05 Aug 2019

Council targets empty properties

Action is being taken by the Isle of Wight Council to tackle empty properties on the Island.

The local authority has launched its Empty Property Strategy 2019-2022 to focus on those homes which have stood empty for more than two years.

It plans to work with owners to bring their properties back into use in a bid to increase the supply of quality affordable homes for Islanders.

The three-year strategy points out that bringing an empty property back into use can reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in an area.

Councillor Barry Abraham, Cabinet member for planning and housing, said: “High levels of empty properties are recognised as having a serious impact on the viability of communities.

“Knock-on effects can increase decline and give the appearance of deprivation which can affect the health of those living in the community.

“Empty properties can also have a negative impact on our tourism trade.”

There are an estimated 522 empty homes across the Isle of Wight — including 154 that have been empty for over two years — as well as several vacant commercial premises with the potential for conversion to affordable or rented homes.

While the council plans to work with owners to bring properties back into use — particularly those that are blighting a neighbourhood or causing antisocial behaviour — the authority has warned it will consider using enforcement action if they remain empty.

An empty property is defined as a property which is unlikely to be occupied or capable of occupation and has been vacant for at least six months.

It excludes second homes, properties under probate or where the owner is in residential care. 
Homes owned by armed forces personnel, or where the owner is actively marketing or renovating the property, are also not included by virtue of the list of specific statutory excemptions.

A typical empty property can cost more than £8,000 a year to the owner in lost value and maintenance costs and can devalue surrounding homes by up to 18 per cent.

Councillor Abraham added: “Achieving the aims and objectives of this strategy will require a creative, focussed and committed partnership approach.

“While the economic situation and resource implications are challenging, I do believe this is a realistic and achievable strategy.”

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The council wants to bring more empty properties back into use
The council wants to bring more empty properties back into use
Factfile
  • The local authority has launched its Empty Property Strategy 2019-2022 to focus on those homes which have stood empty for more than two years
  • The three-year strategy points out that bringing an empty property back into use can reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in an area
 
Isle of Wight, UK