Housing Management continued
There are 160 properties, arranged into 13 blocks of flats of varying size from 1 bedroom to 3 bedrooms. A management agreement sets out the respective responsibilities of the Estate Management Board and the Landlord, Plymouth Community Homes (PCH). The agreement is based on a national modular template, adapted to the specific local circumstances. PCH fund the EMB via an annual management allowance.
The EMB has a board of directors who provide the strategic direction and decide on other key issues. The board is comprised of a majority of residents who live on the estate who are nominated and voted onto the board by the resident membership. The resident board members are supported by co-opted members from across a number of sectors. Representatives include Plymouth Community Homes, the City Council, City College Plymouth and Shekinah Mission.
A staff team carry out the day to day management and maintenance and associated community projects. The staff team is comprised of a full time Manager, a part time Assistant Manager, a Support Worker and two part time Repairs and Maintenance workers and a part time Cleaner. The EMB also employs a part time Youth Worker.
An on-site office provides easy access for residents to get help with a range of issues including requesting repairs, tenancy related enquiries, requesting information about local services and a whole host of other issues which the EMB does its best to help with, even when they fall outside the normal remit. The EMB office is open all year round.
The EMB is responsible for maintaining the estate to a high standard including maintenance of communal courtyards, stairwell cleaning, grounds maintenance and grass cutting. Most day to day repairs are also completed by PEMB, with items such as gas boiler servicing and repairs and TV aerial maintenance being retained by the Landlord.
When the estate was refurbished, a large number of planted areas were created with an abundance of trees and shrubs, as well as lots of grassed play areas. In addition, all ground floor properties were allocated their won large gardens. The EMB maintain almost all of the grass and planted areas on the estate with both tenants and leaseholder private gardens being offered a subsidised grass cutting service between March and October (see Grass Cutting Service page here).
VOIDS AND ALLOCATIONS
Void properties are managed by the EMB. These are subject to target turnaround times, which the EMB has an excellent track record in meeting. The EMB also leads on the allocation of properties. Unlike the original allocations process when applicants could specifically register their interest in a Pembroke Street property by adding their name to a waiting list, all properties are advertised in line with national legislation. This means they are advertised on Devon Home Choice, along with all other social housing vacancies regardless of the Landlord. This scheme is managed by Plymouth City Council based on a national banding system, where applicants are awarded a Band from A – E based on their assessed housing need. Plymouth Community Homes then process the shortlisted applicants for each flat and send them over to PEMB to continue the allocation process which involves speaking to applicants about their circumstances, arranging property viewings and carrying out a pre tenancy assessment to confirm the property is affordable and identify any tenancy support needs. The Landlord has the ultimate say on who is allocated a property, but the decision making process is shared. The flats remain popular with applicants – in no small part due to the reputation of the EMB – despite competing with much newer stock in the local area, many of which are houses as opposed to flats.
ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
There is an emphasis placed on being a good neighbour from the outset. Applicants are invited to read the EMB’s ‘Good Neighbour Agreement’ and discuss the contents prior to signing the tenancy agreement. This includes agreeing to abide by the common sense rules which were drawn up in consultation with the residents. Please see the XXXX page for more details and to download a copy of the agreement.
Most low level anti social behaviour can be dealt with swiftly before it becomes a more serious issue. This is achieved by proactive management such as providing relevant information about how to report crime and by supporting and encouraging residents to be accountable for things like bulky waste and rubbish disposal. The EMB try to intervene with low level issues early on, and aim to be consistent in the application of the common sense rules, so that everyone can live in peace and with respect for one another.
Where anti social behaviour does occur, the EMB aims to be proactive to try to intervene before the problem potentially escalates. This usually means prompt and timely investigation and applying procedures consistently so that residents can see that issues are dealt with fairly. The EMB doesn’t have any legal powers. ASB cases are logged on the REACT system which PCH subscribes to. With joint access to the system, the EMB are able to add evidence and assist with the investigation whilst the legal options are for PCH to pursue via the courts.