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Friday, June 24, 2011

700 Lincoln council tenants fail to take up free home improvements

700 Lincoln council tenants fail to take up free home improvements

TENANTS in 700 council homes in the city failed to take up the offer of new kitchens, bathrooms and other household improvements.

The City of Lincoln Council has visited thousands of houses as part of a scheme to give all residents a decent standard of living.

But for various reasons, hundreds more tenants have not let the council install the new fixtures and fittings.
Reasons given range from not wanting the disruption of workmen in the home to not thinking the work was needed.
The council said older residents tended to feel a kitchen that had lasted for twenty years would last longer and did not see the need for an upgrade.
In some cases, access was refused without an explanation.
Councillor for housing Richard Coupland said: "We encourage all of our tenants to take advantage of this scheme, although we still have about 700 properties that haven't yet.
"We can't force people to have these home improvements unless it's for health and safety reasons, but we do try to persuade them of the benefits.
"In cases where tenants opt out of the improvements, we would wait until that property becomes vacant and carry out the work before a new tenant moves in.
"We have recently written to all 700 tenants and have had a positive response rate, with 400 replies and several hundred appointments booked already."
In the past five years the council has installed 1,249 bathrooms, 2,304 kitchens and done 3,380 electrical re-wires, as well as repairing chimneys, roofs, doors and thousands of heating systems.
It is all part of the Government's Decent Homes programme, which has resulted in more than 300 local people being employed as contractors, permanent staff members or apprentices.
Councillor Coupland said: "The Decent Homes programme has been an enormous success.
"We have brought well over 5,000 homes up to a 'decent' standard, investing more than £50 million in the process."
Childminder Vanessa Leech, who has been a council tenant for 25 years, said she was surprised people were not jumping at the chance to have a home upgrade.
Mrs Leech, 45, who lives in the Hartsholme Estate, said: "I had my kitchen done about four years ago and it was definitely welcome, we needed an upgrade at that point.
"I'm not sure why people aren't taking up the offer. Why wouldn't you?
"The only thing I can think is that maybe the older generations think of how the council used to be, which wasn't great.
"In the past few years, how the council works has really improved and it is loads better now. Maybe people don't realise that."

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