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Majority of UK's social housing tenants believe homes sub-standard

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Majority of UK's social housing tenants believe homes sub-standard

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Salford landlord fined for failing to sign up to council's Selective Licensing Scheme Salford landlord fined for failing to sign up to council's Selective Licensing Scheme

Over half of the UK's social housing tenants believe the property they in live fails to meet decent homes standards, new research has revealed.

Maintenance and refurbishment company FT Finley's survey found that 48% of tenants feel their home lacks sufficient wall insulation, while a third believed their properties had little or no loft insulation.

Many are worried that their homes aren’t energy efficient, which contributes to increasing utility bills.

Almost three quarters of respondents (71%) said they thought their property could be more energy efficient. Suggested improvements included high performance insulation (51%), new double glazing (29%) and a more economical boiler (28%).

Decent homes standards prescribe that homes should achieve a reasonable level of thermal comfort.

“According to the Homes and Communities Agency, by the end of 2010, 92% of social housing met decent homes standards – a figure which has continued to rise. However, our research suggests that tenants don’t feel the standard of their homes is high enough and landlords could be doing more to educate their tenants about the standards that have been set out,” said Jay Finley, senior executive director of FT Finley.

As well problems with energy efficiency, a third of respondents said they believed their kitchens are over 20 years old and their bathrooms more than 30 years old.

And 55% claimed that their property’s external noise insulation is below expectation.

“While homes may have kitchens and bathrooms which tick the box in terms of decent homes standards, this does not seem to meet tenants’ current aspirations or expectations,” added Jay Finley.

“Some landlords are already going above and beyond – setting their own ‘enhanced’ standards, which through a structured investment programme, supplemented by regular maintenance and repairs, sees their properties exceeding the government’s standards and tenant expectations.”

The research also highlighted tenants’ top maintenance concerns, including mould on walls and ceilings (23%). A fifth of tenants also stated that their outdoor fencing and gating was in poor repair.

Mr Finley continued: “Bringing specialist contractors in to carry out planned investment and refurbishment programmes can reduce the pressure on both local authorities and registered providers’ in-house teams, ensuring fewer repairs are needed in the future - driving down costs and improving efficiencies. However, communicating awareness of the standards, and how they are being exceeded, can go a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction.”

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