Housing boss thanks tenants for patience

Published 9th September 2020

Sandwell’s housing boss has thanked council tenants for their patience in waiting for non-urgent repairs to be carried out during the coronavirus pandemic.

And he said that housing repairs teams were making excellent progress, as they worked hard to catch up on outstanding work that had been out on hold in recent months.

Councillor Keith Allcock, cabinet member for homes, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, our asset management and maintenance teams have continued to deliver emergency and statutory services, making sure all our council homes stay safe and secure for tenants.

“All statutory checks such as fire inspections, gas servicing and emergency repairs continued to be delivered, along with our 24-hour call out service – around 52,000 jobs in all.

“However this meant that 3,000 non-urgent repairs had to be put on hold due to COVID-19 safety requirements which meant we couldn’t carry out these types of jobs in peoples’ homes.

“During this time, many of our employees were redeployed to other vital roles supporting vulnerable residents such as working at the council’s food hub.

“But since 22 July, our teams have been back, working extremely hard to catch up on the backlog of non-urgent jobs.

“We’re hoping that by the end of September, this will be cleared, although in the current climate there is a national shortage of some building materials such as plaster and sand which may lead to an additional delay for some repairs.”

Councillor Allcock also gave an update on the council’s ongoing investment in its more than 27,000 council homes.

He added: “Our £40 million improvement programme delivering external refurbishment works including new roofs, windows and doors during the next four years started in May and our £6 million internal programme, which will see tenants benefitting from new kitchens and bathrooms, where needed, will start in January 2021.

“The safety, security and wellbeing of our tenants, leaseholders and employees has been and continues to be our key priority and we have been working hard to address the challenges that have emerged as the weeks and month have progressed.”