Neighbourhood management policy

Contents

1.0        Introduction and scope

1.1         Feedback and Improvement

1.2         Objectives and performance monitoring

2.0        Policy Statement

2.1         Introduction

2.2         Mixed Landlord Neighbourhoods and Third Party Neighbourhoods

2.3         Estate and Property Inspections

2.4         Customer and Community Involvement

2.5         Estate Improvements

2.6         Communal Grounds Maintenance and Gardens

2.7         Communal Cleaning

2.8         Communal Areas

2.9         Fire, Health and Safety

2.10       Lifts, Door Entry Systems and Gates

2.11       Graffiti and Vandalism

2.12       CCTV

2.13       Sharps and Hazardous Materials

2.14       Parking and Vehicles

2.15       Bulk Rubbish, Refuse and Fly Tipping

2.16       Neighbour Disputes

2.17       Pets

2.18       Playground management

3.0        Roles and Responsibilities

4.0        Related Documents

4.1         Internal

5.0        Relevant Legislation

6.0        Compliance

7.0        Definitions

8.0        Equality & Diversity

1.0     Introduction and scope

This Neighbourhood Management Policy has been developed in line with Wandle’s values, which are:

  • Think customer
  • Build relationships
  • Work together
  • Aim high
  • Own it

It will ensure that actions we undertake will be underpinned by our vision of:

“Homes to be proud of and services you can trust”

Ensuring that the health, safety, and well-being of our residents and that the environment in which they live is one they can be proud of is an essential part of delivering this vision and providing desirable homes.

Wandle will take a proactive approach to maintaining our neighbourhoods so that they are clean, safe, secure, good places to live, and which also improves the overall standard of our internal and external communal areas.  Regular estate inspections also support our robust fire safety regime.

This policy sets out Wandle’s, as well as resident responsibilities related to neighbourhood management. It covers all our properties and residents, including those who rent their homes, shared owners and leaseholders. Section 2.2 gives further details on neighbourhoods where we do not have a responsibility to maintain.  Parts of this policy will only apply where the relevant service is applied.

This policy also contributes to our Target Operating Model and meeting the objectives we’ve set out in this service plan, this includes:

  • Staff from all teams engaged in front line activities such as assisting in estate inspections
  • Providing value for money in the services we provide in our neighbourhoods and blocks
  • Putting our customers at the centre of what we do, and co-designing our services with customers where possible and through engaging with our residents around their communities
  • Using data and feedback from our customers to improve our services and make the best decision for our residents and the places they live

1.1          Feedback and Improvement                           

Wandle are committed to ensuring resident voices are listened to when it comes to the neighbourhoods they live in.  We will use various mechanisms to achieve this.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Complaint feedback
  • Feedback from Customer Satisfaction Surveys
  • Feedback from estate inspections
  • The Customer Excellence Panel
  • Tenant engagement within the Neighbourhood

Where we receive this feedback, we will look to ensure that it is used to improve the services that we offer and to inform future versions of this policy.

1.2          Objectives and performance monitoring

The performance of the areas covered in this policy will be covered in a variety of ways including, but not limited to

  • Customer satisfaction in relation to their neighbourhood, communal cleaning, green spaces and general maintenance
  • Estate inspections with residents on larger schemes
  • Understanding the unique needs of specific schemes and specific measures
  • Delivery of projects to address low satisfaction

2.0     Policy Statement

2.1          Introduction

Effective neighbourhood management is one of Wandle’s corporate priorities and we are committed to keeping our estates in excellent order to ensure that our residents live in a pleasant, safe, and clean environment.

Wandle will take reasonable care to maintain common entrances, halls, stairways, lifts, rubbish chutes, electric lighting and any other common parts and provide guidance to our residents on neighbourhood upkeep responsibilities. Effective neighbourhood management will rely on Wandle staff, residents and contractors all fulfilling their responsibilities to keep estates clean, safe and pleasant.

For blocks and estates which are managed by external managing agents, we will work with these agents to try and ensure that they maintain similar standards to those set out in this policy.

