Draft Housing Management Annual Report 2021/22
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) presented the Draft Housing Management Annual Report 2021/22. The purpose of this report was to provide Housing Services Cabinet Committee with a draft copy of the Annual Council Housing Report and to seek comments on the content prior to design work being undertaken by the Communications Team and ratified by Cabinet Member for Housing Services.
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) informed the Committee that the purpose of the Housing Management Annual Report was to provide tenants with information relating to all of the achievements of the last 12 months. The reason for this was to celebrate the successes, to provide tenants with information regarding the services provided
and to give an insight into what they could expect in the coming 12 months. The report would give tenants information on a number of service they received such as:
- Housing Income
- Independent Living
- Tenant Engagement
- Housing Management (Estate Inspections and ASB Management)
- Leasehold and RTB services
- Housing Development
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Safety and Improvement Works
- Caretaking and Grounds Maintenance
- Energy and Sustainability
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) highlighted a few key points from the Housing Management Annual Report 2021/22:
- It acknowledged that some tenants were experiencing difficulties due to the cost of living and Members were advised that the report signposted tenants to financial help through the Housing Income Team.
- Throughout 2021/22, the Independent Living Team carried out 36,043 welfare calls to tenants living in Independent Living (previously known as Sheltered Accommodation), and 1,095 health and safety checks.
- A Tenant Engagement Strategy had been launched this year and with the support of the Engagement Officers many new residents associations had been set up. Several events such as the Riverside Community Fun Day, St Patricks Garden Consultation Events, coffee mornings and a range of community projects had been organised with tenants.
- In 2021/22 programmed estate inspections were implemented for the Housing
Services Team. During the last 12 months, the Housing and Independent Living Officers had completed approximately 318 inspections. The report gave the tenant the opportunity to attend inspections via a link to the Council’s website.
- There had been a significant increase in the number of tenants wishing to purchase their Council home over the last 12 months. In 2021/22, 114 Right to Buy requests were processed and this resulted in 33 properties being sold. The impact of this was mitigated however by building 62 new homes during this period.
- 100% of emergency housing repairs were completed on time and 89% of non-emergency repairs were completed within the 28-day timescale.
- In 2021/2022 the Rate My Estate Guide was launched on the website along with the Make My Estate Great Survey. Information gathered will be used to build an action plan for improvements.
- The Council delivered 5 new play parks on GBC estates for residents at Medhurst Gardens, Park Place, Warwick Place, Fountain Walk and Carl Ekman House and had plans for more in the future.
- The Tenant and Leaseholder Handbook would be updated throughout the next 12 months.
- It was noted that throughout 2021/22 103 official complaints were received about housing services. Of these 90 were resolved at stage one of the complaints process, 10 at stage two and 3 complaints went onto stage three of the process.
The Committee considered the presentation and gave their feedback and comments:
- Members praised the report. Reference was made to page 50 of the report regarding repairs and maintenance and the overall cost to the council when appointments were missed. It was proposed that the report could also include that tenants would incur a charge for missed appointments. The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) confirmed that a charge of £40 was enforced when a second appointment was missed, and this would be added to the report.
- It was raised that tenants may find it useful to have the out of hours repair number on the report, the Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) agreed this point and advised the report would be updated with the contact details.
- Members felt it was important that the report should not only include the positive comments received by tenants but all feedback given. The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) informed the Committee that this would be included to show where lessons had been learnt from previous complaints.
- Reference was made to page 48 of the report which addressed the issue of anti-social behaviour. More clarity was sought regarding how the Council dealt with this matter. The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) advised that the approach was dependant on the nature of the case, however the Council took a robust stance on enforcement. She went on to say that in the first instance, initial contact would be made with both the perpetrator and the victim to establish the details, evidence of the incident would then be gathered. Officers would look to work with the tenants to educate individuals in recognising the impact of their behaviour, before enforcement would potentially escalates further, if not resolved.
- Members referred to the Right to Buy (RTB) section of the report (page 49) and queried why tenants now received a discount on purchasing their property after 3 years of occupation, when this used to be after 5 years. The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) explained that this change was set in Government legislation and had to be adhered to. The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) gave context on how the RTB scheme impacted the housing stock, by alluding to the fact that prior to the scheme in the 1980’s Gravesham had 14,000 Council houses and now had under 6,000. However, the Council continued to try and mitigate loss but committing to developing new Council housing within the borough.
- Information was sought by Members regarding the Council buying back properties that we had previously owned. The Director (Housing) advised the Council were able to keep 40% of the sale which could then part fund any new build purchases the Council made. It was noted that this capital would need to be spent within a 5-year period. If the funds were not spent in that time a penalty would be incurred, so it was important to buy other properties to ensure no penalty was paid.
The committee noted the report.
- Housing Services Cabinet Committee Report - Draft Annual Housing Report, item 57. PDF 212 KB
- Annual Report 2022, item 57. PDF 343 KB