Mayor demands action to fill dozens of empty houses in Doncaster

Mayor Ros Jones has urged housing bosses to get empty properties filled across the borough in order for people to ‘have a proper home’.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:36 pm

New figures published by St Leger Homes show at the end of March 2021, there were over 150 properties that were empty but the figures have been higher in previous months.

Empty properties also result in a rent void for the authority and the figure stands at around one per cent – slightly down from highest in December and since the pandemic started back in March 2020.

Housing bosses said that a rent void of 0.5 per cent equated to around 100 empty homes.

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St Leger Homes manage properties across Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

St Leger Homes said void levels are typically around 100-110 properties at any point in time, but the actual number of voids has fluctuated and been nearer 200 for most of the financial year.

In May 2020 there were 223 empty properties, July 178, December 216 and reducing to 157 at the end of March 2021.

Of the 157, 133 are lettable, with nine described as non-lettable voids and 15 acquisitions.

Figures also showed that it is currently taking 46 days on average to re-let a ready to live in home to another tenant aginst a target of 20 days.

Bosses added that the Covid-19 lockdown was the reason for the decline in performance and from end of March 2020, the advertisement cycle, non–urgent repairs, capital works and void repair works were all suspended and the number of voids held showed a weekly increase during April and May, until re-letting commenced.

Mayor Jones said: “I want to see a concerted effort to bring down the property voids, because as soon as we get the voids down, it creates a home for someone.Therefore, we will be monitoring this extremely closely.

“Having regard that the Covid-19 pandemic did actually prevent the number of workers going in to carry out checks and repairs earlier on, but while we still have the voids, that means somebody has not got the opportunity to have a proper home.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.