Monday, 20 February 2017

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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