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Tenants and Leaseholders Annual Report 2022

The 2022 annual report enables you as council tenants or leaseholders to have an informed say about how services are delivered and to allow you to judge the way we’re performing. In addition to this, the report will show our plans for the coming year and the ways in which we will be improving the services you receive. We are required to produce an annual report by the Housing Regulator.

Contents

Councillor Cutkelvin's and Wendy Biddles's introduction
Information about our council homes
Council home rents and how we spend money
The Tenancy Standard
Tenant involvement and empowerment
Homes standard
Neighbourhood and community standard
Chris Burgin, Director of Housing, closing comments


Councillor Cutkelvin’s introduction (Assistant Mayor, Housing)

I am delighted to welcome you to your 2022 annual report. It’s been another eventful year and throughout we have kept tenants and leaseholders at the heart of everything we do.

We have been focused on developing our services, taking the opportunity to see how we might do things differently to meet your needs and expectations. You will find several examples of the improvements we are making in this report.

This year hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly the cost-of-living crisis, which has impacted on our ability to finance services. However, despite this, we are determined to continue the improvements we want to make, and so we are looking at how new technology and smarter ways of working can help us achieve our aims.

Alongside the challenges, there have also been new opportunities for us to enhance our service offer. Examples of this are the Social Housing White Paper which will provide more opportunities for us to work together with you and the Green Homes grant funding which will assist us to meet our climate change targets and improve the energy efficiency of your homes.

I would like to say a special thank you to the members of the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum who give their time, experience, and expertise voluntarily to help improve the services for all council tenants and leaseholders. I hope you enjoy reading the report and that, like me, you are excited about the way our housing services are going to develop over the coming year.


Introduction by Wendy Biddles, the Chair of the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum

As the Chair of the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum I am pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to this report and to let you know more about the valuable work we have been doing.

We work on a voluntary basis on behalf of our communities to ensure that the voices of local people are heard. As a group we have many years’ experience of being involved in improving our local areas. Our aim is to work with the council to help ensure services are as effective as they can be and that they are accessible and delivered to those who need them most.

This year we have focused on ensuring that, in difficult economic circumstances, the council are working as efficiently as possible, as well as supporting tenants and leaseholders who are facing financial difficulties. I hope you enjoy this annual report which the Forum members helped to produce, and that you find it informative and useful.


Why we produce an annual report

This annual report is for you as a council tenant or leaseholder, so that you have information about how our services are delivered and to allow you to have an informed view on the way we’re performing.

In addition to this, the report will tell you about our plans for the coming year and the ways in which we will be improving the services you receive.


Information about our council homes

Leicester Council is one of the country’s largest social landlords, providing homes and services to over 20,000 tenants and leaseholders.

Property types

Across the city we have:

  • 9,621 houses

  • 5,558 flats

  • 1,053 maisonettes

  • 2,765 bungalows

  • 153 bedsits

  • 413 sheltered accommodation units

Location of our properties

In the west area of the city (Beaumont Leys, Mowmacre and New Parks) we have 6,541 council homes, 113 HomeCome properties and 242 leasehold properties.

In the south of the city (Eyres Monsell and Saffron) we have 6,197 council homes, 50 HomeCome properties and 167 leasehold properties.

In the east area of the city (Centre, Humberstone and Rowlatts Hill) we have 6,825 council homes, 72 HomeCome properties and 1,210 leasehold properties.


Right to Buy sales

During 2021 / 22 we lost 311 homes through Right to Buy sales, this was up from 204 sales the previous year.


New council homes

Due to the significant demand for council homes from those in need of affordable housing, we are continually looking to increase the stock of properties we have available to meet this need.

In 2021/22 we:

  • acquired 266 affordable new homes through our acquisitions programme, which includes buying back ex-council homes when these come onto the market for sale.

  • were involved in the building of 82 new affordable homes, both through our own house building programme and in partnership with other social housing providers in the city.


