Hundreds in Norwich get �100 for keeping homes clean
Almost 400 people have been handed �100 by Norwich City Council after making sure their council homes were clean and tidy when they moved out.
The city council's Leave It Tidy 'incentive' scheme cost the authority �38,000 this year, but council leaders said it was money well spent, with the amount of time it took to get empty council homes ready for the next occupants slashed.
Three hundred and eighty tenants cashed in on the scheme at the end of their tenancy after meeting certain conditions, including that they removed all belongings and rubbish from the property when they moved out.
And council leaders said that had helped slash the average number of days which council houses in the city stood empty between old and new tenants.
In 2010/11 council homes stood empty for an average of about a month-and-a-half - just over 45 days, while this year the average time a home stood empty had been reduced to three weeks - 21 days.
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A spokeswoman for the council said: 'By giving tenants an incentive to hand back their home in good condition, it takes fewer days for us to get the house ready for new tenants.
'Fast re-letting reduces the potential for costly vandalism and squatting, and helps us to efficiently meet the growing need for good quality affordable housing.'
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And Victoria MacDonald, cabinet member for housing, said the success of the scheme meant it would continue next year.
She said: 'We are getting homes back in a better condition, which means voids take less time for us to sort out. That's good for the people on the waiting list as it means the homes can be rented more quickly.
'When you go into homes you can find things you don't expect and it can be costly to sort it out. This scheme saves us money on having to clear out those homes and, in these austere times, it's also good for the tenants.'
She added that latest figures for December showed that the average time for getting council homes occupied again had been reduced to 14 days - outstripping the council's own target of 16 days.
The city council manages almost 16,000 council homes in Norwich and recently agreed to build the first new council homes in two decades at the Three Score site at Bowthorpe.