COUNCIL bosses have announced a £2.5 million investment strategy to help improve and maintain more than 7,000 homes in York.

The Press reported earlier this year that the number of council homes in York in need of essential repairs has jumped from zero to more than 540 in the past three years, according to figures from the local authority.

The council owns about 7,544 homes and records show that last year 546 of those properties failed to meet the decent homes standard set by the Government. This means the properties may need major repairs, have unfit heating or an inadequate kitchen or bathroom.

Now, City of York Council has secured several new contractors to help repair and prevent damp in the homes, modernise kitchens and bathrooms as well as re-wiring properties.

The council said that contractors Engie and G Sanders Builder Ltd will work on homes affected by poor drainage, whilst BM Services York will work on an expected 1,000 kitchens and bathrooms over the next four years.

Meanwhile, the painting of tenants’ homes will be completed by three other contractors.

The council’s target is to complete work on 60 homes per year as part of a rolling programme. Tenants whose homes are due for this work will receive letters at least two months before it is due to start, to organise surveys with the contractor.

They added that the work needed to be done will be agreed with the tenant beforehand to “help resolve the damage”.

Where appropriate, refurbishments may also be carried out at the same time.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “Our tenants expect good-quality homes which are well-maintained by us.. We also expect good quality work from our contractors to ensure that these homes are well maintained and repaired. Just as we have been rigorous in procuring them, as a responsible landlord, we will hold them to account.

“We will write to tenants shortly to let them know about when work is due to be carried out on their homes.”