The council is committed to raising the standard and quality of residents’ homes throughout the borough; and the cleanliness in communal areas such as stairs, landings and internal bin stores in blocks has been a concern for some time.
There are over 260 blocks in the borough that have communal entrances, stairs and landings. Some of those have internal bin stores as well. In the last two tenant satisfaction surveys less than 50% of tenants were satisfied with the cleanliness of their blocks.
Although tenancy agreement is clear that tenants are responsible for keeping these areas clean, only a small minority actual do so. Eager to ensure that the levels of cleanliness improved, we decided, therefore, that we would have to introduce a cleaning service and that the cost of this would be paid for by tenants and leaseholders through a service charge.
This approach was agreed by tenants groups and our tenant-led Housing Management Advisory Board.
A year ago we consulted everyone affected by this decision on how often they would like their blocks cleaned. Most said that they wanted either a fortnightly or a monthly clean; and so, with the service starting in late December 2019, over 1,300 tenants and 200 leaseholders are now having their blocks cleaned either monthly or fortnightly.
The weekly service charge that has been added to tenants’ rent accounts is just 78p for monthly cleans and £1.62 for fortnightly ones. Other than occasional changes because of things like bank holidays, all blocks are cleaned on the same day every fortnight or month. Although the contract is still in its early stages, the results have been good so far.
We hold regular meetings with our contractor where feedback from residents, all of which is welcome, is discussed.
Become a tenant inspector
One member of our housing services team is now carrying out planned inspections of the blocks after they have been cleaned to check that they have been cleaned according to the contract specification; but the number of blocks that can be inspected by one person is relatively few.
That’s where our growing team of tenant inspectors comes in. We have already trained a number of tenants to inspect their own blocks after they have been cleaned but we are keen to recruit many more.
This is an excellent opportunity for tenants to become involved in influencing directly a service that the council provides.
If you would like to become a tenant inspector or would like to have more information about what that involves, please contact the customer engagement team on 01509 634666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated: Thu 5th March, 2020 @ 09:11