Estate Management Policy

Part of our Estate Management Framework - Level 2 policy approval. Version 3 - Approved 30 June 2020

1. Introduction

1.1 This policy encompasses estate management activity and is specific to land and property that is owned by us.

1.2 Estate Management refers to the effective management of the environment around our properties and any common areas (within our title), to ensure that the neighbourhood is an attractive, clean, well maintained, safe and secure place to live.

1.3 Estates Services – The services that we provide to the communal areas of our sites e.g. caretaking, communal building cleaning and grounds maintenance.

1.4 The Board is committed to investing in its neighbourhoods and communities.

2. Policy Statement

2.1 Our approach will include:

  • Meeting all relevant legal and regulatory standards in delivering our estate services. In doing so, we will deliver estate services which demonstrate value for money to our residents and improve customer satisfaction within our neighbourhoods.

  • Regularly checking the quality of estate services provided to ensure they meet the required standards.

  • Undertaking decorations to the communal area of all our Independent Living Schemes and flatted properties on a rolling cyclical decorations programme.

  • Providing internal notice boards in flatted block communal areas detailing useful contact information together with cleaning and caretaker inspection schedules.

  • Seeking to maintain the environment of our neighbourhoods and thereby the wellbeing of our residents. We will look to work in partnership with our residents and other relevant agencies or public bodies where it is effective to do so, in order to achieve this.

  • Wherever possible, designing out irregular boundaries and small landscaped areas to enable more cost effective service delivery.

  • Influencing the design of new communal areas to make sure that they provide clean and safe environments for our residents.

  • Ensuring that communal areas are kept clean, safe and secure. We will provide a cleaning service to maintain the communal areas of flats and maisonettes that are in blocks as well as our Independent Living Schemes.

  • Inspecting the communal areas of our flatted blocks on a minimum monthly basis to identify repairs, pick up on health and safety matters and assess performance of building cleaning and grounds maintenance contractors.

  • Independent Living Scheme blocks will be inspected each fortnight (as a minimum) as part of our Health & Safety Checks.

  • Ensuring that our Contractors use cleaning materials that are environmentally friendly, non-corrosive and safe. We will take appropriate precautions with the control of substances hazardous to health and will provide training to staff who are responsible for using them.

  • Inspecting and monitoring the external condition of our homes and gardens.  We will record issues such as overgrown gardens, rubbish, bulky waste, repairs, vandalism and fly-tipping and take the appropriate action to resolve.

  • Ensuring that communal soft landscaping areas and trees, growing on these areas, are maintained in accordance with the grounds maintenance contract specification and our Tree Management Strategy.

  • Periodically surveying all trees growing on our communal land to form maintenance priorities, manage risk and ensure that dangerous, decaying or dead trees are attended to as necessary.

  • Taking swift action to tackle anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and graffiti. We will act in accordance with our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy to achieve this.

  • Providing estate services, in line with our tenancy agreements and charging a service charge for these services. Services may be enhanced for our residents at flatted schemes and Independent Living Schemes.

  • Maintaining a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to keeping communal areas free of rubbish and personal belongings, ensuring that the risk and impact of fire is minimised.  We will ensure that residents and their visitors do not block entrances or fire escape routes.

  • Enforcing tenancy terms and conditions using legal action where appropriate.

  • Displaying fire safety signage giving information about what to do in the event of fire.

  • Involving residents in monitoring estate standards to help identify priorities and agree improvements. We will work with residents on environmental projects to improve external areas where the need for this has been agreed by us.

  • Ensuring that communal area repairs are dealt with in accordance with our customer service commitments.

  • Providing a de-icing/gritting service to identified areas such as our Independent Living Schemes, Wycliffe End, Walton Court Centre and commercial properties in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in relevant service contracts.

  • Providing a leaf clearance/collection service to our Independent Living Schemes in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in our Grounds Maintenance service contract.

  • Requiring residents to dispose of unwanted bulky items, refuse and medical waste, including sharps in accordance with local authority and National Health Service arrangements.

  • Removing fly-tipped rubbish and dumped items of bulky waste in accordance with our Customer Service commitments.

  • Attempting to identify people responsible for dumping rubbish and fly-tipping and taking appropriate action to resolve and discourage this.  We will look to work with other agencies to resolve and discourage rubbish dumping and fly-tipping on our land.

