Government should prioritise empty home issues
Over a third (36%) said that empty homes are a blight on their local area, and nearly three quarters (74%) believe their local authority should place a higher priority on tackling empty homes.
The research, which was timed to coincide with the start of National Empty Homes week, also highlighted that those people surveyed severely underestimated the number of empty homes in England, with 80% of English adults believing there were fewer empty properties than there actually are.
The survey found people on average thought there were around 377,000 empty homes in England, whereas statistics from the Empty Homes Agency show the figure is over 610,000.
The Empty Homes Agency is now campaigning for all the Westminster political parties to pledge that should they form the next government, they will adopt a plan to tackle empty homes within their first year in power, as part of a wider approach to tackling housing needs.
Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Halifax has adapted its lending policy to allow greater flexibility around uninhabited, mortgaged properties.
“In order to assist with returning empty homes to a habitable condition, requests for consent to enter into Private Sector Leasing arrangements are now considered once eligibility has been confirmed by the local authority.
“With over 610,000 empty properties in England alone there is a real opportunity to introduce a range of incentives for owners to bring these properties back into use.
“A lot has been achieved over the last few years, but there is a need for all affected parties to continue to work together to address the issue of empty homes.”
Helen Williams, chief executive of the charity Empty Homes Agency, added: “There is clear support from voters of all political persuasions for the next government to commit to tackling empty homes.
“Today we are launching a campaign asking all the Westminster political parties to pledge that, if they form the next government, they will adopt a plan to tackle empty homes within their first year, as part of a wider approach to tackling housing need.
“There appears to be widespread recognition amongst political parties of the need to build more homes – this makes perfect sense. However, we now need political parties to catch-up with public opinion and also give a priority in the future to bringing empty homes back into use to help young people and others access the housing they need, at a price they can afford.”