2.2          Mixed Landlord Neighbourhoods and Third Party Neighbourhoods

Not all neighbourhoods or schemes where Wandle has properties are managed by Wandle. In some cases, they are managed by a 3rd party managing agent or in cases of mixed schemes may be managed partially or solely by another housing association or local authority.

Mixed Landlord Neighbourhoods

Mixed landlord neighbourhoods are developments which are owned or managed by multiple parties. Mixed Landlord estates may be shared with other social landlords, local authorities, or commercial providers.

Usually, one party will be the lead for shared areas and services and will provide estate services in accordance with a service level agreement and recharge the other parties. We will endeavour to work with all partners to achieve consistent, effective, and responsive estate management. We will advise residents as appropriate of the party responsible for managing their scheme, the services they provide and any retained responsibilities. We will periodically monitor the services delivered by external parties through estate inspections to ensure accountability and satisfaction.

Where we are responsible for a mixed landlord neighbourhood, the services we provide will be in accordance with this policy or a service level agreement. Other parties will be responsible for monitoring our services on behalf of their residents.

3rd Party Management of Internal and External Areas

Where the internal and external communal areas are managed entirely by a third party, internal and external maintenance and many of the duties set out in this policy will fall to the managing agent.  Any duties that Wandle will still undertake will vary based on the management agreement in place at each site.  We will ensure where we do still undertake duties that these are carried out as outlined in the policy and will provide feedback to the managing agent where necessary, based on the feedback of our staff and residents.

However, we will still undertake inspections in these neighbourhoods and arrange for any issues to be addressed by the managing agent or Wandle where necessary.

Wandle will ensure that where necessary we are representing the best interests of our residents when dealing with other parties who provide services on Wandle’s behalf. 

2.3          Estate and Property Inspections

Wandle undertakes inspections of its block internal and external communal areas on a regular basis. The frequency of inspections is determined by the risk nature of the property.  These inspections include picking up any potential repairs as well as ensuring health and safety concerns are recorded and addressed.

We will encourage residents to get involved in estate inspections by inviting them to block or estate walkabouts, where residents and staff jointly inspect the standards of the communal areas.

2.4          Customer and Community Involvement

It is important for residents to be given the opportunity to engage in local decisions and provide feedback on neighbourhood standards.  Customer involvement allows us to understand the expectations and desires of our residents and ensures the services we provide are effective in meeting those.  We will work with residents through resident forums, the Customer Excellence Panel, community projects, MyWandle as well as working with estate champions on joint inspections.  

We will publish clear and relevant information for our residents about the services which are provided, and duties undertaken in their block and estate. Where applicable, we will consult with our residents to enable them to influence the service we provide in their neighbourhoods.

Wandle will maintain a communal noticeboard where the design of the block permits. These will contain specific information about accessing services and the management of their block.

2.5          Estate Improvements

We will work with our customers to find ways of driving improvements to our neighbourhoods. We will achieve this through projects that identify improvements needed and funding will be sourced through the Estate Improvement budget.   

2.6          Communal Grounds Maintenance and Gardens

Wandle will ensure there is a planned cycle of maintenance for communal areas. This will include grass cutting, shrub and flower bed maintenance and weed control.  As with cleaning, this is a standard as opposed to a frequency based service, please refer to 2.7 for further information.

We will publish details of the type of maintenance residents, via noticeboards can expect for example at seasonal point in the year and what this entails, e.g., grass cutting only in the growing season.

Tree Management

Wandle have a risk-based, proactive tree inspection and maintenance programme. The aim is to identify any potential issues with the trees on our land and deal with them before they escalate into complex problems that require greater attention and expense.

Tree maintenance involves the effective management of trees so that they do not pose a risk to properties, residents, or the public and so they remain in good health and continue to thrive.  Wandle will work closely with its contractors and carry out regular estate inspections to ensure the tree management programme is fully implemented.

Wandle aims to only remove trees because they are diseased, dead, causing structural damage to property and any trees that pose a risk to health and safety.

Wandle will carry out regular inspections to ensure trees are healthy and well maintained.  Regular inspections will also help to identify any potential problems to enable early preventative action to be taken.  Trees will be maintained and kept in place unless there are good arboricultural or risk-related reasons not to do so, such as preventing structural property damage.

