York Federation of Residents’ Associations folds

The York Federation of Residents’ Associations folded yesterday.

The decision was taken at a meeting which heard that it had been impossible to find a full slate of officers.

The decision doesn’t affect the many individual residents and tenants associations which operate successfully in many parts of the City.

It will, however, mean that a new process is required to allocate some centralised grant funding streams.

The Federation, which depended entirely on the efforts of volunteers, had struggled to deal with increasing regulatory requirements during recent months.

Some of its members had been critical of the lack of involvement on major policy changes being pursued by the Councils Housing Department.

NB. The Council has still not appointed a new contractor to carry on its “tenants choice” modernisation programmes

Council tenants in York face additional charges

Some housing repairs to attract fees

The Council says that the reason that garage 11 on Bramham Road has been boarded up for over 6 months is because if contains potentially hazardous asbestos. They have now agreed to have the garage cleared.

The Council is revising its policies on charging for housing repairs. It could mean that tenants will have to pay “upfront” for repairs although emergency attention to blocked drains, broken windows and power failures will continue to be given priority. Tenants may be charged (£145) future if they are “locked out” and call for Council assistance. Replacing a gate will cost £161 while an internal door will be charged at £79.85.

Window repairs will cost between £33.00 and £190.00 depending on size.

A new bath will cost £311.35 and an electric fire £291.27

The new policy – which can be read by clicking here  – is likely to cause some controversy. Post and wire is confirmed as the standard boundary fence. This type of fencing is unsightly and often ineffective.

The Council is, however, committing to removing asbestos when found in council homes.

Garden sheds will not be repaired by the Council.

The proposals have not been subject to consultation with tenants associations.

There is a growing list of grievances that many tenants have with the Councils housing department.

In recent months we have seen the “good tenant” scheme dropped while poor management of the Council’s garage stock is an ongoing issue. A new Housing Estate Improvement Programme process, introduced 2 years ago, has been widely criticised with delays in both agreeing and the implemention of improvements.

NB. The Council makes a profit on its housing revenue account of over £4 million each year.

New licensing scheme for homes in multiple occupation

A new law to improve the heath and safety and management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) is coming into force on 1 October 2018. The council is offering landlords one-to-one sessions.

Landlords can call 01904 552300 Monday to Friday from 9am – 12noon to talk to officers about the new licensing requirements and how to apply.

Smaller properties must now be licensed as HMOs. All properties occupied by five or more people in two or more separate households will need licenses, irrespective of the number of storeys.

Alongside ongoing work with landlords, City of York Council has been developing a new online HMO application process to make it simpler and faster for landlords to apply for new licences and to renew existing ones. Visit www.york.gov.uk/HMOLicensing

The new law also requires that bedrooms must be a minimum size and have a maximum number of occupants to prevent overcrowding.

As the collective tenants of these properties can generate more waste than others, adequate storage space for waste must be included in a property.

Landlords are being given up to 18 months grace to comply with the new bedroom requirements and to address any overcrowding.

To manage these new licensing requirements and standards, the council is proposing a different approach to inspections.

Inspections will be triggered by information provided by landlords and will be prioritised around known risk factors including the history of landlords and higher-risk properties. Where landlords fail to comply, civil penalty fines up to £30,000 can be imposed or unlimited fines if prosecuted

To register for regular updates about the new laws, including information about free presentations please visit www.york.gov.uk/HMOLicensing

The online application process for both new and existing licences for house in multiple occupation is now live at www.york.gov.uk/HMOLicensing

Confusion over planning application for Lincoln Court modernisation

Lincoln Court

In a report to a meeting taking place next week, officials are claiming that a planning application for the upgrade of the Lincoln Court independent living home on Ascot Way, “has been submitted”.

This will come as news to the residents living in the building who are eagerly awaiting details of the final design for the modernised site and the construction timetable.

There is no such application displayed on the Councils “planning portal

So far only the demolition of the adjacent Windsor House building and subsequent construction of a centre for disabled children has reached the planning application stage. That application was submitted on 29th June.

It is a matter of some concern as residents will want to see an integrated timetable for both developments which ensures that work on the whole of the site is completed quickly.

They will also want to see the Newbury Avenue development completed before work starts on Ascot Way.

Both developments will put considerable pressure on parts of Kingsway West which offers the only access route into the area.

Kingsway West is a cul de sac and already suffers from congestion caused by poor parking provision on the area near the Ascot Way junction.

 

 

More cheap homes to buy – new scheme launched by York Council

Shared home ownership scheme

Following on from yesterdays news about a £112,500 flat being sold in Skeldergate, there is more good news for aspiring home owners in York today.

An innovative new scheme to help more people afford a home of their own in York is being launched!

City of York Council’s new shared ownership scheme invites applicants to find their own home on the open market or choose from four high quality newly-converted apartments to buy with the council.

In York, high demand and low supply has increased house prices beyond the reach of many residents. With average house prices nine times local average wages the scheme for 65 homes is run in partnership with Homes England until early 2021, to help eligible York residents get on to the property ladder.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • have a combined household income of less that £80,000 per year
  • be first time buyers, or former home owners, or military or ex military personnel
  • be unable to afford to purchase a suitable home at market value
  • not own a share of, or own any other property (unless a shared ownership home that you wish to move from)
  • Have a minimum 5% deposit and be able to cover the cost of buying a property
  • Have secured a mortgage offer.

