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New housing Charter promises better living conditions for tenants

A new Registered Provider’s Charter which pulls together social housing providers from across the city, with the aim of upholding safe, secure and well-maintained homes and neighbourhoods and combating damp and mouldy living conditions, is being introduced in Stoke-on-Trent.


The new Charter will reinforce the roles that registered providers play in helping to provide good homes for people where they can live happily and thrive.


The Charter will also help to deliver a quality of service to all social housing tenants that matches the expectations of Government and the city council’s Housing Strategy.


The council’s D.A.M.P campaign, which launched last year, highlighted the need for more action after thousands of calls from concerned residents worried about damp and mould in their homes.


Last week, eight housing partners were brought under the same roof to help progress the Charter at an event hosted at the Civic Centre.


Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, said: “It was a great turn out and we would like to thank all the housing providers for taking this issue very seriously. No tenant should have to live in damp and mould conditions and when they do identify the problem they should receive all the help and support available.


“Living in inadequate housing is a major contributor to poor physical and mental health and wellbeing outcomes for both adults and children. Too many households are living in fuel poverty, in poorly insulated homes that they cannot afford to keep warm. We are committed to using our influence and strong partnerships to address persistent and harmful problems such as fuel poverty, damp and mould.”


Since the city council launched its D.A.M.P campaign in November 2023, more than 4,458 reports of damp and mould have been logged with the authority and over 4,138 homes have been visited and treated for issues of damp, mould and condensation.


The Charter commits to values that will ensure that every tenant and leaseholder has a right to:


  • A safe, secure and well-maintained home that is kept free from damp and mould;

  • A good standard of customer service;

  • Influence and shape services and be involved in determining the solutions to their own issues;

  • Be listened to and treated with respect;

  • Access information, advice and services particularly around sustaining tenancies and tenant wellbeing;

  • Access early intervention and ongoing support for those affected by hate crime, anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse;

  • Eviction only being considered as a last resort;

  • Fair and transparent allocation policies;

  • Access to community spaces across the registered provider partnership.


Councillor Robinson, added: “We have been working extremely hard to tackle damp and mould in our housing stock. It is a major challenge for us but I am proud of what has been achieved over the last five months.


“In line with our corporate strategy, we want to be open and transparent when it comes to our approach to damp and mould which is why we wanted to share our experience in dealing with these issues so far. We want to ensure everybody is on the same page when it comes to damp and mould.


“We want to encourage people living in homes which are not owned by the council to come forward and highlight them. We know that our local registered providers are willing and able to rectify these issues and share our commitment to working together to ensure all residents can live in safe, secure and well-maintained homes.”


Honeycomb Group and Epic Housing – which look after more than 3,000 homes in Stoke-on-Trent between them – have pledged their support to the Charter.


Julie Guildford-Smith, chief executive at Honeycomb Group, said: “We are committed to supporting the Charter and want to take it forward. We want to share good practice and make sure that the customer is at the heart of everything that we’re doing while providing consistent services across the city.”


Epic Housing CEO Tracey Johnson added: “We’ve been working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council on its Registered Provider’s Charter since the end of last year and we are delighted to be involved. We want to work together with other registered providers to make Stoke-on-Trent a better place for our tenants and the communities we live in.”


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