Council home rents and how we spend money

Your rent charge covers the cost of providing you with a home. This includes providing tenancy management, property management and repair services. It is important that we collect all the rent that’s due as we use this money to provide these services.

Leicester City Council rents remain the lowest of any tenure type in the city and when we compare these with other local authorities, our rents are amongst the lowest in the country.

As an example, when we compare our average rents with averages in the private rented sector, we have found our rent for a 1-bedroom property is £67.66 per week, whereas private sector rents amount to £124.62. Likewise, when comparing weekly rents for 3-bedroom properties, council rents average £89.47 and those in the private sector amount to £172.38

During 2021/22 we collected 99.86% of the rent that was owed to us, this was above our target for the year.

At 31 March 2022, tenant rent arrears amounted to £1.577m, which was 12% less than the previous year.

It is your responsibility to ensure your rent is paid on time. We have several ways you can pay your rent. The easiest is online through our website. If you’re struggling to pay your rent, please contact us as soon as possible on 0116 454 1007 or e mail incomemanagement@leicester.gov.uk.

Find out more about the payment of rent and contact details. Financial advice and support can also be found at Better Off Leicester.


How we spend money

Service area 2021/22 2022/23
Management and Landlord Services – this includes, collection rent, dealing with anti-social behaviour complaints and supporting tenants to maintain their tenancies £19.3m £21.8m
Repairs and maintenance – this includes completing day-day repairs reported by tenants £26.1m £25.4m
Capital programme – this money is spent on large projects to ensure our properties are up to standard e.g. re-wires and boiler replacements. Also, money to improve the environment of our estates £16.3m £17.4m
Interest on borrowing – interested is generally paid on money we have borrowed to build new council homes. We get this money back over time when we start charging rent on our new properties £8.9m £9.3m
Charges for support services – this is money we pay for other services such as grounds maintenance and pest control activities £4.2m £4.2m

In 2021 / 22 our staffing costs to deliver services amounted to just over £31m.

In addition to income from rents, our capital programme includes money from other sources, such as money from Right to Buy receipts and grants.

Meeting the Regulatory Standards

All social landlords must meet a set of standards set down by the Regulator of Social Housing. The following gives information about what is required of us and examples of how we are meeting these standards.


The Tenancy Standard

This standard requires us to let our homes to tenants in a fair, transparent and efficient way, making best use of the housing we have available to us and ensuring it contributes to strong successful communities.

In addition to this, we are expected to enable our tenants to have the opportunity to exchange their tenancy with that of another tenant through an internet-based mutual exchange service. It is also expected that the terms of our tenancies should be fair and proper.

How we let our homes

We have a limited number of homes available and the demand for them is high, so we must ensure they go to those with the greatest need. We ensure this happens through our Allocations Policy.

Leicester City Council’s housing is allocated from our housing register through a choice-based lettings scheme called HomeChoice. If you are eligible to join the housing register, HomeChoice allows you to choose and bid for the vacant properties you want, that are suitable for your needs.

  • On 1 April 2022 6,053 households were on our housing register for re-housing

  • 3,589 households on housing register needed re-housing due to their current overcrowded situation. This is the most common reason for households joining the housing register and accounts for 59% of all households on the register.

  • In 2021/22 4,566 people came to our Housing Options service for support and advice about their housing situation.

  • In 2021 / 22 we let 904 council homes to new tenants.

Find out more about our housing register and HomeChoice on our apply for housing page.

Leicester City Council is a member of HomeSwapper, a national home swap scheme which has half a million households where exchanges can potentially take place right across the country.


Management of vacant properties

As part of the Tenancy Standard, we are required to minimise the time that properties are empty between each letting.

Properties are advertised as soon as notice is given by the outgoing tenant so we can start the allocation process without delay. We have a dedicated team that undertakes repairs on empty properties to make sure that homes are made available as quickly as possible. We work flexibly to prioritise repair work to empty properties, to help those households most in need, for example, homeless applicants living in temporary accommodation.

