Agenda and draft minutes

Housing Maintenance (Task and Finish Panel)
Monday 22nd February 2021 3.00 pm

Venue: via Zoom

Contact: Alison Marston 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The meeting was in agreement that Councillor Max Holloway would be appointed

Chair of the task and finish panel.

2.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

To note any substitution of Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following substitution was made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:

 

 

Councillor J.Cragg for Councillor C.Juggins

3.

APOLOGIES

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor C.Juggins and Councillor N.Pace (Executive Member for Housing and Community).

4.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor J.Cragg declared an interest by virtue of a close relation residing in a council property within the Borough. It was agreed that this would not be a reason to preclude Councillor J.Cragg from the meeting.

5.

SCRUTINY SCOPING DOCUMENT pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To approve the scrutiny scoping document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the scrutiny scoping document previously circulated.

 

RESOLVED:

 

-        That the scrutiny scoping document be adopted

6.

MAINTAINING OUR HOUSING ASSET

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation from Officers on a number of areas relating to how the Council maintains its housing asset.

 

 

How the Council manages voids (empty properties)

 

 

The following points were raised and noted:

 

-       Void properties were categorised under different groups (V5, V10 and V15) by council surveyors and Mears (the Council’s contractors) following a joint pre work inspection of the vacant property. The categorisation reflected the amount of work required before the property could be provided to a new tenant, with the number referring to the target number of working days to complete the work. A VE category was reserved for properties which had suffered from extensive structural damage, such as those which have been hit be a car

-       During this pre work inspection the work that would be required is agreed by the parties

-       The pre work inspection process has been in place for over a year

-       Tenants would not be involved at the pre work inspection phase

-       Damp issues would be expected to be identified during the void period, but there are occasions things have come to light only after the tenant has moved into the property. Officers confirmed that they would not allow a tenant to move into a property that was known to have a damp issue

-       Ideally small “snags identified in a post work inspection would not hold up a property being let. However if there have been a multiple of issues, of if there are major issues, then the property is not let until the necessary works have taken place

-       Maintenance issues which are not health and safety issues, are logged and would not delay a property being let. For example if a front door required to be replaced, as long as the property remained safe and secure, the team would seek to let the property whilst the replacement door was being sourced (which could take several weeks)

-       Gas connections are capped when the property is vacant to protect the safety of the operatives whilst they work at the property and can only be uncapped once the tenant had begun to occupy the property and there has been a gas safety check carried out. This means heating systems are not tested, although the age and state of the boiler is noted

-       That Members would benefit from seeing the forms used during the pre and post inspection visits, and the Void Standards

-       Passive ventilation is installed on chimney breast to comply with building standards in order to avoid damp issues, but they can be closed if required and should not have a noticeable impact on heating and room temperatures

-       There is a recharge process for reclaiming the cost of tackling issues that have been caused by previous tenants, but the circumstances under which void properties are returned to the council has varied considerably and this is not always possible. Homes are vacated in different circumstances, and this can include evictions and abandonment.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

TIMESCALES AND REPORTING TO OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Panel noted the aim to report back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 5 July 2021. However the Chair would provide a verbal update to the Committee at the next meeting on 3 March 2021.

8.

DATE AND TIME FUTURE MEETINGS

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted the need to review the scheduled list of meetings given the purdah period ahead of the May 2021 elections.