June 10, 2022 4.30 pm This story is over 16 months old

Weeks of pest control and major repairs needed for empty council homes

Rented properties are being left in poor states

New tenants are facing delays in moving into vacant council housing due to the poor state that they are being left in.

One property needed six weeks of flea treatment and pest control before it could be rented out again.

A rising number also need major repair work, South Holland District Council has said.

A report has revealed that it is taking an average of 44 days for new tenants to get the keys, nearly twice the target of 28 days.

“Whilst we use the recharge policy as a deterrent to try to ensure our properties come back to us in reasonable order, the reality is that a significant number need a considerable amount of clearance and work to bring them up to our minimum standard,” it says.

The council’s contractors have often been starting work at 6am and sometimes continuing through Saturday in order to meet the demand.

They have faced staffing challenges, but are now back to full manpower.

The council has also seen a spike in the number of empty properties in recent months.

144 properties became vacant in November 2021 to March 2021, compared to 111 for the same period the previous year.

This has been attributed to an increase of deaths amongst tenants and an increase of transfers to new council properties.

The number of notices that tenants were leaving rose to an ‘unprecedented peak’ after the pandemic, but has now returned to normal.

The report will go before South Holland’s Performance and Monitoring Panel on Wednesday, June 15.