Tenants to pay for deliberate damage to homes

Tenants who deliberately damage their homes will have to pay for repairs, the City of Edinburgh Council confirmed today (Tuesday 29 January).

The guidelines were set out in a Rechargeable Repairs Policy which was discussed with tenant groups last year. Consulted parties included the Edinburgh Tenants Federation, neighbourhood housing staff and equalities groups.

The proposals received positive feedback from all quarters, with 88% of tenants who took part in a survey saying they were in favour of the policy, which also includes support for vulnerable tenants. The latest phase of consultations confirmed support for the policy with no major amendments and was approved by the Council's Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee this morning.

One of the benefits of the new system is that it could be used to identify vulnerable tenants who require additional support. These tenants could then be directed to various support services to receive the extra help they need.

Another key benefit of the scheme is that the Council will be able to target available finance at legitimate repairs, and assist in the funding available for investment in the housing stock.

Councillor Cammy Day, Housing Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "I'm delighted that the rechargeable repairs policy will be implemented in the coming months as it has been been widely supported by everyone we've spoken to.

"All tenants are responsible for looking after their own homes and the Capital Coalition gave a commitment to enforcing tenancy agreements to ensure they fulfill their good conduct responsibilities.

"One of the key measures of success will be that tenants take better care of their homes, which in turn allows us to target the money we spend on supporting tenants who really do need our help - including many vulnerable tenants."

Betty Stevenson, chair of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation, said they were happy to support the policy.

She said: "This will ensure repair costs are targeted at repairs to improve homes for tenants who are in genuine need. If implemented correctly this policy will help to increase tenants' awareness of their responsibilities."

The Council carry out about 146,000 repairs every year at a cost of £20m. The majority of these repairs are in response to direct requests from tenants with the rest made up of planned repairs.

The Rechargeable Repairs Policy will come into force on 1st April 2013.

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