Homeowner news - November 2018

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The latest news and updates from the Homeownership forum. 

Welcome to the latest edition of Homeowner News, which we’re trialling on the Community pages of the Derwent Living website. It’s designed to update you on everything that’s discussed at the Homeowners’ Forum and provide information which other homeowners may find useful. 

Derwent Living staffing changes  

Over the past few months Derwent Living has made a few changes to how its customer services are delivered. Repairs and customer service advisors now work in separate teams, with repairs advisors working more closely with colleagues from Places for People’s repairs service. Working more closely with the team delivering the service should help us to be more responsive when it comes to dealing with enquiries. 

In the Homeownership team we’ve had changes too, with new starter Keely Delaney replacing Dan Mycock, who left the organisation in September. We wish Dan all the best for the future.

New Website

Derwent Living's new website launched in July. In development for over a year, the site combines six existing websites into one. We consulted extensively with colleagues and customers throughout the development to make sure it was fit for purpose and included the right information.

Improvements include an advice centre, which should answer the vast majority of customer questions, a new enquiry centre which passes enquiries through into our housing management system and a new community system. The site also includes the application system and a totally redesigned find a home platform. 

It replaces the MY Derwent Living system and customers who previously had a MY account will be able to access the new site to do everything they did previously. The website is fully secure and works on mobile phones and tablets too. 

There’s more information about how to use the new site in this useful article

Homeowners’ Forum - a year on

In July 2017, the Homeowners’ Forum was changed to make it less of a formal meeting and more about sharing information and ideas to help Derwent Living better serve its homeowners.

Over the year many topics have been covered including things such as looking at satisfaction results and planned maintenance.

The review looked at the main changes made to the forum which included a newsletter issued after every meeting rather than minutes and covering topics rather than traditional agenda items.

The feedback for both was positive with more topics suggested by the homeowners present. The Homeowners wanted a dedicated issues raised by residents as part of the newsletter which has been added to this edition.

The forum will continued to be reviewed on a regular basis.

Homeowner specific information

There is a special section for homeowners and leaseholders in the advice centre of this website and we’ll be publishing more content here in the future.  Some topics that we’re looking to include more information about include:

  • Maintenance reserves
  • Deceased residents’ procedure
  • Frequently asked questions on service charges
  • Frequently asked questions on leases and transfers
  • Regular articles from the Homeownership forum
  • Buildings insurance
  • Information on landscaping and cleaning
  • Information on the Homeownership forum

Resident manager leaving checklist

Team leader Karen Williams attended the forum to talk about what should happen when a resident manager leaves their post. Resident managers are members of staff who live on site and are present at most of our leasehold for the elderly schemes where they are a requirement of the lease.

We’ve had a few issues in the past where the transition between outgoing and incoming staff members could be smoother, so to try and improve things we’re developing a special checklist to make sure everything happens at the right time and in the right order.

Those attending the forum had their say on a proposed checklist which included informing customers of staff leaving dates, interim cover arrangements and recruitment plans.

Residents thought the checklist comprehensive, however were concerned that if the incoming resident managers hours were changed it could increase costs for leaseholders. It was agreed that the checklist will be updated to include any changes to hours and residents informed. 

It was also confirmed at the meeting that leaseholders do not pay towards recruitment costs.

Issues raised by residents

During the course of a forum residents often raise issues about the service they receive.

How we deal with the enquiry will depend on the issue raised and which team deal with that particular service area. If the issue can be addressed at the forum then we’ll do that, and if not we’ll pass it onto the responsible team following the meeting and let you know who’s dealing with it.

If you wish to chase up an existing issue which was raised at the forum please email Sue Wells susanw@derwentliving.com. To save time at forum meetings, please don’t raise the same issue twice. If you are awaiting a response Sue will be happy to help and find out what’s happening with your enquiry over email.

Landscaping issues

Customers raised issues with the standard of landscaping around some schemes; and while the forum felt the service had improved since Places for People Landscapes first took over, they believe there is still room for improvement. 

Customers were unclear what specification the landscapes team were working to, so we have now published an up-to-date specification on our grounds maintenance page

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