£2.7m cost of York’s council house repairs

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Political Reporter

REPAIRS to council houses in York cost more than £2.7 million in 2011-12, official figures show.

The total bill for City of York Council included £686,663 for work on empty homes and £616,703 on joinery work, according to the authority’s accounts.

The council has more than 8,000 tenants, with the cost of maintaining houses coming to £2.747 million during 2011-12 – the last year for which official figures are available. It spent £348,435 on electrical repairs, £155,757 on plastering work, £471,495 on plumbing and £279,251 for repairs to the roofs of its housing stock. A further £63,335 was used to pay for repairs to doors and £126,137 was spent on brickwork repairs.

The authority also spent £51,604 on clearing rubbish, £12,407 on pest control and £51,562 on damp-proofing.

The council is responsible for many repairs to its housing stock, including bathrooms, chimneys, gas and electric systems which have not been fitted by the tenant, damage to doors which has been caused accidentally, kitchen units, water supplies, drains, windows, ceilings, floors, walls and stairs.

However, it does not have responsibility for doorbells and chains, cookers which are not rented from the council, blocked sinks, washing machines, sheds and any “inside decoration”.

The accounts also showed the council paid £3,156 in “customer compensation” relating to council houses in 2011/12, while fire safety checks cost £41,592 and gas safety “protocols” – including standard annual checks and any assessments which are legally required when a house becomes vacant – cost just over £1 million.

Sharon Brookes, the authority’s head of building services, said: “The council has a responsibility to ensure all tenants’ homes are maintained to an acceptable standard.

“This includes ensuring the structure and exterior of the building is in good repair and the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation and rubbish disposal are also in good working order.

“Tenants are provided with an agreement which explains both the council’s and the tenant’s responsibilities and the consequence of any potential damage, and the council has also produced a guide for tenants on how they can help reduce condensation and mould and prepare their homes for winter, including information on preventing frozen pipes.”

She said the council was also carrying out a painting programme for external woodwork and communal areas. The accounts said the authority’s paint and repair project cost £710,838 last year, while £59,262 was spent on stairlifts and £5,692 on passenger lifts.

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