News from Bolton at Home

Here you'll find our most recent news articles, from important tenant updates and new housing developments, to new community initiatives and activities.

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Working to reduce the number of empty homes and explaining why we might sell some

Working to reduce the number of empty homes and explaining why we might sell some

We understand there are questions about our approach to managing empty homes and the circumstances under which we might choose to dispose of a property. We recognise your concerns and would like to provide some clarity. 

We work to maintain, improve, and build homes, with a focus on refurbishing and reletting empty homes as quickly as possible. However, there are instances when homes remain vacant longer due to significant repair needs. Before we can make them available to rent, all our empty homes need to meet our Lettable Standard, which you can learn more about by tapping here.

When a tenant moves out, we assess the property and carry out any necessary repairs. If a home requires extensive work or updates to meet current standards, it may stay vacant for a longer period. This process sometimes involves specialist surveyors and contractors. 

Each year, we refurbish approximately 1,000 vacant homes. We’re continually working to reduce the number of empty properties and, to support this, we’ve expanded our team and increased our investment in our home improvement programme. 

Once a home is ready, we advertise it through choice-based letting systems, following local authority allocation policies to ensure it goes to those who need it most. You can learn more about the choice-based lettings systems we use for different areas, and how to apply for our homes by tapping here.

We manage around 19,000 homes and other buildings, many of which were built in the 1950s or earlier. Updating these properties to modern standards can be costly, and in some cases, disposing of a property is the most practical decision. 

We carefully consider the cost of refurbishment and the community impact before deciding to dispose of a property. In making decisions, we follow a disposal policy and legislation and guidance from the Regulator of Social Housing. 

When refurbishment isn’t practical or cost-effective for us, we may choose to dispose of the property through sale or demolition. Any properties for sale are usually sold at auction to ensure the best price, and we also list these properties on our website. You can see the properties and land we currently have for sale by tapping here.

We reinvest the money from sales into improving homes and services and developing new homes. These sales specifically contribute to our targeted home investment programme, aimed at updating and improving homes most in need across our neighborhoods. 

We look forward to sharing more updates on this plan in the coming weeks and months.