charities, housing, public sector

Bid to revamp Edinburgh’s rundown tenements

RUNDOWN tenements across Edinburgh could be in line for a facelift . . . thanks to a new service being launched today (June 1) by a city housing association.

Dunedin Canmore has launched a private division, New Horizons Property Services, to offer affordable repairs and property management (factoring) services to people in private accommodation.

Money raised from the new service will be ploughed back into the housing association – which provides much-needed homes for rent across the capital.

Factoring co-ordinator Brian McNair said: “Many Edinburgh tenements in private ownership are in a poor condition, suffering everything from leaking roofs and overgrown gardens, to dirty common stairs and broken door entry systems.

“In the past, it was often quite difficult to get universal agreement from neighbours to carry out improvements within a tenement block. However, new legislation has been passed to allow the majority of owners to appoint an organisation like us to carry out common maintenance work.

“Our experience as a housing association means we have access to a range of trades people and can offer good rates to customers across the city.

“Best of all, money from this venture will be ploughed back into the housing association, providing good quality rented housing for people in the city. Hopefully, residents in Edinburgh will support us.”

Local MSP Sarah Boyack welcomed the new service, which is being launched with the support of the City of Edinburgh Council.

She said: “There has been historic under-investment in the Edinburgh tenements over the last 100 years. If these properties are to continue to provide decent homes for a further 100 years then good property management is needed.

“Dunedin Canmore has developed a reputation for innovation and I know they are aiming for a high service standard. I am particularly pleased that this venture is being developed as a social enterprise, with profits reinvested in our communities -providing further much-needed housing and related community services.”

Councillor Sheila Gilmore, executive member for housing at City of Edinburgh Council, said:  “Most homeowners know the advantages of maintaining and repairing their home. However, co-ordinating common repairs and maintenance can prove to be a real problem for many homeowners, particularly in tenements.

“The creation of New Horizons Property Services by Dunedin Canmore offers a solution to this issue by taking the onus off homeowners and landlords. It will ensure that vital repairs and improvements are carried out, with profits from the venture ultimately being ploughed back into the housing association.”

Residents in city flats have also signalled their support for the new initiative.

Project manager Kirsty MacNab lives in a block in Fountainbridge. She said: “I can certainly see the benefits of going with an organisation linked to a housing association rather than a private factor. The fact that profits go back into the housing association means that you’re giving something back to people in the area.”

She added: “I’ve always had problems in the stairwells of all the properties I’ve lived in. It’s often really difficult to get repairs done. This new service has to be welcomed.”

As well as existing householders, the new initiative also hopes to appeal to the growing buy-to-let market in the city.

Just a month ago, Channel 4 property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer revealed Edinburgh as the best place in Scotland to invest for strong capital growth. The pair predicted the average city home would rise in value from £177,942 in 2005 to £266,913 in 2010. The city was also third in a top ten list of best places to buy across the UK.

Said Brian: “People buying then renting out a tenement flat will be particularly keen to see that the overall building is cared for and kept in good order. A factoring service like ours is essential if you want to look after your investment.”

Anyone interested in the new service can log onto to: http://www.nhps.org.uk or call 0131 624 5850.
NOTES TO EDITORS:

Dunedin Canmore manages affordable properties for rent across Edinburgh, including homes in Gorgie, Dalry and Niddrie. It also manages homes in: Livingston, Blackburn, Torphichen, Linlithgow, Bathgate, Blackridge and Armadale in West Lothian; properties in Dunfermline and Kelty in Fife; and homes in Stirling. New Horizons was set up to complement the work of the Housing Association. As a charity, Dunedin Canmore cannot get involved in commercial activities. Therefore a private division was set up to undertake this type of work. Profits from New Horizons are invested back in Dunedin Canmore.

To find out more about the group, visit http://www.dunedincanmore.org.uk/
ISSUED BY THE PR STORE ON BEHALF OF
DUNEDIN CANMORE HOUSING ASSOCIATION

For more information please contact:
Adrian Mahoney, The PR Store, telephone: 01506 823714 // 07967 150560

David Jarrold, Community & Business Initiatives Manager, Dunedin Canmore Housing Association, telephone: 0131 624 5571

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