Monday, 15 November 2010
Government unveils plans to reward councils that tackle empty homes
'The Coalition Agreement set out the Government’s commitment to explore a range of measures to bring empty properties back into use.
'There are a number of reasons why properties become and remain empty including low demand, the cost of repairs, reluctance to rent, or personal circumstances. Around 300,000 privately owned homes have been vacant for over six months and many are in areas of high demand. Empty homes are a blight on local communities and a waste which we cannot afford. We need to harness this potential to meet pressing housing need.
The consultation document suggests that Council Tax data will be used to track empty homes and homes brought back into use. This makes sense (and it's one of the ways we track empty homes in Reading).
The practicality of these measures will need to be considered as part of the consultation (on until Christmas) but I really welcome this radical new thinking from the government. Empty homes are a wasted resource and we must explore more ways to bring properties back into use to aid housing supply - particularly when housing need is great and space for new build in many areas like Reading is in short supply.