There are currently 135 vacant public housing properties across the island.

Thirty-one of those are in Douglas.

However, 5% of Port Erin Commissioners’ social housing is vacant, despite government guidance saying no more than 2% should be empty.

Port Erin Commissioners chairman Godfrey Egee says Covid affected the authority’s housing plans.

He added that the authority was trying to build more public sector housing.

The Department of Infrastructure has 20 vacant properties, Ramsey Commissioners have five and Peel Commissioners have three.

Mr Egee said: ‘Covid impacted getting work done on properties. Prices increased in getting bits, wood parts, electric parts and contractors.

‘We have been struggling to get contractors to do the work, especially out of hours.

‘When you’ve got the time when people move out and you know you’ve got a void, you’ve got to fix up the house the best you can to allow those new people to move in.

‘But realistically we would like to increase our social housing.

‘It’s finding locations where we can expand to and get agreement with capital from the departments to move forward, which of course borrowing capital at this time is expensive as well.

‘So it’s a vicious circle, it’s not an easy time.

‘We have only 200 odd houses but we’ve been trying in some of the brownfield areas in the village to negotiate with some of the private owners, but we’re not having a lot of joy at the minute.’