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News Archive

Elim news archive

 

Welcome to the Elim News Archive. This page displays all past news articles in chronological order that have appeared on the Elim Housing Association home page. 

You can navigate to older articles by either scrolling down this page or by making use of the archive function on the right hand side. 

 

 

Elim news archive — articles for 2017

Rechargeable repairs

We’ve just reviewed our policy and procedure relating to recharges, and although most of the changes are to our internal processes, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind all residents about our approach to recharges.

A recharge is a charge that we have incurred which we ask a resident to pay back to us.   

We will recharge a resident for something which we have had to pay for which is required because of a residents behaviour or is the residents responsibility.  This includes things like the costs associated with court applications, replacing lost key fobs or repairs required as result of resident damage.

We ask residents to pay recharges so that our limited resources are not used for things which are not our responsibility.  It also means that the rent you pay is not being used to pay for the repair of damage caused by others.

The biggest change to our procedure is that having a Police Crime Reference will not automatically mean that you do not need to pay a recharge.

 

Rechargeable repairs

You will usually be asked to pay for repairs required because of:

  • Accidental damage: A light pull cord broken by a child pulling it too hard, a window damaged by slamming shut in the wind or water damage within your home from a bath being allowed to overflow.

  • Inappropriate/irresponsible behaviour: A toilet blocked due to a nappy being put down it, hole in a door that has been hit, allowing a pet to chew a door or a sink blocked as a result of fat being put down it.

  • Criminal damage: A window that is smashed by an unknown person or a door forced to gain entry.  Even if you obtain a Crime Reference Number you will be asked to pay for the repair.  In exceptional cases we will take into account the vulnerability and individual ability to pay – we want to make sure that no undue hardship is suffered by vulnerable residents.

We will usually be able to tell you if a repair you are requesting is rechargeable before we do it so you can either make an agreement to pay or find your own contractor.  However, sometimes we don’t have enough information when the repair is reported and it will only be afterwards that we know this.

 

Other recharges

Most of the recharges we invoice residents for relate to repairs and maintenance of the property however, there are some other circumstances when you may be asked to pay a recharge. For example:

  • If you lose your keys or they are stolen meaning you need a replacement fob or communal entrance key you will be asked to pay for this even if you have a Crime Reference Number.

  • If we have taken you to court and the judge has agreed that you should be responsible for the court costs you will be asked to pay this back.If you have rent arrears the court costs will usually be paid once the arrears are cleared.

  • If we have to remove rubbish which you have left in a communal area.

  • If you move out of a property and leave it in poor condition.

 

Contents insurance

If you have contents insurance, you may be able to claim for some repairs such as accidental damage or criminal damage through this.  It will depend on the terms of your individual insurance.

We strongly recommend that you have contents insurance for this reason but recognise that some people may struggle to afford this.  If this is the case, you may wish to consider using the National Housing Federation insurance scheme.  It offers very competitive rates and a range of ways to pay.

You can find out more details about the scheme by calling 0345 450 7288 or visiting www.thistlemyhome.co.uk

 

 

If you have any queries about recharges please speak to your Housing Officer or our Maintenance team on 01454 411172.

Read Rechargeable repairs…

Fire Safety at Elim

You will be aware of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

We can confirm that we have undertaken all of our obligations in relation to fire safety and we consider our buildings to be safe.

 

We have a number of safety measures in place which may depending on individual property types include:

  • A smoke alarm on each storey of your property which is tested annually.

  • A carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance.

  • Testing fire extinguishers where they are present.

  • Weekly checks that alarm is sounding/call points are functional at supported housing schemes with an integral fire system

  • Completion of fire risk assessments for properties with communal parts.

  • Installation of fire doors, fire exits or fire exit signs

  • Management of rubbish / waste to reduce fire hazards

  • Emergency lighting, smoke and heat detectors and alarm systems

  • Management of resident hazards such as pushchairs and bikes left in communal areas

  • Provision of equipment for use by trained staff in a fire such as extinguishers or fire blankets

We would encourage you to check your own alarm weekly and make sure communal areas are kept free from obstructions as these can be hazardous in an emergency situation.  There is more information about fire safety here or contact your local fire service on their non-emergency number for advise and information.

If you don't have a smoke detector, it is not working or has been damaged please contact our maintenance team on 01454 411172 option 3.

Read more about Fire safety in communal areas [pdf] 137KB

You can also call us if you do have any concerns about fire safety in your home on 01454 411172 or info@elimhousing.co.uk

Read Fire Safety at Elim…

Forecastle development works well under way

Forecastle May 17 front

 

The refurbishment of our supported housing project in South Gloucestershire, The Forecastle, is now well underway.

The year long project will update the accommodation for single homeless adults providing 18 units each with its own en-suite bathroom and kitchenette.

The first phase of the project, which is the refurbishment of the house, started in March 2017.    This work is on schedule to be completed at the end of June.