Trees in an individual customer’s gardens are the responsibility of the customer to maintain. However, we recognise that there are occasions where we will need to intervene, for example:

  • Where the tree poses risk to person or property
  • Where a customer has failed to act
  • Where the cost of such work would cause financial hardship for the customer
  • Where there is vulnerability

Pest Control

Where appropriate Wandle will arrange for pest control services to treat communal pest control issues, where the issues are part of a wider infestation affecting a block.  We will also arrange for treatment of individual dwellings, where the infestation has spread from a communal area.  

2.7          Communal Cleaning

Wandle’s residents are responsible for keeping any communal areas and communal gardens clean and tidy, except when they pay a service charge which covers this work. Where this service is provided Wandle will arrange for cleaning services chosen for their value for money and quality.

Where our contractor carries out communal cleaning, it will be done through a performance specification and not through a scheduled programme.  Our performance specification states that all communal areas will be kept to a house mark photobook ‘B standard’. This means that contractors attend as needed, rather than on a scheduled basis.

Window cleaning

In some buildings, we provide a window cleaning service for the communal windows that is paid for through customers’ service charges.  Window cleaning takes place twice yearly.  We will consider adding other blocks to this list where necessary, subject to resident consultation, and the cost of this will be covered by the service charge.

2.8          Communal Areas

Both Wandle and our residents have responsibility to ensure that communal areas remain free of items that might cause or contribute to a fire, as well as any items which might present a trip hazard or obstruction.

Our staff and contractors regularly inspect these communal areas and where materials are stored or left in communal areas these will be removed. Where possible an effort will be made to identify the owner and ask them to remove the item first.  

2.9          Fire, Health and Safety

Wandle works with residents to make sure their homes and communal areas are safe and free of hazards. This is a joint responsibility and Wandle has several checks and processes in place designed to protect our residents and buildings.  

Residents have a duty to follow our fire safety and other safety arrangements and should not do anything to interfere with these correctly operating and exposing others with whom they share their building to harm. This includes permanently obstructing a fire escape route, wedging fire doors open, replacing their existing flat entry door with a non-fire safety compliant door and interfering with a fire alarm warning system. 

Residents should be encouraged to report any such behaviour which must be addressed by Wandle promptly and firmly with the resident engaging in this activity.  Wandle will arrange for the appropriate repair and will report any serious incidents, such as false alarms, to our Health and Safety team.  

2.10       Lifts, Door Entry Systems and Gates

Lifts

Where Wandle are responsible for the maintenance of communal passenger lifts we will use a service contractor to maintain and service them. Callout times for lift repairs are monitored by the Asset Management Team as part of the contractor agreement and communicated with our residents. It will not always be possible to bring the lift back into service on the initial callout visit, as parts may be required.  In such cases we will inform residents and keep them informed until the lift is back in use. 

In cases where longer term repairs are needed Wandle will engage with residents where necessary to keep them informed throughout the process.  In some cases, where the loss of the use of a lift for an extended period will have significant impact on a resident, we may consider temporarily decanting the resident and this will be managed in line with our decant procedure.   

Door Entry Systems and Gates

Wandle recognises the importance of residents feeling safe in their homes and the role well maintained door entry systems and entry gates can play in this. We will ensure that our buildings and estates are kept safe and secure. 

Where Wandle is responsible for the maintenance of communal door entry systems and automated gates they will be maintained by appointed service contractors. 

To ensure the safety of our residents, and security of our buildings and estates, we will investigate instances where we may have reason to believe that a door has been tampered with or intentionally damaged. Where we identify repeat repairs of a similar nature which suggest interference, we will send out warning letters to residents of the block or investigate the issue as an ASB case.

Door entry and gate systems will be installed to ensure that where they fail, they fail open, rather than locked shut.  This is to ensure that in the event of a fire residents can evacuate.  

In some cases, building or estates may have contractors appointed via the managing agent. In such cases repairs and servicing will be managed by the agent, or through specific contractors.  

Specialist systems, not dealt with through our normal service arrangements, will be dealt with by an approved contractor to contractually agreed timescales. These timescales will be communicated to any affected residents. 

