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Welcome to the learning4housing blog. I will be posting my thoughts and opinions on a range of issues facing the social housing sector. You are more than welcome to post your comments, whether you agree or disagree on the points. The aim here is to stimulate some debate on these issues, whether they are about current government policy or about best practice in housing management or strategy.

is an independent training provider for the social housing sector. We cover a wide range of subject areas, including anti-social behaviour, homelessness, resident involvement, void control, choice-based lettings, and complaints management, as well as personal skills development around communication, negotiation, assertiveness, influencing, managing people, etc. Please visit the main website for more information at

Please call David on 07986 246406 to discuss your training needs and how we can help, or email at

Thursday, April 7

Housing Repairs 'Cashback' Scheme

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has anounced this morning that a new scheme is to piloted whereby social housing tenants - either individually or collectively - can arrange to complete their own property repairs, either by getting out their own screwdriver or by engaging their own contractor. The Chartered Institute of Housing have responded by raising a number of very relevant points whilst welcoming the general increase in tenant empowerment that could result from this. I would echo this aproach from the CIH. Anything which gives tenants more power over their lives is generally to be welcomed, but there are a range of serious issues that would need to be addressed before such a scheme could proceed. These include:

  • legal issues around the responsibility for landlords to keep their properties in a state a repair under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985; 
  • the potential costs to landlords (and thereby to tenants) of administering and monitoring such a scheme;
  • the costs that could result from rectifying poor quality work;
  • the possibility that some tenants may enter into such a scheme in order to save money, but which could have serious longer term implications on their health and safety within the property;
  • who will ensure that 'cowboy' contractors do not take advantage of tenants, particularly those who may be vulnerable? 
The CIH have raised some other issues which also require addressing. This is one of those scheme which may appear to be a 'good idea' at first glance, but could, if not properly thought through, lead to serious future problems. Let's hope that the pilot landlords are fully supported to ensure that these questions are answered before any roll-out of this policy proceeds.

David Wardle