Turning area’s empty houses into homes

Councillor Malcolm Chandler ANL-140107-120921001
Councillor Malcolm Chandler ANL-140107-120921001
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A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council. This week with Councillor Malcolm Chandler, portfolio holder for regulatory services.

What does an empty homes team do?’ is a question not often asked of me, mainly because South Holland’s empty homes work, though of growing importance in our communities, is yet to have the profile enjoyed by other more visible local services.

Empty homes are a wasted resource. Local families and individuals all need a plentiful supply of good quality homes, and none of us want to see properties lying empty with the associated problems of vandalism, crime and anti-social behaviour.

So every day our small empty homes team are hard at work giving advice and guidance to owners of empty homes on how best to bring their properties back into use.

The team’s work includes offering guidance on renting, selling, renovation and planning matters etc.

The team also supports owners with finding finance for renovations through sources such as empty homes grants and loans, and contacts with private investors.

The aim of the team’s work is to help increase the supply of housing across South Holland through making best use of valuable buildings, improving conditions for residents in private rented accommodation, and reducing the problems caused by the blight of empty houses and flats.

Our future ambition is to support families who are homeless through increasing the supply of suitable accommodation.

We are also very keen to hear from local residents, property investors and building contractors.

Our team cannot be everywhere so if you have information about empty homes please share it with us and we’ll see what can be done to bring them back into use.

And if you are a local investor or builder we’d like to know whether you could work on empty houses and help us make them homes again.

The recession did affect the housing market and today across South Holland there are houses and flats standing vacant for six months or more.

By working with owners, local estate agents, building contractors and others we can turn long-term empty houses into homes again. Since last October, homes have been found for 74 families, the home owners are now getting returns on what were dormant investments, and the blight of empty homes is reduced.

Everyone in South Holland is benefiting from our work to turn empty houses into homes.