JUST two per cent of Wrexham’s council properties meet Wales’ housing standards, it has been revealed.
A survey discovered it would cost £240 million to bring all these homes up to scratch in line with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).
As a result, Wrexham Council is prioritising making its housing stock wind and water-tight, safe and secure as well as tackling one of the biggest problems – heat loss.
A report that went before the homes, environment and communities scrutiny committee yesterday also revealed almost 10 per cent of private rental stock – almost 4,400 houses – is unfit for purpose and needs mandatory action under the Health and Housing Safety Ratings Scheme.
The report states: “It would be reasonable to assume the condition of the private stock in the county has not improved significantly since 2006, beyond improvements made through council grants and assistance.
“And it is reasonable to assume the condition of some homes may have deteriorated.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, there has been a UK-wide decline in spending on alterations, improvements, maintenance and repair in the private sector over the period 2008-2010.
In Wrexham, between £11,434m and £16,253m would be needed to remedy all ‘category 1 hazards’ – which include such issues as fire risks from faulty boilers and inadequate heating. as well as health and safety hazards such as uneven floors – at the 4,000-plus privately-rented homes. The council has £15m set aside to improve its properties between now and 2015.
This money will be spent on environmental improvement projects, central heating, renewing kitchens and bathrooms, roofing, rewiring and adaptations.
The report, which described funding as “a big issue”, continues: “Other ways of improving the properties are being considered and the council is working with the Welsh Government to find best ways forward within funding limits.”
Social housing companies Clwyd Alyn, Cymdeithas Tai Clwyd and Wales and West are also required to bring their stock up to the WHQ standard.
The report also discusses the challenge of tenants having less money to spend on their homes, a rise in fuel poverty, help for elderly and disabled people and provision for travellers and the homeless.