Record investment planned for Birmingham's existing housing stock
Birmingham City Council has unveiled plans to invest a record £5bn in its housing stock over the next 30 years to ensure its tenants and leaseholders can live in warm, safe, and sustainable homes.
Within that investment, the council will spend £1.4bn to ensure all existing housing stock complies with Decent Homes Standards in the next eight years.
These plans represent a record level of investment in its housing stock by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority provider of affordable housing in the UK.
The investment plans have been approved by cabinet along with a refreshed Asset Management Strategy which sets out the plans to improve housing stock quality across the city, as well as the contract arrangements to deliver these plans.
Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said:
"All our tenants and leaseholders should be living in warm, safe and sustainable homes.
"But we acknowledge that this has not been the experience of all of our residents - we must get the basics rights for our tenants and leaseholders.
"These ambitious plans will prioritise investment in our existing council house stock above all else, so the quality of residents' homes can be improved as quickly as possible.
"Widespread investment is needed as four out of five homes in our housing stock is over 50 years old.
"The result is that many of our existing tenants and leaseholders will see significant improvements in their accommodation; these improvements will cut energy bills and make them safer and warmer."
The Asset Management Strategy details some of the improvements tenants and leaseholders can expect, which include; surveys conducted on all of the existing housing stock to assess their condition, more kitchen and bathroom renovations, all council houses to have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C, and an increase in the number of tenant visits council officers will make.
Approval has also been given to award a new interim contract for the repairs and maintenance of council-owned homes, one that has an emphasis on improving customer service.
Councillor Jayne Francis, added:
"House building in Birmingham will continue despite investment in existing stock being the priority to contribute to the supply of affordable housing.
"We remain in a national housing crisis, so the council will explore opportunities to boost third-party delivery of homes in partnership with Registered Providers, Homes England and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
"Existing house building and regeneration plans like the ones for Ladywood and Druid's Heath will continue as planned."
The Housing Revenue Account is a ring-fenced account predominately funded through council tenant and leaseholder payments, ensuring that the HRA Business Plan is unaffected by Birmingham City Council's financial situation.
The plans set out that rents for tenants and leaseholders will increase 7.7%, in line with the government rent cap of CPI inflation plus 1%.
Councillor Jayne Francis, added:
“The level of inflation has unfortunately made these rent rises unavoidable.
“We know that households will face challenge with any proposed rent increase, but we must balance this with the necessity of improving the quality of people’s homes.
“Around three quarters of tenants will be unaffected by the rate rises as welfare benefits will cover the increase, and we will support all our tenants to ensure they are claiming benefits they are entitled to.