By Martin Graham
Glasgow City Council has announced a £1.5m fund to help private homeowners to carry out essential repair work.
The fund, along with the new powers granted to local authorities as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, means that the council can enforce work to be carried out to resolve the issue, especially prevalent in tenements, where a minority of owners are unwilling to pay their share of essential repairs.
The money will be allocated from the Council’s Private Sector Housing pot and will be set aside into a fund that can be used to cover the costs of moderate repair work carried out under statutory notice.
Work paid from the fund will be replenished as accounts and fees are repaid to the council, with the local authority charging a fee of 15% to cover its technical and administrative costs.
A lack of participation by some homeowners often means that problems such as rain penetration is not dealt with, dampness not treated and this lack of timely remedial action leads to a much more serious and expensive repair, and misery for those owners willing, but unable, to get consensus to address the problem.
Until now, the council was unable to assist owners or property mangers in carrying out this work because it did not have the necessary resources to cope the scale of the problem and the housing services lacked the appropriate power to enforce the work by all owners.
As reported in the Local News previously, lack of repairs to properties can lead to buildings becoming dangerous, like the property on Cathcart Road in Mount Florida which was in such poor repair that masonry was falling on to the pavement below.
Councillor Elaine McDougall, Executive Member for Housing, said: ‘We regularly receive calls from frustrated home owners, across the city, in tenemental properties, who cannot gain agreement from all owners to pay for minor but essential repair work to their properties.
‘Up until now, we have been unable to assist all of these owners or property managers but this new power allows us to enforce the work to be carried out and recover the full cost from all the owners.
‘This scheme will help to improve the quality of the city’s older housing stock, preserving it for future generations, and I would hope that if proved successful, this self-sustaining fund can be expanded in the future.’
This is a step towards the model for property management common in Edinburgh, where there are no factors for tenement closes, rather the council acts as property manager and issues statutory notices for essential repairs to each homeowner.