COUNCIL flats are being turned around faster for new tenants - but the renters are less satisfied with the state of their new homes.

Figures reported recently raised concerns with councillors that the rush to get new residents moved in was at the expense of quality.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s (WDC) housing and communities committee heard it takes 23.3 days to re-let properties, down from 35.6 days the year before.

But the percentage of tenants satisfied with the standard of their home when moving in has dropped from 94.9 per cent to 87.4 per cent.

Councillor Karen Conaghan said: “It kind of feels as if, in a rush to get those properties re-let, we’re not bringing them up to the standard they should be.

“And unfortunately that’s the feedback I’ve had from a couple of tenants within the area. I feel sometimes, anecdotally, it’s an attitude almost, there’s that rush to get it done.”

Peter Barry, strategic lead for housing and employability, replied that he wouldn’t agree with that. He said a system focused on quality and efficiency could deliver both.

Councillor David McBride said the performance report against Scottish Social Housing Charter standards was a “mixed bag”.

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He said there were a number of positive improvements and congratulated staff, particularly on 100 per cent of properties now having gas safety checks.

But he said other figures such as the percentage of rent lost to arrears remained a concern.

Satisfaction levels with repairs was down last year and council bosses said it continued to be a problem.

Martin Feeney, building services manager, said they were working with their call centre where there was a particular problem.

He said: “It seems to be affecting the whole service at the moment that tenants are reporting they can’t get through on the phones when they want to report a repair or find out what is happening with the repair.

“We have an action plan in place to improve that this year.”

WDC started booking repair jobs through their new computer system on November 6 after months of trial and years of development, heard the meeting.

The system is meant to allow real-time updates when complaints are made, repairs ordered and completed - and keeping tenants informed of the progress.

Repair time for non-emergency fixes has improved from 7.08 days in 2017/18 to 5.7 days in 2018/19. Emergency repairs are also getting done faster, in an average of 3.41 hours.

But the percentage of tenants satisfied with the repairs service has fallen from 92.3 per cent to 88.5 per cent.

Medical adaptations to properties remain a sticking point, despite ongoing improvement.

Councillors heard building warrants for the changes can usually be done in three days, but the design, materials and other requirements can stretch to months.

An independent review will look to see where they can streamline the process.