Rob of W asked me to expand on my comments regarding the amount of social housing in Westminster so here’s a few more facts and figures. CityWest manages 22,000 homes on behalf of Westminster Council, of which 9,000 have been sold to private tenants. This information comes directly from CityWest. Of the remaining 13,000, there are varying estimates as to how many are unofficially sub-let, taking them out of public-sector availability, but if we take a mean point of 10% that means another 1300 out of commission for those in need.
A few other facts and figures, some of which I may have quoted before, but just so they’re all in one place – the average re-let time for a vacant council property is 27 days, but 411 had been out of use for a year or longer in April 2009 and only 4 in this time category had been recommissioned. Some of these are buildings in need of major works.
10% of properties are checked each year to ensure that the right tenants are in occupation – that means obviously there’s a ten-year cycle for each property to be checked. We are now in the last year of a five year improvement programme and in that last year £1m has been spent on improving security.
All in all, including within the private sector, again according to which source of information you use there are between 4,500 and 6.200 empty homes within Westminster, more than any other London borough.