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Council owned domestic properties standing empty vs people sleeping rough

Following allegations reported in The Guardian that the Department of Communities and Local Government shared misleading data regarding homelessness figures in the UK, the UK Statistics Authority have questioned the government’s reports.

Council owned domestic properties

The report was questioned as it was believed that the figures of homelessness referred to the statutory definition of homelessness – a relatively narrow term covering homeless people local authorities are obliged to assist – not those given assistance under homelessness prevention and relief schemes.

Oldrids& Downtown, a hallway furniture provider, recently made a Freedom of Information request to councils to gauge how many domestic properties each council was responsible for, and how many properties were currently standing empty (responses were sent between December 2016 and January 2017). This data was combined with figures from homeless.org.uk on how many people were sleeping rough in 2016 in different cities.

Oldrids aim to paint a true, unique picture of what housing and homelessness looks like in Britain, in a bid to see if the government’s reports that homelessness was less than half its peak in 2003 was true.

Example insights include:

Councils with people sleeping rough and a significant number of council-owned properties standing empty…

  • Derby has 21 people sleeping rough. The council has 106 domestic properties, out of 13,132, standing empty. According to the council, of those 106 properties there are 22 temp held voids and 84 active voids.
  • Brighton & Hove has 144 people sleeping rough – but 100 domestic properties standing empty of the 11,548 they own.
  • Manchesterhas 78 people sleeping rough. The council owns 63,265 domestic properties, 286 of which are standing vacant. Of these 286, 162 are vacant for demolition, leaving 124 properties available.
  • Reading council has 22 people sleeping rough. The council owns 6,875 domestic properties, 64 of which are standing empty.

Councils with no houses standing empty

  • City of London council has 3,150 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 50 people sleeping rough in the City of London.
  • Salford council has 1,235 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 26 people sleeping rough in Salford.
  • West Berkshire council has 26 council-owned domestic properties, none of which are standing empty. There are 14 people sleeping rough in West Berkshire.

Councils with no rough sleeping? Look to the North East:

