Coun­cil un­der fire for length of time homes are ly­ing empty

The Oban Times - - Sport -

A RE­PORT that says houses are ly­ing empty for up to two months in the High­lands and is­lands has led to High­land coun­cil be­ing crit­i­cised.

The av­er­age time for a coun­cil house to be ly­ing void is 47.26 days, ac­cord­ing to the re­port pre­sented to the com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing on Mon­day.

Leader of the op­po­si­tion, coun­cil­lor Max­ine Smith, said: ‘We def­i­nitely need bench­mark­ing be­cause I can tell you that Al­byn, another High­land hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion, re­ported at its AGM this week, its av­er­age void time is 19.5 days, so why can’t we achieve this?’

Coun­cil­lor Smith also said she un­der­stands that Al­byn, cur­rently has un­der 3,000 prop­er­ties, while the coun­cil has al­most 20,000.

She said: ‘ We have just un­der 8,000 peo­ple wait­ing for a coun­cil house. Many will never see one, but leav­ing houses empty for longer than a month is not ac­cept­able.’

The coun­cil tar­get is 35 days, but coun­cil­lor Smith wants to see this num­ber re­duced to 25 days and the tar­get to be met by 2016.

Ac­cord­ing to High­land coun­cil the high num­ber is down to Caith­ness fig­ures. A spokesper­son for the coun­cil said: ‘If Caith­ness fig­ures were re­moved, then the av­er­age num­ber of days to re-let would be 36. In the past five years the best we have achieved is 30 days in one quar­ter of 2011.’

Coun­cil­lor Allan Hen­der­son con­tin­ued: ‘While ev­ery of­fi­cer and coun­cil­lor looks for as quick a turn­around as pos­si­ble, some­times re­pairs and the op­por­tu­nity to re­fur­bish just take a lit­tle longer. I am sure the new ten­ants ap­pre­ci­ate this course of ac­tion. The num­ber of voids in Lochaber is very low, re­flect­ing the des­per­a­tion for rented ac­com­mo­da­tion in Lochaber.’

The coun­cil spokesper­son added: ‘We do bench­mark­ing al­ready but we need to com­pare like-with-like. Thirty five days is our tar­get and this can, of course, be re­viewed and we will do our very best to im­prove this.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.