The average turnover of tenants in residential properties owned by South Dublin County Council is 19 weeks the local authority has revealed.
The announcement came at this month’s council meeting after Sinn Fein councillor for Clondalkin William Carey tabled a question to the chief executive regarding the transfer of tenants.
In reply, South Dublin County Council said that “the re-let period from surrender of property to allocation of new tenancy (key to key) currently averages 19 weeks and in 2020 we completed refurbishment of 140 such units of existing housing stock.”
The council said that “refurbishment works differ greatly depending on the condition and age of the property.
“Upon the surrender of a tenancy, an assessment is made whether the property needs to be secured and, if necessary, this is generally undertaken immediately.
“An electrical and mechanical safety survey of each vacant property is also undertaken and may result in various heating, electrical or related works being required.
“A separate assessment of any painting, joinery or other required repairs is also undertaken.
“All required works are then procured from contractors on our re-let works framework and the home is also thoroughly cleaned before allocation,” the chief executive said.
“In certain circumstances, vacant properties may be suitable for specific works to meet a priority housing need and such works would also form part of the re-let works in those circumstances.”
Carey says that the current turnaround time has to be reduced.
He said that “19 weeks is far too long, and I believe it’s reasonable to expect that turnaround could be done within a maximum of between 10/12 weeks and certainly reduce the average time by much, much, more, particularly given that there are over 11,000 people on the South Dublin County Council waiting list for a home.”
Carey says that it is “understandable” there is a period of time between tenants to allow for the maintenance of properties but says “there is not a contractor in the country who could not turn such works in a matter of weeks rather than months.
“The period of offering a potential tenant a home cannot be used as an excuse for delaying this turnaround. It should be possible for these processes to take place simultaneously,” he says.
The local authority said that once the allocations section of the council is made aware of an “arising vacancy, either a new property or a relet, the process of securing a tenant begins.”
The property is “then advertised on choice-based letting of offered to an applicant with a priority need (medical/homeless).”
Once an offer is accepted, an assessment is then carried out in “relation to the prospective tenant’s housing need, income and Garda check etc.”
The council says that if a property refused by a tenant, “the process has to be repeated each time.”
“The allocations section continues to review and streamline processes to ensure new tenancies are completed as soon as a property is ready for occupancy,” the council says.
Carey says that it “should become a priority for South Dublin County Council to reduce this turnaround time.”
“It undermines all the good work been done by SDCC when the public see houses boarded up for months at a time and work only happening intermittently.”