This is Empty Homes Week and Ipswich Borough Council is highlighting one of its key priorities – returning more homes into use.
An empty property can increase crime and anti-social behaviour, squatters and fly-tipping. And that isn’t good for neighbours, whether they are tenants or home-owners.
But owners of empty homes can lose out financially, with council tax bills of 150%, increased maintenance costs and insurance and a loss in potential rental income.
The Council’s Housing portfolio-holder, Councillor Neil MacDonald, said: “We want to get more empty homes back into use by talking to owners to find out why homes are empty and by offering advice and support. As a last resort, we will use the powers of compulsory purchase to bring homes back into use.”
Around 100 homes have been brought back into use in the past three years and the Council is currently working on a caseload of another 100 at varying stages of progress.
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.
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.
Caption: Councillor Neil MacDonald with Private Sector Housing Officer Danny Newman at a house in Upton Close which is being brought back into use.