A new scheme has been unveiled, giving council tenants up to £500 each year to carry out DIY projects in Shropshire and nationwide, including for carpentry and building work.
DIY projects might include carpentry tasks like fitting doors as well as simple maintenance work like decorating and fixing leaking taps. Community groups can tackle repairs and support those who are unable to tackle the work themselves – and it may be possible to use the money to hire a professional Shropshire carpenter or Shropshire builder to do any DIY projects tenants can’t manage themselves.
The Tenant Cashback scheme, proposed by Housing Minister Grant Shapps is part of the government’s plan to reduce the £4billion annual maintenance bill for social housing.
Currently, there are more than 4 million council properties and landlords spend an average of £1000 per year on building repairs. Under the new scheme tenants would get up to £500 a year for basic carpentry and building works in Shropshire, Shrewsbury and elsewhere in the country, they carry out themselves rather than calling out maintenance staff.
There are concerns over the quality of building repairs under the new scheme, with the possibility some DIY projects will happen when a local Shropshire builder or carpenter should really be used, as well as the risk that claims may be made falsely. This is why two of the current pilot schemes don’t pay on a per-repair basis, instead participants are given “lump sums for maintaining their properties to a mutually agreed standard” – assessed during regular checks.
Private homeowners need to pay for any building or carpentry work to their homes, so naturally may not be in support of this scheme. However, non-council tenants have the freedom to pay for a local tradesman such as a carpenter Shropshire or Shrewsbury builder to complete maintenance projects which guarantees quality work.
Of course, any work homeowners or tenants can’t carry out themselves, should be carried out by local firms anyway. For example, if you live in Bishops Castle you will likely hire a Bishops Castle builder or carpenter. This way, you can be sure the firm has a good reputation and that the work is completed to a high standard.
Under the scheme, tenants will be invited to take a basic DIY course in addition to getting cash for DIY projects.
Mr Shapps said: “Rather than having to wait for landlords to act, tenants should be able to tackle their own DIY dilemmas — and get paid for it,” the Daily Mail reports.
“For some, this could even serve as an apprenticeship in the home and the start on a path to a whole new career. This, combined with the potential to bring the local community together to improve the local area, means all councils and housing associations should give residents the right to take up tools.”
Nigel Long, head of policy at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service said: “I am a big fan of anything that encourages people to do things for themselves, because I think it delivers value for money.”
What are your views on the Tenant Cashback scheme?