Efforts to improve Birmingham's council housing repairs and maintenance service have been impressive but more needs to be done, according to a report published today by the Audit Commission.
The housing department, judged to be failing by the commission two years ago, has improved sufficiently to merit a one-star ranking on a scale of zero to three.
Repairs to the stock of 72,000 municipal properties are now carried out more quickly and there has been significant improvement in gas servicing, inspectors found.
The largest landlord in the country also has "promising prospects for improvement" according to the report.
The improved rating means the service is no longer under the support and supervision arrangements that were imposed two years ago.
However, tenant satisfaction levels are still poor compared with other housing organisations and the average time taken to let properties has worsened.
"There is still a significant backlog of disrepair cases waiting to be processed and tenants are waiting too long for disabled adaptations to be carried out to their homes," the commission found.
Martin Palmer, the Audit Commission's head of housing for the central region, said: "The council has been able to demonstrate a track record of improvement since our last inspection that has resulted in progress in most areas.
"The repairs service is now more customer-focused and more meaningful engagement with tenants is taking place."
The report highlights service strengths including:
* Repair contact centres are now offering a high standard of customer care to tenants and leaseholders;
* Both urgent and routine repairs are now carried out more quickly;
* The introduction of an appointments system has made the service more efficient and customer-focused.
Areas of weakness include a lack of progress in meeting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and an unacceptably high number of long term empty properties.
Cabinet housing spokesman Councillor John Lines (Con Bartley Green) said: "This is just the start of delivering more improvements to tenants and leaseholders in Birmingham."