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Council pledge over empty homes

Published22nd November 2016

Ipswich Borough Council is marking Empty Homes Week by renewing its commitment to return more empty homes into use.

National Empty Homes Week runs from 28th November to 2nd December and the Council is urging the public to assist them.

  • An empty property can cost an owner more: in maintenance, incur a council tax bill of 150%, increased insurance and loss in potential rental income.
  • They act as a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour, including squatters, vandalism, arson and rubbish dumping.
  • Run-down, derelict and abandoned properties bring down the appearance of a neighbourhood and give a sense of decay and decline.
  • A house next door to an empty property might be devalued.

The Borough Council’s Housing portfolio-holder, Councillor Neil MacDonald, said: “Any empty home is a waste and your Council is determined to get more back into use. We are having increasing success - both through grants for renovation and, at the last resort, through compulsory purchase. Can people help us make more of an impact?  Yes, if someone knows of a long-term empty home, please let us know. Empty homes can bring down a neighbourhood, so your action will be having a positive local impact and helping to ease the town’s housing need.”

The Council is working with owners of empty homes to find out why they are empty and offering advice and assistance on bringing them back into use. As a last resort, the Council could use compulsory purchase to get a home back into use.

Landlords or owners of empty properties could be eligible for an Empty Homes Renovation Grant of up to £10,000 to bring a property back into use that has been empty for more than a year. The Council also has an agreement with local estate agents and auctioneers who will charge an owner reduced fees when selling a long-term empty property.

If you want to report a long-term empty home via the website on www.ipswich.gov.uk/content/report-empty-property or by calling 01473 433033.