More than 8,000 people waiting for a council house in Doncaster as mayor urges action on dozens of empty homes
More than 8,000 people are on the waiting list for a council house in Doncaster but dozens of properties have been left empty for months.
It comes as Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones and cabinet members urged housing bosses at St Leger Homes to move faster in getting properties back on the market for prospective tenants.
Latest figures show the rent void as of June 2021 stands at 142 properties but this fell from a high of 209 during the same period in 2020.
Re-letting a property after a previous tenant moves out takes on average around 33 days – above the target of 20 days. But the current figure is well down from the same in 2020 when it took over 55 days.
The mayor and members of her cabinet have pressed St Leger bosses before on the issue of voids and re-letting times. Coun Glyn Jones, cabinet member for housing said they have kept ‘banging on’ to bosses about ‘poor performance’ in this area.
Dave Richmond from St Leger in response to comments from councillors, said the figure did not include a number of properties that had already been earmarked for people to move in to.
The report also outlined issues contributing to the number of voids which included; shortage of materials, delays waiting for the delivery of non-stock items, and a reduction in resources due to isolation or Covid-19 infection.
Coun Phil Cole, cabinet member for finance, said: “We all would like to see the number of voids forced down as quickly as possible.
“Every void is a property where someone who could be having a secure tenancy is missing out and the turnaround time on properties on re-lettings needs to be reduced.
“I think both of those issues in the report acknowledge that we need to raise our game and I’m sure St Leger will do everything to support that.
Mayor Jones added: “As you know, we’ve got in excess of 8,000 residents, I believe it’s actually about 8,500 people on our waiting list and therefore every delay means someone’s not in a home.
“I will continually press the issue of voids and re-letting to see those improvements so that these houses become homes for people and families.”
Dave Richmond, CEO of St Leger Homes said: “Yesterday, we had approximately 140 properties void, of which, 45 were currently under offer to tenants. So we’re awaiting their acceptance of them, and they’re moving.
“So you’re seeing the global figure but it’s kind of a little bit misleading, that there is a lot of activity going beyond, which gives us a bit more of a rich picture.