We decided to demolish to existing annexe building as it no longer met our needs or those of our residents and it was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain due to its age.  The residents of the existing annexes will be moved to the house once completed to allow us to replace the old annexe with a new 2-storey block which will be connected to the maint house by a single storey building containing offices and communal spaces.  The current residents are very excited about their move in the summer.

We are also developing a community wellbeing hub in the old gate house building on site and improving car parking arrangements as part of the project which has been funded by the Homes & Communities Agency in conjunction with the NHS and South Gloucestershire Council as well as from Elim Housing.

 

 

Forecastle May 17 kitchen        Forecastle MAy 17 wardrobe

 

Read Forecastle development works well under way…

1 bed flat for sale

We have just one flat remaining for sale at our brand new development on Bromley Road in Kingsway, Gloucester.  This beautiful one bedroom flat is available immediately through shared ownership and you can buy a 40% share for just £47,000.

This is a great way to get onto the property ladder especially if you only have a small amount saved up for the deposit or the amount you can borrow is limited as you are on a lower income.  Purchasing a 40% share of the property would be possible with a deposit of just £4,700 and the monthly payments would be around £468*.

To be eligible you need to be registered with Help to Buy South, ideally have a local connection to Gloucester, be able to pay the deposit and cover any legal costs of purchasing a home, have a household income of under £80,000 and not be able to afford a suitable home on the open market.

This is a perfect opportunity to buy your first home but you don't have to be a first time buyer to be eligible.  For example, if you are selling a jointly owned home due to a relationship breakdown but are not able to buy alone on the open market then you would be eligible providing you meet the other eligibility criteria.

The flat is at the back of a small block of 12 properties.  The brand new fitted kitchen includes the oven and hob as well as vinyl floor covering.  The bathroom also has vinyl flooring and includes an overbath shower.  The property has one allocated parking space and there is a small communal garden.

For more information about the property or to book a viewing visit our sales partner Twocan Estate Agency

Kitchen 1 bed flat Bromley Road       Front of flats at Bromley Road      Bathroom in BRomley Road flat

 

* These figures are for illustrative purposes only based on a 40% share with monthlyrent of £161.56, monthly service charge of £71.12 and monthly mortgage payment of
£235.12 (Based on mortgage of £42,300 over 25 years at 4.5%) You should obtain your own independent financial advice.

 

Read 1 bed flat for sale…

Lime Property Ventures success

 

Lime Property Ventures (LPV) Elim’s commercial subsidiary was formally launched in early 2016 with plans to re-develop Hathaway House, a former supported housing scheme in central Bristol, into student accommodation.

Lime Property Ventures officially started trading in September 2016 when students moved into Hathaway House and at the end of the financial year, after just seven months of trading, LPV is generating a profit.  This was generated through a small number of open market property sales and the rental income from the student accommodation.

We are thrilled that this has allowed LPV to make a donation of £50,000 to Elim Housing Association at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

This donation will be used to achieve the Elim Group’s vision, and will be invested in projects that will have a direct social impact in line with our charitable objectives. 

We are confident that Lime Property Ventures will continue to generate profit for further investment as well as providing the group with the flexibility to take on a greater range of projects by providing the group with the means to consider both new opportunities and different ways of working.

This includes, in the year ahead, taking on large new-build developments in partnership with Elim Housing or other developers in addition to developing smaller plots of land already owned by the group.

We are excited about the opportunities that Lime Property Ventures first full year of trading will offer and the benefits this will have for the Elim Group.

Read Lime Property Ventures success…

Rent and Service Charge changes 2017

Mixed coin stack

As we enter a new financial year the rent and service charges our residents pay is changing.

 

Changes to Service Charges

After consulting with you on the service charges that you pay, we have now notified all residents of the service charges they will need to pay each week or month over the coming year.

We would like to say a big thank you to all residents that came forward with questions or queries about their service charges. As a result of this consultation some service charges have been altered and consultations have been planned for the year ahead where interest was expressed for changes or for new items

The exact amount you pay for each of the services you receive was specified on the breakdown sent to you.  This breakdown also indicates which of these services Housing Benefit will cover and which they will not.

Most service charges will be changing from 3rd April 2017 but you should check your letter to confirm this.

 

Changes to Rent Charges

The date of the increase of rents varies across our properties.  You will receive a letter in advance telling you the exact date your rent will change.  However, as a guide, most residents living in our supported accommodation, shared ownership residents and those who’s rent is charged monthly will find their rent changes on 3rd April.  For others, the rent is likely to change on 8th May.

A number of the rents we charge have decreased this year.  This is in response to a government instruction to reduce our rents for most tenure types by 1% per year for 3 years.  Whilst this is welcome news for many residents it does have an impact on our income and therefore how much money we have to spend on things like repairs.

We have been working very hard to make sure that we are efficient and effective in the way that we spend money as a business.  We have also been looking closely at the way that we can change the way we work to reduce or stop some spending altogether.  For example, we now try to e-mail more as this is free and the cost of sending something by post continues to increase.

If you have any ideas on how you think we could save money please let us know by emailing info@elimhousing.co.uk or speaking to your Housing Officer.

