Lambeth invests £490m to improve social housing and home 21,000 people on waiting list

A record £490million is being invested by Lambeth Council to improve housing after taking back the reigns of housing services from their arms-length management organisation, Lambeth Living.

The investment aims to bring thousands of homes up to the Lambeth Housing Standard – the criteria which outlines that all residents’ homes must be warm, safe and dry, well-maintained and have reasonably modern facilities.

Marek Effendowicz, Head of Communications at Lambeth Living, said: “This is the largest investment in social homes in the country at the moment.”

The decision to reintegrate housing services back into the council’s control comes as Lambeth Living’s contract is due to end next year.

Set up in 2008, Lambeth Living aimed to access the Government’s Decent Homes funding, and now, after achieving this, the council has taken back its control of housing services.

Between 2013 and 2014, Lambeth Living invested £91 million into homes – which included bringing 1,986 of them up to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.

Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of Lambeth Living staff, we’re in a good position to reconsider how housing is best managed for tenants, leaseholders and the council in the years ahead.

“There are 21,000 people on the housing list and we’re committed to improving services alongside ambitious plans to provide new council housing.”

Last year over 1,705 homes were fitted with new kitchens and bathrooms, and further work is planned in 5,427 homes over the next year, as a result of the Lambeth Housing Standard.

Cllr Bennett stated that the council has also drastically reduced the number of empty properties and cut the average time to re-let empty council homes to 12 days.

“Now is the time to build on these improvements and reintegrate housing with other council services,” he said.

Keith Hill, former Streatham MP and chairman of the Lambeth Living Board, said: “In the current financial climate and with a very different housing landscape, it’s a wise decision to pause and reflect on whether the current setup is what’s needed for the future.

“Lambeth Living’s outgoing chief executive, Neil Litherland, and his staff, must take credit for all they’ve achieved.”

Homes of over 24,000 tenants and 9,000 leaseholders will now be under the direct control of the council.

Those affected will be sent a letter explaining changes and future considerations and a proposal detailing the council’s integration of housing services will be presented to the cabinet in November.

Picture courtesy of Diamond Geezer, with thanks

Related Articles