Update from the engagement panel 9 November.
The engagement panel met on 9 November at the BP offices. Despite the chaos caused by heavy rain and traffic issues, we were able to get through the agenda.
Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 and Renters Reform Bill
We were joined by Joe Warren, the solicitor for BP who updated the panel on recent changes to housing law. Joe outlined the Renters Reform Bill of 2023 that includes new standards for landlords including management of anti-social behaviour, hate crime and domestic abuse. The bill also includes a duty of social housing providers to address how they manage shared spaces and finally the increase of policies and evidence to regulators.
Whilst all the law stuff is quite complicated, the main point seems to be that housing providers will need to address these areas in a more structured and cohesive way. They will need to continue working with other agencies such as the police and Bristol City Council to make sure that issues experienced by tenants can be tackled.
The new Tenancy Standard recommends that properties that have been adapted should be used by people that require these adaptations. Process updates should make the best use of stock, address tenancy fraud and focus on tenancy sustainment.
Although not in law yet, the new approach to tenancies will see the end of fixed-term tenancies. This is in both the private and the public sectors and for housing associations, this means that they will no longer be able to offer starter tenancies.
There will be a new notice period of two months for tenants and rent increases will also require two months’ notice.
Responsive Repairs update
The second part of the meeting was led by Luke Mitchell who provided a repairs team update. A new manager for the team has been appointed and they are working closely with Alliance Homes. Alliance Homes also has a new director. Luke noted that the number of complaints about repairs is going down.
We felt that some more clarity over who does what, when and where would be useful. A panel member also noted that some of Alliance Home’s processes aren’t as effective as they could be due to a lack of supplies on their vans. Luke mentioned that both Brighter Places and Alliance Homes are working on the post-COVID backlog and additional funding has been allocated to address this.
Q2 Performance Data
In the final part of the meeting, Danielle gave updates on the Q2 performance. The overall picture is that of a steady improvement in most areas. The panel noted that the organisation is on a journey that is largely positive for tenants. The Q2 report is on the Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSM) page on the website
If any resident is interested in the panel meetings and would like to come along to a meeting as an observer please contact the engagement team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
All residents are welcome.
Sarah White – Panel member