Tenants NewsleƩer | Spring 2018
RENT CONSULTATION 2018 - 2019 At its November meeting, Ayrshire Housing’s Board agreed to consult on the acceptability, or otherwise, of a possible rent increase of no more than 3%. We wrote to all tenants in December with details of the proposal and outlining the potential implications associated with a range of options such as accepting the proposal, an increase lower than the proposal or no increase at all. In the letter, we also provided a breakdown of the association’s costs for last year and how the rental income was spent. Tenants were asked what their preference was for this year’s proposed rent increase. We received 52 responses to the survey. The following table shows the responses to the consultation. Proposal
Number of Responses
% of Responses
Increase below 3%
Increase at 3% (Board recommendation)
In addition, results from our last comprehensive tenant satisfaction survey indicated that the overwhelming majority of our tenants felt that the rent charged offers good value for money with 87% of tenants indicating this during the survey. The Board carefully considered this feedback when it finalised its rent increase of 3% at its February meeting. We are very grateful to all who participated and provided feedback on the consultation. Respondents were entered into a draw to win a £25 shopping voucher. Pictured right are tenant Board members Kenny George and Suzi Williamson picking the winner from the prize draw entries. CONGRATULATIONS TO MR & MRS DUFFY OF MAYBOLE!
Importance of Annual Gas Safety Checks Ayrshire Housing has a legal duty to carry out a gas safety check in your home each year. Arranging these checks takes up a considerable amount of staff time and resources. You can assist us by providing access at the earliest opportunity. Thirteen tenants failed to provide access to their homes during the last year. This meant we had to notify them in writing that if access was not provided by the notified date then the association would have no choice but to instruct the gas engineer to either cap the gas supply or to force entry into the home. If we have to force entry, you will be charged not only for the cost of this action but for the replacement of any locks. Arranging your gas safety check couldn’t be easier. James Frew Ltd (GasSure), our gas contractor, will write to you with an appointment for their engineer to visit your home. You can arrange another appointment if this does not suit, but we would ask that you do this as soon as possible. When an engineer visits, they will:
Service and clean your gas boiler and fire (where fitted); Check all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms; Check any gas appliances installed by you e.g., gas cooker/hob (however, no repairs or servicing will be carried out on these appliances).
If you smell gas, please contact immediately the National Grid 24-hour help line on 0800 111 999. You must:
Turn off your gas at the meter; Not smoke or light a match (avoid any naked flames); Not turn any electrical switches on or off; Open doors and windows.
The National Grid operator will ask for:
A name and contact telephone number; An address/location of the suspected gas leak or emergency; Any special circumstances or access information. Information about any affected neighbours.
You will be informed if you need to leave the building. If so, please leave quickly – NEVER use a lift or waste time collecting valuables. If you feel unwell and suspect this may be as a result of breathing in gas fumes you should immediately seek medical attention. Your gas appliances will require to be checked and you can arrange this by contacting our office.
Policy Reviews The association is currently in the process of reviewing and drafting a number of our policies including the Right to Compensation for Improvements and our Rechargeable Repairs Policy. Copies of both policies are available by contacting the office on 01292 880120 if you would like to comment on them.
External Painting Programme 2018/19 The association is now seeking tenders for our annual external painting programme. You will be advised in due course when the work will start. The programme will cover the areas below:
Prestwick (Fairway View and Fernbank Court) Barr (The Clachan) Maybole (Burns Wynd) Ayr (Corton Howe and Crown Square) Belmont, Ayr (including Burnbank Rd, Burnbank Place, Dalmellington Road, Belmont Avenue, Belmont Crescent, Belmont Drive, Chalmers Avenue, Chalmers Road, Morton Ave, Glendale Place and Glendale Crescent) Forehill, Ayr (including Caledonia Road, Clarendon Place, Cunninghame Crescent, Cunninghame Place, Ellisland Place, Ellisland Square, Glencairn Road, Glenconner Place, Glenconner Road, Glenriddel Road, Souter Place, Leslie Crescent, Lochlea Drive, Mossgiel Place, Mossgiel Road, Mount Oliphant Crescent, Mount Oliphant Place, Orchard Avenue and Orchard Place)
MUTUAL EXCHANGE WEBSITE If youâ€™re looking for a move, check out our Mutual Exchange website. To register, you must have a valid email address. Simply log on to www.housingonline.org.uk/exchange Once signed in you can create your advert and search for other properties. You can add photos of your home too. If you donâ€™t have an email address and aren't sure how to create one, just call the office on 01292 880120 and make an appointment. Our reception staff will be more than happy to help set one up for you.
www.ayrshirehousing.org.uk Text Message - 07860 020459
Universal Credit is an in and out of work benefit that replaces six means tested benefits – Income Support, Income Based Employment Support Allowance, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. If you currently get any of these benefits you do not need to do anything, the Department of Work and Pensions will advise you at some point in the future if you need to take any action. Currently families with three or more children are unable to claim Universal Credit. If you have had a change in circumstances this may mean that you will have to claim Universal Credit. For example, if you move house and need help with your rent in a new Council area, you will be unable to make a new housing benefit claim and will need to claim Universal Credit. Another example may be that your family circumstances change. For example, if you separate from your partner and require to make new claims for old benefits like tax credits, these benefits are no longer available as a new claim and you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit. If you are in doubt with regards to what to claim, please call our office and speak to our Money Advice Team on 01292 880120.
