SPEAKING TO Conservative Home, Housing Minister, Grant Shapps has backed a “Tenant Cashback” scheme that could revolutionise housing repairs in Thurrock.
Mr Shapps said: “Many Council and Housing Association tenants take tremendous pride in their home, and it’s about time we recognised and expanded this kind of responsibility.
‘Tenant Cashback’ will allow house-proud residents to take over more of their repairs budget and carry out their own DIY or choose a local handyman to do the work. Any savings made will be theirs to pocket.
There are over 4 million social homes in England, and landlords spend an average of £1,000 on repairs on each of them every year.
If you’re handy with a screwdriver, paintbrush or hammer then it’s crazy that you have to call out your landlord to do even the smallest of jobs. You should be able to just get on and do it – hanging on to some of the cash you have saved them. Money you can then put towards whatever you want for your family or perhaps as a deposit for shared equity in your own home.
If tenants step up to the plate and manage to drive down the cost of maintenance then this could lead to them receiving cheques in the post worth thousands of pounds.
And if groups of tenants want to club together then Tenant Cashback can become Community Cashback and the money will go to improve the local neighbourhood. Tenants might decide to invest in Photovoltaic Cells, using the Feed-In-Tariff, or take over a local shop and set up a People’s Supermarket.
Tenant Cashback holds the potential to transfer money to some of the most hard-pressed people in our society in return for taking on greater responsibility for repairs and maintenance.
Both landlords and tenants will share in the benefits of costs being driven down through more proactive local procurement and a greater individual interest in the cost of repairs.
Landlords will be able to use the annual electricity and gas check-up to ensure that property standards are maintained and enhanced. And they’ll get to use their share of the savings to build more homes.
With £4bn a year spent on social housing repairs and maintenance, it’s not hard to see how Tenant Cashback could enhance the lives of millions of hard-working people.
Today I’m launching a pilot involving both Council and Housing Association homes. By the end of this Parliament, Tenant Cashback could be a welcome part of every tenancy; helping social housing to be a springboard to help people make better lives for themselves – as it was always intended to do.