Improvements made to number of days council houses are empty

The number of days between tenancies has reduced at babergh and Mid Suffolk, new data has revealed P

The number of days between tenancies has reduced at babergh and Mid Suffolk, new data has revealed Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Two Suffolk authorities have dramatically cut the number of days their council houses are empty for, new data has revealed.

In September last year, Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils were tasked with cutting the number of ‘void’ days – days when council properties were empty between tenants – as figures revealed a re-let time of 54 days at Babergh and 51 days for Mid Suffolk.

A report published by both councils this week said that “significant change” had been made with new processes and re-allocated resources helping fill properties quicker.

Latest figures for June revealed times for Babergh had more than halved to 17 days, and reduced by 17 days at Mid Suffolk – both above the 10 day improvement which was planned.

The figures mean tenants on waiting lists can get to properties sooner, and reduce the amount of lost income for the councils from empty homes.

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Councillor Jan Osborne, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Ensuring our homes are available to residents quickly is crucial to reducing the need for short term housing and avoiding the financial impact caused by unnecessary delays.

“This is why we’ve been working hard to reduce the amount of time council homes in our district are left empty between tenants by improving the quality of inspections, implementing mobile working for our trades team and streamlining data and customer contact channels.”

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Further measures are being planned to cut the void times even more. Work which has already helped include introducing void inspectors, better planning of maintenance works between tenancies and additional contractors during peak demand.

Councillor Jill Wilshaw, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “It is vital for our community to reduce time between tenancies in our homes.

“This allows us to ensure as many residents as possible can remain in appropriate housing whilst lowering the financial impacts for the council. Across the district we’ve reduced this period of time by just over two weeks.”

She added: “This has shown a significant improvement on the previous year and makes clear headway towards our long-term target of three weeks.”

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