Petition on Empty Homes

In Britain we’re currently building 100,000 fewer new houses every year than we need

About 1 million homes are empty – 350,000 have been that way for over six months

2 million families in the UK need a decent home

We are asking the government to make it easier for ordinary people to get empty homes back into use.

Join the cause by adding your name to a letter we’ll be sending to the Prime Minister, Housing Minister, and Communities Minister; the devolved First Ministers and Housing Ministers; your local MP and your local council leaders.

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Charles Bazlington Empty Homes Petition

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to require every Local Authority to create a register of empty homes in their area, and following that to enact measures to bring some of them into occupancy thus saving some greenfield building. The Local Development Framework investigations currently being undergone, ignore the potential supply of empty homes of which there are estimated to be 870,000 in the UK (Empty Homes Agency). This is more than 4 year’s supply, according to Kate Barker’s Housing Review.

Submitted by Charles Bazlinton – Deadline to sign up by: 27 January 2009 – Signatures: 333

Government Response

The Government does not believe that more legislation is needed to enable local authorities to tackle empty homes or that local authorities should be required to create registers of empty homes in their area. Local authorities have already been given powers to address this issue and we would rather ensure all local authorities perform as the best already do by implementing effective empty property strategies.

The Government agrees that bringing empty homes back into use provides much-needed housing and can reduce the need to develop new homes on urban fringes and in the countryside, although areas with high concentrations of empty homes often do not correspond with areas of high housing need. Whilst there are currently 300,000 long term empty properties across England, it is projected that there will be 223,000 new households forming each year until 2026 (as a result of population growth, changing patterns in age and marital status and more people choosing to live alone). Therefore, even if all long term empty properties could be brought back into use, this would not deal with the current imbalance between supply and demand.

The Government believes that local authorities have a key role to play in identifying empty properties in their areas and in developing strategies to bring them back into effective use. The overall number of empty properties has actually fallen by 9% since 1997 showing that the majority of local authorities have been successful in working to bring empty properties back into use.

Local authorities already have a range of powers to deal with empty properties, including compulsory purchase and enforced sale. The Government added to these powers in the Housing Act 2004 by introducing a new power for local authorities to make Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) in respect of long-term empty homes without forcing a change of ownership.

The Government is supporting the independent Empty Homes Agency’s new guidance on EDMOs, which was launched on 10 March. The guidance is internet based and interactive and takes local authorities through the EDMO process step by step. Click here to view

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