PROPOSALS to spend an extra £1.3 million on improving council houses are expected to be backed by councillors.
Members of Wrexham Council’s homes and environment scrutiny committee will meet today to discuss plans for changing the standard of void (empty) council houses.
The change would mean stripping wallpaper from the whole property, re-plastering where de-bonded or perished, skimming all walls and ceilings and decorating the whole property.
A report to councillors, which recommends they support the change, states: “The aspiration of the department is that all void properties are returned to the estate offices for letting in excellent condition.
“However, the most significant problem that the department continues to face is the quality of decoration and in particular poor plaster work.
“The annual cost of this additional work, based on an average of 800 void properties being handed to the responsive repairs team each year, is a net increase in expenditure of £1.3m, which can be funded within the housing revenue account.
“This will significantly improve tenant satisfaction and improve the quality of the housing stock.”
The report also states a target of 85 days has been set for the longest a property should remain void – the same amount of time allocated to bring a ‘type 5’ void back into use, which is the most severe category and has three or more requirements including: electrical rewire, central heating installation, redecoration, structural defects and alteration to room layouts.
The authority introduced measures in July 2016 to lessen the number of voids by reducing the scope of works carried out on each property while vacant, bringing them up to a ‘lettable standard’ more quickly with further works to get the property up to Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) to follow.
The move saw the number of void properties fall from 384 in April to 200 in December.