  • Redcar & Cleveland council has 0 people sleeping rough. The council also owns 0 properties.
  • Northumberland council has 0 people sleeping rough. The council owns 8,476 domestic properties, 143 of which are standing empty.
North East
Newcastle25,869398Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) is an Arms Length Management organisation (ALMO), set up in 2004 to manage council housing on behalf of Newcastle City Council (NCC). Your Homes Newcastle now manages 26,000 Newcastle City Council properties and 500 Leazes Homes properties.5
North Tyneside14,937591215 are deemed General Need properties, 349 linked to PFI Sheltered refurbishment / New Build project, 3 are linked to our schools,6 are in need of disposal, 18 are linked to a recent new build / refurbishment programme1
South Tyneside17,835221Council-owned properties include leasehold properties4
Sunderland00I can confirm that Sunderland City Council owns no domestic properties, our housing stock having been transferred to Sunderland Housing Group (later renamed Gentoo) in 2001 following a consultation with (then) Council tenants.  Accordingly, the answer to your questions as below would be ‘none’.4
Durham00All social housing stock owned by the Local Authority got transferred over to the new County Durham Housing Group.12
Hartlepool237276 are under repair and 25 are part of the new empty homes programme and are undergoing significant refurbishment due to be completed by March 2017.4
Middlesbrough00Middlesbrough Council transferred its housing stock to Erimus/Thirteen Group in 2005, and therefore we no longer own any domestic properties.2
Redcar & Cleveland000
North West
Blackpool471178As at 23/01/2017 BCH currently manages 3934 General Need properties and 777 sheltered properties for Blackpool Council. As at 23/01/2017 there are 65 General Need properties and 13 sheltered properties standing empty11
Bolton00Please note that Bolton Council no longer operate any housing stock.  The housing stock formally managed by the Council is now controlled by Bolton at Home, who are a registered charity and independent of the Counci8
Cumbria267850Data not available
Cheshire East00Unfortunately there are no longer any council-owned properties in our district. Therefore I suggest you look on the below link to assist you with the information your require. Also I have asked our housing department for their input so they may contact you direct. http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/housing/housing_options/registered_social_landlords.aspx4
Knowsley00There are no other Council owned properties within the district as the Council are no longer a stock holding authority (Knowsley Council transferred its social housing stock in 2002 to Knowsley Housing Trust).2
Liverpool565565 These are not habitable as they have been acquired for regeneration and renewal purposes. There are presently a number of schemes progressing which will see these properties brought back into use and transfer out the Council’s ownership21
Manchester63,265286162 of the 286 are vacant for demolition78
Oldham2,0640At any one time there may be a small number of properties which are empty during void work between tenancies.  However the average void time (time between tenancies) for our properties is 12 days in our older people’s specialist housing and 7 days in our general needs housing.3
Rochdale00Your request is not applicable to Rochdale Borough Council  as the Council transferred all its social housing stock to a registered provider, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), on 26th March 2012.12
St Helens00The council do not own any residential properties. We sold all of our housing stock to a company called Helena Partnerships a number of years ago.2
Stockport11,26653Unoccupied properties which are standing empty awaiting regeneration under a planned programme. As of 10/01/2016 there were 49 empty properties which were being prepared for re-let through the choice based lettings system. These figures change on a daily basis. In December 2016, the average turn-around time for these properties was 11.9 days.10
Tameside00I can advise that the Council does not hold any housing stock. Tameside Council transferred all housing stock to two registered social land lords with the majority being transferred to New Charter Housing Trust in 2000.19
Cheshire West5,49531Including Gypsy and Traveller sites are also classed as domestic properties (30 of total properties are classed as traveller sites, 8 of which are vacant)7
Wirral00Wirral Borough Council transferred it’s housing stock to Wirral Partnership Homes (now Magenta Living) and Beechwood & Ballantyne Community Housing Association in February 2005 and therefore has no recorded information to provide to you as we are no longer considered a stock holding authority.11
Calderdale00This Authority no longer holds any housing stock. All properties held were transferred to Pennine Housing 2000 in March 2001. https://www.ph2k.org.uk/6
Doncaster20,337234196 of the empty dwellings are lettable, 2 are non-lettable, 36 are awaiting demolition.13
East Riding11,34515013
Kingston Upon Hull24,59460615
Leeds57,545393As of Dec 201620
North East Lincolnshire00 The Council do not have any HRA properties anymore, as these went to Shoreline in 2004. For the SHLAA return for 2016/17 we declared 7 residential properties (caretakers homes and the like) none of which were surplus.13
North Lincolnshire00North Lincolnshire Council no longer own any housing – this has now been transferred to Ongo. Please contact Ongo on the below:11
North Yorkshire8,534111Data not available
Rotherham20601170As of Dec 20166
Sheffield40,043790This figure changes on a weekly basis as properties become vacant and are tenanted.15
Wakefield00The Council does not hold the information you require. You may like to direct your request to Wakefield District Housing.7
York7,66843 Currently standing empty, between tenancies so will be empty short term only18
East Midlands
Derby13,13210622 temp held voids, 84 active voids21
Nottinghamshire30,354302Data not available
Rutland10Rutland County Council is a non-stock holding authority. It transferred its housing stock in 2009 under Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT). We retained one property which is now used for the purpose of temporary accommodation.2
West Midlands
Birmingham63,0391,001Void / empty properties pending demolition (City wide: S, W&N, E) 613, void / empty properties with repair work in progress (S73, W&N31, E79) 183, Void /empty properties fit for letting &ready for new tenancy, (S76, W&N82 ,E40) 198, -Void / empty properties awaiting for various decision on best course of action (E7) 755