Universal Credit is very different to old style benefits Universal Credit full service is available to all claimants in Ayrshire. You will need an email address and internet access to make a claim. You will have an online Universal Credit account to manage your claim. It is important that you check your online account regularly as there will be actions required of you on your ‘to do’ list. You can use your account to report changes, get support and use your journal to send messages to your work coach. If you need some help to use the internet please talk to us about the support available near you.
Universal Credit is paid monthly, so you will need to budget monthly Universal Credit is assessed and paid in arrears, on a monthly basis, in a single payment. Your personal circumstances will be assessed to work out the amount of Universal Credit you are entitled to. If waiting for your first Universal Credit payment will put you into financial difficulties, there is support available to you and you can discuss this with your work coach, housing officer or money advice staff. It is essential that you prepare for Universal Credit and keep your housing officer informed of changes in your circumstances. This will allow us to offer you appropriate support and advice to manage your rent account and prevent arrears.
Local school children opened Ayrshire Housing’s latest development in the village of Dailly on Monday 15 January. It took just nine months to turn the derelict pub site into much-needed homes for affordable rent. The children were joined by South Ayrshire’s Provost Helen Moonie and Jeane Freeman, local MSP and Scotland’s Minister for Social Security.
There are a number of ways for you to get in touch with us: Like us on Facebook—www.facebook.com/ ayrshirehousing/ Call us—01292 880120 Email us—email@example.com
Free Information Technology classes Are you or one of your family members looking for help with IT basics? Ayrshire Housing, working in partnership with Aspire2Access, are running a series of drop-in workshops to help people gain basic IT skills. The workshops are free of charge to our tenants and their families and are held in the Carrick Opportunities Centre, Henrietta Street, Girvan. Classes are held each Thursday from 12.45pm to 2.45pm (lunch is provided). Last session is Thursday 29th March. For more information or to book your place, please call Kirsty on 01292 880120.
www.ayrshirehousing.org.uk Text Message - 07860 020459
GARDEN COMPETITION 2018 Entry Form
PET COMPETITION 2018 Entry Form
Spring is just around the corner, so it’s time to get
It is time for our ever popular Pet of the Year Competition. To enter send along a picture of your pet with an explanation of why they deserve to win. Closing date: Friday 6th July 2018
your gardening gloves on and head outside! If you’re a keen gardener why not enter our Competition. You could be in for the chance of winning a voucher or engraved garden tools. Just complete and return this entry form to us. Closing date is Friday 6th July 2018 NAME
.................................................................................... POSTCODE ………………………………………………………….. TEL/EMAIL ……………………………………………………………
Pet Name _______________________________
Please tick box below which best describes your garden: Garden
Ruby, our PR Guru, wants to hear from you! You can also email your photos with a story. firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk 10,000 steps every day in March to raise money for Cancer Research UK. We are taking part in the above event to help raise funds for CRUK. We hope to get our step count up by walking more—give us a wave if you see us out and about! If you are interested in taking part in this event, you can get full details from www.cancerresearchuk.org
www.ayrshirehousing.org.uk Text Message - 07860 020459
Proposed change in the make-up of Ayrshire Housing’s Board You are invited to an Extraordinary General Meeting which will take place at 5pm on Wednesday 25 April in our offices at 119 Main Street, Ayr. A special resolution to make changes to our Articles (our “rule book”) will be voted on. As a tenant, you are also a member of the association. You have a say in the membership of the Board, for example. South Ayrshire Council has decided to withdraw from membership of several local voluntary organisations including Ayrshire Housing. To accommodate this decision, the Board is proposing to change our Articles to remove all references to the Council. The Council’s current right to appoint three Board members would therefore come to an end. The Board is proposing to increase the numbers of community and tenant Board members from five to six respectively. This will give more opportunities for tenants and others to get involved in the running of Ayrshire Housing. The Board is also suggesting some small changes to improve the clarity of the articles in the light of good practice within the housing association movement. You can see the detailed proposals on the association’s website. You can also ask for a copy by phoning our office on 01292 880120.
Easter Opening Hours Please note: our offices will be closed on Friday 30 March and Monday 2 April. If you need to report an emergency repair during this time please call 01563 882234
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Published on Mar 13, 2018