WINCHESTER housing chiefs are to introduce a formal compensation policy for tenants affected by poor service.

Until now the city council has operated ad hoc recompense for residents in council houses hit by no-shows from water, heating or roofing contractors.

Now it is drawing up a formal policy which will see payments of £15 for missed appointments and £25 for when someone takes time off work and the workers do not attend.

Andrew Kingston, property services manager, told the business and housing policy committee that contractors would probably build the potential compensation into their price, and ultimately the money would come from the Housing Revenue Account which comprises the rents paid by tenants.

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Mr Kingston said the new policy would regularise payments. "It will not be dependent on officers who might have a bad day and agree £50 or a good day and £100."

Cllr Fiona Isaacs, who represents Alresford and the Itchen Valley, told the committee of very poor service in her ward last winter. "Eight houses were affected, and some were left over the winter without a roof for months with young children."

Mr Kingston said the service had been "totally unacceptable". It had resulted from tiles being laid but a quality check revealing poor work, he said. "They had to be taken off. Good for our quality checks but bad for the tenants, horrendous."

The location was not mentioned.

The compensation policy is at a draft stage and more work needs to be done, the committee heard.

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