For 2021/22, the average time taken to relet a routine void home was 143 days. During the Covid pandemic, the restrictions placed upon us meant we were not able to carry out repairs as quickly as we would have liked. Since restrictions have been lifted, we have been working hard to reduce the number of properties we have empty at any one time and the time it takes to repair these. We have also conducted a review of our re-let process and will be implementing recommendations from this, to support the reduction in our re-let times.


Conditions of Tenancy

All new Council tenants agree to our Conditions of Tenancy. This document sets out what the tenant and the Council’s responsibilities are.


Helping our tenants remain in their homes

As part of the Tenancy Standard, we are required to develop and provide services that will support tenants to maintain their tenancy and prevent unnecessary evictions.

In 2021/22, 95.6% of our new tenancies were sustained for over a year, 5% higher than last year.

Last year our STAR tenancy support service assisted 518 vulnerable households to maintain their tenancies

In 2021/22 there were just ten evictions. seven of these were for rent arrears and three for anti-social behaviour. Traditionally, we have a low eviction rate compared to other authorities, due to the comprehensive support and income collection work we undertake with tenants.


Examples of what we are doing to meet the Tenancy Standard

To continue to offer the high level of services that the Tenancy Standard requires, we have introduced several new initiatives to help make sure your accommodation meets your needs and that your experience of living there is a positive and secure one.


The Overcrowding Reduction Strategy

We have developed an Overcrowding Reduction Strategy to reduce the number of households on our Housing Register who are experiencing an overcrowded situation in their current accommodation.

Research and analysis have already taken place and from this we have committed to:

  • Enhance the housing options available to overcrowded and under-occupied households, including looking at how we prioritise overcrowding on the housing register.

  • Ensure we make the best use of our existing stock, including making it easier for tenants to move into homes that better suit them.

  • Maximise the opportunities to develop new social housing which meets the needs of both overcrowded and under-occupying households.

  • Continue financing our £250k annual programme to carry out property conversations, where feasible, to existing tenants’ homes. This has the benefit of creating additional space for overcrowded households, without them having to move to a different property.

  • Introducing a scheme called Easy Move, which will provide incentives for those whose homes are too big for them to downsize to something smaller. This will enable smaller households to live in more manageable size-appropriate homes and free up larger homes for households that need the extra space.


Tenancy support

We are committed to providing support to those who may be struggling with their tenancies because they are vulnerable or experiencing a difficult time in their lives.

We provide an extensive range of support to those in need, which includes:

  • The Income Management Team - provides support to tenants to apply for welfare benefits, assistance with maximising their income and developing affordable re-payment plans for those in arrears. The team supports tenants with income maximisation, Discretionary Housing Payments and Household Support Funds. Referrals are made to specialist agencies for tenants that might be facing complex financial or debt issues.

  • Supporting Tenants and Residents (STAR) - which provides housing support to council tenants in Leicester. The service provides one-to-one support to people who might otherwise lose their home. In the last 12 months we have reviewed our eligibility criteria to ensure those most in need are prioritised for support. Priority support is provided to those at risk of homelessness with multiple disadvantages. This includes tenants who experience severe physical and mental health conditions, substance use issues or learning difficulties.

  • Tenancy Management – our housing officers undertake “welfare visits” to households identified as being potentially vulnerable. This is a preventative measure to help sustain tenancies, ensure people are safe and well, and enables us to act before a crisis point is reached.

  • We have introduced a Sensitive Lets and Tenancy Support Procedure, which helps to identify suitable housing for tenants who are vulnerable and have complex needs. This is to ensure tenants have the right support in place as soon as they move into their new home.

  • We are working with Adult Social Care to develop more supported housing options for tenants with complex needs, who require long term support.

  • We are considering opportunities for ‘trainer’ or “stepped” accommodation for people who are not yet ready for a full, independent tenancies. People would be placed with a support worker on site to train them on budgeting, cooking, and life skills to help their journey into independent living.

