Milton Keynes Council has set out new arrangements with MEARS, its council housing repairs and maintenance contractor, to deliver 'better and faster' repairs.
The new arrangements focus on improving the quality standards for day-to-day repairs and on reducing repair times from an average of two weeks to ten days. As well as doing a better job for existing tenants, the local authority says this will speed up the time that properties remain empty from when people move out and new tenants move in.
The Council has put in new assurances with its contractor that more resources will be made available to tackle complex jobs, and Council staff will be carrying out regular inspections of homes that have had works completed to ensure residents are satisfied with the quality of work.
This comes just six months after MKFM launched an investigation following claims from council tenants about unresolved repairs.
Despite there being thousands of council homes in Milton Keynes, MKFM was surprised to only be notified of 38 cases where residents were unsatisfied with the Council and the contractor Mears.
These problems were varied in severity and nature, ranging from problems with mould and leaking toilets, to boilers not working properly and damaged front porches.
Many of these residents expressed that the problems had been ongoing for long periods of time, even up to ten years in some cases. Most of the respondents also alleged that they had contacted Milton Keynes Council and Mears but there had been "no action".
As a result, MKFM established that the reporting process needed to be reviewed to ensure repairs could be made in a timely manner.
From November, tenants will be able to request repairs, book and change appointments, track progress and give feedback through a new app and online portal as well as through existing routes such as drop-in repairs surgeries.
The improvements to housing repairs and planned maintenance are expected to be approved at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 7th September.
Cabinet Member for Adults, Healthy Communities and Housing, Cllr Emily Darlington said: “Our tenants deserve to live in good quality homes that are warm and safe. We need to make repairs better for our tenants and if things go wrong make sure that Mears can fix them quickly. These changes mean that tenants will have their repairs done quicker and the quality will be better.”