Hackney Council proposes to take back council homes

SD_HousingMgt_Cap _Homerton towards the city. Pic SarfLonodonDunc

Homerton towards the city Pic: SarfLonodonDunc

Hackney Council is proposing to take back the management of council homes in a move that has been welcomed by Hackney Council Leaseholders.

Hackney Homes’ was set up in 2006 as a not for profit organisation to manage council housing stock and deliver the ‘Decent Homes’ Programme of improvements to council housing.

The Hackney Homes Decent Homes Programme will have delivered £225 million worth of investment by next March 2015, including new windows and roof repairs.

But Hackney Homes has not been without its critics. Leaseholders have questioned whether the improvement works provided value for money.

This culminated in a legal battle last year. In July 2013 leaseholders won a tribunal which allowed them to retain the right to be consulted, on which companies carry out major works on their homes.

Natalie Warwicker, one of the leaseholders who brought the case to tribunal said: “Hackney Homes has just done such a bad job of managing properties.”

Hackney Council and the Hackney Homes board have now both agreed the proposal recommending the management be returned to the Council.

Councillor Philip Glanville, Hackney’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Hackney Homes was primarily set up to deliver the Decent Homes Programme which will be successfully completed this year, and with the contract between the two organisations coming to an end in April 2016, now is the right time to review this arrangement.

The announcement that the management service will be brought back inhouse “could not be more welcome” according to Sue Benjamins, a leaseholder who lives on Frampton Park Estate. She thought it might result in a better and said: “[It] should cut out duplication and therefore make some sensible cost-savings possible without reducing service.”

Benjamins also thought that bringing the service back in house and under the control of elected councilors would lead to a more transparent and accountable service.

“Meetings at which key decisions are made will be generally open to the public gaze and recorded minutes will generally be public and easy to obtain… a massive improvement on the current system where the managing agent’s internal discussions and thought-processes are mired in fog and completely opaque.

“The Council’s enthusiasm to take its housing management back under its own wing is very welcome and as leaseholders we look forward to the discussions ahead and hope that Hackney tenants will feel the same way.”

Tenants and leaseholders will receive information about the consultation by post from August 11, 2014.

Rupert Tyson MBE, Chair for the Hackney Homes Board, said: “We will make every effort to ensure we engage as many tenants and leaseholders during this process.”

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