If you feel you are struggling at home, please call us on 0116 454 1007, we are here to help.


Tenant involvement and empowerment standard

This standard sets out how we should communicate with and involve you in developing and delivering services. We are required to provide you with information so you can make informed choices about your housing. Also, to enable you to have your say about the services you receive. This includes providing information about how we are performing.


Housing information for tenants and leaseholders

Information about all Leicester City Council services is published on our website. We also use social media to update people on services. One of the ways we do this is through Your Leicester, an email newsletter that keeps you up to date with news, services, and events in Leicester. Find out how you can register for Your Leicester and our other newsletters.

On the Housing pages of the Leicester City Council website, we publish information on a wide range of housing related issues, such as applying for a council home, managing your tenancy, paying your rent, reporting repairs, support for private tenants, landlords and leaseholders, help for homeowners, and our work to tackle homelessness and empty homes. Find out more about our housing services.

Information about how we are performing as your landlord is contained in this annual report. However, we want to improve the information we provide you on our performance. We will be developing a specific page on our website with key performance information that will be updated regularly.


How you can have your say

We aim to provide the best possible services. To help us achieve this, we aim to listen and be responsive to what you have to say. Your comments are vital to us. We will use this information to improve the services that we provide to you, our customers.

There are several ways in which you can become involved in the delivery of services and make your views known to us. We manage two Forums, the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum and the Leaseholders’ Forum. At these Forums you can monitor our performance and help us to improve our services, to ensure they are right for the people who need them.

If we make significant service changes or plan for improvements which will affect your local community, we will consult you to get your views and let you know the outcome.

You can take part in estate inspections or make your views known when you contact our officers through their day-to-day work.

When we complete a repair in your home, we ask you to complete a survey to let us know how satisfied you were with our service and the repair work.

In addition to this, we provide you with the opportunity to tell us how satisfied you are by giving us a compliment or making a complaint. In 2021 / 22 we received at total of 218 complaints about our housing services. Of these, 111 were about our repairs service, 33 were about our Housing Options service and 74 for other services received. Of these 218 complaints, 43 were found to be justified, 50 partially justified, and 125 not justified. Find out more about our complaints procedure.

After your complaint has been fully investigated through our complaint’s procedure, if you remain unhappy with our response you have right to ask the Housing Ombudsman to carry out an independent investigation.

We believe that working together with our tenants and leaseholders is the best way to achieve our shared goal of better housing conditions and services. To help realise this aim, with the help of the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum, we are reviewing the way you can have your say on the services we provide.

From this work we will be developing an Involvement Strategy. It will set out a wide range of options as to how you can have your say, and it will explain how you can find out information about our service and performance, how we will consult with you and how we will take account of your views.


Examples of how we have involved tenants and leaseholders

Over the last year we have sought your views on a range of topics. Examples of these include:

  • Consulting the Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum on proposals to change rents, service charges and how we intend to spend our money during 2022 / 23. Their feedback was considered before final decisions were made.

  • We have been working closely with local tenants and leaseholders in the St Peters and St Matthews area of the city to inform the work we are undertaking through our Public Realm Improvement Programme. Feedback from this has informed us that people want to improve play areas, parking, and green spaces. Landscape architects have developed designs for improvements, which takes this feedback into account. Find out more about our Public Realm Improvement.

  • We have allocated £750k this year through our Environment and Communal Area Improvement fund, for improvements across all our estates. Work is determined by resolving complaints received by tenants, asking tenants for suggestions through surveys and consulting with our local tenant representatives.

  • This year the council carried out a survey of all residents to get a better understanding of the needs of households and communities. From this it was established that generally people were happy with the information on our website, but they wanted improved opportunities to report problems and request services more easily. In response to this, we have developed our online service offer, to include reporting repairs and making repair enquiries. Before implementation we consulted our Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum, who provided feedback that we used to improve the online service prior to it starting. You can read more about this later in the report.


