Welsh Housing Quality Standard

What is the Welsh Housing Quality Standard?

The Welsh Government wants to ensure that all the people of Wales, including social housing tenants, have the opportunity to live in good quality homes, in safe and secure communities. 

To ensure that all homes are brought up to an acceptable level, they have drawn up the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS). This is a standard for the quality and condition of properties which lists a number of targets which all homes will need to meet. 

The standard states that all homes should be

  1. in a good state of repair
  2. safe and secure
  3. adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated
  4. contain up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms
  5. well managed (for rented housing)
  6. located in attractive and safe environments
  7. as far as possible suit the specific requirements of the household (e.g. specific disabilities)

Flintshire County Council is committed to bringing all our social housing up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by the end of 2020.

How is FCC doing?

Flintshire County Council owns over 7,000 social housing properties.   All properties, no matter how old or in what condition, will need to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2020. 

Flintshire is carrying out an extensive programme of improvement work on its social housing. 

• Over £19m was invested in improvement work in 2015/16
• During this year the Capital Works Team delivered the following:
1400 kitchens
1600 bathrooms
200 central heating & boiler replacements
100 received roofing & envelope works

• Over £20m was invested in improvement work in 2016/17
• During this year the Capital Works Team delivered the following:
1200 kitchens
1700 bathrooms
100 central heating & boiler replacements
300 received roofing & envelope works

• Over £19m was invested in improvement work in 2017/18
• During this year the Capital Works Team delivered the following:
1000 kitchens
1500 bathrooms
100 central heating & boiler replacements
250 roofing & envelope works

• Over £19m was invested in improvement work in 2018/19
• During this year the Capital Works Team delivered the following:
200 kitchens
500 bathrooms
100 central heating & boiler replacements
800 roofing & envelope works

• Over £21m will be invested in improvement work in 2019/20
• During this year the Capital Works Team will be delivering the following:
100 kitchens
100 bathrooms
100 central heating & boiler replacements
1200 roofing & envelope works

How is this work being funded?

• Each year, the Council sets out an annual budget for Housing improvement works
• Over £58m has been invested in housing improvement work since 2015
• This is funded by a combination of Council house rent income, borrowed money (prudential borrowing) and income from the sale of Council owned land and properties
• Flintshire County Council also receives a Major Repairs Allowance. This is a capital grant of £5m per year provided by Welsh Government to local authorities who have retained their council housing stock

What improvements will be done?

There are four areas of work that the WHQS programme is concentrating on:

1. Internal Works: kitchens, bathrooms and heating upgrades.
2. Envelope Works: roofing, chimney repairs, gutters, downspouts, rendering/pointing, windows and doors, fascia’s, etc.
3. External Works: footpaths and fencing within the area of the property.
4. Environmental Works: this targets issues that affect the community such as parking, garages and communal walkways.  

If your property needs work to bring it up to the standard, you will receive a letter in plenty of time to let you know when any of these works are planned.

When will the work be carried out on my property?

The Housing Service has produced a timetable which shows when work will be carried out in each community ward.  This will be available on the Flintshire County Councils website soon as an interactive Programme which will detail what works are due to be completed at your home.

Who is carrying out the work?

Flintshire County Council is working with a number of reputable contractors to ensure that the improvements are carried out to a high standard.

Will the work involve disruption to my home, is there any help and advice available?

Carrying out improvement works on this scale will inevitably involve some disruption for tenants and we realize the internal works, particularly replacing kitchens and bathrooms, can cause upheaval. We do hope that seeing the finished product will make it worthwhile, and there is help available:
• The Housing Service has employed Tenant Liaison Officers whose role is to stay in touch with you while a particular aspect of the work is being carried out, help answer any queries you may have, and act as a point of contact between you and the Housing Service.
• Our contractors also have their own Resident Liaison Officers who have a similar role so there will always be a friendly face that you can contact while the work is going on, should any issues arise.

What if I don't want to have the work done?

It is a requirement of your tenancy agreement to allow the Council to maintain and improve the property.  Failure to allow the work to be carried out is a breach of your tenancy agreement and, in the worst case scenario, you could be evicted from your property.  This is not something that the Council would wish to happen and, so, it is in the best interest of yourself and the Council to comply with the renovations to the property.  Any concerns should be addressed to the Council prior to any works commencing so that they can be discussed further.

What are 'Community Benefit' schemes?

Flintshire County Council and our contractors are committed to ensuring that the local economy sees the maximum value from every penny spent on the work to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard. 

Clauses are now included in all major contracts, requiring contractors who work with the Housing Service to commit to ‘give something extra’ back to the local economy through Community Benefit schemes. 

Schemes can include sponsoring local projects such as community gardens and sports teams, or refurbishing schools, village halls, community centers, etc.

Community Benefits can also include taking on local workers, setting up apprenticeship schemes and purchasing stock and supplies from local businesses. 

Some Community Benefit stories can be viewed below:
16 February 2016 – Building local opportunities
23 February 2016 – Flintshire Apprentice Academy takes shape
29 February 2016 – More local apprentices!
15 July 2016 – Communities benefit from new kitchens
1 December 2016 – Flintshire Future works – Apprentice Academy success 
14 June 2017 –Community garden is looking rosy