Chesterfield council tenants may have to change their own lightbulbs

Emergency repairs would be unaffected by the proposed changes.
Emergency repairs would be unaffected by the proposed changes.

Chesterfield Borough Council tenants could soon be expected to carry out minor repairs themselves to help save the authority money.

Currently, tenants have to contact the borough council for small works including changing lightbulbs or resetting switches. But under proposed changes to tenancy agreements, they would be expected to carry out repairs like these for themselves.

It is also proposed that routine maintenance work would be carried out within 30 days of it being reported rather than 20 as at present. Emergency repairs such as homes without water or heating would not be affected and these would continue to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Other proposed changes include:

► From April 1, tenants would pay their water rates directly to Severn Trent Water rather than paying them to the borough council - although they will still pay their rent and other charges to the authority;

► Tenants would pay their housing rent over 52 weeks rather than over 48 weeks as at present.

Councillor Helen Bagley, the borough council's cabinet member for homes and customers, said: "The proposed changes to the tenancy agreements for our tenants would see some changes for our residents, including allowing them to carry out some minor repairs for themselves such as using a plunger or sink unblocker liquid to clear a blocked sink - we would not expect them to touch the pipework.

"Moving to carrying out routine repair work over 30 days will bring us into line with other housing providers in the area.

"Without changes such as these we would not be able to make savings and be able to continue to invest in our homes such as new heating, bathrooms or kitchens.

"Emergency repairs will be unaffected by the proposed changes."

The borough council has launched a consultation on the plans. Click here for more information.