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Small businesses to benefit from new housing repairs scheme

Published: 7 April 2011
Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today offered council tenants a cashback deal worth billions to carry out their own home repairs.
Small businesses to benefit from new housing repairs scheme
Social housing landlords responsible for England's 4m-plus social homes spend an average of £1,000 per property each year on repairs. Now the Government is saying this maintenance can often be done by tenants themselves, saving landlords money in the process.

The new Tenant Cashback scheme will give residents more control of repairs budgets for their homes, either carrying out their own DIY or commissioning it locally, and receiving cash back from any savings made.

With maintenance and repair costing £4bn a year, the move could greatly benefit small businesses such as local painters, plumbers or carpenters, as more of the money is spent locally.

Tenants will also be able to pool their resources, creating a 'Community Cashback' account which could be used to fund improvements to the local area for the benefit of all residents.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, vice chairman of the Local Government Association's Housing and Environment Board, said: "The vast majority of people living in council homes are responsible and sensible tenants, and landlords are glad to let them take proper responsibility for the upkeep of their homes. It is right that the approach should be piloted so risks can be identified and responded to.

"Like any other landlord, local authorities need to be able to ensure that maintenance work on their properties continues to be done safely and to a high standard. So landlords need to be able to ensure work affecting gas, electric and fire safety is done properly. This is vital to making sure this scheme achieves its aim of rewarding tenants and driving down costs without inadvertently exposing councils to a tidal wave of law suits and hefty repair bills for rectifying DIY disasters."

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