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Agenda item

Tenants Champion


The Chair and Councillor Draper introduced the report.


In response to questions Councillor Draper highlighted that

The emphasis in Merton was to focus on repairs, which differed slightly from the Richmond tenants champion role. Learning from Richmond took place by looking at their website. Most repairs are addressed very quickly and those that are not are drawn to councillor’s attention.  Cllr Draper worked with Clarion to follow the user journey and develop the process. Councillor Draper said we need an officer to fulfil the role rather than a councillor or volunteer. It was difficult to quantify the number of hours spent on the role but he believes this is a full-time job.

A panel member said this needs to be properly resourced. It should be a councillor champion with officer support.


The Interim Director of Community and Housing thanked councillors for the report. He said there are housing regulated providers and a statutory complaints process. Majority of landlords are good and the housing enforcement team work with the challenging ones.


Councillor Whelton thanked Councillor Draper and said there were worrying case studies with commendable support given to tenants. The council is considering implementing a selected landlord licencing scheme for better regulation.


The Panel thanked Councillor Draper for his work


The Panel moved to a vote on the recommendations listed in the report


A. Review full time equivalent support to the Housing Enforcement Team with the purpose of recruiting a minimum of one additional officer. This enacts the

recommendation of our Tenant’s Champion. To be completed by end of calendar year 2022.

There were six votes in favour of recommendation A.

Recommendation A was agreed by the Panel


The Panel moved to a vote on an amended recommendation B worded as follows:

B: Following confirmation from officers that the one year trial and other conditions of the original full council motion have been met cabinet should decide to either resource or discontinue the tenants champion scheme

There were six votes in favour of recommendation B.

Recommendation B was agreed by the Panel


C: By end of 2022 review and update as required Merton’s Housing Enforcement Policy 2019-2024 to enable clarity of scope, escalation and resolution for officer’s responsibility to inspect and audit repairs reported by tenants of registered providers i.e. housing associations operating in the borough.

Note: This maybe through stronger dialogue or an audit of referred casework. A similar arrangement exists under Mitcham and Morden MP and Clarion Housing.

There were two votes in favour of recommendation C and two against, three abstentions.

Recommendation C was agreed with the Chair’s casting vote.


D: As part of the panels performance monitoring item report quarterly metrics on numbers of (i) private and social housing condition complaints (ii) inspections and category 1 vs category 2 hazards identified (iii) other metrics as appropriate to

support the Housing Enforcement team convey the full scope of their work and responsibilities

There were two votes in favour of recommendation D, three votes against and two abstentions.

Recommendation D was not agreed by the Panel


E: Identify and report back to scrutiny options to engage local housing sector for the purposes of Merton’s house building and housing enforcement policies e.g. MERHAG II

There were two votes in favour of recommendation E and five abstentions.

Recommendation E was agreed by the Panel


F: Commission an internal and external communications strategy that will (i) promote

the aims and objectives of Merton’s Housing enforcement policy to both social and private tenant’s in an accessible and engaging format, (ii) streamline reporting of risks due to poor housing conditions (iii) targets and shares learnings with appropriate stakeholders to reduce common issues experienced by tenant’s and increase confidence

There were two votes in favour of recommendation F and five abstentions.

Recommendation F was agreed by the Panel


Supporting documents: