Recent figures published by Empty Homes have led to a growing call for the owners of unoccupied and empty property across Yorkshire to do something about this ongoing problem.
Yorkshire and the Humber was shown to have one of the highest rates of both empty and long-term empty homes out of all regions in England in 2013, at 81,322 and 28,997 properties respectively.
In total, 3.56 per cent of homes in the region were shown to be empty – highlighting the need for forthright action to be taken to bring these homes back into use.
Overall, last year witnessed a nationwide reduction in the number of empty property – a fall of 75,000 – but this is still an issue of real concern, as the UK struggles with a housing crisis that means millions of Britons are unable to get a foot onto the property ladder due to a lack of suitable available properties.
Tackling this problem is therefore essential and steps are now being taken by Scarborough Borough Council to help owners bring as many properties as possible back into full-time use.
The local authority is working alongside Empty Homes, the government and the Ecology Building Society to offer loans of up to £15,000 per property for owners to carry out essential repairs and maintenance to ensure these buildings can be brought up to an acceptable living standard for tenants.
Bill Chatt, Scarborough’s cabinet member for public health and housing, told the Yorkshire Post: “We know that many empty properties exist within our area because owners simply do not have the money that is required to bring them back up to a habitable standard.
“This initiative will make a difference in tackling this problem, and we are more than happy to become members of the scheme.”
Failing to address the issue is not an option, as homes that are left unoccupied for a considerable period can become run down and have an adverse impact on whole neighbourhoods.
These properties can suffer from acts of vandalism or become subject to squatting – an issue that not only impacts local communities but can be extremely dangerous for those residing in buildings without proper services and maintenance.
A lack of running water, electricity and other amenities can mean these properties are not fit for habitation, but unless a concerted effort and investment is made to address the nation’s empty homes problem it is likely to be one that will continue for some time.
Anyone who is planning to leave their property unoccupied for an extended period – be it due to the lack of a current tenant or simply that they are going on holiday – might like to consider the benefits of taking out comprehensive unoccupied building insurance from GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited.
We aim to find the best deals for our clients on all types of insurance, ensuring all those leaving an empty property will not be stung by expensive bills while they are away.