National Empty Homes Week begins

Michael Lloyd

September 24, 2019

National Empty Homes Week has begun according to campaign group Action on Empty Homes.

The group has founded the concept to highlight Britain’s underused or completely unused housing stock in the hopes of encouraging action on how it can serve those with housing needs.

Action on Empty Homes estimates that there are over 216,000 long-term empty houses nationally which is enough to house almost one million people.

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: “As Action on Empty Homes’ National Empty Homes Week highlights, there are 216,000 houses which have not been occupied for at least six months.

“The reason why so many stand empty is multifaceted, but the key factor is just how drawn out and convoluted the property selling process can be – in 2018, almost one in five complaints about law firms were due to delays in the completion of conveyancing services.

“For those dealing with complex personal and legal issues, such as bereavements, managing elderly care and legal disputes, the selling process becomes even more time consuming and inefficient, leaving precious properties in limbo and empty.

“But there are inefficiencies at a wider level too.

“Local Authorities play an integral role in helping house families in need.

“Unfortunately, there are 45,632 local authority houses that are empty and Search Acumen estimates there could be more that are unaccounted for.”

Sommerville argues that technology can play a part in help solving the issue.

Sommerville added: “On both the personal homebuying level and governmental housing management level, digital technology can help use resources more efficiently: whether that’s improving the transaction process or better managing large property portfolios.

“With enough imagination and compassion, and common-sense use of the latest in data tech, we can help everyone get the home they want and make the most of what we already have.”

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