you at least once every three months while you live in temporary accommodation
  • Ensure any issues with your temporary accommodation are resolved as quickly as possible, or move you to alternative accommodation if it is not possible to resolve the issues within a reasonable time    
  • Work with your Case Officer to help get a decision taken as quickly as possible on your Homeless application 
  • Whenever possible, give you a minimum of 24 hours notice if we need you to move from your current temporary accommodation to another on

What we expect from you in return:

  • You treat all our staff with respect
  • Not use offensive or discriminatory language, be threatening or violent towards staff or other customers
  • You should seek assistance with your situation as early as possible
  • You should be honest and open in your communication with us 
  • Be patient with us at extremely busy times
  • You must keep us informed of any changes in your circumstances, for example, changes in your phone number, email address, or who is living with you in your household
  • Your conduct must not prevent us providing our services to you, eg, inappropriate behaviour, non-payment of rent, giving us incorrect or false information
  • Be on time for pre-booked appointments and contact us quickly to re-arrange them if necessary
  • For any pre-booked appointments you should bring along all requested/relevant information you have available
  • To bring in any requested documents within an agreed timeframe
  • Use our feedback service to comment on the service you have received. 

See also Customer Service – putting residents first which sets out the council's overall customer services standards and, how to make a complaint, comment or compliment and information setting out the council's commitment to equalities.

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