Herefordshire132Please note that Herefordshire Council does not hold a supply of social housing stock. A. 2 of these are empty – but one of these is an empty caravan pitch rather than a physical empty dwelling.21
Telford & Wrekin009
West Midlands1473101970Data not available
South West
Bath & North East Somerset00Housing stock was transferred to Curo (formerly Somer CHT)25
Cornwall10,38589Void for repairs and refurbishment99
City of Bristol27,400406There are about 96 non-HRA residential properties on the Council’s property database, comprising school and other caretakers’ houses/flats, residential homes etc; about 10 of these are currently vacant, all being ex-school caretakers’ houses.74
Isles of Scilly1202Empty awaiting allocation1
North Somerset17838
Plymouth00All stock – including sheltered housing units – was transferred to Plymouth Community Homes (a new housing association constituted for the purpose of this stock transfer) in October 2009.20
Poole4525434525 includes 14 hostel units11
South Gloucestershire11255
Swindon10,30088 long-term voids (empty properties). Virtually all of these are planned for demolition as part of our regeneration works.28
Barking and Dagenham18115924
Bexley0The Council does not own any domestic properties. The Council transferred its housing stock to housing associations operating in Bexley in 1998 (London & Quadrant and Orbit Housing).11
Bromley00The London Borough of Bromley transferred the full ownership and hence responsibility for all of its stock to Broomleigh Housing Association (now Affinity Sutton) in 1992.3
Camden22,776621Permanent rental stock within Camden, inc empty stock awaiting demolition/refurbishment – we have a particularly active Regeneration programme currently. Includes stock managed by Tenant Management organisations.17
City of London3,1500Historically, the CoL Housing Department is unusual in that it has over 2,700 properties situated in six London boroughs (Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets). It also has two housing estates located within the City itself and this is our specific borough and there are a total of 450 properties on these two estates.50
Croydon13692102As of 18 Jan 2017 – 78 have been offered or accepted and finalising voids works,  9 completing extensive repairs, 7 awaiting planning for refurbishment and 8 specialist sheltered units.68
Enfield10,931384The majority of which are not available for letting as they are in areas identified for regeneration.6
Hammersmith and Fulham12,1768686 are currently being readied for new tenants.6
Haringey20,4418020,441 (as at 01/04/16) – of which 4,739 are leasehold29
Harrow483463ANS – There are currently 63 void properties but these are either undergoing void works or are in the process of being relet.10
Havering95452279545 total Council owned stock. Of which 8734 are general needs only properties Of 9545 of these 227 are currently empty of which 86 of these are currently available to let. Fom 8734 of these 72 general needs are currently empty of which 57 currently available to let24
Hounslow15,829179 Long Term General Needs Void : 18, Long Term voids earmarked for re-development (all sheltered units) :  101, of which 2 units are used as temporary accommodation. Minor/major works voids : 6034
Islington29651109Please note leaseholder property figures are not included in the above.11
Kensington and Chelsea68565214
Kingston upon Thames45747323
Lambeth34,000486Of these 486 are currently classed as untenanted. Please note this includes properties which are about to be tenanted, properties used as temporary emergency accommodation, properties used by the council for decants for tenants occupying properties which are undergoing major works, properties awaiting void inspections.17
Newham16,00556This figure includes properties which may be undergoing essential repairs or minor renovations before being allocated to new tenants from the Council’s housing waiting list. This figure does not include properties which have been decanted and are awaiting demolition or regeneration in the borough.41
Richmond upon Thames00The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames transferred all of its housing stock to Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) under an LSVT in 2000. However, the Council does retain a small number of domestic properties – 30 properties in total, which do occasionally become vacant pending disposal or reuse. There are currently 2 properties vacant.19
Sutton5,90037Data from Sutton Housing Partnership. Including current void properties and those which are long term voids as a result of major works.8
Tower Hamlets1188425811
Waltham Forest12,47710410,352 tenanted properties. 2,125 leasehold properties. 104 void properties, of which 18 are awaiting demolition47
Wandsworth17,09747Of the 47, 22 are under offer5
Westminster00Since 2002, the Council’s housing stock has been managed by CityWest Homes (CWH), which is a separate organisation for the purposes of the Act260
South East
Bracknell Forest50110
Brighton & Hove11,548100144
East Sussex92This figure excludes any caretakers’ houses that are occupied as part of their employment.7
Isle of Wight00The Isle of Wight Council does not hold any housing stock since the transfer in 1990 to Housing Associations.16
Kent30,955250Data not available
Medway302613However, please note that these properties are currently having routine repair works undertaken before being re-let14
West Berkshire26014
West Sussex13,8931147
Windsor & Maidenhead008
East Anglia
Bedford00We do not hold this information. The Council transferred all of its housing stock to BPHA (previously known as Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association) in 1990.59
Central Bedfordshire5,2235219
Essex43,02821There are currently 21 vacant properties within the portfolio which the Council classes as ‘domestic’ and where the Council is directly and solely at liberty to create tenancies.Data not available
Luton7,7503333 voids (0.45%)76
Peterborough00Peterborough City Council does not own any council houses.  The Council transferred its entire housing stock to Cross Keys Homes in October 2004.21

Local Authority Housing Statistics dataset (including imputed data), England 2015-16: Section A – Dwelling Stock

Number of vacant dwellings in your local authority area at 1 April 2016 1

Levels of people rough sleeping in 2016 – taken by homeless.org.uk