Monday, 20 October 2014

Impact assessment shows health concerns with tenant cashback scheme

The government has admitted that a new scheme to let tenants control their repairs might lead to health and safety problems.

The tenant cashback scheme, introduced by housing minister Grant Shapps in April, will allow tenants to carry out repairs themselves or choose a local company to do the work. Their landlords will then reimburse them.

An impact assessment for the scheme, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government last week, said extra costs to landlords could be incurred through ‘poorer quality building work being carried out, thus reducing the value of social housing’.

Individual landlords will decide how to administer their repairs budget under the scheme, which the government says will save money and increase tenant choice. Gas and electric repairs are not included in the plans.

The report, signed by Mr Shapps, also acknowledges that the scheme may cause procurement problems for landlords, and that ‘greater tenant involvement in maintenance may carry minor health and safety impacts for tenants’.

‘Tenant cashback might lead to increased risk of injury by encouraging tenants to engage in maintenance tasks where they are not as well equipped or highly qualified as professionals who currently carry out the work,’ it said.

The impact assessment does not give an estimated cost for implementing the scheme, but said it might be covered by the housing regulator.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Mr Reasonable

    Let's just hope Sid and Doris don't decide to service their own gas boiler.

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  • The tories have been knocking council tenants since the
    general election , with all sorts of cuts , changes and bad
    intentions ......just like the 1980s , and the big fear is that
    they will try to privatise social housing.
    Most councils no longer have their own direct labour force,
    with private companies being brought in to do the work,
    and other council housing services have also been
    diminished or stopped.The tories must want to abolish
    any repairs service,just like a lot of private sector housing !

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  • Chris

    I wonder if Shapps's game plan of an announcement a week no matter waht will now be rethought, before he kills those he is not making homeless?

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  • You've hit the nail on the head Mr Reasonable.

    Technically - under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 - there is no legal restriction on who can do their own gas work. Section 1 of the regulations only states that the person must be "competent to do so"

    The only requirement on people being Gas Safe Registered is if they are 'employed' to do gas work (sec 3 of the regs).

    So Sid and or Doris can service their gas boiler - or doing any other gas work - believing themselves to be competent. And if we only find out that they weren't competent when they've blown up their home and the rest of the block that they live in, well there you go......

    It'd take some catch under Tenant Cashback to say that the tenant was being 'employed' by their landlord, to cover them in the gas safety regulations.

    But then if they are 'employed' would that affect any benefit claimed, or having to pay National Insurance etc....

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