Homes standard

To meet this standard, we must provide a cost-effective repairs and maintenance service to homes and communal areas.


The decent homes standard

The decent homes standard was introduced by the Government to ensure social housing is in a reasonable condition in terms of repairs, modern facilities, energy efficiency and is free from serious hazards. Since 2010, all our properties meet the standard. We have an IT system in place to analyse the condition of our properties, which is used to plan when items in your home need replacing, to ensure we continue to meet the standard. The work required each year, such as boiler replacements, rewires and new roofs, is financed through our planned maintenance programme.

The government has stated its intention to review the decent homes standard. It is anticipated that new standards will result from this review, particularly in relation to communal areas around homes and meeting zero carbon targets.

Examples of the work we undertook during 2021/22, to ensure our homes maintain the decent homes standard, included the fitting of:

  • 106 new bathrooms

  • 460 new kitchens fitted

  • 764 new boilers, and

  • 641 properties were re-wired


Responsive repairs

Responsive repairs are those reported by tenants when something breaks or stops working in their home, for which we are responsible for fixing.

During 2021 / 22 we completed 86,466 repairs, compared with 66,121 the previous year. This represents a 23.5% increase, which has mainly resulted from additional work we did to complete repairs we were unable to do under the Covid restrictions.

Our highest reported repairs related to:

  • Bathroom repairs - 18,529

  • Gas repairs - 13,062

  • Drainage repairs - 5,291

  • District heating system repairs – 3,963

  • External groundwork repairs - 3,291

  • Carpentry repairs - 1,842

  • Window and door glazing repairs - 1, 580

  • Electric work in communal areas repairs – 1,345

In 2021/22, 86.2% of repairs were completed within the target times set.

Wherever possible, our aim is to complete responsive repairs to your home at the first visit. This reduces inconvenience to you, saves time and money and reduces our carbon footprint. During 2021/22, 77. 8% of repairs were completed at the first visit. Sometimes we are unable to complete repairs when we first visit because we need to order in specific parts to complete the work.

We conduct satisfaction surveys when we have completed a repair to establish whether our service is meeting your expectations and to help us make improvements where they are needed. Results from our surveys in 2021/22 showed:

  • 92% of people stated the initial service received to report the repair was a positive experience

  • 91.76% of people were satisfied with the repair that was completed

  • 90.1% of people were satisfied the repair was completed in a reasonable time

You can find out information you may need when repairs are required to your home in our Repairs Handbook. The handbook also includes handy hints and tips for looking after your home while you are a tenant in a Leicester City Council property.


Communal area planned maintenance

During 2021/22 we continued with our programme of planned maintenance across our 1,035 internal communal areas. This programme enables the early identification of works needed and helps reduce the need for tenants to report repairs. This work is on-going by our dedicated communal repairs team.


Repairs reporting

We have been carrying out improvements to increase the ways you can contact us online. Housing Online is what we call the digital access point for many of our services. Through this you can view and download rent statements, receive important messages from us and update your contact and security information. We will soon have the facility for you to report more tenancy management enquiries online.

As part of the development of our online services, most tenants now report their non-emergency repairs through their Housing Online account. Through this, tenants can:

  • Report a non-emergency repair to their council home

  • Make an appointment for a repair

  • Enquire about an existing repair

  • Report a problem with a completed repair

Some of the benefits for you using Housing Online to report and enquire about repairs are:

  • Repairs can be reported outside of our normal office working hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

  • Tenants don’t have to wait in a queue for their telephone call to be answered to report a repair

  • Repair requests can be made on a wide range of devises, including mobile phones, tablets, and PCs

  • For people who don’t have devises they can use the computers widely available in libraries and community centres

  • The online service provides pictures of a wide range of repairs that may be required in a property, so it is easy to identify and report what is needed

  • When reporting a repair online tenants have a choice when their repair takes place

  • Tenants can make an enquiry online about a reported repair if they want to check progress on this

  • We can send you messages via the online system to provide an update on a repair, for example if we are waiting for materials to arrive

  • The online system provides a list of all repairs reported in one place. This means you can go in to see what has been completed and what is still outstanding

  • Tenants only need to sign up for Housing Online once. An individual username and password will be created for people to log onto the system securely.

