Regulator notes service improvements at City of Edinburgh Council
The Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) has published a revised engagement plan for the City of Edinburgh Council that outlines its progress in improving services for people who are homeless, service quality and tenant and resident safety.
SHR has been engaging with all councils during 2022/23 to assess the risks to people who are threatened with or experiencing homelessness after it reviewed and compared the data for all councils from the Scottish Government’s national homelessness statistics and the Annual Returns on the Charter across 2021/22.
To assess the risk to social landlord services, the Regulator reviewed and compared the 2020/21 service quality performance of all social landlords to identify the weakest-performing landlords. For its review, it excluded the indicators where Covid-19 had the most significant impact on services. During 2022/23, it has been engaging the City of Edinburgh Council about its handling of complaints, anti-social behaviour, rent collection and rent arrears.
The Regulator also contacted the council in July 2022 following media reports of dampness and mould in some of its high-rise blocks in Muirhouse and Moredun. The council shared an improvement plan that it had developed following a recent review of its approach to managing reports of dampness.
The updated engagement plan for the local authority stated: “City of Edinburgh has made progress with its improvement plan, including recruiting additional resources to investigate and address reports of dampness and mould in tenants’ homes. City of Edinburgh has also told us about its plans to invest in retrofit and energy efficiency improvements across the city, including in Muirhouse and Moredun.
“We are seeking assurance about City of Edinburgh’s understanding of the scale of dampness and mould across the city, and the steps it is taking to address this, including how it is managing reports of health concerns being raised by tenants. City of Edinburgh is working openly and constructively with us.”
Councillor Jane Meagher, Edinburgh’s Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work convener, told Scottish Housing News: “We’re continuing to work well with the Regulator and discuss the unique housing challenges we face in Edinburgh. With demand for temporary accommodation increasing 34% in just two years in the capital, at significant cost to the council, our ability to source temporary accommodation at scale is under pressure.
“There is positive change we can point to. For instance, we’re in the process of making lasting improvements to the fabric of thousands of social homes, which are now aging and need investment to limit issues such as damp. Plus, we’re building thousands of new homes to help us to address demand and waiting times.
“We’re determined to provide the very best homes to each and every one of our tenants and we completely recognise that there is more to be achieved. As part of this, we’ve agreed to meet monthly with the Regulator and we shall continue to speak to the Scottish Government about working together to address the financial barriers we face.”