Families missing out as homes remain empty
Local councils and housing associations in the Black Country are missing out on huge amounts of rent because of void properties. This is despite a waiting list that totals thousands of people.
A void property is one that has recently become empty and is waiting to be re-let. Insurance companies are also missing out as these empty properties mean families will not take out cheap home insurance until they move into the house.
Dudley Council could have had an extra £352,000 during the first three months of the financial year, while housing association Sandwell Homes could have had an extra £389,534 during the same period. Another housing association Wolverhampton Homes missed out on an extra £302,000. The figures projected over a period of 12 months indicate Wolverhampton Homes would lose out on an extra £1.2 million. Dudley would miss out on £1.4 million while Sandwell Homes would have lost potential revenue of more than £1.5 million. These figures have been condemned by local politicians at a time when authorities are struggling and are making many cutbacks.
Councillor Steve Waltho, opposition Labour group spokesman for housing, said “These are significant revenues which are being lost. In the present climate where money is tight this really is unacceptable. At a time when people desperately need property these void properties are potential homes which we need to be bringing into use.”
There are 480 void properties in Dudley, 302 in Wolverhampton while Sandwell has 386. The figures were released after Dudley Council published a report on their website which showed Councillors worry over this increasing trend in void properties. Sandwell Homes and Wolverhampton Homes both defended their records, claiming their performance on re-letting any void property was good if they were to be compared to other housing associations. Dudley Council said it had marginally exceeded their target. The council lost 1.81% of its total potential rent yield due to void properties, Sandwell lost 1.57% and Wolverhampton Homes lost 1.51% in the first quarter of the financial year.