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The number of empty properties in the district changes from month to month, however, council tax records suggest that there is an average of 900 properties that have been empty for six months or longer. There are many reasons why these homes have become empty and many will be reoccupied within a few months.
Reasons for empty homes
Homes can stay empty for a number of reasons: refurbishments are not carried out, are delayed or abandoned; complications over inheritance following the death of the occupier; an owner’s expectation over the value of their house not being met by potential buyers or renters; falling into disrepair as regular maintenance is not carried out; has become a target for vandals and fly tippers. Occupied but poorly maintained homes are more likely to become empty.
Housing can also become empty because it is located in an area subject to a regeneration programme, such as the housing awaiting demolition or improvement, as is the case on Bold Street in the West End of Morecambe. There are also homes specifically for agricultural workers that are no longer occupied and remain empty because there is no demand from agricultural workers in the areas where they are located.
What can the council do?
Empty homes can be an opportunity to increase the housing available in the district; the council has a number of tools to help bring empty homes back into use and in many cases these are successful. The use of the Enforced Sales Procedure has recently been approved which allows the council to carry out works on a property and seek repayment from the property owner. If payment is not forthcoming, the council can now acquire the property via the courts for resale.
If you would like to report an empty or abandoned property in the district please contact us.
Last updated: 17 November 2017