Sheffield City Council to ask tenants to pay rent via direct debit as part of first shake-up of tenancy conditions in more than 20 years

Fire safety will be a top priority and tenants will have to pay rent via direct debit as part of a raft of changes to Sheffield City Council's housing strategy.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 9:30 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 9:35 am
Janet Sharpe at Hanover Tower, Broomhall

Presenting the council's Housing Revenue Account for 2018/19 at a meeting of its cabinet yesterday, Janet Sharpe, director of housing, said investment in safety would be part of the plan, following the "awful" disaster at Grenfell Tower.

A total of 71 people died in the fire in Kensington, London, in June last year which prompted checks on all tower blocks across the country.

Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety

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Sheffield Council was one of the first authorities to announce all 24 of its tower blocks would be fitted with sprinkler systems following the blaze.

Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "I would like to place on record my thanks to the officers for their hard work.

"The work they have been doing and the challenges to government we have made has enabled us to draw up this ambitious plan.

"Thanks also for prioritising the fire safety works in light of the Grenfell disaster. Sheffield has got a fantastic reputation for fire safety and one thing that's come out of these investigations is that our work was actually praised by the fire service."

Hanover Tower, Exeter Drive, Broomhall.

Mrs Sharpe also said the council had updated its tenants' conditions of tenancy for the first time in more than 20 years, which include signing residents up to pay rent by direct debit.

"We have not reviewed our conditions of tenancy for well over 20 years. They are not fit for purpose for how we develop a service or for what our responsibilities are," she said.

"We want to move people to pay their rent by direct debit, which is standard practice in rented property, but for people who that's really difficult for, we will work with them to find an alternative.

"Most of our tenants receive universal credit so the direct debit scheme would make it easier for them to manage their finances."

Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety

Tenants will be consulted on the proposals over the next few weeks and the new terms and conditions will be introduced "at the earliest opportunity", Mrs Sharpe said.

Hanover Tower, Exeter Drive, Broomhall.