All Council Homes Made Decent Ahead of Target

Written on . Posted in Housing, Housing repairs, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest District Council has now completed a major programme to bring all of its properties up to the Government`s Decent Homes Standard “ one year before the Government`s deadline.  Many other councils and housing associations are still a long way off completing their programmes.

Doreen Osborne, aged 67, is just one of thousands of Epping Forest District Council tenants enjoying improvements to their homes under the Council`s Decent Homes initiative. Mrs Osborne had a complete new central heating system and a brand new, enlarged kitchen installed by the Council. 

Doreen Osbourne with Chairman of Council Anne Grigg and Housing Portfolio Holder, Cllr Dave Stallan

Doreen moved into her home in James Street, Epping when she got married over 40 years ago. She said The Council allowed me to choose everything from the layout, the flooring, and the cupboards “ even the handles. I now have the kitchen I have always wanted so I`m thrilled to bits. Yes, the work was messy and disruptive at times but the Council staff and their contractors have all been wonderful and almost become part of my family!

The Decent Homes Programme aims to ensure all properties are in a reasonable state of repair, enjoy modern facilities and are energy efficient. Some properties only need minor work but, since 2001, over 3,500 of the Council`s properties have had more major improvements such as new kitchens and bathrooms, heating systems, windows and doors, better insulation or new roofing. Many homes have also been fully rewired. The Council has managed to meet the Decent Homes target set by the Government nearly a year ahead of schedule and, unlike many other councils, without having to set up an arms length management organisation (ALMO) or with any additional grant funding from the Government. In doing so, the Council is independently assessed as being in the top 25% of Local Authorities and Housing Associations for having the lowest direct cost per property for maintenance and resident satisfaction with the quality of their home.

The Council`s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr David Stallan said This has been a hugely successful scheme for the Council. It`s very important to us that all our tenants live in decent homes with modern facilities. In the current economic climate, the importance of making homes energy efficient becomes even more obvious as this helps to reduce people`s gas and electric bills. I`m delighted that Mrs Osborne and all our other tenants are so pleased with the work that we and our contractors have done.

However, the Council`s work continues “ since it is now implementing programmes of work to ensure that no properties ever become non-decent in the future.

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