£5m worth of healthier homes

Houses

More than £5m worth of improvements has been carried out by landlords to their properties as a result of inspections by Liverpool City Council’s Healthy Homes team.

The Healthy Homes programme aims to prevent ill health and injury because of poor housing conditions.

In the last five years environmental health officers from the team have carried out health and safety inspections at more than 4,000 properties leading to private landlords improving their premises.

Work ranges from removing the causes of mould to eliminating life-threatening structural defects.

Landlords who fail to act will be prosecuted.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing, said; “Reaching £5m of improvements is a milestone for Healthy Homes. It means that money has been spent in allowing tenants to live in healthier, warmer and safer homes.

“But it is also money which improves the local neighbourhoods and keeps up market values.

“That, however, is secondary to making sure people are housed in high standard properties – the effect of that on their wellbeing is incalculable.”
Dr Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health, said; “We know that there is a large and growing body of evidence linking adverse health effects with poor housing conditions.

“Research based on various sources of housing and health data suggests that poor housing is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and depression and anxiety”.

The Healthy Homes team can be contacted on Freephone 0800 0121 754

Here are two examples of the work carried out by the Healthy Homes team:

 

Case Study 1

An elderly man who had been living in his rented home in Wavertree since the 1950’s was recovering from a foot injury/infection at a care home when his social worker notified the Healthy Homes team of her concerns about the condition of his home. He had been expressing a strong desire to return to his home but there were concerns over its safety.
An inspection by an environmental health officer found a number of serious hazards including:
• Floor joist ends rotted through causing suspended wooden ground floor to move by approximately nine inches and at risk of collapse.
• One small gas fire in ground floor meaning the house was excessively cold. There was no fixed heating in any other part of his home which had single glazed timber windows w which had no loft insulation.
• Carbon monoxide . No available gas safety report for gas fire
• Food safety – insanitary and inadequate provision for storing or preparing food. Most appliances/fittings were more than 40 years old and there was an Insanitary and porous kitchen floor.
• An attempted forced entry had left the door with a poorly made repair increasing likelihood of entry by intruder.

A notice was served compelling the letting agents to meet the officer on site to discuss safety and health issues.

The landlord agreed to remove all hazards before the tenant’s return and all the works were completed within seven weeks including: the suspended timber floor was rebuilt; a combi-boiler and central heating system supplied and fitted; the loft insulated; UPVC double glazing installed throughout; a   new fitted kitchen with new  flooring and cooker; a new bathroom suite installed ; the front entrance door and frame were renewed and the entire property redecorated.

Pictured below are the house before and after repairs were carried out

Case Study 2
A woman who was born at a house in Anfield and returned following the death of her parents in the 1980s, having only moved a few doors away when she married.

She was on a regulated tenancy with a low rent. The property had not received any attention for many years with:

• No gas central heating system,
• Original sash windows rotten and draughty,
• One of the gas fires did not work,
• No handrails
• Kitchen was in a dilapidated condition, the lean-to was collapsing,
• Electrical installation was dated.

However, she did not want to be rehoused.
The owners and agent did not agree to carry out the remedial works on an informal basis saying that the condition of the property was reflected in the low rent, and the tenant was responsible for some of the repairs.

As a consequence, statutory Improvement Notices were served.  An appeal was lodged with the Residential Property Tribunal to dispute the notices and the property was also put up for sale in an auction.

The property was purchased at auction and the appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal did not proceed.

The new owner acknowledged that remedial works were required at the property and agreed to carry them out.
He could not end the tenancy to proceed with the remedial works as this was a regulated tenancy.  He did not have another property in the vicinity to relocate the tenant but found a rental property in the next street and that landlord agreed to let it on a temporary basis.
The improvements included:
 Full double glazing and UPVC doors fitted front and back.
 Internally, stripping back to the brick and new stud partition walls were constructed.
 Full rewiring and re-plastering from top to bottom.
 Fitting of a brand new  kitchen  as well as a bathroom to include a walk-in shower
 An intruder alarm being fitted and a hard wired fire detection system.
 The removal of the lean-to.
 A handrail fitted to the stairs.
 A gas central healing system and loft insulation installed via a Warmfront grant applied for by the officer

Overall, the property was fully renovated from top to bottom , with the new landlords investing £25,000 in it and is now free from serous hazards.
The workers also helped by taking the woman’s post to her every day and kept her updated.

Picture are the kitchen before and after the work following the intervention by the Healthy Homes team