Today (October 15) marks the start of Empty Homes Week, a national event which aims to highlight the issue of empty homes and how owners can work with the council to bring them back into use.
Approximately 2% of the housing stock in the Lancaster district is currently classed as being long term empty, which is line with most other councils across the country.
So far in 2018, 58 properties have been brought back into use following intervention from the city council’s empty homes officer.
Four of these were through the council’s partnership with Methodist Action, where property owners can access finance towards the renovation of a long term empty property to bring it back into use.
These are properties that would have potentially otherwise sat empty but are now providing much needed accommodation.
Coun Andrew Warriner, Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet member for housing and environmental health, said: “Long term empty homes are a wasted resource and are also well-known for becoming unsightly and targets for vandalism, crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The city council is keen to see them brought back into use and I would urge owners to get in touch with us to see how we can help.”
The partnership with Methodist Action started in 2012 and has seen dozens of long term empty properties successfully brought back into use with the help of grant funding.
The charity, with the support of the city council, offers a ‘one stop shop’ approach for owners, including 'enabling’ financial contributions to the building work costs and co-ordination of the refurbishment process.
For the homeowner, the programme provides a low risk, low cost option for bringing their empty property back into use. For the community, it helps reduce the effects of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and theft, associated with empty properties.
If you are aware of a problem empty property in your area or own a property that you would like to discuss, please contact Claire Taylor on 01524 582321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated: 15 October 2018