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Work to increase housing availability continues

Datganiad i'r wasg: i'w ryddhau ar unwaith

Pembrokeshire is currently experiencing a high demand for homes across the county. This, paired with a limited amount of properties becoming available to let, is an issue that is also being seen on a national scale.

Pembrokeshire County Council acknowledges that residents have noticed a decrease in the amount of properties appearing on the weekly Choice Homes advert and that there are a number of empty homes in their local areas that are not being advertised at all.

Pembrokeshire County Council are continuing its work to improve and expand its housing stock in an attempt to address this high demand.

However, in recent years there has been a decrease in the numbers of Council properties becoming vacant, resulting in a decrease in the amount of properties available to be re-let.

While historically 10% of Council stock on average was becoming available to be let to new occupants every year, this has recently reduced to around only 5% of stock. This, in part, explains why fewer properties are appearing on the weekly Choice Homes advert.

There are also a number of reasons why empty Council homes are not appearing on the Choice Homes list as soon as they become vacant. These reasons include major refurbishment works that need to happen to properties. This could be due to a number of factors but also in order to meet Welsh Housing Quality Standards.

Delays could also be due to the need for updates to properties required as part of PCC’s decarbonisation programme.  Properties are also undergoing extensive damp proofing upgrade works.

Capital works programming to ensure that fire safety regulations are met, can also mean that blocks of flats and some sheltered accommodation are required to remain empty so that extensive upgrading work or demolition can be scheduled in.

In situations such as this and for various other reasons, empty properties are sometimes utilised as ‘decant’ properties for existing tenants who cannot remain in their current properties whilst work is ongoing.

Planning is often undertaken to ensure that the properties that are utilised in this way are larger and in the areas where we have more stock so that they can be utilised as decants for as many tenants as possible.

This is to prevent unnecessary work on other properties to get them up to standard to use as decants, at an additional cost. For this reason, these properties will not appear on the Choice Homes advert until they are no longer needed as a decant.

Cabinet Member for Housing Operations and Regulatory Services Cllr Michelle Bateman said: “We understand the frustrations of those who have been waiting for suitable accommodation for some time but don’t see the homes coming on to the bidding list.

“The Building Maintenance service has been recruiting more staff and contractors to help meet the demand for these works. Over coming months residents will likely see houses being brought back into use and an improvement to the flow of houses on to Choice Homes.”

As of 1st March, there are 5,186 households on the Choice Homes register. You can view statistics on how many properties are advertised throughout the year, as well as the banding and registration date of successful bidders for each property by visiting the Choice Homes website and clicking the ‘New Customers’ Tab.