The changing face of local authority housing in England is shown in a statistical release which revealed a fall in the numbers owned by councils to 1.59 million dwellings, down 0.6 per cent from the previous year.
This continues an historical trend which has been driven by large-scale voluntary transfers of homes to housing associations, Right to Buy sales and demolitions. HA stock has increased at the same time and the overall social housing stock has risen from 4 million in 2008 to 4.14 million at the end of 2017/18.
English councils made 108,300 lettings during the year, down four per cent from the previous year, and a huge drop from the 326,600 lettings made in 2000/01. There were 1.11 million households on local authority waiting lists on 1 April 2018, a decrease of four cent on the previous year.
The average council rent in England in 2017/18 was £86.58 per week, which is one per cent lower than the previous year and in line with the social rent reduction set out in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
At 1 April 2018, there were 70,300 “non-decent” council owned dwellings, a decrease of 11 per cent from the previous year and a 91 per cent reduction from 2006 when the decent homes standard was updated.
In 2017/18 councils reported that 5,500 evictions were carried out by court bailiffs on their behalf, down six per cent on the previous year.
By Patrick Mooney, editor