Setting the record straight regarding Housing Executive and its number of vacant properties
The Housing Executive is the largest social housing landlord in the UK, with over 85,000 properties. Managing that resource to meet housing need is a top priority for us. In relation to the figures presented on the Belfast Telegraph on September 19, it's important to outline the real story behind the numbers.
We are one of the best performing social housing landlords in terms of void properties - we have the least number of void properties at 0.28% (the UK average is 0.45%) and when a family is allocated a new home, on average, we move them into a property faster than any other UK social housing landlord - 15 days compared to an average of 23 days. Approximately half of the vacant properties at the end of July were in the process of being re-let. In July alone, we had 498 terminations of tenancy. The most common reasons for this are when a tenant passes away, health issues, family changes or a tenant no longer wishes to remain in an area.
For the other 50% (known as non-actionable voids) these are vacant for 'operational reasons', crucial in ensuring we continue to improve our tenants' homes and areas.
The primary reason for 'non-actionables' is allowing us to undertake planned major improvement schemes to tenants' homes - we need other properties to move these families into. For example, we are currently undertaking a major improvement scheme to 18 homes in Annadale in Belfast.
We needed (non-actionable) properties to accommodate these families so the work could take place. Once the work is completed these homes are then allocated to families on the waiting list.
Best use of our homes is a priority for the Housing Executive and we endeavour to have a plan for each and every void property to ensure we can provide homes to those in housing need.
Housing Executive chief executive