Falkirk Council: Tenants vote against communal cleaning scheme

Tenants of Falkirk Council flats are likely to remain responsible for keeping communal areas clean and tidy after a pilot failed to win support.
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At next week’s meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive, members will discuss the results of the pilot which was followed by a survey of all council tenants.

The survey asked tenants to consider three options: tenants in flats with communal areas paying for cleaning services; a service being funded by the council through the Housing Revenue Account; or tenants and residents remaining responsible for their own cleaning.

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The consultation found that 82.3 per cent of tenants surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that it was the tenants’ responsibility to clean their communal areas; while 82 per cent of tenants surveyed disagreed that a communal cleaning service should be funded from the Housing Revenue Account and not charged to individual tenants.

Tenants were not in favour of a scheme where they would pay for cleaningTenants were not in favour of a scheme where they would pay for cleaning
Tenants were not in favour of a scheme where they would pay for cleaning

The survey also found that 76.8 per cent of tenants surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the condition of communal areas.

The report going to the executive says that cleaning costs an average of £200 per month per block with a communal area. This works out at approximately £7 per week, for each property, and would be an additional expense for tenants, particularly at a time of cost-of living concerns.

In total, such a scheme would cost more than £1,776,000 per year.

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All expenditure on council-owned homes must come from the Housing Revenue Account, which is funded by rents. Any changes would have to be agreed by all tenants – including those who would not benefit. Not only would it be hard to get agreement from all council tenants, it would also be difficult to get payment from the many private owners in mixed tenure closes.

Although the report makes clear that it would be too difficult to implement any kind of charging, it does acknowledge that dirty communal areas in flats are often a concern to tenants.

Councillors will be asked to consider introducing a communal cleaning service for new build developments, which would be part of the tenancy agreement and therefore covered by Universal Credit or Housing Benefit where necessary.

The report will be discussed by the executive on Tuesday, June 13 at 10 am in Grangemouth Community Education Unit. The meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube.