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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 18/06/2007
END OF YEAR VOIDS MONITORING REPORT



Summary & Purpose
This is a regular monitoring report that shows the number of Housing Revenue Account permanent dwellings that were vacant as at 31st March 2007. They are broken down by length of time, void, and reason for being void in line with the monitoring information provided to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

APPENDIX E
Waverley Borough Council

Community overview and scrutiny Committee - 18TH june 2007
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Title:
END OF YEAR VOIDS MONITORING REPORT
[Wards Affected : All]
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Summary and purpose:

This is a regular monitoring report that shows the number of Housing Revenue Account permanent dwellings that were vacant as at 31st March 2007. They are broken down by length of time, void, and reason for being void in line with the monitoring information provided to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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Environmental implications:
Dwellings left empty for a long period of time can affect the local environment and outlook of an area.

Social / community implications:
Turning around properties in a timely and efficient way helps the Council to rehouse people in housing need more effectively.

E-Government implications:
There are none arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:
There are no particular direct resource or legal implications arising from this report. However, it is recognised that void properties are unproductive, result in rent loss and those left vacant for over six months are also liable for 90% Council Tax payment. _________________________________________________________________________

Void Property at 31st March 2007

1. At 31st March 2007, the Council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) owned a total of 5,012 homes for rent on secure tenancies. Properties become vacant from time to time, and the Council aims to relet homes as quickly as possible to households on the Housing Needs Register. The efficient and effective management of void properties is important to provide a home for a household in housing need, minimise rent loss, and ensure that properties are not at risk of squatting or vandalism.

2. It needs to be recognised that the tables (attached as ANNEXE 1 and 2) show a snapshot at a point in time (31st March 2007).

3. Annexe 1 shows all the vacant properties owned by the Council in the HRA as at 31st March 2007 – 99 in total. Annexe 2 shows all the HRA vacant properties, excluding those where the Council has agreed to demolish or dispose of, and therefore unavailable for reletting.

3. On average local authorities in England have around 2.5% of their housing stock vacant at any one time. As can be seen from the tables, Waverley had a low percentage of HRA property vacant at 31st March 2007 – 1.98%; this reduces even further to 0.92%, when the properties due for demolition or sale are excluded.

4. Annexe 1 shows that 99 properties were vacant on 31st March 2007. Of the long term vacancies at columns (6) and (7):

42 dwellings were vacant at Rowland House, Cranleigh pending the redevelopment of this site;
4 are vacant awaiting disposal on the open market;
2 are void pending potential structural changes and the needs to secure vacant possession of neighbouring properties;
2 bedsits with shared bathroom facilities and are void pending reconfiguration of internal arrangements, which require the need to secure vacant possession of neighbouring bedsits.

5. Annexe 2 excludes the properties awaiting demolition and therefore shows a different picture overall. For all practical purposes, therefore, there were only 46 void properties vacant at 31st March 2007, which are due to be re-let after any necessary works.

6. In Waverley, the main source of affordable housing lettings comes from vacancies arising within the Council’s own housing stock. There were 308 lettings of Waverley homes in 2006/07. It is therefore a good thing to have vacancies – so long as they do not remain void for long periods of time.

Conclusion

7. On the basis of national comparators, Waverley compares well in respect of void properties and reletting. There is not an issue of hard to let properties in respect of general needs. By far the largest number of void properties relate to two schemes where the Council is actively seeking to decommission dwellings in order to undertake a redevelopment or dispose on the open market.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the report be noted.
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Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: John Swanton Telephone: 01483 - 523375

E-mail: jswanton@waverley.gov.uk

comms\o&s2\2007-08\005.doc