Security Gates and Grilles on flat entrance doors and in communal areas

Security gates and grilles fitted by tenants to their flat entrance doors will not normally be permitted as gates of this type can often hinder entry to and exit from the premises for purposes of evacuation and firefighting. In circumstances where this has been permitted those of a retractable type and which can be easily unfastened will be the preferred option over fixed bars or grilles. 

Any fitted without permission and considered to be an unacceptable fire risk in the fire risk assessment will be requested to be removed by tenants. If necessary, Wandle will take action in line with the tenancy agreement/ lease to ensure they are removed.  

Where these have been installed on dwellings vacated by tenants Wandle will arrange for them to be removed as part of the voids works before any future occupancy is allowed.  

Under no circumstances will security gates or grilles be permitted across corridors of communal fire escape routes or to parts of the property which remains Wandle responsibility.  Where these have been fitted by residents or leaseholders we will request that these are removed immediately failing which Wandle will organise for this work to be done and recharged to the resident/leaseholder. 

2.11       Graffiti and Vandalism

Resident Responsibilities  

Graffiti will be considered Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and managed in accordance with our Anti social behaviour policy.  Removal of graffiti on private property is the property owner’s responsibility.

Wandle’s Responsibilities  

We will aim to remove graffiti on Wandle property within three working days of it being reported. However, if the graffiti is offensive then we will arrange to remove it within one working day of it being reported.  

Wherever possible we will erase graffiti from unpainted surfaces rather than block-out the graffiti with paint. 

Damage caused by vandalism will be repaired in line with our Repairs and maintenance policy

Deliberate Acts of Vandalism 

Tenants/leaseholders will be held accountable for vandalism caused by them, members of their household or visitors. This could involve legal action through our ASB procedures. We will report serious vandalism to the police and press charges where appropriate. 

2.12       CCTV

Some of our buildings and estates may use CCTV cameras as part of the building’s security arrangements. Where this is the case the use and provision of CCTV will be managed in line with our CCTV policy.  

2.13       Sharps and Hazardous Materials

Any sharp objects or hazardous materials that are found by Wandle staff or reported to Wandle will be removed to ensure the safety of Wandle residents, staff and contractors.  Once reported, Wandle will arrange for the materials to be removed within 24 hours by the appropriate contractor. Wandle will also arrange for a deep clean to take place where necessary.  

Where we do not provide a cleaning service, removal will be arranged and where necessary cleaning will be provided by our normal cleaning contractors on an ad-hoc basis 

2.14       Parking and Vehicles

Wandle will look to ensure, where possible, that parking is available, convenient, fairly enforced and that areas for parking are clearly marked and maintained for the safety of residents and their vehicles, as well as the public.  Wandle residents should also refer to their Tenancy Agreement for further details on restrictions around car parking and vehicles.  

Parking provision will vary from estate to estate.  Wandle residents will be made aware of any parking provisions or restrictions and any changes made to these by Wandle or by managing agents.  Where the Housing Team identify the need for parking enforcement, they will consult with residents before any arrangements are put in place. Where enforcement will be put in place, residents will be able to apply with Wandle for parking permits.

Where there is a parking scheme in place, residents must not park without a valid permit, this also applies to any of their visitors. In instances where residents believe they have been incorrectly ticketed by our parking enforcement contractors they should appeal with the parking contractor, rather than with Wandle. 

Abandoned Vehicles

Where Wandle are made aware of abandoned vehicles in our parking areas or private land, either through routine estate inspections, reports from tenants or other third parties we will take action to investigate.  Where necessary and where appropriate steps have been taken, we will arrange for abandoned vehicles to be removed.

2.15       Bulk Rubbish, Refuse and Fly Tipping

Resident Responsibilities  

Residents are responsible for ensuring that their refuse and recycling is disposed of safely, tidily, and as directed by the local authority. Residents must not allow their rubbish to cause an obstruction or dump rubbish or other refuse in the communal areas or dispose of it over their balconies and should keep any areas shared with other residents clean and tidy and free of rubbish. 

Wandle’s Responsibilities 

Wandle encourage residents to report anyone seen dumping bulk rubbish or fly-tipping on their estate, such reports will be treated as ASB.

