Campaign raises awareness of work to bring empty homes back into use
Published on Monday, September 23, 2019
A CITY council team dedicated to bringing empty houses back into use is calling on people to report properties that have fallen out of use.
National Empty Homes Week runs from September 23 to 29, with the aim of highlighting the work of those who help transform disused buildings into much-needed housing.
Campaign organisers also want people to get in touch to report houses in their communities which have stood empty for more than 18 months, with a view to giving them a new lease of life as homes.
Leicester City Council’s Empty Homes Team has been running since 2004 as part of its housing division. Since then, the team has successfully returned 3,173 privately-owned empty properties back into use as family accommodation.
But their work continues to bring back into use more of the estimated 4,965 empty properties remaining in the city, as much-needed private-sector housing stock.
Empty homes spoil the appearance of neighbourhoods, and can lead to vandalism, fly-tipping, vermin and other pests, damp problems for adjoining properties and even become fire risks.
Leicester assistant city mayor for housing and education, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “The Empty Homes team works hard to identify houses which have fallen out of use, work closely with owners and offer advice, support and guidance about their options available to ensure empty properties become occupied again.
“It is wrong to have empty homes when we have such a high level of need for good quality housing in the city.
“We want to hear from people who live an empty property, as well as people who own or have inherited one and are unsure what to do with it.
“Like most big cities, Leicester has an ongoing need for more housing, and in most cases these empty homes can be repaired and given a new lease of life to help tackle the city’s housing shortage.”
Signs that a property might be an empty:
- It may be boarded up
- There could be overgrown gardens spilling out on to public footpaths or neighbouring property
- It may have been vandalised or become a site for waste dumping or anti-social behaviour
- There could be issues with vermin infestation
- It could be a property that looks in good condition but has been empty over 18 months
Every case is different, so the Empty Homes Team can be contacted for further advice. They can then investigate any property that is referred to them and provide an update on the outcome.
In the worst cases where an owner does not address problems with their empty property, the council has powers to take possession by way of a Compulsory Purchase Order.
Since 2004, 119 empty properties have been bought up under Compulsory Purchase Orders where all other attempts to bring the property back into use have failed.
More information is available from Leicester City Council’s Empty Homes Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org calling 0116 454 5100 or visiting: leicester.gov.uk/emptyhomes