Cabinet agree sweeping policies to improve housing and fire safety across the borough
The Council’s Cabinet have agreed a host of policies to improve the safety, condition, and management of private and council homes in the borough.
Cabinet last night (July 7th) agreed the next phase of the Council’s Resident Safety Programme, which sets out how £59.5M of fire safety works, in addition to the Chalcots project, will be delivered over the next five years.
The programme has been bolstered by a new Safety Charter containing a number of commitments to shape how the Council will work with residents on fire safety and how it will deliver a range of fire safety works including carrying out regular fire risk assessments in over 2,600 buildings, ongoing gas safety checks in more than 13,000 homes and electrical testing in 23,000 homes.
The next five years of the Council’s Housing Renewal Assistance Policy was also agreed by Cabinet, which will support an increased number of improvements to the condition and management of homes in Camden’s private sector through grants available to tenants, homeowners, and Landlords.
Grants will be made available to improve living conditions, safety, and security, to provide adaptations to assist people to age well and live independently, and to improve energy efficiency while reducing fuel poverty and carbon dioxide emissions.
Everyone in Camden deserves the right to live in a safe, secure and well-maintained home. The pandemic has further highlighted how important this is, and we are proud to be building on our commitment to deliver a new standard of living and resident safety through these wide-ranging policies.
Thanks to our updated Resident Safety Programme, we will continue to stand up as a borough that leads the way on improving fire safety regulation and standards as we deliver a further £59.5 million of fire safety works across our homes and buildings. This investment will be underpinned by our Safety Charter; created together with residents to shape how we will work to keep our communities safe, give residents a voice in decisions made about safety in their homes and provide accessible information about the safety of where they live.
We are also building on our progressive work to ensure homes in the borough’s private sector are safe, regulated, fit for tenants and greener. The grants available through our Housing Renewal Assistance Policy are now even more accessible and reflect our ambition to see that all residents have a warm and accessible homes that meet their needs. Private tenants, homeowners and landlords can apply for grants to make significant improvements to their homes and their standard of living. If you think you, a loved one or your tenants could benefit from one of these grants, please get in contact with the Council.
Resident Safety Programme
Last night Cabinet agreed to update Camden’s Resident Safety Programme, which was first approved by Cabinet in 2019. The updated Programme sets out the Council’s commitments to continue building on the fire safety improvement work completed through the Programme over the last two years.
Since 2019 fire risk assessments have been carried out in over 3,100 buildings, external wall surveys have been completed across tenures on 300 high-rise residential buildings and hotels, a resident-led fire safety panel has been established and four additional Fire Safety Advisors have been appointed into a dedicated Fire Safety team.
Furthermore, Camden has taken on a proactive role in the reform of national housing safety regulation through its contribution to the Hackitt review and role in the Government’s early adopter group for trialling improved regulation for fire and building safety law.
£43M of fire safety works has been delivered by the programme in the last two years and Cabinet have now agreed to deliver a further £59.5M of works up to 2026. This is in addition to the improvements also being delivered through the Better Homes Programme and fire safety works at the Chalcots Estate.
Over the next five years the Council will:
- Continue its core programme of
- Routine fire risk assessments in over 2,600 buildings
- Annual gas safety checks in over 13,000 homes
- Asbestos surveys in 3,800 blocks over the next 18 months
- Inspections of 552 lifts every six months
- Servicing of over 1,000 water tanks every six months
- Electrical testing in over 23,000 homes every five years
- Develop and publish:
- An annual report reviewing the delivery of the Safety Charter
- Building Safety Case reports to residents of tall buildings
The Safety Charter has five commitments to residents:
- We will work with you to keep your homes and buildings safe - Your safety is always our first priority. We will make sure that all of our tenants and leaseholders live in safe and well-maintained buildings
- We will make sure you know how to stay safe at home - We want you to feel safe and to know how to keep you, your family and your neighbours safe. We will make sure that you have all the information you need to stay safe at home and where to get it if you don’t
- We will be transparent - We will make sure that you can access any safety information that you need about your home and that you are as involved as you want to be in fire risk assessments and safety works
- We will always listen to you about safety - You know your home and your building better than anyone. We will make sure you always have a voice in decisions made about the safety of your home
- Fire and building safety is up to everyone - We have responsibilities to you as a landlord but for all of our council homes to be safe, we will ensure that all of our tenants, leaseholders and subtenants know how to play their part
Housing Renewal Assistance
Last night Cabinet also agreed the next five years of the Housing Renewal Assistance Policy, which will improve living conditions and the management of private sector homes through grants designed to address specific housing needs in the borough.
While the existing policy has helped to fund more than 330 adaptions to homes; supporting disabled residents to live independently, enabling eight empty buildings to be brought back in to use - creating 16 new homes, including six with two or more beds, and helping almost 50 residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, the Council is making the grants more accessible to residents to increase the number of improvements being made to private housing in the borough.
From July 16, 2021, the following grant assistance will be available to residents and landlords:
- Disabled Facilities grant – to support disabled residents to live independently at home, including those with medical conditions that do not affect their physical ability such as residents with Dementia
- Health and Safety / Hospital Discharge grant – to support residents with essential works of repair and fix serious hazards that will seriously affect their health, safety or prevent their discharge from hospital
- Warmer Home Grant - grant for the installation and maintenance of energy efficient and low carbon measures which directly improve health, safety and well-being
- Eco Grant – to improve the energy efficiency of resident’s homes, reduce fuel poverty and encouraging renewable energy. The grant now includes funding for heat pumps as an alternative to gas central heating systems
- Relocation Grant – to support elderly residents relocating to a more suitable home in the borough as the most appropriate option rather than repair or adaptation to their current home
- Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Support Grant – to support landlords to improve the energy efficiency of properties to band C where the property has an existing EPC rating of band D to G
- Landlord Empty Property Grant – to help Landlords to bring empty properties back into residential use, increasing the supply of homes in the borough
- Home Security Grant and Landlord Security Grant – to improve home safety and security
For more information about the grants available please contact the Council on 020 7974 4444 or email the private sector housing team at email@example.com.
All grants are subject to eligibility criteria and conditions and assistance cannot be considered where works have already commenced or been completed.