Once we receive a report of fly-tipping we will arrange to have it removed. This can take up to five working days. Where fly tipped items pose a health and safety risk we will remove these items within 24 hours.  

Refuse collection is the responsibility of the local authority. We will work with local authorities to ensure that appropriate facilities and arrangements are in place for the disposal, storage, and collection of refuse. This includes ensuring the provision of recycling facilities. 

Any fly-tipping that is not on our land is also the responsibility of the local authority or the landowner. 

2.16       Neighbour Disputes

Anti-Social Behaviour 

General disputes between neighbours should be resolved between residents where possible.  However, should the situation escalate or where not safe to do so, it should be reported to Wandle as Anti-Social behaviour.  Any such cases will be dealt with in line with our Anti-social behaviour policy

Fencing and party walls

Wandle are only responsible for the maintenance of boundary fences, which would be any fence that acts as a boundary between our property and a public space such as a car park, pavement or alley way. Residents are responsible for privacy fences between themselves and their neighbour, normally the fence they are responsible for would be the left-hand side when facing away from the property.  Residents should ensure that any repairs or changes made to their fences comply with the existing boundaries. Wandle will make safe a resident’s fence if failing to do would constitute a health and safety risk. 

These repairs, and repairs done to boundary fences will be done in line with our Repairs and maintenance policy.  Any requests that involve a party wall shared between a Wandle property and a non-Wandle property should be handled by the Major Works team in line with our party wall procedure.  

2.17       Pets

All residents should request permission to keep a pet and have received a response before bringing one to their home.  Residents who have pets should ensure that they do not cause nuisance or annoyance to other residents or any person engaging in a lawful activity in the locality of their home. It is the resident’s responsibility to clean after their pets in their neighbourhood and in communal areas.  

Wandle may ask for the removal of a pet if we believe the animal is causing a nuisance or is a danger to other people.  Tenants should refer to their tenancy agreement and the Tenancy management policy for further details. 

2.18       Playground management

Wandle has a responsibility to ensure that all play equipment which we own or manage is safe and fit for purpose.  This will be achieved through:

  • Regular inspections of equipment and playgrounds/play areas
  • Regular risk assessments and the implementation of remedial actions
  • Visual assessments from estate services contractors who will report back any concerns to our Health and Safety team
  • A system of proactive and reactive repairs to play equipment/areas. Any repairs undertaken to playground equipment will only be undertaken by persons qualified to do so.  

For further details please refer to the Playground Management Procedure. The procedure outlines the methodology used when considering provision of a new playground, the measures necessary for the maintenance of existing playgrounds and the appropriate equipment to be provided.  

3.0     Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Customer Service Delivery

  • Overall responsibility for policy
  • To support and give guidance to the Housing Teams and wider organisation as and when required
  • To bring to Executive’s attention any issues that need to be addressed or decided upon

Health and Safety Manager

  • Overall responsibility for ensuring policy covers health & safety requirements
  • Overall responsibility for playground inspections

Head of Assets and Portfolio development

  • Overall responsibility for ensuring assets are maintained such as door entry systems, gates and lifts.

Head of Property

  • Overall responsibility for ensuring repair responsibilities are fulfilled in blocks and estates

All Staff

  • To have an awareness of our neighbourhood responsibilities and report any issues of poor maintenance or standards when working or visiting blocks or estates.

4.0     Related Documents

4.1          Internal

StrategiesAsset Management Strategy, Target Operating Model
PoliciesRepairs and Maintenance Policy, Anti-Social Behaviour Policy, Tenancy Management Policy, Managing Agents Policy, CCTV Policy. Fire Safety Management Policy
ProceduresPlayground Management Procedure, Decant Procedure, TORT procedure, Estate Inspection Procedure

