Nearly half the council houses in Southampton fail to meet the "decent homes" standard - and properties that become vacant stand empty for too long.

The scale of housing problems in the city is laid bare in a new report that highlights the condition of the council's housing stock and the time taken to re-let void dwellings.

It reveals that the council has been ranked as the second worst authority in England for "non-decent homes".

It also says the amount of rent lost as a result of properties standing empty totalled more than £1.5m by the end of the second quarter of the current financial year.

Daily Echo: The report will be presented to a meeting of the city council's governance committeeThe report will be presented to a meeting of the city council's governance committee (Image: Newsquest.)

The report, by Cllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for housing, will be presented to today's meeting of the governance committee.

It reveals that the time taken to re-let "routine" homes has risen from 94 days to 124 - more than four times the target of 29 days. For properties requiring major work, it has gone from 225 days to 270. The target for this is 106.

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"The length of time properties are vacant, and therefore not collecting rent, is having a significant impact on the Housing Revenue Account.

"The total rent loss and void-to-let time continues to deteriorate. At the end of Q2 the total rent loss was £1,513,612.

"A routine void is now taking a further 30 days on average to complete, and for properties requiring major works it is taking 45 days longer compared to six months earlier."

Daily Echo: Cllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for housingCllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for housing (Image: Newsquest.)

The report also says the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities ranked Southampton as the second worst authority in England for non-decent homes.

At the time it had 6,411 such properties - 39 per cent of the total. But by January this year the figure had risen to 46.6 per cent.

The report says: "Stock condition data on 'non-decent homes' is showing an increased decline in the quality of homes.

"At the same time, the length of time it takes to get properties up to standard before letting is increasing."

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The need to replace kitchens, bathrooms, windows, and doors when properties become vacant is affecting the time taken to prepare a property for re-letting.

Other factors include the lack of maintenance work carried out during the pandemic and the increasing complexity of void turnarounds, which require multiple visits from different tradesmen.

A Health Foundation spokesperson said: "Non-decent housing can directly affect a person’s health.

"A non-decent home is one with a hazard or immediate threat to a person’s health, not in a reasonable state of repair, lacking modern facilities, or not effectively insulated or heated.

"Poor insulation can lead to cold and damp homes, which are associated with a range of health problems."