Innovation Exchange

Regeneration of Difficult-to-Let Properties

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further Information

In February 2013, the Housing and Health Committee approved a report recommending the renovation of 15 Council properties at Old Mill Road, Rattray, Blairgowrie. These difficult to let properties had been derelict for a number of years and as well as detracting from the look of the local area; there was a considerable loss of revenue to Perth and Kinross Council. Permission was granted to renovate the properties on the basis that they would:

 

  • Meet some of the housing need in the Rattray area enabling households on the waiting list to remain in the area and maintain schooling, social and employment links.
  • Improve the standard and choice of affordable housing opportunities.
  • Improve the area from an environmental point of view.
  • Create a safer, sustainable community.

 

The renovation focused on the inclusion of ‘eco features’, aimed at improving the thermal performance of the properties and lowering carbon emissions. The houses are located outwith the mains gas network and the works included the provision of insulation to the exterior walls, loft insulation, under-floor insulation and triple glazing along with the installation of insulated external door sets and energy efficient heating systems, incorporating solar water heating.

 

To address any previous negative factors for the site, the Project Team developed a plan that would:

 

  • Create a sustainable community
  • Minimise any possible stigmatisation of tenants and residents
  • Protect residents from nuisance and anti-social behaviour
  • Create a sense of community and promote a sense of pride in the area

 

There were three key components to achieving these aims. The first was to fully involve the community and new prospective tenants in all aspects of the project.

 

Secondly it was also agreed that a Local Lettings Plan would be introduced along with a marketing strategy to promote the desirability of the area as a good place to live. Local Lettings plans are widely used by social housing providers as a way of promoting balanced and sustainable communities.

 

In addition, a Neighbourhood Agreement was drawn up in collaboration with a range of internal and external partners. Tenants and residents were also involved in producing this agreement which complements the Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement which all tenants sign up to.

 

Work to the properties started in October/November 2013 and was completed in July 2014.  Tenants moved into their new tenancies on 14 July 2014.  A considerable amount of work was carried out in partnership with new tenants and existing residents in advance of the properties being ready for occupation.

Theme: Housing and Regeneration

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There were two main work streams to this project both with clear rationale and objectives - the renovation of the properties and the subsequent allocation and future tenancy management of the properties and surrounding area.

 

In terms of the renovation of the properties, it was proposed that the renovation would focus on the inclusion of ‘eco features’, aimed at improving the thermal performance of the properties and lowering carbon emissions.

 

In terms of the allocation and future management of the properties, it was proposed a Local Lettings Plan would be introduced along with a marketing strategy to promote the desirability of the area as a good place to live. Local Lettings plans are widely used by social housing providers as a way of promoting balanced and sustainable communities. The Local Lettings Plan was the first of its kind for mainstream, residential properties and allowed for the allocation of properties according to the particular circumstances of the area by letting to a household that will contribute to the sustainability of that community.

 

In addition, a Neighbourhood Agreement was also drawn up in collaboration with a range of internal and external partners. Tenants and residents were fully involved in producing this document.  This is a document which complements the Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement which all tenants sign up to. This was another first of its kind for Perth and Kinross Council tenants. It encourages and promotes neighbourliness - another tool to promote a balanced and sustainable community in an area where there has historically been issues with criminality, anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

As at January 2015, all tenancies are being well managed and sustained. Evidence from the Settling-In Visits in August 2014 demonstrated that tenants were very satisfied with their homes and residing in the area.  There were some minor/snagging repairs in the early days but these were resolved timeously. There were two low level neighbour complaints which were investigated and acted on quickly. There have been no environmental issues and external areas continue to be very well maintained. Rent arrears levels have been low in comparison to other areas. This can be attributed to the proactive work which was undertaken by staff from the Area Team in advance of the tenancies being let.

A Tenant Satisfaction Survey was issued to tenants to highlight any issues and allow these to be addressed in a proactive way.  The following comment is one positive piece of feedback received through this survey process:

 

“Me and my family are happy to live here.  It’s very homely, cosy and quiet. My neighbours are friendly. I just remember when the Council offered me this place. Without hesitation, I accepted it. One thing is for sure, I am so thankful to God and to all the staff who are very kind-hearted in giving this place as our home.”

The project has met out its original objectives and has:

 

  • Met housing need in the area enabling a number of households to remain in the area and maintain schooling, social and employment links
  • Improved the overall standard and choice of affordable housing opportunities for applicants on our waiting list
  • Improve the overall appearance and amenity of the area from an environmental point of view
  • Created a safer, sustainable community for the local residents

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Andrea McCallum

Team Leader

Perth and Kinross Council

01738 476079

Case study added to site: June 2016

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