Union claims cashback scheme is danger to tenants
A government scheme to encourage tenants to carry out their own repairs has been branded ‘dangerously flawed’ by trade union Ucatt.
The construction union said tenant cashback, which will allow tenants to claim back up to £500 for carrying out small DIY jobs, could expose tenants to asbestos or other health risks.
Steve Murphy, general secretary of the union, said: ‘Councils and housing associations employ qualified repairs and maintenance workers who should be undertaking this safety critical work.’
Concerns have also been raised about the quality of the work that might be carried out by tenants.
Will Davies, co-founder of property maintenance company aspect.co.uk, said: ‘The scheme looks attractive on paper but when you factor in the costs of checking work has been completed correctly or repairs for jobs that have been botched it is unworkable.’
Landlords have been more positive about the scheme. Hammersmith and Fulham said it could save money and improve the quality of homes.
Cabinet member for housing Andrew Johnson said: ‘If tenants are doing their own minor repairs they are more likely to treat their property well, reducing the amount of maintenance work required and therefore the demand on council services.’
Housing association Home Group, which is piloting the scheme, said indications so far are positive.
Rosemary Du Rose, executive director of customer service, said: ‘The people taking part say the customer reward scheme gives them a sense of ownership for the upkeep and maintenance of their homes.’
Housing minister Grant Shapps heightened the debate over the scheme yesterday by announcing that it could help people find work by allowing them to become ‘an apprentice in their own home’.