Housing minister tours North Lanarkshire

Housing and Welfare  Minister Margaret Burgess MSP (red jacket) at the Local Homes hub in Bellshill during her tour of North Lanarkshire.
Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess MSP (red jacket) at the Local Homes hub in Bellshill during her tour of North Lanarkshire.

North Lanarkshire Federation of Tenants and Residents Association welcomed Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess to hear success stories from across the area.

The federation, in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, has delivered a number of changes to housing services.

These include the use of new technology, tenant led scrutiny, new house letting standards and improved communication.

Over the past three years, rent loss has been reduced by over £125,000 and the time taken to re-let a house cut to 24 days becoming one of the top performers in Scotland in terms of improvement works, quality of homes let and savings made reducing lost rent.

Ms Burgess said: “I was pleased to meet North Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Federation of Tenants and Residents Association. I am impressed with the partnership working.

“Informed, empowered tenants are better able to positively influence how their housing services are delivered effectively and efficiently.

“It’s essential that the quality of service social landlords are delivering, including feedback on the condition of social housing when it is allocated to new tenants, is maintained.”

The minister was welcomed by the council’s head of Housing Services Elaine McHugh and federation chairwoman Anne McGhee.

She took in a presentation about the Local Homes Service before taking a tour of the Local Homes hub to see the new technology in action.

Ms McGhee said: “A lot of time and effort goes into our scrutiny activities to make sure we get it right first time, and we agree next steps and changes with the council’s housing services who are very supportive in all our scrutiny activities.”

North Lanarkshire Council has approximately 36,200 homes making it Scotland’s largest local authority landlord.

It deals with around 3,250 void properties a year and carries out over 150,000 repairs.

Councillor Sam Love, the council’s convener of Housing and Social Work Services, said: “By reducing the amount of rental lost during the void period, we have been able to re-invest monies in further improving the quality of our house letting standard.

“Our high performing service ensures people benefit from an efficient housing allocation process, with new tenant satisfaction levels now exceeding 90 per cent.

“All areas of void performance have improved during the last three years and this is due to the strong relationship we have formed with the federation and our contractors. I’m confident our performance will continue to go from strength to strength.”