Capacitygrid, the direct brand for on-demand services from Liberata, has revealed that its Empty Homes Review (EHR) service helped 73 local authorities in England remove over 9,000 properties from their long-term empties lists in 2016.
As a direct result, these local authorities will generate millions of pounds of revenue through the Government’s New Homes Bonus scheme, which provides non ring-fenced funding to local authorities to benefit the wider community.
Houses will inevitably become empty over time. The families within them may outgrow them or move on when the house is no longer suited to their needs. It is important that when this happens, the reason for the move is addressed. If it is because of inadequacies within the property itself, then these issues must be rectified immediately in order to minimise the time the property lies dormant – because an empty property is dead expense for housing associations and another nail in the coffin of achieving the housing target.
Since the launch of the service in 2011 the Capacitygrid EHR service has helped 156 local authorities in England bring over 40,000 properties back into use, achieving on average nearly £1m in New Homes Bonus per review for each local authority. This accounts for approximately 40% of the long-term empty homes brought back into use since the launch of the New Homes Bonus. The New Homes Bonus has been put in place by the Government to support and encourage local authorities to not only build new homes but also bring long-term empty properties back into use.
Vijay Chandiramani, COO, Capacitygrid and Liberata said “Local authorities are in a catch-22 situation when it comes to New Homes Bonus funding. On the one hand it is welcome additional revenue, but at the same time many local authorities don’t have the internal capacity or effective tools or data to review their long-term empties as part of their day-to-day activities.
"They are also acutely aware of the need to help address the national housing crisis and bring more homes into use for their local communities. By using our Empty Homes Review service they are doing just this. The hard work and dedication of our teams has so far yielded impressive results for customers, reducing the number of long-term empties by an average of over 24% which is more than treble the national average.”
A house should never be empty in a society where people do not have a place to call home. By accepting this and striving to implement it into our housing strategy we can come up with a solution fit for all.