9. Current Outcomes and Standards: Estate Management, Anti-Social Behaviour, Neighbour Nuisance and Tenancy Disputes (Charter outcome 6)
ESTATE MANAGEMENT, ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, NEIGHBOUR NUISANCE AND TENANCY DISPUTES (Charter outcome 6)
Social landlords, working in partnerships with other agencies, help to ensure that tenants and other customers live in well-maintained neighbourhoods where they feel safe.
This outcome covers a range of actions that social landlords can take on their own and in partnership with others. It covers action to enforce tenancy conditions on estate management and neighbour nuisance, to resolve neighbour disputes, and to arrange or provide tenancy support where this is needed. It also covers the role of landlords in working with others to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Question 8a): Would you keep this outcome exactly as it is or change it? Please explain your answer.
9.1 Amongst the 90 respondents who answered this question, views were mixed with 50% of respondents considering that the outcome should remain as it is, and 47% recommending changing the outcome. 3% of respondents did not know whether or not the outcome should change.
9.2 Amongst the larger categories of organisations, there was a contrast between RSLs and others, with almost all RSLs (79%) in favour of changing the outcome compared with a more even balance of those for and against change amongst TRGs and local authorities. Table 9.1 in Annex 2 presents views broken down by category of respondent.
Views of those in favour of keeping the outcome as it is
9.3 Many respondents from a range of sectors commented that the outcome is comprehensive, straightforward, clear and concise. A few welcomed in particular the use of the term, "working in partnership".
Views of those in favour of changing the outcome
9.4 One prevailing theme, particularly amongst RSLs, was that the outcome should reflect that they are reliant on others, working in partnership with them, in achieving the outcome.
Rosehill Housing Co-operative Limited:
"We acknowledge that the ultimate objective would be well maintained neighbourhoods where people feel safe. However, we are not in a position to "ensure" this, as not all anti-social behaviour and environmental issues are within our control regardless of how effective the partnership working is. We would suggest that the outcome should read "… help to ensure, as far as reasonably possible, that …"
9.5 One RSL commented that it is particularly difficult for RSLs with dispersed stock to have control over this outcome.
9.6 Another common concern was over terminology. Several respondents shared the view that "where they feel safe" is too subjective and vague to remain in the outcome. Suggestions were made for replacing this with "live in safe neighbourhoods" or "where well-being is protected".
Ardrossan Tenants' Association:
"Our group felt that measuring and demonstrating that tenants and customers feel safe in neighbourhoods is impossible and any results would not be meaningful. We agree with the intention of Landlords working with other agencies to help make neighbourhoods safer. But measuring this through peoples varying perceptions cannot accurately reflect the actual crime rate/anti-social behaviour within neighbourhoods".
9.7 The phrase "well-maintained neighbourhoods" was also questioned as being open to interpretation. A few respondents suggested that it may be more appropriate to refer to "well managed neighbourhoods", this being easier to understand for tenants and more in keeping with what happens on the ground.
9.8 A recurring view related to the issue of terminology and interpretation was that lack of clarity in meaning resulted in inconsistent reporting by landlords. Mention was made of indicators associated with this outcome (particularly indicator 19) needing to be reviewed to make them more meaningful.
9.9 A few respondents considered that the outcome could be strengthened by splitting it into two. Some perceived it to be complex at present, combining issues of estate management with neighbourhood disputes and nuisance, and recommendations were for a division into two different outcomes, with a sharper focus on what were perceived to be different domains.
9.10 Several of these respondents, some being RSLs, others being statutory bodies or TRGs, envisaged a renewed emphasis on creation of healthy communities through focus on effective housing and estate management, for example; providing opportunities for social interaction; providing green space. Such facilities were perceived as creating the context for reducing disputes and increasing well-being.
Question 8b): Please provide any suggestions on how we could improve the supporting narrative
9.11 Many comments on the supporting narrative were consistent with those relating to the outcome, in terms of suggesting that more emphasis should be placed on estate management to underpin strong and healthy communities.
9.12 Again, comments were made that social landlords could not control the outcome solely, but relied on partners who may have budget constraints and different priorities and agendas dictating their contribution. It was suggested that this be made more explicit so that expectations of tenants could be managed accordingly, with landlords' role in signposting to other agencies given greater prominence.
9.13 More specific suggestions are in Annex 3.