An innovative scheme to ensure vulnerable and older tenants’ council homes are well-maintained as well as ensuring that persistent problems are resolved has been officially launched.
Enfield Council’s dedicated Housing MOT Team of directly employed professionals was formally introduced to residents at Green Towers Community Centre on Wednesday 15 May.
The team is tasked with visiting social housing properties in the borough to check their condition and put right any faults that are found. They will also be conducting stock surveys to inform future major works projects and can offer residents advice on ongoing issues such as condensation or damp.
Since the launch of the scheme in January the Housing MOT team has carried out 400 inspections and completed 200 repairs. They have also raised 11 safeguarding issues and addressed two sub-letting concerns. Around 70 properties will be visited every week.
The team is making it a priority to visit vulnerable and older residents by appointment. They are also trained to identify issues such as hoarding and other mental health issues, making sure residents who may need extra, specialised assistance are put in contact with the right people.
Enfield Council’s Leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said: “Improving the quality of Enfield Council’s accommodation is a key priority for me and this is a significant step forward to achieving this aim. By providing a fast and responsive service, we will be able to deal swiftly with small repairs while identifying larger issues to be completed by the Housing MOT Team or by a specialist contractor, if necessary.
“In addition, the scheme will help us to pro-actively support more vulnerable residents and those who do not feel that they can contact the Council through traditional means. By coming face-to-face with residents, we will be able to identify a number of service issues and get people the help they need, when they need it.”
A resident whose parents were visited by the Housing MOT team said: “This is a brilliant idea. As English isn’t my parents’ first language, it was better that they could show the operatives the problems. They explained everything they were doing and put my parents at ease. [My parents] were full of praise for the workmen.”
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Housing, Cllr Gina Needs, said: “Our performance review for 2018/19 found the overall satisfaction with repairs in Council homes was 98.4%. However, we are not complacent and will continue to strive to improve the quality of accommodation in the borough. This is a key priority for this Council.”
Enfield Council contractors currently carry out 42,000 repairs to its 10,500 properties each year, with a significant number being minor jobs such as fixing leaking taps, broken door handles and the like. The MOT team will deal with issues by proactively tackling these smaller jobs. The Council expects the scheme to be self-funded from a reduction in responsive repairs costs.