The management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, responsive repairs and implementing planned maintenance programmes, is a matter for each individual local authority, in line with Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. Local authorities return vacant properties to use through their own resources and also using exchequer support from my Department.
Local authorities will always have a level of vacancy in their housing stock, as the turnover of stock is continuous; a portion of properties will be vacant at any given time between tenancies and that number will not be static. All local authorities, however, are actively encouraged to ensure all vacant properties in their stock are brought back into use as expeditiously as possible. Local authorities have been well supported by my Department in this regard, as well as utilising their own resources to make social homes available to new tenants as soon as possible.
On an ongoing basis, the National Oversight & Audit Commission (NOAC) reviews the social housing stock level in local authorities every year, including the number of vacant local authority houses at a particular point in time. NOAC’s activities in this regard are summarised in its Annual Performance Indicator Reports for the years 2014-2017, and are set out on a local authority basis at the following link: