Council housing annual tenants report

The following report sets out how the Council performed as a landlord to Council tenants in 2019/20.

How we performed in 2019/20

Published December 2020

The Scottish Social Housing Charter sets out what your landlord should be doing for you and the standard of services you should receive. The Scottish Government introduced the Charter in 2012 after extensive consultation. It was updated in 2017. 

Every year the Scottish Housing Regulator reviews landlord performance. You can see the City of Edinburgh Council Annual Return on the Charter and compare our performance with other landlords in Scotland by visiting the Scottish Housing Regulator’s website .

Overall, the City of Edinburgh Council’s performance in 2019/20 was a mixed picture. Performance remained strong in a number of areas, including letting homes, tenancy sustainment and rent collection. But some services show a decline in performance or remain below the local authority average.

We are committed to addressing these areas where performance needs to improve. A housing service improvement plan (HSIP) was started in 2019/20 which aims to increase customer satisfaction, improve performance and reduce costs, with a focus on delivering more effective and responsive services for customers. Work is progressing across all areas of the housing service, with an early focus on improving the repair service for tenants. Read on to find out more about 2019/20 performance and the actions we’re taking to improve our services.

We’d really like to see more tenants sharing their views and helping us to improve services. To get involved email

[email protected]

Overall service

We have over 19,000 homes, making us the 6th biggest landlord in Scotland.

24,000 households are currently registered for social rented homes in Edinburgh.

73.8% tenants were satisfied with the overall service provided by their landlord.

83% of complaints were responded to on time.

How we are improving

We are continuing to deliver on tenant priorities to build more homes, improve existing homes and neighbourhoods and deliver new and improved services.

We have a housing service improvement plan which aims to:

  • increase tenant satisfaction
  • improve performance
  • reduce costs and ensure value for money

This covers all areas of the service, including core service delivery, repairs, lettings, the way we communicate with tenants and better use of online services.

Homes and neighbourhoods

Over 2,300 affordable homes are currently being built by the Council and our housing association partners. Thousands more are in design and development.

Over the last five years £165m has been invested in improving existing homes and neighbourhoods, with an emphasis on making homes easier and cheaper to heat, including:

  • 7,100 homes with new kitchens and bathrooms
  • 7,100 homes with new modern heating systems
  • 1,600 homes with new doors and windows
  • 5,200 homes with electrical upgrades
  • 2,900 homes with external fabric upgrades
  • 280 neighbourhood improvement projects.

73.2% of tenants were satisfied with the quality of their home in 2019/20.

How we are improving

Work is well underway to deliver more affordable housing in the city and achieve the Council’s commitment to build at least 20,000 homes by 2027. As well as building new homes, it’s important that we improve existing homes. Satisfaction with quality of home is lower than most Scottish councils, so we know there is still more work to be done.

We know that tenants also want to see improvements to their neighbourhoods. A full area-based approach to regeneration and a new mixed tenure improvement service is being tested out with the first projects underway in the south west of the city. The aim is to create well-designed open spaces, working alongside planning and transport services to promote active travel and access to local amenities.

We are also looking to improve the way our neighbourhoods are managed and maintained.

Rent

We collected over 99% of the rent due last year. This is slightly higher than most other Scottish councils.

While rent collection remains strong, there is still a growing number of tenants in some level of arrears.

We are making it easier for you to pay your rent. it is important to remember help and advice is available from your housing officer if you are experiencing difficulties.

How we are improving

This year, our rent service was maintained throughout lockdown and we’re continuing to make improvements.

Our Income Maximisation Officers are supporting tenants to access financial assistance and independent and specialist debt advice.

We are making it easier to pay, through flexible direct debit payment options and an AllPay payment app.

We’ve also been contacting tenants who are moving on to Universal Credit to provide information and support.

Lettings

In 2019/20 we let over 1,130 homes in an average of 28.7 days. That’s around 9 days quicker than most other Scottish councils.

Over 93% of our new tenants are still in their home a year later – higher than most other Scottish councils.

In 2019/20 78.5% of our lets were allocated to homeless households – over 30% more than most other Scottish councils.

How we are improving

Performance remains strong is this area, with a reduction in average calendar days to re-let properties while the local authority average continues to rise.

Work is underway to further improve the re-let process so we can continue to turn homes around quickly and to a consistent high standard.

A range of improvements are planned for 2021 to help tenants plan for and to settle into their tenancy.

Repairs

In 2019/20 we carried out:

  • 49,800 non-emergency repairs.
  • 19,800 emergency repairs.

Emergency repairs were carried out in around 5 and a half hours

83.8% tenants were satisfied with the repairs they had; however, this is lower than most other Scottish councils.

We know that the repairs service is a key area for improvement. There are a range of improvement measures already underway.

How we are improving

A new system called Total Mobile has been introduced to help with scheduling repairs appointments. Operatives can now receive and view job details on mobile devices. This is allowing them to work safely and it also means they have better information about the job they are attending to help us get repairs right first time for tenants.

We’re improving the way we communicate with you by introducing text message reminders for repairs appointments. We are improving the way we resolve issues when they do arise, focusing on getting these sorted out quickly and keeping tenants informed. We’re also testing out a new video call system which will give tenants the option to speak directly to an operative to help better diagnose repairs.