CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Coun Peter Coupland
For this column I’m going to focus on how South Holland District Council looks after some 3,000 rented council homes in the district.
The authority’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) helps to maintain all of these properties which include family homes, flats and sheltered bungalows for the elderly.
The HRA rental income from these properties goes towards the constant maintenance and refurbishment of these homes.
For instance the last contract for new kitchen and bathroom re-fits on 200 homes was £2 million.
Rental income is also spent on heating re-fits, gas servicing, re-roofing, windows, doors and so on.
You could say that it’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge – when you have finished the 3,000th house refurbishment it starts all over again.
The HRA have a team of around 30 staff comprising of admin and building trades people who are totally committed to the day-to-day maintenance and refurbishment of the 3,000 homes to ensure they function as they should and remain in a good condition for all the tenants.
The council prides itself on the standard of rented accommodation that it provides in the district.
The HRA also have a house building programme across the district and look to construct/acquire around 200 more homes for rental over the next 4/5 years.
All rental monies received into the HRA has to be spent on housing needs within the HRA; the general fund of the council that supplies services to the district – i.e. waste collection, environmental, etc – cannot use one penny from the HRA to help with these services.
Government guidelines dictate how an authority uses housing rental incomes – it all has to be spent on the housing needs of the authority.