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Empty Homes Week to invite action on unoccupied properties amid housing crisis

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Empty Homes Week 2019 will take place from 23- 29 September. Every year local authorities, housing providers, community-led organisations and others see the Week as an opportunity to organise events and put out information so that people know about their work to tackle empty homes.

High levels of empty properties are often recognised as having a serious impact on the viability of communities, and it has been identified that dealing with empty properties can have social, regenerative, financial and strategic benefits.

Local authorities have a range of powers and incentives at their disposal to bring empty homes back into use, including Empty Dwelling Management Orders, Council Tax exemptions and premiums, enforced sales and compulsory purchase to secure the improvement of empty properties. There are also a range of other initiatives and incentives that can help reduce the number of empty properties, including the sale of empty Government-owned properties, planning measures and Value Added Tax (VAT).

The team at Action on Empty Homes will also welcome delegates to a conference on 25 September. The conference will feature the Empty Homes England 2019 Report, which will also be sent to every local authority and MP in England, with a press release calling on the Government to offer greater support to work on empty homes across the country.

A new Community Action Toolkit will be launched at the conference. The kit aims to aid local authorities and community groups in bringing empty homes into use. A project on Buy to Leave and wealth investment, supported by Trust for London, will also be presented.

Action on Empty Homes 

What is Propertymark doing about empty homes?

NAEA Propertymark is part of the Empty Homes Coalition, a group seeking action to end the waste of more than 205,000 long-term empty homes in England at a time of national housing crisis. Additionally, Propertymark has made responses to consultation on empty housing in Wales and Scotland.

Propertymark sees empty homes as a wasted resource. More needs to be done to get vacant properties back on the market for would-be home buyers or landlords. We support the use of existing enforcement powers against those leaving property empty, but the Government must also look at ways to encourage and incentivise individuals, landlords, local authorities and community-based housing providers to bring empty homes back into use.