Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Landlords cut number of empty homes

Almost 20,000 empty homes were brought back into use in England over the last year, according to new figures.

Charity Empty Homes found that 19,069 long-term empty properties were brought back into use during the year to September, based on local authorities’ latest council tax information.

There are now 259,842 long-term empty homes, 7 per cent down on the same time last year.

However, there are still more than 700,000 empty homes in England overall, a reduction of just 10,276 because other homes have become empty during the year.

‘The huge effort made by people this year to get empty homes back into occupation has created a major contribution to housing supply and averted what would otherwise have been a rise in vacancy,’ said Empty Homes chief executive David Ireland.

However, Mr Ireland warned too many empty homes are being stockpiled. The statistics show councils have made it illegal to live in more than 10,000 homes during the year, including those acquired through compulsory purchase orders. A further 9,444 homes were repossessed by mortgage lenders without being sold on or relet.

Empty Homes has called on the owners of empty properties to make them available as affordable housing, if only temporarily. The charity will make further calls for action during empty homes week, which began yesterday, and at its annual conference today.

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