5.0     Relevant Legislation

LegislationMain powers and relevance to the policy subject  How we use or comply with legislation
Environmental Protection Act(Controlled Waste Transfer)This act requires that Wandle must take all reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste that occur in the process of delivering our services.Wandle has appointed contractors who provide services across our portfolio and staff who provide services such as the removal of waste on our properties through our Neighbourhood Standards Team.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, s2-7This legislation requires Wandle to ensure we meet the relevant health and safety standards as well as fire safety standards to protect our tenants.This Policy acknowledges the health and safety impact of the services we provide on our estates and in our neighbourhoods and sets out how we will ensure we meet these requirements through such measures as rigorous inspection regimes and the appointment of approved contractors.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and associated legislation, such as Fire Safety Act 2021Primary fire safety legislation which stipulates the need to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all workplaces/activities and for multi-occupied residential buildings, for the purpose of deciding what precautionary measures are necessary for fire safety. This includes evaluating the fire risks to the structure, external walls and common parts of buildings.This Policy acknowledges the impact of fire safety risk in our properties and of the services we provide to our customers. It sets out how we will ensure we meet these requirements through such measures as rigorous inspection regimes and the appointment of competent contractors.

6.0      Compliance

Wandle are required to comply with Regulator for Social Housing regulatory standards.  The Standards that apply to Wandle’s approach to Neighbourhood Manafement are outlined below, alongside the how Wandle meet them.

Neighbourhood Management

N1.1 Registered providers shall keep the neighbourhood and communal areas associated with the homes that they own clean and safe. They shall work in partnership with tenants and other providers and public bodies where it is effective to do so.

This policy sets out our approach to keeping our neighbourhood and communal areas clean and safe. It also outlines that we will work with our tenants and other providers to ensure these standards are kept throughout the communities we work in.

N2.1 Registered providers shall consult with tenants in developing a published policy for maintaining and improving the neighbourhoods associated with their homes. This applies where the registered provider has a responsibility (either exclusively or in part) for the condition of that neighbourhood.  The policy shall include any communal areas associated with the registered provider’s homes.

We have complied with this standard through the creation of this policy, which sets out our approach to neighbourhood management within our communities. This Policy will be available on our website or provided on request for our residents. Residents were consulted and feedback worked into this policy 

Tenancy Involvement and Empowerment standard

1.2 Involvement and empowerment

1.2.1 Registered providers shall ensure that tenants are given a wide range of opportunities to influence and be involved in:

a. the formulation of their landlord’s housing-related policies and strategic priorities

We have complied with this standard by engaging with tenant’s during the creation of this policy and have worked in their feedback to the policy and procedures. We also comply with this policy by committing to continual engagement with our residents around their communities.

Value for Money standard.

2.1.3 Consideration of value for money across their whole business and where they invest in non-social housing activity, they should consider whether this generates returns commensurate to the risk involved and justification where this is not the case.

Where Wandle uses contractors to provide services rather than in house we will ensure that these contractors provide value for money to tenants for services provided via their service charge.

7.0     Definitions

Managing Agent 

Managing agents are 3rd party organisations that are responsible for the management and services provided on some of our blocks and estates.   In most cases managing agents are appointed by the freeholder of an estate or block. 

Estate Champions 

Estate Champions are individuals that work with the Housing Team to report and champion issues that may arise on their estate.

TORT 

A TORT Notice is a legal document which can be served to the owner of an item which is left abandoned on private land. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 allows landlords to sell or dispose of goods if reasonable efforts to trace the owner fail.   

8.0     Equality & Diversity

Equality & Diversity is central to our business; promoting fairness and opportunity for customers and staff; helping provide the best services shaped by and for customers; and right for recruiting and developing our staff.

We are committed to celebrating diversity. To ensure equal access to our services is available, Wandle will comply with the Equality Act 2010 and all other legislative requirements relating to equality. We will work to avoid exclusions or restrictions that are not appropriate to the housing and support needs of our tenants and that may lead to discrimination. We will endeavour to ensure that all tenants receive a consistent level of quality service.

Equality Consideration

Under the Equality Act 2010 Wandle must consider whether our policies adversely affect our customers and/or staff.

The following table identifies whether this policy disproportionately impacts upon any individuals in regard to the key protected characteristics, as identified in the Act:

Special CharacteristicAny impact? (Yes or No)
ageYes
disabilityYes
gender reassignmentNo
marriage and civil partnershipNo
pregnancy and maternityNo
raceNo
religion or beliefNo
sexNo
sexual orientationNo

As this policy may impact upon individuals in regard to one or more of these protected characteristics, an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed.