As we head into winter, the small issues and repair jobs that we all have in our homes can turn into much bigger problems. Leaks can turn into damp and mould, and boiler issues can result in cold showers and no heating. We are also facing a unique challenge in 2022 with rising costs of living meaning the battle to keep heads above financial choppy waters whilst trying to heat our homes is intense.
We know that businesses we work with in the social housing sector have an important role to play in tackling the lack of quality, affordable housing, both by building new homes to meet demand, but also by maintaining adequate investment and retrofit of existing stock. Failing to maintain properties can have significant consequences for tenants, as well as potentially leading to deterioration to the property that requires greater investment in the long run.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that existing stock is well maintained to support people and families across the UK during these testing times.
The challenge facing the social housing sector
Housing associations are responsible for most repairs across their stock. This includes gas appliances, heating and hot water, electrical wiring, any common areas and the structure and exterior of the building – including the roof, walls, windows, and external doors. They have a duty to keep the property in a good state of repair as well as looking to do all they can to support tenant welfare by providing a safe and stable home. This means they must ensure that any concerns raised by the tenant are addressed and that the tenant is safe and healthy while residing at the property.
Housing associations are not immune from pressure caused by the cost of living either. Clearly, the recently announced rent caps are important for giving tenants certainty around their housing costs going forward. However, this does present a financial challenge for associations who are also facing into increasing costs.
This means the support we provide to over 200 housing associations across the UK helps them navigate the challenges they face as they support the welfare of existing tenants, and work to fulfil the needs of the many thousands of people currently on social housing waiting lists. Since 2018 we have provided over £12.4 billion new financing to the sector, supporting the building of over 35,000 new social homes and the maintenance of homes up and down the country. Across the sector we are seeing associations make great strides as they work to maintain and improve their properties.
For example, Karbon Homes, based in the north east of England, recently completed a £1.35m investment programme in the Northumbrian village of Hadston, modernising and improving over a hundred houses and bungalows. Residents Paul Dove and Zoe Elliott had work done to the home they’ve lived in for 13 years.