Page 3 Get Involved Page 4 Gas Servicing Page 6 Changes To BeneďŹ ts
GETTING OUT AND ABOUT How your estate inspections are making your estates cleaner and safer...
FROM THE CHAIR FROM LESLEY In the recently held election for membership to the Wolverhampton Homes Board, leaseholders were unsuccessful in getting a representative elected. On reﬂection, the forum were unanimously agreed that the outcome was largely attributed to two factors, the disproportionate ratio of tenants in comparison to leaseholders, together with the decision to allow everyone the option of having two votes. It was further concluded, that given these set of circumstances, the prospect of having a leaseholder elected to the board will remain highly unlikely. However, and with respect, the Senior Management Team of Wolverhampton Homes have expressed the importance of maintaining a good and open relationship with leaseholders, and it is to this end that the Chief Executive will now be attending future forum meetings. The forum also welcomes the return of a local group meeting, (details of which are given on page 3). This meeting will be open to all leaseholders, and I would strongly urge everyone to give it their support. Peter Broome Chair of Leaseholder Forum
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write in your newsletter. Your views, as a leaseholder, are very important to Wolverhampton Homes. Leaseholders have always been strongly encouraged to stand for the Board; indeed we have hoped in the past that forum members would stand as they would be excellent candidates. We had one candidate – he did not get elected. As company directors, our ﬁve tenant or leaseholder board members have a duty towards the whole organisation (as do the other ten board members drawn from the local authority or experts in the ﬁeld). It is better for leaseholders that the whole board is concerned with meeting your needs. Your Leaseholder Forum has kindly agreed that I can attend their meetings, so I can hear your views direct and let you know what will be done about them. Thank you once again for your involvement. Lesley Roberts Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes
Thank you to leaseholder Martin Cartwright and resident Dave Poyner of the Vauxhalls for appearing in our cover shot with our staff members.
If you require this information in another language or format, contact us on 01902 556789.
OUT N’ ABOUT: Concierge Supervisor Irfan Mehboob, leaseholder Martin Cartwright and resident Dave Poyner and Estate Manager Sharon Bungay.
How would you improve your estate? Every quarter your estate manager has a formal walkabout your estate looking at areas where it could be approved. It could be that you need a new litter bin, repairs to a fence or anything else you’ve spotted.
The inspections are your chance to let us know how we can improve your estate. We’re really grateful to everyone who comes along Your estates are cleaner and safer because you took the time to get involved. Martin Cartwright of the Vauxhall estate said: “You can inﬂuence how your environment ends up. It gives you a sense of being consulted and having your say. I’d encourage all leaseholders to take part. “Ultimately you’re paying premium dollar for services, we should have a say about how that money is spent.” I’d also encourage leaseholders to build up a rapport with the Estate Manager and Contractors, because it can really make the difference.”
Come along to your next estate inspection, you can ﬁnd all the dates on our website at www.wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk and search ‘estate inspections’.
You are very welcome to come along to the meeting and see what goes on for yourself. We would like more leaseholders to get involved. You may remember we used to hold local groups but only some of them were well attended. One of those was the Tettenhall Group, so we have decided to start it up again in the New Year and run it for a trial period.
Your Leasehold Forum meets every six weeks to discuss our services to you. They have recently discussed doors, gas servicing and planning for future costs.
The ﬁrst meeting will be on Wednesday 16th January at 7pm at the Poynings. Although this is a Tettenhall Group, anyone is welcome to come along. You don’t need to live in Tettenhall. The next Leasehold Forum will be on Wednesday 9th January. November 2012
PLANNING FOR THE
FUTURE You told us that you would like more information about planned major repairs to your blocks, so we are developing a Leasehold Investment Plan for each home. The Investment Plan lists all the areas of your home that may need replacing and that you would need to contribute towards. This includes the roof, communal windows, communal wiring and fences. The plan tells you the condition of each item, when it is due to be replaced and the likely cost. Chris McWilliams from Bradmore (pictured right) said: “I think the Leasehold Investment Plan is essentially a good idea. “It gives a good overview of any costs that are likely to be incurred in the coming years, and will help us to budget for them. “Also when it comes to selling my ﬂat, I will be able to give any prospective buyer all the information that they are likely to need in respect of maintenance costs. I look forward to seeing the plan.”
Gas Servicing Regular servicing of your gas appliances will help to keep you and your family safe, reduce the likelihood of break downs and help to reduce running costs. For more information visit:
www.wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk or contact 01902 556789 Please remember that all leaseholders must provide us with a valid gas certiﬁcate. If you are not a member of our gas service scheme we will contact you to request a copy of the certiﬁcate. 04
TELL US WHAT
YOU THINK OF OUR SERVICES Your Leaseholder Satisfaction Survey was launched in October. It is your opportunity to share your views on the services you receive and help us to improve. An independent survey agency, M·E·L Research, is carrying out the survey on our behalf, so what you say will be completely anonymous.
We would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to ﬁll it in. Everyone who replies will be entered into a free prize draw for a chance to win up to £150 off next year’s service charge, in vouchers or credit union deposits. The prize draw winner from the last survey was Michelle Moreton of Long Knowle, Wednesﬁeld. She won £150 of High Street vouchers.
