Social housing providers in Chorley could be asked to sign up to a new charter which sets out the standards tenants can expect from their landlords.
A cross-party committee of councillors produced the 26-pledge proposal which includes recommendations on repair standards, communication and the quality of neighbourhoods.
READ MORE >>> What Chorley social housing tenants really think about their homes
It follows a survey of tenants in the borough which revealed that overall satisfaction rates varied between the three main housing providers in the borough – from 67 to 84 percent.
Task group chair, Matthew Lynch, said the report had demonstrated the need for improved regulation in the sector.
“Residents need a level of support when dealing with their registered housing providers,” he told a meeting of Chorley Council’s overview and scrutiny committee.
“There is evidence that the report has already given some landlords a kick and they are looking at making improvements.”
The proposed Chorley Good Homes Charter would commit providers to meeting a series of standards, many of which relate to maintenance and repairs.
Properties should be free of any hazards which pose a risk to residents and also be “in a reasonable state of repair [with] reasonably modern facilities”, the charter states.
Providers would also have to pledge to complete emergency repairs within two days and non-emergency defects within five – with the work guaranteed for a year.
One respondent to the residents’ survey complained that their landlord could take up to a month to respond to a request for a repair.
“I am met with politeness and helpful advice to deal with any emergency, [but] when you ring up about a repair it takes so long before they come out and look at it – and then a couple of weeks before they do the job,” the tenant said.
Meanwhile, a “VIP e-mail” service is being proposed to allow councillors to contact social housing bosses to raise concerns brought to them by constituents.
The recommendations will require the approval of the council’s cabinet before the charter can be drawn up. The task group recommended that landlords are “encouraged” to sign it.
Separately, Chorley Council announced plans last year to set up its own housing company. Cllr Lynch said that provided the authority with the chance to “lead the way” in terms of the standards which it sets.
A recent meeting of the council’s liaison committee heard that the company would also be looking to provide “good quality affordable housing” – and not just properties for social rent.
HOW DID THEY DO?
A survey of social housing tenants in Chorley asked if residents were satisfied with their housing providers:
Chorley Community Housing – 84.4 percent
Accent – 70.9 percent
Places for People – 67.2 percent
*results based on a random sample of 4,000 tenants, with a response rate of 18.3 percent.