Westminster Council’s housing management has been in trouble for too long. After pressure from Labour the council scrapped the failing City West Homes in 2019, but tenants and leaseholders are still struggling with late or poorly done repairs, major works that have been delayed or run over budget, and a top-down approach that fails to listen to residents.
If Labour win the Council Elections on May 5th we will take urgent action to improve things for our residents. Labour has a ten-point plan that will:
- Create a new generation of small estate offices where housing officers can base themselves closer to the estates they are supervising to better meet with residents and solve problems;
- Increase the number of local housing officers so everyone has a named representative regularly visiting their block to take action and ensure residents’ concerns are dealt with;
- Set up a Westminster Housing Review to undertake a root and branch investigation of housing management in Westminster with a focus on supporting and empowering residents;
- Strengthen the power of local residents’ associations and sounding boards so they are resident-led, with a new city-wide supervisory residents’ panel and annual conference bringing together residents from both Westminster and local Housing Associations;
- Improve the call centre and online reporting services, while expanding access to in-person housing advice sessions, including more in the evenings for working people;
- Undertake an urgent stock condition survey of Council-owned blocks and properties and work towards resolving urgent disrepair issues with a prioritised repairs plan;
- Set out a repairs charter that sets out what residents should expect from the Council’s repairs service and enable them to better hold them to account. This will commit to:
- Improving the follow-up of recent repairs to ensure works are done well;
- Strengthening checks on the condition of property before residents move in;
- Reforming the Council’s compensation schemes to better support residents.
- Introduce a new leaseholders’ charter that sets out the support resident leaseholders deserve, giving them a greater say in what happens and focusing on preventing extortionate major works bills and hikes in the service charge due to the Council’s management costs;
- Boost the capacity of council teams working on anti-social behaviour on our estates and improve collaboration with the local police;
- Invest in fire safety measures to protect residents in Council housing, including sprinkler systems and improve how current fire safety works are being implemented.
Westminster Labour Group leader Cllr Adam Hug said, “Westminster’s tenants and leaseholders deserve a fairer deal than they have been getting from an out of touch Conservative Council which has neglected their needs for far too long. We will take urgent action to turn this around.”
Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Liza Begum said “As someone who lives in Westminster’s council housing I know first hand the challenges faced by local families from repairs to overcrowding. If Labour wins I’ll work tirelessly to improve standards for tenants and leaseholders.”