6th August, 2013

HCA funding will help city council address housing shortfall

Brighton and Hove City Council has received a £3.1m award from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to help bring the city's empty homes back into use. Working in partnership with Lewes District Council, the local authority has resolved to tackle the high number of properties in the area that have been standing empty for over six months.

Owners of long-term empty homes, along with potential buyers and private landlords, are urged to contact the council for help with the restoration and refurbishment of empty properties.

“Demand massively outstrips supply for housing in Brighton and Hove,” said chair of the Housing Committee, councillor Bill Randall. “Homes standing empty for long periods of time are unacceptable, and that's why our empty property team is working hard with owners to bring more than 150 wasted homes back into use every year to house those in need.” 

Empty properties can attract vandalism, fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour, and the council will consider enforcement action where a property is empty for a long period of time and/or is causing concern to local residents.

“We understand that there can be complex and sensitive reasons for homes remaining empty and we will work with owners to overcome them,” continued Randall. “The extra money we have obtained for this work is limited. My message to property owners is bring your empty homes forward now and we will see how we can work together to put them to good use.”

Developer Steve Rooke has worked with the council's empty property team to refurbish an older property that had been vacant for some time. The council now rents it back from him for a fixed term and cost. “The rent is lower than on the open market but having the rent guaranteed and the management handled by the council adds to the value and makes it stack up,” he explained. “It's worked really well for me - so much so that I'm looking for other potential properties to buy and do the same thing.”

The council is also appealing to residents to report long-term empty homes in their neighbourhoods. To contact Brighton and Hove Council, call 01273 290000 or email info@brighton-hove.gov.uk

For more information on HCA funding for empty homes projects, click here.

Source: Building4Change.


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