Be good neighbours

Accent's community organiser Michael Fishwick with John Barnett, chairman of Horden Colliery Residents Association.
Accent's community organiser Michael Fishwick with John Barnett, chairman of Horden Colliery Residents Association.

TENANTS are being encouraged to become good neighbours as part of a landlords’ scheme to improve village life.

Housing providers Accent Foundation are tackling neighbourhood nuisances in Horden’s numbered streets by launching the Good Landlord, Good Neighbour Agreement.

A draft agreement is being put together, which residents will be asked for their views on, before the document is officially prepared.

Hundreds of copies of the agreements are being posted through letterboxes in the village and it is hoped tenants will sign it before Christmas.

The initiative sets out basic standards to be expected from residents, landlords and letting agents.

The agreement aims to stamp out anti-social behaviour, the effects of loud music, and to make sure yards are kept clean and tidy.

In the draft document, residents are also asked to pledge to talk to neighbours in advance of a party and ensure themselves and visitors behave in a reasonable manner.

The document also asks residents to make sure they know where their children are and that youngsters are also good neighbours.

Tenants are also asked to look after their pets well and clean up after them, put out and take in bins on collection day, work with landlords to make sure homes are well-maintained and report anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping, graffiti and other environmental problems.

In exchange, landlords are pledging to meet every three months with other landlords and letting agents to discuss problems and share ideas.

They also vow to take part in monthly estate walkabouts as often as possible to record issues and problems, support local groups to develop and regenerate the area, provide a named contact for residents, take strong and swift enforcement action against problem residents and support victims of anti-social behaviour.

Other pledges by the landlords include promising to respond to all complaints quickly and keep people informed of their progress, ensure properties’ exteriors are well-maintained and responding quickly to resolve repair issues.

Michael Fishwick, community organiser with Accent, which has almost 300 properties in the numbered streets, said: “We are putting together a Neighbourhood Agreement targeting the numbered streets.

“With residents, we have put together a standards agreement on what we would expect on anti-social behaviour or standards for the properties.

“We are going to use it to try to drive up the standards in the numbered streets.

“We are in the process of putting it together and getting people’s feedback, but want to launch it in time for Christmas.”

The scheme has also involved input from Horden Colliery Residents’ Association, whose chairman is John Barnett.

Castle Dene Property Management has shown interest in the scheme and other letting agents are being encouraged to take part.

They can contact Mr Fishwick on (0191) 5691507.