The concierge service includes caretaking, CCTV monitoring, security and low-level maintenance for high-rise blocks. There are eleven estates around Wolverhampton that receive some level of concierge service. Residents expressed concern at the rising service charges required for the service to cover its costs, so we proposed a range of options allowing each estate to select the service that was right g for them.
Following a period of consultation, residents were asked to select the service they wished to receive by way of an independent ballot. The ballot received a 29.9% response rate and residents chose to receive either the current level of service or a cheaper option. If you receive the concierge service, you will have received a letter about the outcome on your estate. The results will be presented to the Council and you will be written to in Spring with more information.
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CHANGES AND YOU
ENT IS THE GOVERNM BENEFITS E CHANGING TH HIS WILL T SYSTEM AND YOU RECEIVE AFFECT YOU IF BENEFITS. YOU IF YOU T C E F F A L IL IT W ING AGE K R O W F O E B WILL 5 MONTHS) D N A S R A E Y (16-61 . IN I APRIL 2013
HOW WILL YOU BE AFFECTED? The Beneﬁt Cap
From April 2013 the total amount of beneﬁt you can get will be capped. Single people will receive a maximum of £350 and couples with or without children and lone parents will receive a maximum of £500 per week. Among the beneﬁts that count towards the cap are: Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Child Beneﬁt, Bereavement Allowance, Carers Allowance, Maternity Allowance, Incapacity Beneﬁt and Severe Disablement Allowance. The beneﬁt cap does not apply to Working Tax Credit, Disability living Allowance, Industrial Injuries beneﬁt, Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and War Widow’s Allowance or Pension.
If you receive any of the main out-of-work beneﬁts including Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance, Child beneﬁt, Child Tax Credit and Carer’s Allowance (income related), help with housing costs (such as mortgage interest payments) they will be combined into a new beneﬁt called Universal Credit. This will begin in 2014 for existing claimants and in October 2013 for new claimants and will be paid monthly in arrears.
Leaseholder News November 2012
If you are worried about these changes contact our Money Smart team on
STOP HATE Hate crime is when the perpetrator abuses or harasses an individual about a perceived prejudice. It can be linked to race or ethnicity, but there are growing numbers of people who are being abused for a disability. According to the Association of Chief Police Ofﬁcers, disability hate crimes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have increased sharply from 1,569 in 2010 to 2,095 in 2011. We are urging anyone who experience or witness a hate crime to come forward and report it. If the victim lives in a home managed by us or believes the perpetrator to, you can report it to 01902 556789. Hate crime should always be reported to the Police by dialling 101 or, in an emergency 999. More than 1000 people have pledged to our Stop Hate campaign. If you haven’t signed up already, we are still looking for even more support. You can sign our pledge by visiting:
STOP HATE: Councillor Peter Bilson supporting the campaign to stop hate.
G T P R E S E N T S E Q P L I U
T R L U O R A W I N T E R F D G
H R L P M Y N E W Y E A R E F A
C I E P W P D F U I P M M S Y U
H O W E S X K K J S A F E T Y T
R M A P F C V I B L J O S I H U
I D S H S X E T N I Y I T V E M
S E C C L I G H T S Q A U E U N
T H A N K F U L F E W P R S Q A
M D R G R E W I L F S D K D C V
A D S H O P P I N G H L E A L P
S D D H P E D T G I O E Y R L K
WORDSEARCH Why not try are winter wordsearch and you could win £20 in vouchers. Simply send back your completed puzzle to the address on page 8.
Winter Christmas New Year Shopping Presents
Turkey Lights Autumn Pumpkins Festive
Thankful Tree Safety
Address Post Code November 2012
Leaseholder News 07
CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURS
Homes Direct and our Market Street, Bilston and WednesďŹ eld shops will be open as follows over the Christmas period:
s For out of hours emergencies call 01902 552999
Friday 21 December Saturday 22 December Monday 24 December Tuesday 25 December Wednesday 26 December Thursday 27 December Friday 28 December Saturday 29 December
8.30am â€“ 4.30pm CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED 8.30am â€“ 5.00pm 8.30am â€“ 5.00pm CLOSED
Monday 31 December Tuesday 1 January Wednesday 2 January
8.30am â€“ 4.30pm CLOSED 8.30am â€“ 6.00pm
Our Merry Hill, Low Hill and Heath Town shops will close on Friday 21 December and reopen on Wednesday 2 January 2013.
s For general enquiries call Homes Direct on 01902 556789
s Join the conversation on our Facebook page by visiting F www.facebook.com/wolveshomes w ss Follow F us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WolvesHomes w sF For face-to-face enquiries visit one of our One Stop Shops: City Centre, o Bilston, Low Hill, Merry Hill, B WednesďŹ eld, Heath Town W sF For written enquiries, write to: Wolverhampton Homes W Chillington Fields C Industrial In n Estate off Hickman Avenue o Wolverhampton W WV1 2BY W
Tell us what you think about any of our service. We welcome all feedback-good or bad.
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Leaseholder News November 2012