Local council housing tenants are set for a decent future as, for the second year running, all of Wokingham Borough Council’s social housing stock met the decent homes standard for condition and repair.
The standard, which is set by central government and applies to all local councils, was put in place to ensure council homes met decent levels for things such as general repairs, heating and thermal comfort as well as having reasonably modern facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.
“Meeting the decent homes standard for two years in a row is a real reflection of the effort put in by the council’s housing team. It’s impressive considering it’s been done despite Covid-19 restrictions during the past year.” Said Simon Price, assistant director for neighbourhoods and communities at Wokingham Borough Council. “However it doesn’t stop here as this is about an ongoing programme of works, continuing to replace things like kitchens and bathrooms as they come to the end of their life or upgrading windows to help keep tenants warm.”
To ensure they meet the decent homes standard the council carries out surveys of all their properties to understand their current condition and identify when things will come to the end of their life and need replacing or additional works. This information is used to create a rolling programme of annual works identifying improvements needed in the coming year.
In order to make sure they can stay on top of the works required, as well as making wider improvements over and above the decent homes standard, the council plans to carry out new condition surveys of all their properties once Covid-19 conditions allow.
Simon Price continued: “We want to make sure our tenants have great places to live so understanding the condition of our homes is incredibly important. Whilst achieving the decent homes standard for all our homes this year is a good indicator we are doing well, we believe there is much more to be done and want to take a proactive approach to making our local homes even better.
“In the past five years we’ve invested over £20million on improving council housing as well as spending £15million on maintenance and repairs. We’re also rolling out major projects to build brand new energy efficient modern social and affordable rented homes, such as the Norton Road development which was delivered through our wholly owned registered provider Loddon Homes, or the regeneration of Gorse Ride where we are replacing the existing dated properties completely with brand new energy efficient homes.”
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