There are empty homes up and down the country and BCW is supporting an annual campaign , Empty Homes Week, which sees local authorities come together to reduce the number of disused properties.
Empty Homes Week, which takes place from 23 – 29 September, brings local authorities, housing providers and community-led organisations together to celebrate successes and reflect on what more needs to be done to bring empty properties back into use to help meet housing needs.
Wellingborough Council is celebrating the annual campaign by highlighting how residents and landlords can work with the council to bring empty properties back into use. Capital funding has been allocated to purchase vacant dwellings, which will provide residents with much needed temporary accommodation.
The council is revitalising its work on long-term empty homes in the borough by reviewing data to identify potential long-term empty dwellings and will be writing to owners to encourage them to bring the properties back into use. Where appropriate, grant funding may be available to assist with improvements.
Owners will be made aware of the detrimental impacts an empty property can have on the surrounding area and will also be informed of the benefits of bringing empty properties back into use.
The council takes a graduated approach in tackling empty homes, but potentially where repeated informal attempts are unsuccessful, and the evidence supports this, the council will consider compulsory purchase.
This work links into other work streams at the council, including tackling anti-social behaviour relating to empty properties, provides an accommodation supply for the housing options team, ensures an adequate supply of housing, including affordable homes for those who need it.
It is estimated that over 216,000 homes in England have been empty for over six months and over 600,000 homes in England are currently vacant.
Empty Homes Week 2019 will take place from 23 – 29 September. More information is available here: https://www.actiononemptyhomes.org/event/empty-homes-week-2019