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    P 15
    Some tenants said that building good neighbourhoods was not solely the responsibility of the landlord. Tenants have a part to play and the Charter should address their responsibility to fulfil their duties under the tenancy agreements. As the Charter is about the housing service being provided by landlords, we cannot include this as a separate outcome as suggested. However, these comments perhaps indicate that some landlords are not doing enough to remind tenants of their tenancy obligations, or to enforce tenancy agreements. One of the outcomes could cover this.

    Many also said it would help to create more stable communities if all new tenants were given a probationary tenancy for a set time, during which they would have to show they were able to meet their tenancy conditions (with support if needed).

    Comment – What outcomes would evidence that tenants were able to meet their tenancy conditions and what would evidence they were not able to meet their tenancy conditions? There are many areas in which tenants fail to adhere to their tenancy agreements, for example, causing deliberate nuisance to neighbours by creating unacceptably high noise levels out with social hours. If a tenant was to play loud music and stomp about during their probation what would happen? If they were to play loud music after their probation period what would happen?

    Creating more stable communities involves education initiatives which enable individuals to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors, where the initial education system has been unsuccessful programmes such as ‘Lifeskills Courses’ enable young adults, those with previous dependency issues to make better life choices. These second chances opportunities are vital in supporting those who are homeless and vulnerable individuals. Tenancy support will only work when tenant outcomes are identified. What does the tenant hope to gain from their tenancy? There is a massive difference between ‘a roof over your head’ and a ‘home’. This difference often involves tenant lifestyle choices therefore collaborative working with support groups is vital and should not be left to the landlord to simply enforce tenancy agreement nor simply ‘remind’ tenants of their obligations.

    P 24
    Concerns about anti-social behaviour were raised regularly on the consultation events. These ranged from frustration at the noise caused by neighbours walking on laminate flooring to fear of neighbours apparently involved in criminal activity. However, anti-social behaviour is not just a housing issue and it doesn’t affect only tenants in the social rented sector, it also affects households in the private rented sector and owner occupiers. Therefore, not all aspects of anti-social behaviour are the landlord’s responsibility to remedy. We have tried to reflect that fact in this suggested outcome.

    Comment – Scottish Executive 2006 leaflet entitled ‘ Neighbour Noise Between Flats: The influence of laminate and hardwood flooring’, quotes that ‘If you live in a lower flat and are affected by neighbour noise there are limited options to address the problem’. Does the Scottish Executive think that it is good enough to state ‘there are limited options’? This is not good enough guidance or advice. Similar to ash-deafened floors, post-build service work and alterations such as notching of joists, damaged floorboards and replacement of carpets with laminate or wood flooring leads to poorer levels of sound insulation.

    It is important that rules should be enforced whereby anyone living above ground level should not be allowed to have laminated flooring which leads to disturbance and prevents individuals the right to live the highest quality of life and enjoy the maximum independence possible within their community. There must be protection to those below laminate flooring and those above should be made to have underlay and carpets laid so that they do not cause noise disturbance to their neighbours.

    It is so unfair and unjust that many tenants have to suffer because of inconsiderate others!

    P 4
    As a result of new legislation, the Scottish Government must produce a document called the Scottish Social Housing Charter (the Charter). The Charter will list the standards and outcomes that social landlords should be aiming to achieve for their customers. It will make it clear what people can expect from a social landlord.

    Comment – When the Scottish Government and other organisations come together the purpose should be to give and share information, determine needs, formulate plans and provide appropriate guidance. The outcome should enable the individual to live the highest quality of life and enjoy maximum independence possible within the community. More realistically services have to acknowledge flaws and tensions that exist and devise strategies to overcome them.

    There is no doubt there are complexities relating to service priorities in areas relating to those who are homeless and vulnerable, including Health, Social Care and Housing issues. Collaborative working between Councils, Social Work, Community Groups, Charitable and Voluntary Organisations should equal less confusion for service users. What Landlords should be aiming to achieve for their customers is not possible without collaborative working between Health and Social Care particularly where there is an issue with homelessness and vulnerable groups.

    Tenant

    From Marion , Tenant - 18/04/2011
    Tagged as: tenancy support, anti-social behaviour

    1 comment

  • 4Likes

    [Extract from the TIS report]

    Tenancy Support outcome

    'Delegates believe that all tenants who are vulnerable or at risk of losing their tenancies should receive support not just those in arrears. This could apply to tenants with antisocial behaviour issues, young tenants or tenants with mental health difficulties.

    Delegates would like to see something added to this outcome about landlords providing welfare benefits and money advice services to assist tenants to maximise their income.'

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division (admin) - 9/03/2011
    Tagged as: tenancy support

  • 4Likes

    [Submitted by Cait Ni Cadlaig by email]

    TENANCY SUPPORT

    I feel that anybody who needs help for whatever reason, should be able to speak to and get proper advice from an independent Support Officer.

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division (admin) - 3/03/2011
    Tagged as: tenancy support

  • 0Like

    I have just read the discussion paper.
    My first observation is that the examples of outcomes given are all areas where we are regulated under the present system and I don't see how the Charter will change very much in either our regulation or our desire to improve our service to customers. Good practice guides already cover all of these areas.

    My second observation is that most of the suggested outcomes are self evident.

    I would still like to see the Scottish Government be clear on who social housing is for. Is it part of our welfare state where people access when they need it and then move on or is it a tenure that we want people to aspire to and stay in for life? I suppose these issues are for the "Fresh Thinking/New Ideas " consultation rather than the social housing charter but it is important in managing customer expectations in future.

    The outcome on anti social behaviour is of great importance to customers and most will want firm action from landlords on enforcement of tenancy conditions. However, a growing proportion of the customers who cause the anti social behaviour are themselves vulnerable and come from very difficult backgrounds. Enforcing tenancy conditions can lead to eviction or abandonment which perpetuates the cycle of homelessness. Housing the Homeless is already a government priority so the proportion of vulnerable tenants being housed will increase and so the cycle continues.

    Serious consideration should be given to expanding the use of short tenancies with support. This would give existing customers some comfort that, should a new tenant fail to show that they are able to meet their tenancy conditions, the landlord can act quickly to remove them from the property. Finding the support will be difficult in the current climate, however, this is vital to starting a tenancy well and sustaining a tenancy which is what we are striving for.

    Value for money and efficiency means we should collect more of our rental income and our customers who do pay rent are very keen that we take action against those who don't. The move to a Universal Credit, which is a good idea, will create difficulties for landlords used to receiving over 50% of their income directly from Councils through HB. Giving customers choice about how they spend their benefit will lead to higher arrears and either more evictions or less efficient organisations.

    The Charter is self evident, the challenge of meeting it is tough!

    Posted on behalf of -


    Sandy Welsh
    Head Of Housing Services
    Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association

    From Ian Spence, Social Housing Division (admin) - 28/02/2011
    Tagged as: outcomes, Charter process, tenancy support, anti social behaviour,

    1 comment

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