Rent lost from empty Brighton and Hove council flats totals almost £1m in two years

Hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent has been lost because council houses and flats were left without tenants.

Brighton and Hove City Council has lost almost £1 million in two years when homes were empty between lets, according to a new report.

But the figure fell from £537,000 in the 2017-18 financial year to £375,000 in the past financial year.

With gaps between tenancies almost inevitable, the council has a target of rent loss totalling less than 1 per cent of its annual rental income of just over £50 million.

The £375,000 lost in the year to the end of March was within the target – unlike the year before.

The council’s stock currently includes 27 long-term empty homes.

They have been empty for an average of 140 days and have lost an average of £1,600 each.

The biggest loss of rent related to two empty flats in Preston Park ward which are undergoing major health and safety related work.

One has stood empty for 583 days – more than 18 months – and the other for 324 days, resulting in a rent loss of £10,700.

The next highest levels of rent loss are for five homes in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward.

Three studio flats for senior citizens and two houses undergoing major renovation have been empty for between 51 and 419 days.

One of the houses is ready for the council to let out again.

The council has also missed its target to turn around homes that do not need major works within 21 days.

From January to March it took on average 33 days to re-let a council home.

This was a deterioration from the October to December performance – 24 days – which is still outside the council’s target.

The details are in a report to the housing management panels for Brighton and Hove council tenants and leaseholders which meet next week.

The report also shows rent arrears rising from about £700,000 in 2017-18 to about £1.1 million – missing the council’s 98 per cent collection target.

The council said: “We recognise we need to speed up letting times across our homes.

“We’re improving the standards of our homes before we let them. We are decorating and carpeting seniors housing so they are more attractive and ready to move in.

“We have also worked with our partners to review processes. This has speeded up delivery times for kitchens and fittings and will deliver further improvements to our turnaround time for general housing.

“The two empty properties in Preston Park have a number of complex challenges we are working to resolve before starting the renovations needed.”

  1. Susan Talyor Reply

    I cant believe you have empty flats and you turned my disabled mum down. Shame on Brighton Council

    • Will Reply

      It’s not saying they have empty flats. Its saying the flats are empty in-between lets. Which is normal for any landlord, in case there is works/maintenance that needs doing prior to the new let.

  2. billy Reply

    I guess you either look on a story like this as suggesting that the council are inefficient and wasting resources, or else you understand that it does take time to refurbish old rental properties before they can be clean, updated and ready to be let out again.
    So, for sure, any time the property is left empty it amounts to lost rental and lost income for the council – at a time when people are crying out for council homes – but then again the refurbishment of any home takes a while.
    People tend to think about these things simplistically, especially after a whole TV generation watched heavily-edited programs like Changing Rooms.

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