A financial reward for tenants who leave their property "in good order" when they vacate it has been suggested as part of a review into empty council houses in Stevenage.

In January, the Comet reported how some of the council's properties remain empty because they have been left by tenants in a state of disrepair, with recent problems including extensive damage, large piles of rubbish and a rat infestation.

Necessary works are then required before new tenants can move in, SBC has previously explained.

With more than 2,000 people waiting on the housing register for a home, the council says it is working to reduce void times, so homes are made available to new tenants more quickly.


As part of this work, a scrutiny review of voids by SBC's Community Select Committee suggests that the council considers "incentives for tenants to keep properties in good order".

A report says: "Following comments from officers that a large number of properties were left in a poor state by tenants who vacated the property, officers could consider ways to incentivise tenants to leave their property in good order."

The committee's chair, Councillor Sarah Mead, suggested: "This could be to receive a financial reward, such as a month or a couple of weeks' rent returned to them if they left the property clean and empty, as this could save the council time and money, rather than paying for two or three skips to clear rubbish, as is often currently the case."

The committee has recommended the council "investigates potential incentives and penalties to encourage tenants to maintain their rented properties in a reasonable condition".


The report says: "The committee is keen for officers to explore ways to hold tenants to account for keeping SBC’s property/their home in good repair. Where there are rechargeable repairs identified in inspection activity or otherwise, throughout the term of the tenancy, that the tenant is charged, at discretion, to avoid leaving multiple repairs and a large bill at the end of the tenancy. This should include unauthorised modifications."

The report will be presented to Councillor Jeannette Thomas, SBC's executive portfolio holder for housing and housing development, with a response expected within two months.