After decades of decline the social housing stock in the UK is now rising again. There are over 4 million homes for rent from Councils or Housing Associations. 5,000 new homes were built for social rent in England in 2017/18, and another 1,000 or so were bought or converted. This means that social housing is mostly comprised of older properties, meaning that repairs, renovations and adaptations are a major problem for the providers. Work on homes falls into two categories, planned and emergency.
Planned repairs and improvements.
The Decent Homes Programme brought in by the government in the early 2000s aimed to provide a minimum standard of housing conditions for all those who are housed by councils and housing associations. This prompted an improvement in standards which has led to programmes of planned maintenance and updating from many providers. This planned approach makes sense because it saves money in both the short and long term.
- Waiting for failures or breakdowns inevitably entails extra cost carrying out an emergency repair, followed up by the long-term fix.
- Having an experienced knowledgeable partner looking at the housing regularly will catch things like water leaks while they are still a small repair rather than waiting until major work is needed
- Planning improvements such as energy saving measures, and digital connectivity means that the housing stock remains up to date, complying with or anticipating legislation or tenants expectations. This also applies to adaptions required by those with special physical or social requirements.
Regardless of how well you plan there will always be emergencies. Inclement weather, accidental damage or malicious action can all require a prompt response to ensure tenants safety and comfort is not adversely affected. The priority in this instance is to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.
The best way of managing either of these issues is to build a relationship with an established, experienced property services company.
- Tenants become used to seeing the company on site and learn to trust them. This means that problems will be flagged earlier making for simpler, cheaper fixes.
- The provider becomes familiar with the housing stock and will be able to advise on the best options for upgrades and improvements.
- When emergency works are needed you have the reassurance that the problem will be handled 24 hours a day, avoiding the need to phone expensive one off contractors and taking pot luck with who is available when you need them.
Express Property Services have worked with charities, housing associations and council ALMOs for twenty years. Our experience in working with this type of property has ensured that we fully understand the often complex requirements of the occupier allowing us to work in social housing situations causing minimum disturbance to the tenant while carrying out the required work meeting the managing organisations expectations. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help manage your housing stock.
This post was written by Express Property Services