Harlow Council working hard to get large number of empty properties down

General / Tue 14th Jun 2022 am30 08:31am

A NUMBER of readers have contacted YH, questioning the number of empty council properties across Harlow.

Before Covid, we were aware that the average number of empty (void) properties was around 40. But we were aware that they seemed to be increasing greatly.

So we asked Harlow Council.

A Harlow Council spokesperson said: “The number of void (empty) council properties is falling and our turnaround time on those properties has halved in recent months. There is more still to do to bring these numbers down further which is our sole focus. This is, of course, supported by our new housebuilding programme which will ensure – alongside a quicker turnaround on void properties – that more families get council homes quicker.

“The number of empty council properties for Harlow Council as of April 2022 was 138. This is a considerable reduction in the number of voids when compared to its highest level of 198 in July 2021. The sharp increase at that time was caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, as was the case across the country not just in Harlow.

“The latest figure includes an increase in the number that require major works due to their property condition. The turnaround time from a property becoming empty to it being re-let also continues to improve at 28 days compared to its highest level of 56 days. This means more properties available to let in tackling the local housing need. Void performance is reviewed regularly and reported to Cabinet every quarter as part of the council’s joint finance and performance report. 

“Although progress is being made, we know that we need to continue working hard to bring this down further. Properties are being fast tracked where possible ensuring that those in the greatest need have homes to bid for. Despite these challenges, which are national as well as local, progress has been made. There is a recovery plan in place for continuing to reduce the figure, and whilst the situation is improving there are challenges ahead in the increase in people refusing properties offered to them.

“Homes continue to be advertised to residents on the Housing Needs Register, and this includes the recent release of 65 housing association homes giving local families on the register a choice of homes for which to bid. We are also working hard to build more council housing as part of our wider house building programme.  A further 18 new council homes will be available to let shortly from council house developments at Bushey Croft and The Hill. The wider council house building plan will continue to provide more council homes for local families over the next few years and into the future.”

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11 Comments for Harlow Council working hard to get large number of empty properties down:

2022-06-14 08:39:51

Feel this is A lie two doors down from me is a house that has sat empty since February 2021 all they have done is emptied the house of furniture and locked the back gate it needs a huge overhaul and no one is doing anything

2022-06-14 08:56:01

The fact that the Council is recognising the problem is encouraging: the fact that turn around of property is so slow needs urgently addressing. A private landlord would take days rather than months to turn a property around and re let, why isn't this possible to do in the public sector?

Kim Oconnor
2022-06-14 09:07:04

I don't believe that people are turning down property s, unless your getting rid of the bad places first, that would be only reason s. I don't believe what's wrote here. Thousands an thousands of unaffordable housing estates being built, if you thought thought any thing of this town, you would provide council houses first and foremost, 5000 on waiting list.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-06-14 09:57:11

In fact in the year 2016/17 the turn around period was 17 days, this reduced to just 16 days in 2017/18. Back in 2021 the Council were not offering homes to new tenants because of Covid so a direct comparison cannot be made with that years figures.

Stacey Cullen
2022-06-14 10:15:55

I think is is a joke, when I live in a 2 bed housing association and the rent is £803 a month and that is foldable living it’s a joke I want to go back to work full time for me and my son and they need to look at the system and start again a re house the people that need it and will benefit from it not house people that don’t want to go to work and claim off the government. My out goings are more then I earn.

2022-06-14 10:46:58

Definitely a lie. A 3 bed council house near me has been empty for over 18 months. A new roof was fitted a few weeks back and still no one has moved in. Why would a property sit empty that long, when people are crying out for properties. It really don't make sense.

2022-06-14 10:56:52

Novoman this is a simple question to answer. A private landlord does not want to be without rent/paying the mortgage out of their own pocket. The council do not have this issue

2022-06-14 11:50:09

The. 2 houses in picture have been empty for quite some time. Both properties were underpinned due to foundation damage from nearby trees. Every now and then workmen turn up for a few hours then leave. Not sure what the problem is, but if it was a private property the required work would have been completed some time ago.

2022-06-14 12:13:15

Turf out the ex council tenants who never gave up the house and Sub Let the house At higher rent , Council knows this goes on, need to get these properties back to let needy people on waiting list.

2022-06-14 18:48:35

Talk about subsidence ,we have a nice hole on the grass to the side of my fence as we are end of terrace .getting worse by the year and have reported it to the council and our Mp ,but after voicing my concerns and sending photos the 2 people who came and had a look who said it wasn’t really their filed of expertise .. that’s handy then !!.. just took a few photos and the environment people have reported back with a letter to the Mp saying it was down to cars parking on it .and they would monitor it and don’t see the need for action at this time ..absolute rubbish as we have a knee rail fence to the roadside so how could cars park on it ???.we ain’t giving up and have already had to put 6 bags of aggregate down myself at my expense to shore up the hole that developed under the gravel boards . Best they sort it out and soon .

2022-06-15 11:19:23

Tiko: then the Council is failing in their duty and robbing the public purse. There must be a body to hold this mismanagement of public assets.

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