It’s National Empty Homes Week 2018 this week (15th to 21st October). It is a chance to raise awareness, celebrate progress and consider what more needs to be done to bring empty properties back into use to help meet housing needs.
There were over 5,000 more long-term empty homes in 2017 than the year before according to the number recorded in official data by English local authorities, with there being 205,293 long-term empty homes in total. The 2.6% increase was the first rise since 2008, although the proportion of England’s homes long-term empty is generally stable at around 0.85%.
Not only are empty properties typically unsightly as their condition deteriorates over time, they also bring down the value of neighbouring properties and reduce the availability of local housing. Our partner councils are working with empty property owners to assist them to bring their properties back into use.
The council work in partnership with not-for-profit lender Wessex Resolutions CIC to provide finance for home repairs. This enables an owner to then either rent their newly renovated property or put it on the market or move back into it themselves. By bringing an empty property back into use, the local community benefits through the addition of new housing and a pleasant place to live.
Through providing loans, the council are ensuring that funds for homeowners are sustainable which means that every repayment goes back into the council pot to lend to homeowners into the future.
Siblings, Chris & Julie took a loan from Wessex Resolutions CIC to bring their empty property back into use:
Having inherited a property in the South West which was uninhabitable, Chris and his sister Julie were not having any luck selling it. They were facing the burden of a long-term empty property. Wessex Resolutions CIC provided a capital repayment loan to enable Chris and Julie to realise the value of their asset and bring an empty property back into use.