Eligible people can choose a property from the open housing market. This must be:

  • within the price guidelines set out in an offer letter – usually for no more than £200,000
  • within the City of York boundary area
  • not a listed building or in a listed building
  • in good mortgage-able condition
  • without any previous shared ownership grant funding attached
  • priced in line with an independent valuation.

If eligible and interested, first get a mortgage offer from a lender then apply via www.helptobuy.gov.uk – run by Yorkshire Housing. Please state on your application that you wish to buy with City of York Council and your details will be passed on to us.

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Modern 2 bed York City centre flat for £112,000?

A flat in Skeldergate is currently being advertised for sale for £112,500.

With a 10% deposit ,this could mean monthly mortgage repayments of around £530

The property is being advertised by Redmove

Discounted sale properties like this are available to some low earners.

You can see the criteria on the York Council’s web site Click 

 

York Council’s investment programme slipping into crisis

Major delays on housing modernisation, Guildhall repairs and transport improvements

Executive report 30th Aug 2018

A report to a meeting taking place on Thursday suggests reducing this year’s capital investment programme by £33 million.

The slippage includes major tenant choice housing modernisation works as the Council has failed to appoint a contractor to carry on the programme. No explanation of the programme failure is offered. The delays could affect other works including those dealing with standing water under homes and upgrades to water mains. These issues have not been publicly reported to the Councillor who has Executive responsibility for housing

The Council does still hope to make a start on controversial building schemes at Newbury Avenue (Autumn 2018) and the £22.5 million Lowfields scheme (Spring 2019).

The report claims that £748,000 “approved by the Executive in December 2016 for Lowfield sports facilities” will be spent, thus perpetuating the myth that the new football pitches being provided near Bishopthorpe are in some way linked to the Lowfields redevelopment.

There are also delays on several major transport infrastructure schemes.

Improvements to the northern by-pass (basically bigger roundabouts) will slip into 2019/20 as will a start on the new York Central access road from Water End.

Guildhall “business case” March 2017

Work on refurbishing the Guildhall will also be delayed with nearly £10 million slipping as a start on site is not now expected before summer 2019. Reopening is unlikely before 2021.

The Guildhall remains closed to the public and is not used now even for Council meetings. Even an empty Guildhall costs taxpayers about £330 a day with much if it going on Business Rates, heating, energy and security. To that should be added the cost of hiring alternative premises for Council meetings and the additional repair costs that inevitably arise when an old building is left empty for an extended period of time.

The Community Stadium work is “progressing on timetable’. However, £5.8 million in contract  payments are being slipped from 2018/19 to 2019/20.

The Council still expects to invest around £124 million during the present financial year.

Tough line taken on nuisance tenants

But Council fails to support “Good Tenants”

A tough line is being taken on council tenants whose anti-social behaviour has prompted York’s magistrates to close their homes.

The Community Safety Hub – which includes council and North Yorkshire Police officers – has been supported by local residents to help act to stop the pattern of anti-social behaviour at four York council homes.

As part of their tenancy agreement council tenants or their visitors must not act in a way which intimidates or disturbs their neighbours. To do so risks losing their tenancy.

An address at Dale Street, York has been closed up to prevent tenant Scott Berkley (aged 43 of Dale Street, York) from continuing to create nuisance. The court heard of his repeated loud shouting, swearing and verbal abuse of neighbours. Neighbours regularly reported needles discarded in the gardens and were disturbed by multiple visitors to the property every day and at all hours.

During a tenancy of less than two years, Mr Berkley was convicted three times for possession of drugs and on 14 August 2018 at York Magistrates Court he pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to a Community Rehabilitation Order for 12 months and ordered to repay the victim £200.
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Survey confirms that most residents oppose current Lowfields plans

The results of a survey undertaken in the Lowfields part of he Westfield Ward have revealed the depth of opposition to the Councils current plans for the sports pitch

4 out of 5 respondents are asking the Council to scale down their plans.

Most also want restrictions on building activity hours on the site.

 

Sellers house market in Westfield and Dringhouses

New on line site says YO24 postcode area amongst 10 “hottest” neighbourhoods in Yorkshire

The https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/propcast/ web site ranks neighbourhoods ranked on how easy it is to sell a property in the area.

The Heworth area is also regarded as “hot” as are parts of Sheffield.

The separate “Mouseprice” index records some recent sales. They include:

Address Sold price Sold date Type
18, The Gallops, YO24 3NF £226,000 22 May 2018 3 bed detached
22, Otterwood Lane, YO24 3JR £250,000 24 Apr 2018 4 bed detached
10, Minter Close, YO24 3FA £190,000 20 Apr 2018 2 bed semi-D
12, Tedder Road, YO24 3JB £257,000 29 Mar 2018 3 bed detached
149a, Askham Lane, YO24 3HH £275,000 14 May 2018 4 bed detached
13, Huntsmans Walk, YO24 3LD £217,500 03 May 2018 2 bed detached
48, Lowick, YO24 2RF £165,000 20 Apr 2018 2 bed terraced
37, St Stephens Road, YO24 3EH £198,000 02 May 2018 3 bed terraced
10, Alness Drive, YO24 2XZ £305,000 13 Apr 2018 4 bed detached
95, Stuart Road, YO24 3AJ £175,000 27 Apr 2018 3 bed terraced

There are still some bargains around. A one bedroomed flat in Gresley Court is available for £100,000 while a, chain free, two bedroomed house on Gladstone Street is available for £155,000