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Homes investment raises standards for thousands of tenants

Thousands of council tenants in communities across Swansea are benefiting from millions of pounds of investment in upgrading their homes.

Housing

That's the conclusion of study by a councillor-led scrutiny panel looking at the council's effort to ensure the 17,500 homes it's responsible for are up to an acceptable standard of accommodation by 2020.

All social housing landlords in Wales have to make sure their properties are up to standards set by the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.

It means kitchens, bathrooms, heating, windows and the external environment of neighbourhoods have to be up to scratch.

Swansea Council has been investing millions of pounds in upgrades and the cross-party scrutiny panel praised the authority for accelerating the programme in recent years.

Cllr Terry Hennegan, convenor of the scrutiny panel, said: "Feedback from tenants has been positive so far and it's clear to us that the council has a good grasp of what it needs to do to achieve the standard in the next four years.

"We'd like to see greater use of Building Advisory Groups which are a tried and tested way to ensure contractors are able to get to know tenants and local councillors as a way of ensuring problems don't escalate.

"We'd also like to see 'before and after' pictures being taken in council properties to demonstrate the transformation in quality of accommodation that tenants are experiencing."

More than £8m was invested in council properties in Penlan and Gendros over the last year to fit new kitchens, boilers, bathrooms and re-wiring.

Overall the council expects to spend around £260m improving its housing stock by 2020.

The work is not just benefiting tenants - it's also helping create local jobs and apprenticeships.

The cost of the work is being funded from the proceeds of tenants' rents via the council's Housing Revenue Account. None of it is being funded from council tax. 


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