Birmingham’s council tenants are actively involved in all sorts of discussions about improving council housing and now a team is helping to assess empty council properties.
The team of volunteers help to inspect the council’s empty properties, checking the condition they are left in when tenants move out, and feeding back to other tenants about some of the issues when people move out. They also inspect properties when they have been repaired by contractors, making sure that property repairs and cleaning are completed to a good standard.
Tamar Wilson, a void clerk from Birmingham City Council’s Place Directorate said: “When council tenants move home, some leave their houses and flats in a good state of repair and ready for new tenants to move in but some don’t and we have to carry out repairs, clear rubbish and tidy up. This work can be costly and unnecessary but we recharge tenants if they leave rubbish and overgrown gardens behind. Some repairs are also rechargeable to the tenant.
“Involving tenants in these inspections provides some valuable insights and helps with monitoring repairs and maintenance. It also helps to get the message back about where the rent money goes. If we didn’t have to do so much work when tenants move out there would be more money to spend on improvements and investment in our housing stock.
“We now have ten trained volunteer tenant inspectors and a waiting list with more people wanting to help.”
Ivy Woodward, said: “I became a Tenant Inspector because after my own experiences of becoming a council tenant I always thought if I ever got the chance, I would like to do what I can to help other tenants.”
Neal Hickey added: “I have volunteered as I believe there needs to be a change in attitude from new tenants and to help support the good work of the Neighbourhood Caretakers.”
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