We appreciate that some tenants may have difficulty initially signing up to the Housing Online service and reporting a repair for the first time. To address this, we have set up a dedicated Housing Online Support telephone line, 0116 454 0990, where officers will help set up your online account and give guidance on how to report repairs.

We also understand there will be a small proportion of our tenants who are digitally excluded and will not be able to use the online service, perhaps because they do not have access to IT devices or Wi-Fi, a disability or a lack of skills or confidence to use this service. Where we identify that this is the case, we will flag this on our systems and the tenant will be able to continue to report their repairs to the Customer Support telephone line. No tenant will be left in the position where that they cannot report a repair.

During 2023 we will be rolling out the Housing Online service to enable the reporting of communal repairs and for leaseholders to report their repairs online via our Housing Online website.


Health and safety

Your safety is our prime consideration in the way we deliver and develop our services


• Gas safety

We have a duty to carry out a gas service on all our properties each year. When this is completed, we will provide you with a gas safety record and certificate.

In 2021/22 we carried out gas service checks on 99.94% of our properties. We will contact you when the appointment for your gas safety check is due. We will offer an appointment time, which can be rearranged if it is not convenient. Please work with us to arrange an appointment, as we have a legal obligation to carry out an annual gas check at your property, to ensure your safety.

If you smell gas, you should immediately call Cadent. Their freephone number is 0800 111 999. They will deal with any report of a gas escape for free.


• Fire safety

Fire safety is of paramount importance to us as a landlord. We have policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of fires. For example, our Assistant Housing Officers carry out regular fire inspections and checks to properties with communal areas, such as flats, maisonettes, and houses in multiple occupation.

All these buildings have their own fire risk assessments and people who may require help getting to safety are provided with a personal evacuation plan in case a fire starts. We have a no tolerance policy on items left in communal areas and these are removed if they are found. Our fire safety work includes implementing recommendations made by the local fire service and adhering to national fire safety regulations.

We have agreed to fit sprinkler systems at our five high story tower blocks. Work installing sprinklers at Maxwell House has been completed and work on the four other blocks has been programmed.


• Electrical safety

We ensure that, through our capital investment programme all our homes meet the electrical safety standards. All rewires and electrical upgrades are carried out to British Standards. All electrical installations are tested periodically and at 30 years a decision is made whether to carry out a full rewire or part upgrade of the circuits and smoke detection systems in our properties. During 2022/23 we expect to rewire 550 properties.

The five yearly cyclical programme of electrical testing in communal areas has also continued, with electrical works, including the installation of more energy efficient communal area lighting, taking place.


• Water safety

Every three months we test, and then treat the water in the district heating network. This is to ensure that the system is running correctly. The treatment is used to ensure that there is no build-up of unwanted properties, such as scale.

Tenants play an important role in helping to ensure water safety in their homes. This includes the cleaning of outlets such as taps and showers, and reporting repairs, so that the water system can remain in good working order.


• Asbestos safety

Asbestos will be found in most properties across the country, particularly those built before the 1980’s, as this was a common building material until its harmful nature was identified. If undisturbed, asbestos is perfectly safe to remain in our homes. It is only when asbestos becomes damaged that safety issues arise.

We have an obligation to protect our tenants, employees, and contractors from the harmful effects of asbestos, as far as reasonably possible. To do this, we ensure our properties are surveyed by appropriately qualified and trained staff. When we establish there is a need to remove asbestos from a property, we take the necessary safety steps to do this, and replace the item with a non-asbestos product. No new asbestos-based products will be used in future building construction or refurbishment.

