Action On Empty Homes
Action on empty homes is a reputable organization that makes substantial efforts to resolve problems associated with empty houses. The organization uses different methods and strategies to bring vacant homes back into use.
According to Action on empty homes, wasted houses have harsh consequences for people in the UK, especially those with housing needs. Thousands of households are on London’s local authorities on the waiting list, and the credit crisis has further decreased opportunities for affordable housing in the city.
Thousands of properties that can contribute to housing continue to lie empty. The number of vacant properties in London is increasing significantly. Likewise, repossessions are rising, and people are experiencing difficulties more than ever in finding affordable housing.
Although empty homes are not a complete solution to housing crises in the UK, government and local authorities must not ignore their potential. According to Action on vacant homes, it is crucial to encourage owners and support them to unlock the potential of their wasted resources. Read on!
What are Empty Homes? – Action on Empty Homes
Although there are different definitions of a vacant property due to a wide range of factors involved, a general and widely accepted definition is that an empty home is a residential property that remains vacant for at least six months. In other words, it is a vacant dwelling or unit of residential accommodation left empty. So, this includes properties that are:
- Vacant between changes of occupants
- Undergoing renovations, repairs, or conversions
- Properties that await demolition
- Newly constructed homes but not occupied
A house that appears empty is also a person’s second home. However, the owner occupies it infrequently or occasionally. Action on empty homes reports that a vacant house is sometimes a part of an already planned regeneration program and demolition.
Some properties in London are vacant pending planning consent, repairs, refurbishment, or awaiting new residents to occupy them. Similarly, people occupy empty homes, but this is usually from squatters.
Why Homes Become Empty? – Action on Empty Homes
There are many factors or reasons that lead to empty or vacant properties. These factors include individual, property, community, and housing market. Let us now describe each element. Continue reading!
According to Action on empty homes, a property remains vacant due to unresolved ownership after the owner’s death. Another individual factor is the owner’s bankruptcy status that causes them to leave the house empty.
Likewise, another reason is that the owner is sick and in the hospital. If the owner has committed a crime and the court has sent him to prison, the house will remain empty if he does not have a family. Lack of experience in property or tenancy management is another cause of an empty house.
Action on empty homes is a reputable organization with a dedicated research team that collects data in London to gain insights. According to the organization’s research, one of the primary reasons behind an empty house is that someone may have acquired the property solely for speculative investment purposes.
Similarly, the owner does not fully appreciate the financial benefits of bringing the property back into use, which leads to a vacant house for a long time. Besides, a lack of budget to perform home improvement projects is the most widely reported factor. Repossession is another cause of an empty house.
Housing Market Factors
Housing market factors include low demand for homes, the collapse of the market, repossession, negative equity, area regeneration, an oversupply of specific property types. Bear in mind that regeneration can lead to empty houses due to renovation or demolition.
Why Bring them back into Use? – How to Report an Empty Home?
Bringing empty houses back into use offers a wide range of benefits to homeowners, the real estate market, the community, neighbors, and people who need affordable housing. In this section, we will discuss the advantages of bringing homes back into use. Keep reading!
Benefits for Owners
Benefits of bringing a vacant house back into use for owners are rental income, profit after selling the property, security against squatting, vandalism, and anti-social behaviors. Another benefit is long-term investment potential and property management.
Benefits for Neighbours
If you live in a house adjacent to a vacant property, it can affect you in several ways. For instance, your home will have a decreased value and reduced chances of resale. So, as a neighbor, when you report a vacant property to organizations like Action on empty homes, you can help bring the empty house back into use. As a result, you will enjoy perks, such as:
- Increased home value
- Improved local environment
- Reduced squatters and vandalism
- Make the area more attractive for living
- Reduced disrepairs or empty houses affecting your home
- General sense of wellbeing due to an improved environment in the neighborhood
Benefits for people in Housing Need: How to Report an Empty House?
According to Action on empty homes, reporting vacant homes to concerned authorities benefit people in house need. It leads to greater availability of homes and allows people to choose their dream home.
Another benefit is a landlord accredited by the local council. People also have increased opportunities to occupy spacious homes, leading to improved standards of living. In addition, it leads to affordable housing.
Bringing vacant properties back into use also allows people to reduce reliance on temporary accommodations. It also benefits people who experience housing crises. Moreover, it encourages economic vitality via the multiplier effect within the local community and economy, leading to increased employment and training opportunities.
Benefits for the Community: How to Report an Empty Home?
Occupied homes have increased council tax income, allowing people to invest their money. There is also reduced demand on services, such as police, fire, and the council, to deal with issues. It means authorities can effectively use resources on other crucial tasks.
In addition, using existing housing decrease the demand for building greenfield sites. That way, the community can preserve the environment and carry out eco-friendly practices to safeguard the current and future generations.
Issues and Challenges in London – Action on Empty Homes
There are various issues identified by the Action on empty homes through extensive research and surveys. According to Action on empty homes, a lack of support to employ an empty property officer is one of the most significant challenges for authorities to resolve issues associated with vacant properties.
