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Improvements to Council housing/Welsh Housing Quality Standard

The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) is the Welsh Government's target standard for all social housing in Wales.

Council housing improvements

What is the Welsh Housing Quality Standard?

The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) is the Welsh Government's target standard for all social housing in Wales and states that by 2020 all homes should be: 

  • In a good state of repair
  • Safe and secure
  • Adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated
  • Contain up to date kitchens and bathrooms
  • Located in attractive and safe environments
  • Suit the specific requirements of the household

You can read the full WHQSOpens new window on the Welsh Government website.  

What is Swansea Council doing to meet the WHQS?

Swansea Council has been progressing with work to improve homes and estates up to the WHQS by 2020.  There is an ongoing programme of works called the 'Housing Capital Programme' which sets out what repairs and improvements we will make to our 13504 council properties and 637 leasehold properties.  Every year around February time the Council sets the budget for the next financial year and determines what works will be undertaken as part of the annual Housing Capital Programme.

We are investing £117 million between 2019 and 2020 so we reach the WHQS.  The work covers a variety of projects and some properties may need more work than others as properties are different ages, shapes and sizes, and built from different materials.  Swansea Council is working with a number of different contractors to carry out the improvements work.

How will Swansea Council pay for the work?

Welsh Government logo The funding is provided by a combination of council house rent income and borrowed money.  Part of this investment is also given to the Council as a Major Repair Allowance grant from the Welsh Government.  The amount of Major Repair Allowance allocated for 2020/2021 is £9,220,000.  This grant helps improve the lives of those who live in council homes as well as providing community benefits.

Work completed so far and future planned work

Properties will have external and internal work where required so it meets the WHQS.  Some properties may already meet the standard and will not need any work, but some may need a lot.

Tenants will be notified individually in advance, on what work is proposed for their home, including likely start dates and who the contractor will be.

The table below shows a summary of the work completed so far and future planned works:

Type of work to be carried outNumbers completed so farNumber to be done in the next 3 years, up to 2020
External doors13,5190
Smoke alarms13,5190
External facilities/gardens5,3008,219

If you have any questions or would like information about the schemes affecting your property, please contact your district housing office.

WHQS compliance

WHQS compliance is reached when all elements within the WHQS are considered to be in reasonable condition and performing as intended.  The level of compliance is measured via house conditions surveys and updates once repairs and improvements are completed. 

Within the WHQS guidance document is the facility to record elements as 'acceptable fail'.  The document recognises that it may not be possible to bring all elements up to the standard and landlords are permitted to report these as one of the following acceptable fails categories: cost of remedy; timing of remedy; residents' choice; and physical constraint.  Those elements that cannot be brought up to the WHQS, will continue to be repaired and maintained to ensure homes remain safe.

The level of WHQS compliance for Swansea can be seen by visiting the Stats Wales website.

Here's a timetable of the kitchen and bathroom schedule

To find out more about the work, please see our kitchen and bathroom improvement scheme booklet  PDF Document Kitchen and bathroom improvement scheme booklet (PDF, 6MB)Opens new window 

To find out more about work that has been completed so far and future planned work in the various areas of Swansea see   and .

Is there any help and advice available whilst work is being carried out on my home?

The Council have a Housing Improvement team whose main role is to provide advice, support and guidance for
tenants before, during and after building repair works are carried out, working in partnership with the technical staff who project manage the schemes and the contractors who undertake the work.  

Before any repair work begins, the Housing Improvement Officer will contact tenants by letter or in person to explain what work will be undertaken, how long it may take and how it will affect you when work is in progress.  During the course of the work, the Housing Improvement Officer is available to assist with any concerns or complaints. After the work is completed, you'll be asked to complete a satisfaction questionnaire to comment on the standard of service received.  Tenants can contact the team on 01792 635117 or email

Disturbance Allowance

This Disturbance Allowance is a discretionary payment that we make following improvement works. This is an allowance to help with the costs of carpet cleaning and making good any decoration. The level of allowance depends on the amount of work undertaken. The allowances are fixed and cannot be negotiated.  Everyone on the scheme during any financial year will get the same amount.

The payments are made at the end of the work, once the tenant completes and returns the Council's End of Scheme questionnaire.  Allowances can be withheld if a tenant has not complied with their tenancy agreement, or has otherwise obstructed the contract.  It will not be paid if there are rent arrears on the rent account, instead the allowance will be credited to reduce or pay off the arrears.

The following Disturbance Allowance applies to the Kitchen and Bathroom Scheme:   

  • £50 for the bathroom
  • £100 for the Kitchen
  • £200 for full rewiring - No payment will be made for partial rewiring

Housing Development

Plans to build new council housing begun in 2015 when the rules governing how housing finances itself were changed allowing Housing Services to explore the opportunity to build social housing in order to increase the housing stock in Swansea. Since then, a number of developments have been completed and others are ongoing. Here you will find more information.

Welsh Housing Quality Standard - Update 2019/20

The Council is improving homes and estates to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. Like many programmes WHQS has been affected by Covid 19. The Welsh Government is currently reviewing a deadline and the Council would expect to have some guidelines in the coming months.

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