The Council has agreed actions to help ensure that repairs to common property in mixed ownership housing are carried out, including the creation of a new loan scheme for private owners.
A Council meeting yesterday (28 September) heard that many council properties have now reached an age where major works are needed, such as re-roofing. These projects will require significant financial contributions by the owners of the properties.
It is important that common areas are maintained properly, as deterioration in their condition would have a detrimental impact not only on the asset value, but on the income which ensures that housing management services are provided, outstanding
loan debt is serviced, and obligations to current and future tenants are met.
The report heard that there are some cases where Councils can have difficulties implementing obligations to maintain properties located in tenements where there is mixed ownership, despite an established legal position. Some private owners refuse to agree to have the common repair works carried out and/or do not have the finances to pay their relevant share of such works.
The Council agreed to set aside a budget of £500,000 from the Housing Revenue Account surplus to establish a self financing loan scheme for a means tested loan scheme for private owners who are unable to afford the cost of repairs. It was also agreed to acquire properties within mixed ownership tenements where major common repairs are required, subject to grant and budget availability and suitability of property.
In addition, it was agreed that property could be declared as surplus for disposal on the open market where the Council is the minority owner in a tenement block of mixed ownership, and it has been agreed with the Council’s tenant to transfer their tenancy to another Council owned property to allow the property to be sold with vacant possession.
Cllr Craig Holden, Spokesperson for Housing & Environment said: “I am pleased that the Council has agreed these pro-active and innovative measures to help ensure that we can keep our housing stock in good condition, which helps protect the interests of all our tenants who rely on us to provide their homes. Our new loan scheme will also be able to help those tenants who are unable to afford the up front cost of major repairs, and Council officers will continue to engage with those affected as soon the need for this work is identified.”