Agenda item

Compliance Update - Housing Stock Presentation


The Committee considered the presentation delivered by the Director – Housing, Health & Wellbeing which sought to present Members with an overview of the Housing Regulatory Framework and the Council’s compliance thereon.  Additional information was contained in a briefing note that was circulated ahead of the meeting and this is attached as an appendix to the minutes. 


The presentation highlighted the four elements of the framework being: Regulator of Social Housing; Housing Ombudsman; Building Safety Regulator; and Dept. of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities with further details being provided as to the Council’s responsibilities for each one.  The aforementioned briefing note highlighted the actual performance of housing compliance services as at the end of December 2022. 


In considering the presentation and briefing note, Members commented that it was pleasing to see that the gas servicing situation continued to improve and requested further information as the reason why tenants were refusing access to the remaining 26 properties that were non-compliant.


In response as to whether the Council engaged with tenants, other than when access to their properties was needed, the Director advised that information was sent out to tenants on a quarterly basis, advising of what the Council, as their landlord, was doing e.g. the need for annual safety checks.  The Annual Tenant Report was also sent out.  The Director acknowledged that further consideration needed to be given on other methods of communicating with tenants, other than the written word.  She added that a review had just been launched as to the customer experience from gas and electricity servicing and findings from that would be used to further improve the customer experience.


In light of the findings of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a Member queried whether the Council was compliant with all necessary fire safety regulations.  The Director advised that the Council did not have any properties over 18m high but did, nevertheless, adhere to best practice for that type of property.  She added that it was her intention to provide a briefing on this issue to the wider Council.


In noting that overseas developers did not appear to be adhering to the new building regulations issued following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a Member queried whether the Council were experiencing such issues and also whether the Council’s more constant partners were adhering to regulations.  The Director advised that the Council undertook stringent checks on any partners they engaged with and that all landlords would have to abide by the same conditions.  This would include ensuring that any materials used during a development met with all the necessary health and safety regulations.  In response to whether the Council’s housing service were informed of any environmental issues arising e.g. damp and mould in properties, the Director advised that in the case of enforcement, it sat within the Public Protection Business Unit and work was currently being undertaken to strengthen how this type of issue was assessed, understood and responded to, both from an enforcement stance and as a landlord. 


In response to who was responsible for the installation and upkeep of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, the Director advised that it was the Council, as landlord, to install such devices but the tenant was required to carry out regular checks to ensure they were in working order.  In noting that many individuals did not realise that carbon monoxide monitors had an expiration date, the Director advise that this could form part of wider publicity about similar issues.


AGREED      (unanimously) that the presentation and compliance performance exceptions be noted.

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