  • Requiring our residents to prevent pest infestations by keeping their homes and gardens clean and tidy.  We will require residents to dispose of food appropriately in order to minimise the risk of infestations.  We will make clear when it is their responsibility to remove and arrange for infestations to be treated.

  • Aiming to keep communal areas free from vermin, pests and insect infestation, recharging residents through service charges if appropriate. We will take care to protect wildlife and protected species in particular nesting birds, bats and bees.

  • Reserving the right to alter, add to or modify estate services in the interests of good estate management for the benefit of customers or in order to demonstrate value for money. This will be subject to resident consultation where appropriate.

  • Offering a chargeable gardening service for residents who find it challenging to maintain their gardens.

  • Requiring that only vehicles which are roadworthy, insured and taxed or parked within our maintained parking areas and taking appropriate action to deal with any abandoned and untaxed vehicles on our land.

  • Requiring vehicles subject to a SORN are not driven or parked on our maintained roads and/or parking areas.

  • Regularly monitoring the condition of our garage sites to ensure that these are maintained and are being used by individuals in accordance with their garage tenancy agreements.

  • Taking appropriate action where residents or their visitors fail to properly control their dogs and/or clean up after them in our communal spaces or on our estates.

  • Communicating and working closely with other agencies – such as Buckinghamshire Council – to make sure that areas owned by other agencies across the wider community are clean, well maintained and safe.

3. Equality and Diversity

3.1 We will ensure that in delivering our services we continue to be inclusive and representative. We will ensure that this is achieved through the delivery of our Equality and Diversity Policy.

3.2 We will ensure that this policy is widely available at our offices and on our website. The policy can be made available in large print, braille or on audio tape upon request. Translations into other languages will be available.

3.3 This policy will be applied to all residents regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

4. Value for Money

4.1 As part of our commitment to deliver an economical, efficient and effective estate management service, we will use external benchmarking to monitor services.

4.2 We are committed to continuous improvement with our services and will consider ‘best practice’ from across the sector and will look to implement further service improvements as and where appropriate.

4.3 We will regularly review estate and communal services and costs to ensure that quality and cost is acceptable to our customers.

5. Consultation

5.1 The Residents Forum has been consulted during the preparation of this policy and has agreed and approved of the updated policy.

5.2 As part of this review, estate management policies from across the sector have been consulted and reviewed with improvements incorporated to ensure that our approach, ways of working and overall, updated policy would still be considered as ‘best practice’.

6. Implementation

6.1 The Housing Services Manager is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this policy.

6.2 Regular training of staff, performance monitoring and reporting will be carried out by the Housing Services Manager and Caretaking & Contracts Manager.

7. Outcomes and Monitoring

7.1 We monitor polices to ensure they deliver the expected outcomes, service standards, costs and other key performance indicators. Regular contractor meetings, site inspections, performance audits, KPI monitoring, Resident Inspections and customer satisfaction surveys are typical of the monitoring systems in use as part of this Policy.

7.2 Regular monitoring of the estate management service performance will be conducted by the Housing Services Manager and the Caretaking & Contracts Manager. Our Estate Management Customer Service Commitments will be reported on quarterly.

7.3 We will report on:

  • adherence to our customer service standard relating to removal of fly-tipped material

  • level of customer satisfaction with the environment in our communities (identified by external satisfaction surveys undertaken by Voluntas)

7.4 Customer Service Commitments and contract specifications will be monitored in the following ways:

  • Regular estate walkabouts by Neighbourhood Housing Managers at intervals throughout each year, publicised in advance to interested parties including residents and partner agencies.

  • Independent Living Scheme walkabouts are carried out by the Independent Living Scheme Co-ordinators on a weekly basis.

  • Involvement with residents and/or residents’ representatives (resident group members) in estate inspections

  • Involvement of residents in the specification, procurement and monitoring of contracts for estate services

8. Review

8.1 We will review this policy when a business need arises and in line with the relevant Policy Framework. Our review programme is driven by service improvement initiatives, changes in legislation, regulation, practice or as a result of feedback from key stakeholders. Typically we review policies on a three year cycle.     

9. Related Policies

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

  • Equality and Diversity Policy

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy

  • Safeguarding Adults Policy

  • Health & Safety Policy

  • Environmental Sustainability Policy

Contact and publication details

Author: Mark Frayne-Johnson

Author job title: Housing Services Manager

Review date: June 2023