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Social housing vacancies, lettings and arrears

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  • Release date: 6 March 2019
  • Period covered: 2017-18
An annual report including information on the number of housing units that were empty (vacancies) at 31 March 2018. It covers the number of housing units rented to tenants (lettings) during 2017-18 and tenancies in rent arrears at 31 March 2018.

Key points

  • Following decreases in 2015-16 and 2016-17, the 4,158 vacant social housing units at 31 March 2018 was an increase of 2% on the previous year but continued to represent just 1.8% of all social housing stock.
  • A third of all vacant social housing units (1,360 units) had been empty for more than 6 months at 31 March 2018. Less than half of vacant social housing was available for letting.
  • The number of new lettings of social housing stock decreased by 9% to 20,564. The majority of these (62%) were via housing waiting lists. A further 22% were via transfers and exchanges and 16% were priority lettings to homeless households.
  • At 31 March 2018, there were 71,839 tenancies in arrears, accounting for 32% of all social housing tenancies. This was an increase of 1,387 tenancies (2%) on the 70,452 tenancies in arrears at the end of March 2017.
  • Around 2% of tenancies had been in rent arrears for 13 weeks or more.


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