Concern over empty homes
New figures have revealed that the average number of days which City Council homes stood empty between old tenants leaving and the houses being ready for new tenants was 66 days between January and March.
Last year it was revealed that Norwich City Council missed out on more than £800,000 of rent because council homes were standing empty for an average of 40 days. The further collapse in performance means the Council is now on track to lose well over £1million a year in rental income on 'void' properties.
Cllr Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, raised concerns at last week's Norwich City Council Scrutiny Committee where the latest performance reports were discussed. She commented:
"The financial impact is massive, but what is even worse is the 6,000 people in Norwich who are stuck on the housing waiting list unable to access homes. We have a target to turnaround properties in 24 days, this Labour administration has not met that target for years.
"Last November Liberal Democrats raised the issue and Cllr Brenda Arthur said 'we are on top of it'. If this is her definition of 'on top of it' then I am gravely concerned. Other housing authorities such as Broadland are turning around properties in 17 days. Why is Norwich lagging behind?
"Officers claim that the increase in times was worsened due to the fact that a number of long-term voids were being brought back into use. While I am pleased to see Labour taking onboard Liberal Democrat calls for action on long-term voids, the report makes clear that even without this factor the Council would still be missing the target of 24 days. The overall figure for last year was 46 days, this simply isn't good enough."
Void Figures for last 3 years (averages):
2008/09 = 36 days to re-let
2009/10 = 46 days to re-let
2010/11 = 46 days to re-let (last quarter 66 days).
The full performance report can be found here: http://www.norwich.gov.uk/intranet_docs/corporate/public/committee/reports/2011/Scrutiny/REP_Scrutiny_06_Q4_performance_report_2011_05_26.pdf