Yvonne Fox, Assistant Director of Housing
a) presented an update to provide information relating to the current number of void properties and the time taken to let void properties.
b) advised that as of 30th September 2020 there were 65 properties in the void process and highlighted which stage of the repairs or lettings procedure each property was at, as detailed at Appendix A of the report.
c) advised that of the 65 properties:
· 37 were in the repairs process
· 28 were in the early void stages (lock change, asbestos check, cleansing or works ordering)
· 16 were ready to let
d) advised that of the 16 ready to let:
· 4 supported living properties had no one place bids on them
· All of the other properties that were ready to let had bids on them and they were currently in the process of signing up.
e) referred to the table at Appendix A of the report and advised that it provided details of keys that were due in and the property types, and also provided details of the number of days taken to let properties from April to September 2020.
f) explained that due to Government Directives regarding the allocation of properties and operational constraints relating to repairing properties, it was difficult to effectively monitor the re-let times using the normal targets.
g) invited members questions and comments
Comment: Referred to the overall void time and commented that 50.4 days was a significant increase.
Response: It was difficult at the moment to complete all of the repairs as quickly as normal due to the supply chain being affected by Covid-19. Senior Officers were holding weekly meetings to monitor each property in the voids process and to identify any issues that needed rectifying. The overall target would not be met by year end, however, it was expected to see an improvement month on month.
Question: Were any safety precautions put in place for viewing properties?
Response: Yes guidance was being followed for example all doors were opened prior to visits so that they did not have to touch door handles, officers did not go into the property with the prospective tenant. If the property was refused it would be re-cleaned. Very few people were refusing properties at the moment which meant that the offer accepted first time target had seen an improvement.
Question: What was the cost in money terms of voids properties?
Response: It was different at the moment due to the pandemic, there was not the usual availability of materials due to the supply chain being affected. The number of workers allowed to work on a property at the same time was also currently reduced. Some decent homes work had been completed and the quality of the kitchen units etc had been improved, this would mean that they would last longer.
The Chair requested that a report reflecting the costs of voids be brought to a future meeting of Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee.
RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.