New videos produced by the Council encouraging tenants to do their own housing repairs should not be an excuse for poor housing service performance, Liberal Democrat councillors have warned.
The five videos – available on the Council’s website – were launched just before Christmas. They show how to unblock toilets and sinks, change light bulbs, set central heating and check smoke alarms. They also promise that more videos will follow.
Fears have been raised that the Council is promoting to DIY Repairs because its housing repairs service cannot provide the service it should. The council website states:
‘By showing you how to do these repairs yourself…we hope to save you time and money. Reducing these callouts will also help the repairs team focus their time and expertise on more complex repairs.’
The new video and promotion of DIY Repairs follow the publication of figures last year showing that one in three council tenants is unhappy with the repairs service. Complaints about maintenance were up by over 60% on the previous year.
Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Ben Johnson, said:
“This is an interesting initiative that we will watch with interest. Liberal Democrats are fighting for better housing in Southwark and want to see a repairs service that gets it right first time and puts tenants first.
“Education and advice to residents is something we support, especially if it can save the borough money. But this shouldn’t be used as political cover for the sorry state of the Council’s housing department.
“Complaints about repairs are increasing every year and there is a clear deterioration of the service that tenants pay for. Tenants and leaseholders expect Southwark to be a good landlord and not shirk from its responsibilities in repairs and maintenance.”