 

What now?

If you pay by Direct Debit we will instruct Allpay (the company that manages this for us) to automatically change your payments.  You will receive a letter from Allpay notifying you of any changes.

If you pay by Standing Order, Allpay Card or cash you will need to make sure that the amount you pay is correct from your service charge and/or rent change date.  Your Housing Officer can help you with this if you are unsure what to pay or if you would like to set up a Direct Debit to help make this process easier in future.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you will need to notify them of any changes to your service charge or rent.

 

Any questions?

If you have any questions about your rent or service charges you can find more information in the ‘Your Rent’ section of our website.

You can also speak to your Housing Officer if you have any further questions or concerns.

Read Rent and Service Charge changes 2017…

March Resident Forum Meeting

 

Will you be coming along to the March resident forum meeting?

The meeting which starts at 2.30pm and will be held at Elim's Head Office on Thursday 30th March is open to all current Elim residents.

Tina Bird, Asset and Investment Manager, will be talking about Elim's Asset Management strategy asking what's important to you about the design & quality of new homes, how we can achieve value for money in maintenance and what you think are the most important factors when asse...ssing a property and how we should use it.

Also coming along will be Hayley Young from our maintenance team to talk about Fire Risk Assessments and Fire Alarm systems.

If you need more information about this meeting or the forum in general, including what travel costs we can cover, please speak to your Housing Officer.

We hope to see you there!

Read March Resident Forum Meeting…

Average house price in South West now £256,054

 

 

According to the National Housing Federation Home Truths report, the South West faces a combination of high house prices and low wages resulting in an acute housing crisis.

Only those earning upwards of £58,527 a year can now afford the average mortgage in the South West. With salaries now averaging £24,934, the typical worker would need a staggering £33,593 pay rise (135%) to get a mortgage for an average home in the region.

The report, which provides local data on the housing market in the South West, shows that the average house price is £256,054, compared to the national average of £282,011. This represents more than ten times the average salary. In some areas it is much higher – house prices in the Cotswolds are almost 50% higher than the regional average.

The cost of renting privately has added pressure on people’s income. With average monthly rents now standing at £731, private renters have to fork out 35% of their pay on rent.

The report reveals one of the sources of all this misery: nearly 25,000 too few new homes have been built over the last five years in the region. Last year alone, fewer than 19,000 homes were built, which is far below what is required to accommodate the 21,000 new households that are formed each year.

As a sector, housing associations are working to end the region’s crisis, completing over 3,000 new homes, and having started to build over 3,000 more in 2015/16. They built more than 40,000 homes across the country in 2015/16, 29% of all new homes in England. Housing associations have ambitions to work with Government to build thousands more new homes across the country.

Elim’s purpose is to address housing need and deliver places for people to call home.  We have set out to achieve this vision by providing homes for families and single people at different stages of their lives, and it is our aim for Elim to own, lease or manage 1000 homes by 2022.

Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West, said:

“As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis. The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out. This is having a knock-on effect on local amenities, including shops and schools, and is detrimental to everyone.

“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis. The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”

The Home Truths report for the South West can be found on the National Housing Federation website - www.housing.org.uk

Read Average house price in South West now £256,054…

Elim Housing Group 2016 Impact Report

 

The past year has been a significant one for all of us at Elim, and we are pleased to share our achievements in the Elim Housing Group 2016 Impact Report.

The report provides an overview of our achievements, and the homes and services we delivered in 2016.  We believe it is a direct reflection of the hard work and success of our whole staff team in making a positive difference to people’s lives.  As Chair of the Board Steve Blake says:

“Elim is regularly described as ‘punching above its weight’ and that’s because we have an incredibly talented team, both staff and board. We provide a very varied range of services and we do things really well.”

Over the year ahead, we will continue to actively grow the business developing new housing for a range of client groups and increasing the positive impact that we have on individuals and communities through effective partnerships. 

Elim Housing Group 2016 Impact Report[pdf] 710KB

If you would like to know more about our work or are interested in working with us please contact Rachel Pinchin, Head of Commercial & Business Development.

 

Read Elim Housing Group 2016 Impact Report…

From tenant to home owner

 

As part of the development of a site in Gloucester in 2012 we offered three homes on a Rent to Buy basis.  The homes were let at 80% of market rent levels to residents who were likely to be able to obtain a mortgage in future but had not been able to save a deposit due to high housing costs.  The lower rent charge was designed to help residents save a deposit to purchase the property over their 5-year tenancy.

We are really pleased that the first of the families has now been able to purchase their home and take their first steps on the property ladder.

The family of three had the option of buying a share in the property through shared ownership but in this case they were able to buy their home outright, with the help of a standard mortgage.   

Although no new Rent to Buy properties are being built, the income generated from the sale will be used to provide more opportunities for home ownership through similar schemes.

As well as being great news for the family themselves, we at Elim are very pleased that our commitment to offering a range of options for people at different life stages really is encouraging independence and helping people to realise their home ownership aspirations.

Read From tenant to home owner…
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