‘Housing crisis? We’ve got four empty council homes on our street’

Owen Sheppard (21 September, 2017) Housing

“I feel all this is an utter scandal. The council have lost years of rent and council tax"

19109John Bailey in Hayles Street, outside empty council house, number 48

Southwark Council have been accused of letting empty houses go to waste, despite the borough suffering a housing shortage.

Four Victorian houses have been vacant in Hayles Street near Elephant and Castle for between six months and two years, according to one resident.

John Bailey, vice chair of the Hayles Estate TRA, told the News: “Number 20 has been empty for over two years, and it used to be the nicest house on the street.

“Number 39 has been empty for little over a year; 37 for approximately six months, and 48 for nine months.

“I feel all this is an utter scandal. The council have lost years of rent and council tax. Are the properties to be sold or refurbished? Whatever the plans, it should not take this long to decide and there are many homeless families out there desperate for accommodation.”

The 65-year-old former district nurse has repeatedly mentioned it to his housing officer, and the issue is brought up at residents’ meetings. But John was only told via his local councillor that 20 is still waiting for “major works”, and 39 has been left due to a problem with mice.

He added: “Number 48 was lived in by my cousin, who died two years ago.

“It’s like banging your head against a wall. I tell them, but it gets you nowhere, and it gets homeless people nowhere.

“If it’s this bad here then you can imagine there must be loads of empty homes going to waste on loads of estates.”

Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said the council will considering selling 20 and 48, because the cost to repair them could still reach “tens of thousands of pounds”, due to their “age position and size”.

Regarding numbers 37 and 39, Cllr Cryan said: “We have already completed some works to them and they will make excellent family homes. We do need to address the time it has taken so far to get them ready for letting. We will speed up the process on all four properties.”

information says:

In 2015, we had put in a FOI request to find out how many empty homes were on the Aylesbury. In March 2015, there were 542 empty homes on the Aylesbury alone, ie Southwark was losing approximately £240,000 a month, just in rent. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/empty_homes_on_the_aylesbury_est#incoming-630832

Toby Tobama says:

“tens of thousands of pounds” is, er, far less than it would cost to build or buy new council houses. I thought Peter John said he was in favour of expanding social housing?

unionworkeruk says:

One in my street in Peckham as well . It was squatted and is now vandalised and empty The council will now use the excuse that it is too costly to renovate so will sell it.

It seems their policy is to deliberately leave them empty for months or years then use that as an excuse to sell them.

Along with selling off whole council estates for luxury development, with hundreds of socially rented flats not being replaced, it seems the council is not interested in providing affordable rented homes for local people
.
The sooner they are replaced by Labour councillors who do care about local people the better.

Phil_Vabulas says:

So long as people vote Labour without consequence then there’ll be no change. Labour’s internal processes are far too strong to allow serious dissent. I joined the Green Party because of Southwark Labour’s housing policies and would encourage others to do the same, or at least vote for us if joining isn’t an option. Only external pressure will force Labour to start treating existing residents as valuable people, rather than hoping higher-income people will come in to replace them.

Eddy Walsh says:

I moved to a smaller place in June this year, it had been empty for over a year apparently, the chap next door moved out a month ago, be interesting to see how long it remains empty.

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