Although some local authorities in London follow good practices, they need to look at more sophisticated initiatives. The purpose is to ensure a well-balanced approach for enforcement strategies and support initiatives.
Real estate agents and buyers give a low priority to empty homes. Research conducted by the Action on empty homes shows that inspectors usually access occupied houses quickly than vacant properties. That’s why it becomes challenging for authorities to spot empty dwellings.
Another problem is that most people think that empty homes have complicated legislation. Therefore, the UK government needs to eliminate the misconceptions through guidance. The Action on vacant homes plays a crucial role in encouraging the UK government to modify policies and become more community-oriented to resolve housing crises.
Action on empty homes run campaigns for vacant properties. The organization aims to bring vacant houses back into use through different strategies, such as raising awareness among local communities and explaining the negative consequences of long-term empty properties.
The organization also runs campaigns to encourage the UK government to make changes to the national policy. Not only does the Action on empty homes support local communities, but it also provides advice, guidance, and assistance to bring vacant properties back into use.
How Action on Empty Homes Help Develop Solutions?
According to Action on Empty Homes, no single solution will resolve issues associated with vacant properties. However, the organization uses various tools and methods, from light intervention, such as advice to owners, to high-level interventions, such as reporting the properties to local councils for further actions, such as enforcement. Here are a few solutions proposed by Action on Empty Homes.
One of the primary challenges authorities encounters is establishing the property’s ownership. In some situations, families remain in the local area, allowing the authorities to contact them. In most cases, it is challenging for authorities to trace owners.
The Action on Empty Homes encourages the electoral registrar, council tax registrar, land registry, statuary undertakers, councils, and utility companies to provide information. However, when authorities can’t trace the owner and work on the property is essential, the council will serve notice to carry out works in default.
Proactive Support and Assistance
Action on Empty Homes implements sophisticated measures to ensure properties do not remain vacant by providing advice and assistance to owners. We develop information for owners and support the council.
Besides, we encourage producing leaflets for owners detailing their rights and duties. We also signpost to local letting agents and advise on repairs and maintenance. We also create information for local residents who may know of vacant properties or suffering from having an empty house in the neighboring.
Environmental Initiatives: Action On Empty Homes
Vacant properties negatively affect neighborhoods, leading to fly-tipping, squatting, vandalism, and criminality. Thus, these things undermine actions to create affordable and sustainable housing or communities.
Action on Empty Homes undertakes relevant responses efficiently and quickly to ensure vacant houses do not reinforce a sense of dereliction in the neighborhoods. We collaborate with Environmental Warden to intervene and implement strategies to identify and address empty homes in London.
Working with Private Landlords
Action on Empty Homes works with private landlords to ensure empty homes are reoccupied. Bear in mind that private landlords are a crucial component of the housing market, especially in purchasing vacant houses returned for sale.
Besides, they also provide information on market conditions. Therefore, it is wise to maintain a dialogue with landlords and work in partnerships to raise standards in the rented sector.
The local authorities must work with private landlords to endorse good landlords. The purpose is to promote their services and offer solutions in return for their adherence to property maintenance standards.
Action on Empty Homes recommends accreditation schemes to engage landlords and raise standards. Local authorities in London need to facilitate private landlord forums, offering a framework and mechanism for inexperienced landlords to join the network or information services to reduce the number of vacant houses.
Raising Awareness: How to Report an Empty Home?
Publicity is vital to raise awareness among the communities, encouraging people to report empty homes and bring them back into use. There are numerous ways to publicize vacant properties, such as:
- Networks and housing forums
- Leaflets, posters, and other advertising methods
- Direct mailing to concerned authorities and property owners
- Highlight the problem’s intensity in London
- Explaining the wasting housing resource through radio and TV
Action on Empty Homes believes that elected members have stronger links with the community and can publicize this problem effectively. Remember, political and civic relations can promote partnerships and collaborations within the London community. Thus, they can play a substantial role in maintaining a high profile for vacant property strategy.
Developing a Strategy: Action On Empty Homes
Action on Empty Homes aims to develop an empty home strategy, focusing on activities and initiatives to bring vacant properties back into use. The purpose is to create more homes and mitigate the harsh effects of housing crises in the UK.
Our proposed empty home strategy links with broader corporate and organizational strategies, including housing, planning, social inclusion, economic development, homelessness, and regeneration. The primary goal of the strategy is to:
- Set out a strategic direction for vacant properties
- Develop an action plan with goals, targets, and milestones to deliver the strategy
- Devise solutions to address issues that cause the problem
- Provide information-based resources and guidance to owners and neighbors
How to Report an Empty Home?– Final Words
Vacant properties are not only harmful to neighbors, but they also cause environmental damages. For instance, a vacant property can decrease the value of an adjacent home, preventing the owner from reselling the house for a higher profit.
Action on empty homes makes efforts to raise awareness regarding empty homes and develop evidence-based solutions to ensure the government changes the policy to resolve issues associated with housing in London. Contact us today!
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