New partnership to return more long-term empty homes into use

Published Monday, 28th November 2016

Work to bring empty, unused homes back into use is being carried out by a new partnership of City of York Council, Selby District Council and Hunters Property Group.

During Empty Homes Week 2016 which runs from today (28 November) to 2 December, the partnership is encouraging local property owners to get free advice and information on bringing a home which has been empty for six months or more back into use.

This advice is not only being offered to property owners in York but also to owners in Selby because City of York Council is now supporting the District Council’s empty property strategy.

Hunters Property Group has also joined the initiative with the offer of free market advice and auction valuations for the owners of empty property across York and Selby. Owners wanting to understand the market for their property, whatever its condition, and how best to realise its value can call the estate agent’s auction office.

In the past 12 months City of York Council has helped bring 23 homes back into use in the city, by offering owners advice and information, and in some cases by taking enforcement action. According to Council Tax records[1], in October/November 2016 there were 122 long-term empty properties in the city, which represents 0.5 percent of York’s total housing stock of 86,000 homes. This figure is below the regional and national average.

Since the launch of York’s empty property strategy and action plan there has been a 67 percent reduction in the number of long-term empty homes in the city. There are currently 387 long-term empty properties in Selby District, representing around one percent of the total housing stock.

Cllr David Carr, Leader of City of York Council with responsibility for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “We understand that the circumstances surrounding empty homes can be complex and may involve legal, family or financial matters, and we can help resolve these. We live in a fast-growing city where demand for housing is high. By helping people bring empty homes into use, they can realise new income streams from rent or capital from sales, while people in need of a home can find one. We’re happy to help this happen in York or Selby.”

Cllr Richard Musgrave, Executive Lead for Housing, Leisure, Health and Culture at Selby District Council, said: “Long-term empty homes have a significant impact on the community and they can attract anti-social behaviour, which is distressing for neighbours. With this partnership we are taking a positive approach to bringing empty homes back into use so please do call us for advice.”

John Waterhouse, co-founder, sales director and auctioneer at Hunters, said: “We are very pleased to be working as part of this partnership. The demand for homes in York is currently high, the market for properties which are ready to modernise is buoyant, so rather than feeling burdened by the task of renovating or refurbishing an empty property, now could be a good time to put it up for auction. We will visit and assess empty homes in York or Selby, advise the owner for free and discuss whether it could be, and how it should be auctioned or sold on the open market.”

For information and advice on bringing an empty home back to use, please contact:

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