Dundee to discuss council housing improvements and Home Owner Support Fund

Dundee City CouncilMore than £1.6 million of improvements to council houses across Dundee are set to be discussed by councillors next week.

Dundee City Council’s housing committee will be asked to award a number of tenders including window replacement and external concrete work.

John Alexander committee convener said: “Our tenants currently enjoy homes which meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard, but we are in no way complacent about that and will continue to invest in the housing stock.

“Following our £157m of investment over the last few years, our commitment to tenants is clear and progress is ongoing through our ambitious plans to drive up standards. We want all of our properties to stand the test of time and to be enjoyed by families for decades to come.”

Kevin Cordell, depute convener of housing committee, added: “These works will ensure that homes are well maintained so that they can provide warm, easy to heat and energy efficient places to live in the city for another generation.”

Window replacements at more than 100 homes in the Douglas area, along with roof replacements at four cottages in Clement Park are recommended to go the council environment department’s contract services division with concrete work at houses across the city to be awarded to Forfar company Anderson Specialist Contracting.

Meanwhile, Dundee could be among the first councils in Scotland to sign up for a new scheme that aims to help people in financial difficulty stay in their own homes.

Councillors will discuss taking part in the Scottish Government’s Home Owner Support Fund to allow owners with money woes to sell their property to the council and pay rent.

John Alexander said: “This will help prevent homelessness by allowing us to step in and offer to buy a property if the owner gets into financial difficulty. However there will be strict criteria under which we can help.

“One of the conditions will be that we offer support through our welfare rights team to maximise the homeowner’s income and avoid a situation where they won’t be able to pay their rent to the council in future.

“By taking part in the scheme we will be increasing the amount of affordable housing to rent in the city adding to the new council houses being built around the city, for example in Alexander Street.

“The range of social housing and the options available to people in Dundee is being supported by the recent rent increase, backed by our tenants in recognition of the good things that can be achieved for the whole city through the money it raises.”

A report to be discussed by the housing committee estimates that up to 10 requests a year could be made.

Under the scheme the Scottish Government will pay a maximum subsidy of 60 per cent of the purchase price for the property set by open market valuation, with the council meeting the rest.

Local authorities can also claim up to £8,500 towards any repairs and checks that might be needed to bring the accommodation up to Scottish Housing Quality Standard.

Any decision on whether to buy a property then lies with the council, who will make an allowance of £900 per property to cover administration costs.

If the committee agrees that the council will take part the criteria for a property to qualify would include it being located in an area of significant need and demand for social rented housing and property size and type with family homes, wheelchair adapted housing and one bedroom flats taking priority.

The housing committee meets on Monday, June 8.


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