At Citizens Advice Winchester District, we have seen an increase in the number of clients approaching our service for help with funding for carpets in social housing.
The aim of social housing is to provide an affordable, secure housing option for people on low incomes and so understandably most of these renters do not have the savings needed to pay the upfront costs of buying and installing flooring such as carpets.
In most housing associations it is standard procedure to remove all carpets at the end of a tenancy, and the responsibility of the new tenants to get new carpets fitted.
Where once the council would provide help in the form of discretionary housing payments to fund carpets, these payments can no longer help with either household goods, furniture or flooring.
This means many social housing tenants are living in properties with inadequate flooring and also missing out from the insulating properties of carpets which would help keep their energy bills lower.
One client supported by Citizens Advice Winchester District with this issue had moved into a housing association property where all the carpets had been removed, but carpet grippers had been left exposed which was causing her concern with her young child. Since no charitable funding was available to help pay for new carpets the client had to take out a loan in order to make the flooring safe.