Asbestos inspections are also regularly undertaken for all our non-domestic areas, for example communal areas in blocks of flats.


• Lift safety

Where our properties have a lift installed, these are inspected monthly by trained lift engineers.

The intercom within the lift is connected to our Lift Engineers helpdesk, which is operated 24 hours a day. If an unfortunate event happens and a person becomes trapped in a lift, they can immediately notify the Lift Engineers directly and staff, local to site, will attend immediately.


• The Building Safety Act 2022

The new Building Safety Act came into force in April 2022. The Act is a significant piece of legislation and overhauls the way residential buildings are constructed and maintained. The Act is principally concerned with improving the safety in higher risk buildings (those at least 18 metres in height or those that have at least seven storeys.) We are currently working towards meeting our obligations in relation to this.

Other work which contributes to meeting the Homes Standard

• Goscote House demolition

Goscote House, the former 23-storey residential tower block on the St Peter’s estate, is in the process of being demolished. The block was decommissioned in 2018 after structural reports called into doubt the long-term safety of the building. All tenants have been re-housed from the building to alternative accommodation.

Demolition work began in July 2021, with the interior of the building being stripped. Demolition of the building itself began in March 2022 and is being carried out floor by floor, a process which reduces the impact on the local environment and neighbourhoods. Subject to health and safety considerations, and where reasonably practicable to do so, waste material from the site will be re-used, recovered, or re-cycled at local waste management facilities. Recycling rates for the project are anticipated to be around 90%.

It is envisaged that the project will be completed by Spring 2023 and the City Council is currently considering options for the future use of the site.

• Property adaptations

It is important to us that our properties are accessible to the people who live in them. This means people can remain independent and occupy their own home for as long as possible. It is also important that we have a supply of accessible homes for those who might need them in future.

We currently spend £1.2m a year on putting adaptations into our Council homes, where the Adult Social Care service has identified there is a need for these by a tenant or member of their household. Of this £1.2m we are spending £300k on empty properties to fit adaptations needed by people on the housing register to enable new tenant’s better access to homes, where this is needed

We currently have 103 wheelchair accessible homes, 2,020 partially wheelchair accessible homes and 1,506 ground floor properties.

In 2021/22 we carried out 108 minor adaptations to properties, such as installing ramps and widening doors. We also carried out 109 major adaptations to properties, such as installing level access showers, stair lifts and through floor lifts.


• Climate change and decarbonisation

Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world. We are committed to tackling this issue. Leicester City Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019. Our ambition is for Leicester to become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030 or sooner.

We have been working towards improving the environmental impact of our homes for many years and during this time we have significantly reduced the CO2 emissions from our homes. This has been achieved by window replacements, new central heating installations, new energy efficient boilers internal wall, external wall and roof insulation, and solar panels. The homes being built as part of our current housebuilding programme have been designed to maximise energy efficiency.

However, in a climate emergency we must go even further, we are:

  • Leading on a bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund in partnership with seven Housing Associations operating in the city to seek £6.9m funding to improve the energy efficiency of properties in Leicester. If successful this will lead to a programme of further insulation, installing air source heat pumps and triple glazing

  • In addition to this bid we are already investing £1.8m to install external wall insulations in properties across the city

  • We have undertaken climate change training for our staff this year to help them deliver our climate change commitments.

  • Our house building programme so far, has delivered new homes that have improved energy efficiency. This year the homes we are starting to build will be our most highly energy efficient council homes. These properties will have EPC energy ratings of A, which will be much better for the climate and more efficient for those living in them.

  • We have a programme in our communal areas to replace our light fittings with LED lighting, which is more energy efficient

  • We are encouraging tenants and leaseholders to play their part in helping fight the impacts of climate change. This includes the use of smart meters in their home so energy use can be measured.

Find out more about the Leicester Climate Emergency Strategy.


