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Adaptations Policy for HRA Property

13/02/2017 - Adaptations Policy for HRA Property

Matter for Decision

A comprehensive review of the Disabled Adaptations Service had been completed and the Policy would replace the previous version dated 2008. In order to continue to provide a high quality adaptations service to its tenants and to balance the best use of its resources, the City Council aims to bring greater parity between the way housing adaptations are managed through the housing revenue account and the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) regime applied to other social housing and the private sector.

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

 

  i.  Approved the Disabled Adaptations Policy 2017.

 

Reason for the Decision

As a result of government changes announced in 2015, the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is facing significant financial pressures requiring fundamental reviews of all HRA funded housing services. These reviews are described in the Housing Transformation reports submitted to Housing Scrutiny Committee throughout 2015 and 2016 and are further reported to this meeting in January 2017. Proposals previously approved by the Scrutiny Committee specifically included for a review of the adaptation service for disabled tenants which has not been examined since 2008.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

 

The Committee received a report from the Head of Estates & Facilities.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Expressed concerns regarding the move towards parity with Registered Social Landlords and the potential for this to be a ‘race to the bottom’ with further cuts to follow.

  ii.  Expressed concern that means testing would hit those on low incomes but with savings, harder than those with a higher income but little or no savings.

  iii.  Discussed the suggestion around moving tenants to a more suitable property rather than carrying out extensive alterations and concluded this was sensible.

  iv.  Were satisfied that tenants would be assisted with relocation costs that were appropriate (in line with the under occupancy policy).

  i.  Praised officers as there had been good consultation.

 

The Temporary Housing and Housing Support Manager and the Head of Estates & Facilities responded to Members’ questions as follows:

  ii.  The policy needed to be fit for purpose.

  iii.  Current policy had no upper limit for adaptations to an individual property.

  iv.  Clarified how fencing could be classed as adaptions where a tenant or leaseholders needs meant that they needed more than the standard chain link fencing.

  v.  The first £1,000 of any adaptation would be free of charge.

  vi.  A leaflet would be produced clarifying applicants rights and responsibility.

 vii.  Based on the pattern of past applications, it was expected that less than 30% of applicants would be required to contribute financially towards adaptations. However, past patterns cannot predict future need and the policy was seen as the best way to achieve the maximum for the limited budget.

 

The Strategic Director confirmed that the policy was needed as the current position was unclear and confusing. She confirmed that a clear policy setting out the options was needed to allow tenants and leaseholders to make informed choices.

 

The Executive Councillor stated that he understood the concerns over means testing. However, the policy had had a long drafting process, extensive consultation and had been well received.

 

The Committee resolved by 9 votes to 2 to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.