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More Than 2,000 Long Term Empty Homes In East Riding

More Than 2,000 Long Term Empty Homes In East Riding

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Joe Gerrard at 7:22am 18th March 2020.

More than 2,000 homes in the East Riding have been empty for six months or more, according to new figures.

A total number of 2,059 East Riding homes (1.4 per cent) were long term empty properties, which was above the national average of 0.9 per cent.

The figures, presented to East Riding Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Committee, come as the authority reviewed its Empty Homes Strategy.

John Craig, East Riding Council’s Forward Planning and Housing Strategy Manager, said long term empty homes were “wasted assets” that caused problems for neighbouring properties.

Mr Craig said:

“If there’s an empty house on a street it can affect the value of other homes and the reputation of the area.

We’re now slightly above the national average for empty homes.”

Mr Craig added the council could use measures such as doubling or in some cases tripling council tax on empty homes.

The council also has the power to buy homes without owners’ consent under compulsory purchase orders.

Mr Craig said these were used as a last resort because they were time consuming and costly.

The committee heard a total of 4,038 homes in the East Riding are empty. Around half are empty due to house moves, residents dying and other short term reasons while the other half are classed as long term empty properties.

The council has brought 152 empty homes back into use in the last three years by working with owners and landlords.

A further 20 were bought through the council’s Empty Homes programme which is partly funded by Homes England. Two more were bought using Right to Buy earnings.

The council used compulsory purchase orders and voluntary acquisitions to bring 13 properties back into use.

Mr Craig said most of the homes were put back on the market, with the earnings then used to buy other empty homes.

A small number were added to the council housing stock, he added.

Councillor Mike Stathers, East Riding Council’s Enhancing Communities portfolio holder, said the authority approach to empty home owners was “conversation before confrontation”.

Cllr Stathers said:

“But if you leave a house once it’s empty then you run the risk of inviting anti-social behaviour. That’s the last thing we’d want to do."

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