Stoke-on-Trent City Council has pledged to continue its commitment to bringing empty homes back into use – as latest figures show the authority will again meet its annual 200 homes target.
To coincide with National Empty Homes Week 2019 (September 23-29), the council is sending letters to all owners of empty properties, advising them of the support available to help them transform their empty buildings into a great place.
According to the latest council tax base data returns, the total number of empty properties in Stoke-on-Trent was 3,533. Of these, 1,865 were classed as long-term empty properties, which have been vacant for longer than six months.
Councillor Randy Conteh, the city council’s cabinet member for communities and safer city, said: “Empty homes have a proven negative social and environmental impact on our local communities and we recognise that by effectively bringing them back into use we can help to alleviate residents’ concerns.
“In 2014 we launched our empty homes strategy 2014-2019, in which we set out our aims to reduce the number of long-term empty properties in the city. These long-term empty properties are the primary focus of the empty homes team as they are generally considered to be more problematic.
“The empty homes team works very hard to address the concerns of residents in communities where there are vacant premises and we have seen some very positive results year on year through our work with landlords and home owners.
“We take a targeted and proactive approach to tackling the issue of empty homes and bringing life back into communities, and have a number of initiatives in place. These include offering free, specialist advice and guidance to empty homeowners such as the availability of financial resources like interest-free loans and Landlord Accreditation Grants; working with housing associations and other partners; and taking enforcement action or compulsory purchasing when there is no alternative.
“Properties can become empty for a number of reasons, including a prolonged sales process, inheritance issues, legal disputes, the withdrawal of planning consent, or the illness of an owner.
“Since the team was created in 2006, 1,758 long-term empty properties have been brought back into use.
“In doing so, we have not only improved the quality and condition of the city's private sector housing, but since 2017 we have encouraged more than £7million of investment into the city’s private sector housing stock.”
To speak to the empty homes team about a property, please call 01782 232087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265 (journalists only).