Neighbourhood and community standard

This standard requires us to work together with you to keep your neighbourhood and communal areas clean and safe. It also commits us to working with partner agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour.

To give you a commitment of what we aim to achieve, we have developed a policy to let you know what you can expect from us in terms of maintaining your neighbourhood.

Get details on the Maintaining and Improving Neighbourhoods Policy.


Anti-social behaviour

We put in place as many checks as we can to prevent anti-social behaviour from happening in the first place. For example, our Conditions of Tenancy has information on what is unacceptable behaviour and the outcomes which will result when this happens.

Despite this, anti-social behaviour does still happen. When it does, tackling it is a priority for us and we will take the appropriate measures required to address it. This will involve working with those affected by the behaviour and relevant agencies to resolve the issues. Each case of anti-social behaviour is different. Our actions will depend upon the nature and severity of each incident.

Last year our housing officers investigated 1,199 reports of anti-social behaviour, a reduction of 49 on the previous year, and the lowest number for three years.

Strong partnership arrangements with key agencies are in place to help us resolve anti-social behaviour, including the police, victim support services, youth services and probation.

We have a variety of arrangements in place to support victims of anti-social behaviour. These include referrals to specialist support agencies, attending court with victims and witnesses, providing security packages to enable tenants to remain in their homes (such as secure letter boxes and alarms), to help them feel safe whilst reports are investigated and, where it is not safe to do so, we will support tenants who need to move. Find out more about our approach to addressing anti-social behaviour.

We recognise the importance of addressing anti-social behaviour effectively. Increasingly we are seeing more complex cases and recognise the need to improve services to meet the changing needs of tenants. As a result of this we are looking to make better use of the expertise across the Council to support us with this work.


Creating safe communities that you can be proud of

Creating communities is about more than housing, it means cleaner, safer, greener neighbourhoods in which people have confidence and pride.

We have a £750k Environmental and Communal Areas Fund which helps to deliver significant environmental improvements on estates, such as landscaping, new security measures, community facilities, pocket parks, fencing and communal area improvements. Tenants and ward councillors help decide where this money should be spent, based on their local needs and priorities. These schemes have made significant contributions to improving the overall image, appearance, and general quality of life within our estates.


Creating jobs and supporting the local economy

We make a significant contribution to the local economy, placing contracts with local businesses and developing work opportunities for those who need help with employment.

Where service delivery requires us to place external contracts, we aim to work with local businesses, and all contracts have clauses which promote the use of local labour and social value, adding benefits to the local community.

Our Neighbourhood Improvement Scheme continues to help the long-term unemployed by providing pre-employment training and a period of work experience. Their work on our estates includes painting, clearing overgrown areas, tidying unsightly spots, cleaning UPVC windows and removing rubbish.

We provide craft apprenticeship opportunities each year and have the largest apprenticeship programme in the council. This year several other existing posts have been converted into apprenticeship opportunities within Housing services.

We offer work experience to school students, graduates, and ex-offenders. During 2021/22 we have also taken up the opportunity to recruit to posts under the government’s Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create jobs for unemployed 16 to 24 year olds.

We are working to deliver improved job opportunities for those facing homelessness. This year we have started working in St Mungo’s and BEAM to develop the skills of these people as a step into work.


Chris Burgin, Director of Housing

I hope you've found this report useful and informative. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to helping us deliver our services this year. Your views are important to us, whether through our satisfaction surveys, representation groups or just the comments our staff get on the doorstep, it all makes an important contribution to making sure we get things right.

The current difficult economic times remind us how important council housing is to those in need and to our local communities. That is why one of our main aims for the year ahead is to increase the availability of affordable homes, including those provided by ourselves and our partners.

This is an exciting time to be involved with council housing services, and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead, which I’m sure, with your help, we can meet.

Finally, I would like to say a special thanks to our Tenants’ and Leaseholders’ Forum who have worked throughout the year to help us make informed decisions.