What happened at Meet the Board?
Thank you to the 14 people who braved the hot weather and joined us at Meet the Board on October 31.
We have compiled the key Q&A’s from the day, allowing all customers to see what the main topics of conversation were.
Images L to R: Customers, staff and Board members talk before the meeting starts; the four Board members in attendance – Peter Weeks (Chair), Philip Lineton, Chris Marshall and Miranda Starke (Deputy Chair); CEO Julie Blake presenting.
Board and Leadership team opened for a Q&A session from customers following a power point presentation.
Q. When Housing One Co-op joined Westside, the existing maintenance budget was carried forward to Westside, what happened to this money? Where did it go?
A. The money received from all former co-operatives varied. When the co-ops moved over, their money was put in a bank account and used in the operational budget. Money was not saved or allocated to a home or co-op, rather each home has a 10 year maintenance plan attached to it with a budget allowed for planned maintenance each financial year.
Q. Agreements were signed when co-ops joined Westside Housing Association, are they now obsolete and do new agreements need to be completed with Westside Housing Company?
A. Westside Housing Association essentially ‘tipped’ all of its assets and business into Westside Housing Company. All agreements and contracts made by the Association are still active and legal for the Company. All new agreements and leases after October 1 2019 will be made in the Company name, but old leases will not be changed just because of the name change. All agreements made with the former Housing Co-operatives (MOUs) will be honored as before.
Q. Does Westside Housing fall under the Renewal SA umbrella? Are we involved in CHCSA?
A. Yes and no. Renewal SA is now called South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA). They are our contract manager for all SACHA funded assets (most of our houses). We have to report to them each year and they set many of our operating procedures, such as rent policy, vacancy periods and so on. We independently own about 10% of our homes, and our rent setting and some other policies vary for these houses.
Community Housing Council of South Australia (CHCSA) is the peak body for community housing in SA. We are a member and Julie Bake, CEO, is on their Board.
Q. Does Westside or SAHA still offer a ‘shared equity/share ownership’ scheme?
A. No SAHA no longer offers shared ownership of homes. This is because when homes needed maintenance, they was always an issue of who would pay. It could be hard for people to come up with 80% of a large maintenance bill for example, and these agreements became a liability for SAHA. You can talk to Paul Shannahan about buying the Westside home you live in. We do consider this.
There are other examples of shared equity loans through some banks and financial institutions. We will put more information in the next newsletter about this.
Q. Does the Tenancy Officer inspect smoke alarms every inspection, and how to they do it? How do I know if my alarm works?
A. Yes, they have a telescopic stick they poke a button with to make a beep.
All smoke alarms have batteries with a hard wire back up. If you hear yours beeping, call us and we will act on it as a P1 (urgent response within 24 hours).
Q. Is it possible for older tenants with a good inspection history to go to one inspection per year? An inspection every 6 months is very invasive and stressful for older people.
A. The reason we do an inspection every 6 months is generally for legal reasons. We need to inspect the smoke alarm every 6 months, and if there is a fire, this will be one of the first things the insurance inspectors ask for. They also go through our records of inspections, photos, notes and maintenance actions in event of a fire or other accident.
Suzanne will look at the rent policy and think about this, getting back to the person who enquired.